(Ver 1.1) This is Part 2 in a series of very advanced spiritual Bible lessons on what I believe is a very important subject that has been popularly overlooked by so many Bible teachers and students. The more that I have studied this subject the more that I have become absolutely convinced that this is a required Bible theme to learn about. After learning this subject we then must learn how to balance it with other vital spiritual Bible subjects like Faith, Love and Grace to name just 3 other major Bible themes. If you have not read “Part 1” I would recommend that you go back and read this lesson before continuing here.
Too many times in the church a pastor obtains a revelation from God on a particular subject and too often they take it way beyond the base revelation to an extreme position of error. This is what I often call “Taking A Truth and Making it THE Only Truth or THE Highest or Most Important Truth without a Regard to any Other Truths”. Any Bible truth can be exalted into an extreme position either to the left or to the right of the balanced middle and this will usually cause the belief to become an unbalanced deception. It is happening in many churches today with the Grace truth. Too many modern Bible teachers have taken the awesome truth of God’s revealed Grace and simply ignored the other central theme of God’s Holiness and Judgment to name two that must be balanced with His Grace correctly.
In today’s Bible lesson we will be introduced to the major theme of “Judgment” from the perspective of the Heavenly Court system. Grace and Judgment are both central themes found from Genesis to Revelation. We can see these subject threads woven together in practically every book. For example, in Genesis 6:8 God says Noah found His Grace. But, within the same context the world was found to be so wicked that God was sorry that He ever created man on the earth (Gen 6:6) and He judged the earth with a great flood. The subjects of Grace and Judgment are found intertwined so closely together that it should amaze us.
We will be looking at this subject of Judgment from the viewpoint of New Testament writers like Paul and Peter. Both wrote about grace but they also included the balanced message of God’s judgment in the same context. I would be a fool to ignore the subject of divine judgment just because I like the subject of Grace much more. You see my flesh loves grace but our spirit should understand that there is judgment for sin. This is called the human conscious. However, the human conscious should be viewed to be the Holy Spirit trying to help us think, say and do what is true, good and right. I, like other Christians am in a war between these two realities. I try to let my spirit overrule my flesh but sometimes it is more of a challenge than at other times. I pray that you understand what I am talking about.
I believe the LORD showed me that this lesson series on God’s Divine Spiritual Laws and Court System in Heaven must be read, understood and balanced rightly with today’s extreme Grace teaching that tries to teach us many things that do not touch on what is being stated in the verses that will be clearly covered in this series.
God teaches us very plainly in Hosea 4:6 that His people are destroyed (by Satan) because of their ignorance and stubborn refusal to learn the truth. He is so clear in John 8:32 that it is only by the dedicated continuation in studying the Bible that we will ever learn the actual truth and only then can this truth that we know correctly set us free from the things that the enemy uses to keep us in captivity.
Therefore, we should learn that what we do not know is being used against us by our legal opponent and adversary Satan to gain an advantage over us while we live here on this planet. I pray that you will continue to read these lessons with an open and receptive mind avoiding any prejudicial preconceived ideas, thoughts or conclusions towards what is being taught. I believe with all my heart that it is the Holy Spirit’s direction for this information to go forth and be spread to all believers. Pray first before continuing and ask the Holy Spirit to bear witness with the truth and to reveal anything that may be only a man’s opinion on any verse, topic or subject. We are commanded by God to study and to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15). But, only the Holy Spirit can lead us into all truth (Ps 25:5, John 16:13). So put your full confidence in Him and not me or anyone else on the earth. Let’s begin Part 2 with a quick review of the first lesson in which I have added some additional supporting evidence that was not included in the first lesson.
Lesson 1 Review with New Additional Thoughts
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
In the first lesson in the series we should have learned at least two primary essential Bible truths. The first truth came from the Lord recorded by Peter to us in 1 Peter 5:8 and the second came to us from John written in Revelation 12:10. We also learned from two very important Greek words. The first Greek word G476 was translated as “adversary” and this word meant an “opponent in a lawsuit or a court of law”. The second Greek word was G2725 and was translated as an “accuser” and it is defined as a “person who brings a complaint of law to court against someone else that allegedly commits a crime”. Both were very accurate technical descriptions of Satan who God informed us in Revelation 12:10 brings up charges of accusations against us as brothers and sisters in Christ every single day and night. The term “day and night” in Revelation 12:10 must represent a continuous repeated daily action of Satan. These two words are used like this several times in the New Testament and this is the correct way to interpret them.
Always remember that Satan is God’s enemy and our enemy and please never believe that he has no right, power or ability to win a law case over you because he is very tricky and has been around much longer than you and knows so much more than you can imagine. We are in a legal fight for our lives and we must understand that doing nothing to fight or win permits Satan almost automatic victory.
In 1 Peter 5:8 Christians not the world are warned that we have an “adversary” who is named the “devil” and he is plainly defined to be our legal opponent in the court of heavenly law. It is worth noting again that this Greek word translated as “adversary” is only used 4 times in the N.T. and every time it is mentioned it refers to a court case between legal opponents. This was certainly no accident and God is informing us in a very pure direct easy to understand way that this is how He is using this word in 1 Peter 5:8 also. There can be no other logical conclusion that Satan is anything else but a spiritual individual that is bringing up charges before God to gain an advantage over us in order to devour us. If you don’t believe me please hang in there and read all the verses that we will cover today and then tell me if you still believe the same.
We should have learned from reading 1 Peter 5:8 that our adversary the devil (Satan) is described to be going about the whole earth to find someone (primarily a Christian since it was written to us) to devour. I would ask any reader this question to consider, what is Satan seeking (looking for) that permits him to devour some but not others? It would appear to me based upon Job chapter 1 that God places a hedge of protection in order to keep Satan out. Why would it be necessary for a hedge of protection to be present if Satan could do nothing to Job unless he had permission? I find that to be an amazing question. If Satan could only harm someone if granted permission as is taught by many Bible teachers there would be no need for any hedge round about Job. It is fascinating to me to see in Job 1 that Satan accuses God of doing this unjustly and accuses Job of fearing God for no cause. There were at least two accusations brought before God’s court and we need to see this.
