(ver 1.1) This is Part 3 in a Bible study series dedicated to the subject of understanding Biblical Division. In this lesson we will be focused on the subject of “The Book of Life” also known as “The Book of the Living. We have already explored a great amount of vital foundational information in this series. Therefore, if you have not read from the beginning I would highly recommend that you go back and start with “Part 1”. However, I will say that I believe that the information found in this lesson will stand alone concerning the subject of the “Book of Life”. If you came across this lesson by searching the internet on this subject, it would be fine to begin your reading with this lesson. Please just keep in mind that I included this Bible lesson subject on the “Book of Life” in a greater series that is based upon Biblical Division.
Earlier in this series I taught on the truths that Jesus spoke of concerning division which the Bible claims was one of God’s first acts of the creation of our present world in Genesis 1. It very clearly states on day 1 of creation when God said “let there be light” that He was dividing the day from the night (light from darkness). I later showed how Jesus said in Luke 12:51 that division was one of His primary motivations and reasons for coming to the earth in the flesh. This information was a vital foundation to learn and embrace on the subject. Then I taught on further statements of division that Jesus taught to us in the Gospels. Many of these were in symbolic parable form but the truths behind them are still very profound.
According to Jesus not everyone that thinks that they are saved and going to heaven are going to make it. This type of statement that I just made gets a lot of people upset with me. I have had some of the most negative comments because someone believes in a false doctrine of “Universal Salvation”. In this false teaching the sovereignty and power of God overrules all human responsibility to receive salvation by faith and forces everyone into salvation, including Satan himself. That is exactly what Satan wants everyone to believe. This false belief causes people to be easily tricked into doing nothing for God including receiving salvation by “His grace through our faith” (Eph 2:8).
In part 2 of the series we covered several parables that Jesus spoke directly about the act of division including 1) separating the sheep from goats, 2) separation of the wheat from tares and 3) God separating the good fish catch from bad taken out of the waters in the same net. There are others that we may get into later in the series like the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, the wise man who built his house on the rock versus the foolish man building on sand, and the parable of the wedding feast to name a few. There are so many lessons on division taught by Jesus for us to learn about this vital subject, how could anyone miss it and believe everyone is going to be with the LORD forever? But, that is how deception works. Review this warning from Paul written about the days we are living in:
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
I think the numbers of people who do not desire to hear God’s rightly divided balanced Bible truths are increasing (2 Tim 4:3) as the Bible warns. I believe that it easy to observe how the darkness of the present world is growing increasingly darker and darker resulting in greater and greater spiritual deception (Luke 21:8). The wickedness and perversion that we can clearly see all around us appears to be out of control (2 Tim 3:2). It is obvious to me that this darkness is even creeping into the Church.
But, I do not wish to focus only on the evil work of the enemy in people (Eph 2:2) because we should also be able to see how God is increasing the spiritual light of His knowledge and revelation within His people (2 Peter 1:19). Praise the LORD! I am a very firm believer that the kingdom of darkness will grow darker while the Kingdom of Light will increase in His glorious brightness. If you do not believe in the existence of two separate kingdoms you need to dig deeper into your Bible and ask God to show you. I will warn you up front that this is a long Bible study. It might be good for you to break it into sections. First, I plan to introduce the overall concepts of the “Book of Life” in this introduction. Then I will follow this section by the revealing of God’s definition for “eternal life”. Next, I plan to be ending the lesson with the supporting detail verses in the final sections. That is the overall lesson plan today and I pray that you are ready to receive. Here are the sections being addressed today:
- INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF LIFE
- THE INTRODUCTION TO ETERNAL LIFE
- GOD’S DEFINITION OF LIFE ETERNAL
- THE BOOK OF THE LIVING
- BOOK OF LIFE – CONCLUSION
Are you read to learn? Get your Bible, your concordance and your dictionaries and follow along closely or just use your computer with all of these tools on it as I do.
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF LIFE
Today, we will continue to learn about God’s prophesied division of the living being separated from the dead. I personally believe that this is one of the most important Bible lesson on this website. I hope and pray that it motivates all readers to make sure that their names are written in the Book of Life and is never erased.
We will discover according to the Bible all of humanity beginning