However, it is very important to learn from 1 Peter 5:8 that Satan cannot devour everyone. Therefore, there must be something that a Christian does or does not do that permits Satan’s admittance into their lives. Also by antithesis reasoning there must be something that a Christian can do to keep Satan from killing, stealing and destroying their lives. I believe the determining factor is our sin and we will learn why as we continue in this study.
I have concluded from significant study of the book of Job that Job opened the door in the hedge and we will certainly be getting into this part of the subject as we continue the Bible study series. Please expect to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit on what we all need to do to keep Satan as far away from us as is possible in this world. Let’s continue to explore another new thought.
I believe that it is also critical to learn the definition of the title “devil” used by the LORD in 1 Peter 5:8. We should learn these details in order to more fully comprehend the impact of the warning being spoken of by the LORD. I believe the title being used in every verse reveals a great deal about Satan’s specific character, plans and methods of operation. The Greek word G1228 that is translated as “devil” literally means an “accuser”. This title speaks volumes of information to us. It teaches us that Satan and his followers are speaking malicious accusation against us as related in Revelation 12:10 both day and night. Who do you believe they are doing this to? Of course we learned in Revelation 12 and Job 1 that these accusations are being taken up before God the supreme judge in Heaven and will continue until the middle of the tribulation where all of sudden Satan is cast down never to return.
You may remember in Lesson 1 that God connected this verse statement of truth found in 1 Peter 5:8 directly to the activity found in the book of Job using a very similar synonymous truth. I believe this is not an accident or chance occurrence and that it firmly confirms that Satan came before the throne of God to hold a court trial of the man Job. I also firmly believe that this connection confirms that these same court trials were occurring even after the death, burial and resurrection of the LORD Jesus in the early church day when Peter wrote this epistle. I believe 1 Peter 5:8 was a part of God’s commentary of the O.T. story of Job that helps us interpret what happened in the book more accurately. Always remember a basic rule of interpretation that the God who wrote the Bible is smarter than I am and He will always interpret His own writings.
I would recommend that you go and read Job 1 and 2 again from this new legal trial perspective. For example, we should have learned in Job 1:6 that Satan had come into heaven before the presence of God Almighty to present his legal case for obtaining access into Job’s blessed and protected life. We should be able to know that this was an accusatory trial case being presented to God since the spiritual being described is revealed to us by the name “Satan” in Job chapters 1 and 2 nearly 14 times. God’s usage of this name proves to us by the name’s definition that this being was present before God as an “opponent” and an “adversary” present to accuse Job. We should be able to easily see how the name “Satan” in Job and the description “adversary” in 1 Peter 5:8 are married together. One is a Hebrew transliteration (Job) and the other is just a translated Greek word (1 Peter). But, both mean the exact same thing.
Again names and titles in the Bible have great significance. None are there by inadvertent chance. For example one of the first direct titled mentions of Satan found in the Bible is seen in Genesis 3:1. Here, Satan is called the symbolic “serpent”. The title used by God in Genesis 3:1 is a totally different type of informative description. Serpent is in no manner like the other names used in other verses like Satan, devil, accuser or adversary. This teaches us that Satan was not present in the garden to accuse, but to do something else that he is also good at.
If you look up the definition of “serpent” in the Strong’s Concordance you will find it comes from a Hebrew root word H517 that can describe someone who came to Eve’s mind to whisper a magic spell. Wow, that is deeper than many may possibly comprehend. Serpent literally meant someone who was attempting to magically foretell the future to Eve. My main point here is that God reveals what Satan does or is doing to us by his names and titles. We need to learn this principle and use it to help us understand spiritually what is then happening in the context. Let’s get back to our lesson 1 review.
It is critical to see how God asks Satan where he had come from in Job 1:7. Because God is the omniscient author of the entire Bible He knows the right questions to ask to teach us what is happening. It is this answer of Satan that provides the joining evidence that we need to learn from. Satan replies to God’s question very truthfully by saying he had just come from walking up and down on the face of the earth which is the amazing parallel admission of confirmation of the truth that we had learned about Satan in 1 Peter 5:8. This Hebrew word in Job 1:7 which was translated as “going to and fro” literally means that Satan had just come from traveling all around the earth and was there in heaven for an implied purpose. We learned Satan’s motivation for this movement from earth to heaven in God’s commentary description in 1 Peter 5:8. Satan was only searching the earth so that he could locate one of God’s people on the planet that he could devour. This is exactly what Satan does to Job, is it not? If we believe anything has changed from Job to Peter we would be mistaken. Satan was doing the exact same thing in Job’s day as he was doing in Peter’s day and even all the way to the current church today. We are in the exact same church as Peter was writing to therefore, please don’t write off these words as unimportant.
This direct connected satanic activity description between Job 1:7, 1 Peter 5:8 to Revelation 12:10 is no inadvertent assembly of synonymous truth. God has designed the Bible with tremendous amounts of hidden connected verses and these help us to understand correctly, the information that God planned to reveal to us in these last days. I pray that you are learning how God does this so that we do not have to lean unto our own weak human reasoning as so many have.
We then should have learned from Job 1 that it was only after the appearance of Satan before God’s judgment seat that Satan came back to the earth to devour (kill, steal and to destroy) Job, his family and his possessions. It is so very clear to me that Satan won access to Job in God’s heavenly court system.
I believe that God is the Supreme Judge of everyone but, I also believe His character is so far above our human comprehension. We cannot ever compare God to any human judge on the earth. I have never seen any human judge never make any errors. But, I believe God is perfect and does not make any mistakes in judgment and that He is a completely fair and just in every case. Therefore, if judgment is pronounced there is a reason and we will learn why in most cases it must occur.
I also believe that God is compassionate and merciful in His judgments. Let’s explore this part of the topic briefly. Job is not directly mentioned very many times in the Bible but this next verse is another divine commentary on the court trial and verdict that was rendered in this case in the book of Job.
Jas 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
According to God’s Holy Word commentary He showed Job great mercy in His judgment. I know it might not seem that was true by our reading the book, but He did. For example, we can clearly read in Job 1:12 how God restricted Satan from touching or taking the physical life of Job personally. That limitation was a display of His infinite and great mercy. The entire duration of the trial of Job did not last a significant amount of time especially in light of God’s view of time and eternity. God actually restored and blessed Job at the end of the book more than was taken by Satan away from him at the beginning of the book. So again we see God’s infinite forgiveness, grace and mercy at work. Let’s go back to James 5:11 and continue reading further.
The Greek word that was translated as “the end” in this verse in James is G5056. This is a very fascinating word to understand. One of the primary meanings of the Greek word is “the point aimed at as the limit”. It is absolutely critical to know that Satan’s attack usually have a termination point where it will end. I said usually because it does depend upon if we learn the lesson and stop doing what we were doing to let him in our life to devour us. If we repent like Job did and close the open door of attack the blessings of God can and will return.
In one other definition of G5056 it can also represent “the price that was paid as a fine or tax”. Wow that is an important legal description of judgment from a trial if you do not know it. Job paid a very heavy price for his sin, but yet I believe that we can read and see that he was able to get his life back on track by repenting at the end of the book before God in Job 42:6. We should clearly learn from this book that if we do the same we can also recover from what we have done to allow Satan’s access into our lives. I believe that knowledge should encourage and inspire us.
I know that many will try writing this teaching of Job off by explaining it away as an act of the Sovereign God giving Satan His permission to teach Job. Others will say this is Old Testament and we are not under that law or that covenant. But I cannot agree with those reasonings using any Biblical rational form of belief since God is a loving good God (1 John 4:8, Romans 2:4) and you must also understand that Job was not under the law or the old covenant. What we are learning are three examples of judgment and trials. Job was pre Old Covenant and law, Peter was in the Old Covenant and under the law and then in 1 Peter 5:8 we in the church are New Covenant people. We will very soon learn more of this occurring in the New Covenant as we continue in today’s lesson.
I believe in every realm of the Bible that there must have been some human action, words, motivation, emotion or other negative sin committed by Job or others that unlocked the door within God’s hedge of protection in order for Satan to come into their lives to devour them. As we learned again from 1 Peter 5:8 that Satan is seeking for someone whom that he may devour we should be able to deduct by strong implication that there must be something that we do that allows Satan this access.
In the first lesson, I listed at least two reasons that I believe the Lord showed me that opened the access door for evil to enter into Job’s life and I also believe there were other reasons stated that I did not mention. These two door opening sins were first Job’s fear and second his pride that caused him to try to judge God and his friends. Both of these are huge and they still occur in church members today. We could write a lot on these two subjects but I do not have the time today. Perhaps the Lord will lead me to write a more detailed lesson just on the trial of Job someday.
In our second key study verse from lesson 1 we read what the Spirit of God said to us in Revelation chapter 12. Here we learned about how in the future when this chapter is prophesied to occur how the “accuser” (Satan) of the brethren (the Church) will finally be thrown down to the earth to never again be allowed into heaven to accuse us. This clearly taught us that Satan had been authorized to do this legal accusation in the past human history and he must still be accusing the people of God on the earth even now since Revelation chapters 4 through 12 have not been fulfilled. Therefore, these court battles in heaven will continue according to God’s Word right up until the middle of the 7 year tribulation period. Time is running out on Satan’s access and I believe personally that he is working especially hard at holding as many trials as he can to gain access to devour Christian people remaining on the earth.
I pray that you will at least study these things to see if they are true for yourself (Acts 17:11). Let’s move forward into some new covenant verses to learn from on this subject. These fresh perspectives on legal things found in the New Covenant will help build a firm foundation for our knowledge on this important spiritual subject. They will confirm that even though we are in the church age of Grace that we are still living in a time where legal trials are still occurring.
New Testament Spiritual Court Confirmations
In today’s lesson I would like to expand the topic of spiritual court systems and trials to other New Testament Bible verses that will benefit our study to support this truth from the present day New Covenant saved Christian perspective and viewpoint. As I have just tried to say, I want us to learn beyond any shadow of doubt that these heavenly trials are taking place as I write and type the lesson and even as you may be reading this lesson. This would imply that it is even possible that you or I may be on trial presently in heaven and we probably would not know about it until Satan came to execute the sentence. Remember in the examples that I gave in lesson 1 that Job knew nothing of Satan’s attack and he even attributed everything negative that happened to him as being caused by God’s work. Do you remember in Job 1:21 where Job said that it is God that gave and God has taken away? However, Job was very ignorant of God, His truth, His Character His ways and His enemies and when we are ignorant of what is really happening in the spiritual realm we can very easily fall into the same trap to accuse God for what Satan is doing to us.
Even Peter was totally unaware of the fact that Satan had demanded to sift him like wheat until Jesus warned Peter and even prayed for him that his “faith” would not fail during this time of trial. That is a great point to learn from. The objective of every satanic attack is Satan’s attempt to get your faith to waiver enough for you to fall away from following the LORD. Peter learned a tremendous revelation from this legal trial experience and if you read his letters written to us in the church you will find this was very true. We have already read in 1 Peter 5:8 about our legal adversary but we will back up in the letter to the previous chapter to learn more. Let’s observe two of the most important confirming verses that will reveal and ratify this truth of the existence of heavenly trials being carried out.
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Can you see the words written to us in the church by Peter according to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? We will begin by observing the initial time reference of the recorded statement. It appears to me to be plainly a present tense “now at the time of writing” statement. Whatever is written directly that follows this introductory time frame must be applied directly to the reader then and by forward association to us the reader now. This makes the next statements active until there is a verse that we encounter that reveals the end of the validity of the stated truth being discussed by God. Let’s read what was occurring to them at that time and by implication is occurring now to us also.
The immediate statement following the identification of the timing is about the legal court issue of “judgment”. God informs us that “judgment” will begin with us in the church and again the time being stated was clearly present tense “now” as Peter wrote the letter. This means that this stated “judgment” written about was to believers in Peter’s day of life on the earth could not be referring to a future judgment after they were dead even though there are other judgments in the Bible that we will face after death. I hope you understand that there are repeated judgments listed in the Bible. Just because we are judged once now does not mean we cannot be judged again later and vice versa.
Both of these verses were well written relevant warnings to believers. It is very plainly stated about judgment originating with forgiven saved believers in Christ. Verse 17 is a sharp contrast between believers and non-believers and it cannot be any clearer. Then in verse 18 there is a restated direct warning to every Christian that they are just “barely” saved. We could talk about that truth for a long time and we probably should but it is really not the main thought line of this lesson.
I know for sure that we now live in the prophesied church age of God’s Grace (1 Peter 1:10). I know for sure that God’s Grace saved us through faith (Eph 2:8). But, I also know verses like 1 Peter 4:17 and 18 that speak additional truths and these must be aligned correctly with God’s saving grace and forgiveness message. I just can’t teach this enough. It is so very important to learn.
What do these verses in first Peter say to us? Do you think they do not apply to you? I know with 100% certainty they apply to me and were written to me. I would strongly recommend that you find out if they were written to you also because if they were not then you may not be a real Christ follower.
God wrote to you and I (the righteous and saved) and He informs us very clearly that we may be just “scarcely” saved. This Greek word that was translated as “scarcely” is G3433 and it means “with difficulty”, “hardly” or “scarcely”. Some synonyms of scarcely are “barely”, “narrowly” or “by a small margin”. Some other idioms for this word would be to be saved by “the skin of your teeth” or to be saved “by a whisker”. This Greek word can also mean “with a lot of significant work” we are saved. Wow, have you heard that taught in church lately? No, I don’t think so. I know I don’t hear it personally being taught but this is what God said. In fact I hear the opposite being taught in churches.
You see the antonym or antithesis of this Greek word G3433 translated as “barely” is to be saved “fully”, “entirely”, “completely” or “totally”. That is the very popular message being spoken of by many extreme Grace Teachers who teach a salvation without any further challenges, struggles, or any other human choices to be made in order to remain a Christian. That is just not what the Bible actually says. Please do not misunderstand what I say here. We are not saved by our works. Salvation is ONLY through our faith in God’s finished work of Jesus Christ. But, that does not mean we will never be judged for doing wrong things here on the earth. Peter clearly is telling us that “judgment” begins with us right now.
We could literally talk a long time on these two verses in 1 Peter 4 but I pray that we receive what Peter says by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Remember that Peter is also speaking from his own personal direct experience along with God’s inspiration. Remember we saw that Peter was judged and demanded to be sifted like wheat. Then we will soon see another example where Peter was present where Christians were judged.
This Greek word G2917 that was translated as “judgment” is the key word that reinforces the truth of a trial system in heaven occurring. This Greek word is defined as “a decision” that has been rendered by an implied Judge with proper authority (God) to make a ruling. The decision can either be for us (in our favor) or against us (in the favor of Satan the accuser). The implied cause of this decision (judgment) is given for the crimes (sins) that have been committed by Christians. This same Greek word can also mean that we could be “condemned” or it is even translated as “damned” in other N.T. verses. We certainly don’t hear these words mentioned in many of our Grace churches do we? Since we all have been guilty of committing sins we can understand a little better why Peter said that we are just “barely” saved, can’t we?
Acts 5 – an Example of N.T. Judgment #1
Did you ever read Acts 5:3? Peter was the man that wrote the words of 1 Peter 5:8 and 4:17 and 18 for us. Peter is also the man found to be preaching in the book of Acts chapter 5 to saved people of the church when another believer named Ananias comes into the service late to bring his offering to the Lord. However, this man held back some of the money in secret and only gave a part of the money using deception saying that this was all of the money obtained. However, the same Peter that we are studying about was inspired by the Holy Spirit of a judgment against Ananias. Peter asks the man Ananias “Why has Satan filled your heart to LIE to the Holy Ghost?” And immediately Ananias drops dead in the middle of church and his body is carried out and the church service just continues like nothing happened. I seriously believe that a spiritual trial occurred in heaven and a verdict of guilty was determined and the sentence was carried out immediately. You of course can explain it away and believe whet ever you like about these truths. I have heard one popular unnamed TV Grace Preacher say Ananias wasn’t really a true Christian and this is why he was killed. But, that cannot be the truth based upon what we just read in 1 Peter 4:17. It is my goal to use the Bible to interpret the Bible and 1 Peter 4:17 stated that judgment begins in the church not the unsaved world..
You will also notice in Acts 5 that this event is repeated again for his wife Sapphira. Please go and reread the story again from a court room trial perspective where a judgment and verdict is rendered and carried out. The saved Christian wife does the exact same sin as her husband and she also drops dead in the middle of church after being confronted by Peter and the Holy Spirit. Wow, after all of this occurs in the church a great fear fell on the people in church. It may be that these types of things will occur in the last days also before Jesus returns. We should really learn from them rather than repeat them.
Act 5:11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
Why would there be any GREAT fear in the heart of saved Christians if two unsaved people just suddenly dropped dead in the church? Why not weeping? Why not sorrow? Why not compassion? Fear would only be justified for one reason. The only way fear could be found in Christian believers would be because they knew Ananias and Sapphira were also Christians and judgment just fell on them so it could happen to them in the exact same way. Do you understand this?
It is very foolish for Christians to try to believe these two individuals that were judged by God were anything but Christians. The belief that a loving God would condemn two unsaved people to immediate death and eternal punishment in hell is ludicrous. Jesus said very plainly in John 3:17 that God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved. Please let that verse found in John sink into your heart and grow very deep roots.
I hear too many preachers try to accuse God of judging lost sinners while forgetting that God loves them enough to wait for them to get saved (James 5:7). Why wouldn’t God’s love be the same for Ananias and Shapphira if they were unsaved Christians? I believe God so loved the unsaved world that He gave His only begotten son so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
We are going to read several more verses in today’s lesson about this subject. I would strongly recommend that you not stop reading because of what has been taught so far. God is only trying to change our perspective so we can see some potentially new truths in the Bible. All of this so far is to help us think in a fresh and a new way on things in the Bible that we have never seen in this light before. The really good stuff that will help us fight the enemy’s accusations will be coming later.
New Testament Judgment #2
We have already observed where Peter said Judgment will begin with the Church. We then just read through Acts 5 for example #1 of an actual judgment that occurred to two Christians. We are now going to turn in the Bible to a verse written by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11. In this verse we are going to be reviewing the implied topic of the heavenly court system to obtain further confirmation that judgment will begin now in the church. Please read this very carefully and accept the fact of truth that this was written directly to you and I personally as Christians:
1Co 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
This is an amazing truth that is too often ignored by everyone reading and teaching from the Bible. It is addressed to “we” and that is a plural pronoun that even includes the “Apostle Paul” the writer, as well as you and I the readers. It always amazes me when a Bible teacher misses the fact that Paul included himself in statements like these. If Paul needed to do this and he wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, how much more do you think we should do this? What was it that Paul needed to do along with us? Paul says very plainly that IF I JUDGE MYSELF, then and only then I will NOT be judged. Wow, that is as insightful as it could get for a lot of Christians. Paul is declaring very simply that a spiritual heavenly trial could have occurred for him if he did not judge his own thoughts, motives, actions and words.
There are two different Greek words spoken of in this verse that we miss totally if we do not look up the original language definitions. The first Greek word translated as “judge” speaking of our human responsibility is not the act of a judge in a court. This Greek word is G1252 and it literally means that we need to separate ourselves thoroughly and completely from sin. This is a human right of choice every day. We can do what the world does, live like the world, speak like the world, dress like the world or we can come out from the world and choose to be separate and different than they are. This is our choice. We can choose to either obey God or if we don’t what does God say will happen? God says very clearly that we will be judged for doing what the world does.
Let’s observe the second word in the verse translated as “judged”. This Greek word is G2919 and it does mean that a judge will make a decision over us to possibly condemn or punish us. Don’t take my word for it, go look up the word for yourself and learn.
The Greek Word translated as “should not” is G3756 in verse 31 is much stronger in this stated original Greek language than you can imagine. It literally means the “absolute negative”. It should be translated in this statement as “we are never judged” IF we judge our own self. This is revelation #1 for us to keep from being judged. It is also the #1 reason why Christians are judged. How many Christians think before they speak? How many Christians really think hard about what they are going to do before they do it? How many Christians are going to bars and night clubs acting and looking like the world? I know there are some Christians who are doing better at being separated from the world’s way of doing things than others. But, this is just a small part of the subject of judging yourself first in order for Satan not to bring a case before God about you! If we read the next verse that follows verse 31 God will help clarify the reasoning why He must judge Christians even after all of our sins were forgiven in Christ:
1Co 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Notice the initial wording of the sentence. God begins the statement by speaking a fact of truth about “when we are judged (G2916). He does not say “IF WE ARE JUDGED”. No it will occur, God leaves no doubt. Then God gives us the #1 reason for this discipline. The God of all knowledge says we must be chastened of the LORD that we won’t fall into the exact same “condemnation” that the world will be judged with after we die. There are two judgments being spoken of. One in the future is called the “Great White Throne” judgment (Rev 20:11-12) where those that are not written in the book of life will be judged one at a time standing before God. The other judgment that occurs before this is the one that is occurring in the Church age of Grace. This judgment occurs when we sin willfully like the world and God needs to bring correction. This is exactly what happened in Acts 5 believe it or not.
We as Christians can choose to judge ourselves now and choose to be different than the world now so that we can skip this after life judgment. If Ananias and Shapphira would have judged themselves before going into the service they would not have been struck down. I will try to talk more about this as we go on in the series. Lets read some of the preceding verses of 1 Corinthians 11 in order to learn more on this subject of judgment for those who do not judge themselves:
1Co 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
1Co 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
If we read the context carefully we will confidently confirm that this was written to Christians about Christians concerning spiritual court trial cases that were taking place even when Paul was writing this letter to the church. We should be able to see in verses 29 and 30 how that the Corinthian church was found guilty of both spiritual and natural sins. In verse 29 they had been found guilty of eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ unworthily and disrespectfully. It appears from the previous context that this church came and possibly got drunk from too much wine and ate too much bread as if they were gluttons. Paul informs us very clearly that for this reason that many of them (Christians) in the church were either sick or dead because of this abuse. In other words, I believe that Satan had brought the judgment of the LORD against them and oppressed some Christians with physical illness that put them in a weakened physical state or Satan had actually been granted permission to take some Christian’s lives. Wow, that is some very amazing truth to apply to our subject of study.
It is so very obvious to me that because of specific sin in the church that some judgments were passed in heaven in order to allow or permit Satan to come down to devour them to make some of them ill and others of them dead. This is exactly what happened to Job. This is exactly what happened to Ananias and Sapphira. This clearly informs us that judgment was passed before they knew of this and that only after Paul wrote to them in order to warn them how to fix it was it learned what the real problem was to begin with. I personally believe that Paul was given a word of knowledge for this church and Paul tells them very plainly that if they would only judge themselves to do things differently than the world that they would have never been judged.
Wow, Wow and Wow!!! Who was it that judged them? Who was it that accused them before the judge? Who was it that gained an advantage over them to take them out of this world or make them sick? I hope you can already see the answers are plain. God had to pass judgment because they had not judged themselves. The judgment had to have been initiated by the accuser of the brethren and that is only Satan or at least it should be. I hope and pray that you as a Christian would not pick up a stone to throw at your brother. Please never do this. Don’t act like Satan, but rather choose to act like Christ who said to the woman caught in adultery “Woman where are your accusers? Neither do I condemn you, go your way and sin no more”. What an amazing example lesson to learn from.
I think I have gone long enough in this lesson. We can certainly learn so much more from these chapters in Acts 5 and 1 Corinthians 11 than I was able to go into in today’s lesson. The Lord has provided us all great and very significant meaty spiritual food for thought. We all should take these words of God to heart and meditate on them for a long time. Please study for yourself and verify exactly what is being said in this series is what the loving God of the Bible actually says. God has provided at least two major witnesses to every truth being taught.
Thank you for reading and taking your time to study these advanced Bible lessons. I am truly humbled that God would use anyone as imperfect as me to teach anyone anything. The goodness of God is truly overwhelming me every day of my life. I love the LORD and trust Him to help mold me and you into the highest pattern of Christ Jesus. I pray that you are blessed with every spiritual blessing of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Amen.
(Ver 2.0) Today is a new subject for me, even though I have taught on parts of this subject in other lessons. I believe that it is so important for people to clearly know about heaven; that I have decided to talk about it again using new terms and perspectives to give people another chance to grasp these concepts found in the Bible. Does God exist and if so where does He exist? This of course is an extremely complex subject for humans to comprehend since we are a naturally born people limited to the constraints found within a physical world and the Bible clearly says that God is a Spirit (John 4:24). So how do natural people come to understand spiritual things? Spiritual things are not the same as natural things. God lives outside of time constraints and space constraints. There are many people in the world who do not believe there is a God. They base these beliefs on the fact that they have never seen God, cannot see God, do not ever hear from God or have any other proof or evidence that He exists. They further expound that since God does not do anything to stop the evil in the world, He must not exist. Of course, the flip side of this extreme is another extreme of people believing that God is causing all of the evil in the world and therefore they do not want anything to do with Him either. But, all of this is purely by God’s design in order to give man a free and fair choice. God purposely hides Himself from our view, if He did not do this you would have no choice but to believe that He existed. All of that said, God has spoken to us directly in a written book form called the Holy Bible. I have studied this book for close to 25 years and have determined that there is no way that this book did not come from God directly. There is just too much complex information for it not to have a very intelligent designer and an author who could be no one but God. However, there are certainly many others in the world that view this book as a collection of fantasy and made up stories because they do not understand anything that is in it. This is again by God’s design; and it gives people who want to see the truth the opportunity to know Him and those who refuse the truth the right to go to hell. It is a very perplexing method of operation, yet I cannot question God’s ways since He is entirely smarter than I am. So today I want to discuss some very important things found in the Bible about Heaven, what it is, where it is and what do we need to know about it? We might talk about some of the characteristics of heaven like the existence of many mansions being there and how the streets are paved with gold and God’s throne is surrounded by angels, but I do not think these are the most important things to know about heaven so if we do talk about them, they will be later or in another follow-up lesson. I want to start with a verse found in the N.T.:
1Pe 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
Why is it necessary for all the angels and spiritual powers to be made subject to Jesus, the Son of God? That is a very interesting question to consider. The Bible certainly has some very difficult statements to try to explain and this is certainly one of them. I will state what I believe and say that if every spiritual force and angel was already subject to God, I do not believe it would have been necessary for God to put them under His Son Jesus. Wow, I just got off the subject for a quick side trip to get you to think about something you may have never thought of before. So let’s go back to the beginning of this verse and notice that the Bible says that Jesus has gone back into heaven and is now located at the right hand of God. This verse very clearly informs us that there is a real place called heaven and that Jesus is there right now. We know from reading the Gospels in verses like John 3:13 and 6:51 that Jesus said before He was came to the earth that He came from Heaven. So heaven is where Jesus came from and heaven is where He went back to after He died and rose from the dead. Since the Bible says in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses let every word be established, I will give you another witness to this fact that we just read:
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus, again is very clearly described to be at the right of God at this moment in time. Where Jesus is now is also the location of the throne of God. A throne is always a place where a King rules His Kingdom. So heaven was the Kingdom of God, before Jesus came and died on the cross. However, God tells us that now the kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:21). So it appears to me that God is said to be moving His Kingdom location and I will talk more about this later.
Heb 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
The word “heaven” appears in the KJV Bible more than 550 times. However, it is not always in reference to the spiritual location of God’s throne. The word “heaven” can refer to at the minimum 3 different realms or dimensions and you must be smart enough to figure out which one God is talking about by the context of the verse being read. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:2 that he was caught up to the “3rd heaven” where he saw things that he could not verbally describe to us with human words. That makes heaven sound pretty awesome if you can’t even describe it. We can see in this verse in Hebrew 8:24 that Jesus is said to enter into a “Holy Place” not made by the hands of men. So God is now telling us about heaven as a spiritual place. This verse informs us that heaven has a temple that is the original pattern of the objects made on the earth by the hands of men in Jerusalem. This heavenly temple is called the “true temple” which would imply to me that the earthly temple in Jerusalem must be the “false temple”. But, I guess I won’t go there either today!
2Th 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
As we have seen Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection and is now at the right hand of God. However, the Bible informs us very strongly that Jesus is coming back very soon. Not long from now this Jesus who went up to heaven will come back down the same way that He ascended, the angels told the disciples this in Acts 1:11. This verse in 2 Thessalonians tells us that when Jesus returns He will bring with Him many mighty angels. So we have just discovered a revelation that heaven is the home or a house that is full of the angels of God and that these spiritual entities are not insignificant beings. They clearly are said to be very mighty, meaning they are very strong. Here is another witness to this fact:
Heb 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
So heaven is not described to be a small place. This place also has a very specific name and is called the “Heavenly Jerusalem”. This spiritual place is described to have a mountain named “Zion”. This place is clearly described to be the “City of the Living God”. This does not sound small or insignificant either, especially since you cannot number the population of this city. This city “Heavenly Jerusalem” is said to be the home of an innumerable number of angels. This is the mighty spiritual force army that will return with Jesus when He comes back. It is also critical that you note the name of this spiritual city. This city is called the “Heavenly Jerusalem”. Did you know that heaven had a name? This is another reference to the “true” heaven that we just read about previously. Why does God have another city called Jerusalem? I guess I should ask, why did God name the earthly city Jerusalem the same as His heavenly city Jerusalem? You do understand that the heavenly city Jerusalem certainly existed before the earthly city came to be. Isn’t that an interesting question to consider? This spiritual city seems to be called the real or true city of God. This is what I believe, God created a covenant with Abraham to bring forth a natural nation called Israel who would build God an earthly city that would be a pattern of His spiritual city Jerusalem in heaven. I believe that God did this for several reasons and I will probably not be able to get into all of these today. But, one of the reasons I believe was to show us a city that was like another city that we can’t see. Why is there just one city in our entire world that has the focus of every eye on it? Why does this city “earthly Jerusalem” gain so much attention? It is because it is a pattern of the “heavenly Jerusalem”. Just as the earthly city Jerusalem has had numerous attack and people come against it, I believe the heavenly city of Jerusalem is being attacked. Just as the earthly city of Jerusalem is being forced to stop building and expanding, so the heavenly city of God was attacked in the same way by Satan and his army. The majority of the world governments are proposing that the earthly Jerusalem be divided. If you study the Bible, God is also being forced to divide His heavenly city. So let’s look at another witness to this heavenly city of God called Jerusalem:
Gal 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Here is another verse of scripture in the Bible that describes Heaven as a place that is somewhere above. Again it specifically names this city and calls it “Jerusalem”, but this time it qualifies it by calling it the Jerusalem Above! So we automatically know that it is not the Jerusalem that is on the earth or the Jerusalem below. Heaven is again said to be a city called Jerusalem, where the throne of God resides with an innumerable number of angels. But, this verse in Galatians tells us another major clue to a puzzle we didn’t even know was a puzzle. This city is called the Mother of the church. You do not understand yet how important that statement is, unless you understand God’s spiritual family structure. What we have just learned, is that the Heavenly Jerusalem is called the “Mother” of all of those in the Church of Jesus Christ, so this means the heavenly Jerusalem is not the Church! Did you understand what I just said? I’ll show why this is important to note very soon. What is a mother? A mother is a woman who has had a child or children. Wow that is one of the most important things you can learn today, if you can grasp this concept. A city is a woman, a woman is a city. A spiritual city is a spiritual woman and she can have spiritual children. But, remember that this heavenly city Jerusalem was comprised of a spiritual nation of angels which included Satan. Uh oh? I just let you in on some more information that I’m not ready to discuss yet. Let’ me shift gears and talk about another woman briefly that is said to also come from heaven:
Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
First take note of what this verse says. A city came down from heaven and this city is called a woman, a bride and the wife for a husband who we will see later in this chapter to be the Lamb. This woman has the same name as the other two cities that we have already been looking at. This name is of course the “New Jerusalem”. Why is all of this that I am trying to teach you important to know? Because it helps you to know who you are in Christ and where you fit in God’s New Kingdom which I am attempting to reveal to you. In Revelation 21:2 we either have the same city Jerusalem or a new and different city called Jerusalem being described to us. From my current understanding of the Bible this is clearly a different city than the one that I just showed you in Hebrews and Galatians called the Heavenly Jerusalem and here is why I believe that. First off did you notice that this woman in Rev 21:2 comes down from heaven? Did heaven come down or did the city called New Jerusalem come down from heaven? Wow, you see heaven did not come down it is still there. What happens when a woman gives birth to a baby? Does the baby come down the birth canal and out to the waiting doctor? So we just read in Galatians 4 that this heavenly Jerusalem is our mother, meaning she gave spiritual birth to us. Let me ask you a basic question, do you have babies first or do you get married first? I guess I should ask which one should come first and not how it works in our world many times. If the heavenly Jerusalem is a woman who gave birth in Galatians 4, then she should not logically be the woman who is getting married in Revelation 21. Get it? You see the woman called Heavenly Jerusalem must already be married in order to have had children. This is not rocket science so you should be at least following my logic a little bit. If you continue to read Galatians 4 and see what it is describing to us, you will hopefully see that it is using the life story of Abraham as an allegory for a type of God. So let’s review the story of Abraham. As you may or may not recall, Abraham had two wives and two sons. One was from the much younger Egyptian slave girl Hagar and Galatians says this is a type of Jerusalem on the earth (Gal 4:25). The woman Hagar is called a “bondwoman” and she gives birth to a slave son who is not the heir with the promised son. Sarah who is not named directly in Galatians 4 is the type of the “Freewoman” and is called the Jerusalem that is above. This means that Sarah (the Heavenly Jerusalem) existed prior to Hagar (the Earthly Jerusalem) and they both now have children, but Hagar’s son came first and then Sarah’s son came after. We should know that Abraham represents God in this allegory since the Bible tells us that He was married to natural Israel (Jer 31:32). What you must see is that both of these cities called Jerusalem existed simultaneously and are called women who are in covenant with and married to God. Why is God telling us this information? It must be very important for us to see and to understand clearly. What you should notice in Galatians 4 is that God is quoting an Old Testament prophecy found in the book of Isaiah.
Gal 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
As you can see God is quoting Isaiah 54:1 in this verse. This verse tells us that there are two women, one a barren woman (Sarah) and one a married woman (Hagar). As we have seen God is using the allegory found in Genesis 16 of Sarah and Hagar to reveal this information to us in Galatians 4. Sarah the older barren woman as we have seen is the one that is said to now have more children than the bondwoman Hagar. So the Bible tells us that these are two covenants and you automatically jump to the wrong conclusion that this is the Old Covenant between God and Israel and the New Covenant between Jesus and the Church. However, that just doesn’t make any sense based upon the information we have just read about these women. The Heavenly Jerusalem (Sarah) existed prior to Israel’s covenant with God on Mt Sinai (Hagar). This city had to exist prior to Jesus coming to the earth, dying and establishing a New Covenant. Then in Galatians 4:26 it says very clearly that this “Heavenly Jerusalem” is the mother of the church and not the church. So whatever covenant this is referring to, it is definitely not the New Covenant between Jesus Christ and the church and it is also not the old covenant between God and Abraham in the Old Testament. So that complicates things tremendously since no one has ever taught on the fact that the Bible mentions three different covenants and not just two. You see, this third hidden covenant has to be God’s covenant with the angels in heaven that existed before Adam ever came along.
Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
So let’s go back to Revelation 21:2 and notice that God is describing a city coming down from above that is called the “New Jerusalem”. What does the term “New” mean? It means it is not the Old Jerusalem. Which one was the barren old Jerusalem (Sarah), it was the Heavenly Jerusalem that was above. Are you beginning to see and understand the concepts being given to us? God has problems with the “Heavenly Jerusalem” and the “Earthly Jerusalem” so He creates a “New Jerusalem” to replace them both. Let’s look at the verse that comes right before this one in Revelation 21:
Rev 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Again why replace the old heaven and the old earth with new ones if there are not problems with the old? What you do not realize is that God is a just God. He does everything in a decent legal ordered way. If God does not follow strict rules He would be no different than Satan the thief who comes to kill steal and destroy what you have. I have often asked myself and God this question, “If you found sin in Satan why didn’t you cast him into hell and get rid of him?” The only answer that I got back from God was that He could not legally do this and I do not have time to try to explain that statement in this lesson. You can go read some of my other blogs where I give you some clues to the answers to that question. But, it has something to do with this hidden third covenant that God had with the angels and I’ll leave it at that for today.
So getting back to Revelation 21:2; we can review that this verse is also describing a city called “New Jerusalem” who is also described as a woman who is to be married to the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ). A marriage is also a covenant defined to us in the Bible, so we know this is God’s New Covenant with US! So what have I taught you so far? We have three women, three covenants, three cities all named Jerusalem. One is called “Earthly Jerusalem”, another is called “Heavenly Jerusalem” and the last one is called “New Jerusalem” or “Holy Jerusalem”. This implies that the other two women were not the Holy Jerusalem of God and were definitely older than the “New” woman Jerusalem. Why is this important? Because God tells us that this city will come down from Heaven to be reestablished back here on the new earth. In this new city, God tells us that there will be no unrighteous people, no uncircumcised people and no ungodly people, only those that have been purchased by the blood of the Lamb. Finally there will be no Satan, no hurt, no harm, no thieves, no robbers, no murderers and no rapists, no one to do evil. There is where the Bible describes that we will spend eternity with God.
2Pe 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
So even as Peter wrote about looking forward to this “New” heaven and “New” earth so we should also look for the coming new city of God that dwells only righteousness.
Many people want to know, where is this heaven that now is located? We have clearly seen in the Bible that it exists and that Jesus is there right now at the right hand of the throne of God. This place is large and holds an innumerable number of angels. It also holds the spirits of all of those righteous people that have died on the earth. They are there as witnesses (Heb 12:1) that are rooting us on in our spiritual journey. The people in heaven do not see what we see on the earth. Spiritual people are oblivious to natural things. Natural things are not important to spiritual people anymore. So people in heaven do not know what kind of car you drive, what kind of house you live in or how much money that you have in the bank. They do not know if you are married or single, and they do not care. The angels and people in heaven are only concerned with your eternal destiny. Have you made Christ your Lord and will you spend eternity with us. Whenever a sinner comes to know Christ, the Bible says that heaven rejoices. So heaven knows about spiritual things.
So where is this Heavenly Jerusalem located? The Bible actually does not specifically tell us, primarily because we would not really understand its spiritual location. As you recall this Jerusalem was said to be “Above”. But, since we live on the earth which is a round ball, every direction you are standing on has an up direction. So is heaven all around us? We are actually given some clues in the Bible and I will end this lesson with the information about the location of heaven:
Psa 75:6 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
Psa 75:7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
Many times God gives us direct information in Bible verses of specific things like God is a Spirit. However, other times God gives us indirect information and we learn from what is not given in the verse. This is the case here in Psalm 75:6. God tells us three directions that promotion does not come from. That only leaves one direction called “North” and that gives us an implied location for the direction of heaven. As you can see clearly God leaves this direction out of the statement and then in the following verse we have a contextual statement that God is the one that promotes one person and puts another person down. So I take these verses to indicate to us where we can find the location of heaven to be from God’s perspective. I assume this to mean you go to the North Pole of our planet and look straight up and this would represent the nearest proximity of the location of heaven.
Isa 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
So we have another verse in Isaiah that seems to indicate the direction of the throne of God to be an implied North. If you can see that the North Pole could be considered the top of our planet, the earth is said to be the location of God’s footstool. So God is sitting on the throne up above us.
I have covered a lot of new information from the Bible about this place called Heaven and shown you many things for you to think about. These are some of the most important things that I have found about this place in the Bible. However, I believe that if you read Revelation 21 you can see that heaven is not our final eternal destination. It would appear that God is preparing a new heaven and a new earth that we will live within eternity on. The Bible says that our eyes have not foreseen the things that God has prepared for them that love Him (1 Co 2:9). So it sounds like a really awesome time in store for us. I don’t know why anyone would not want to go to this place?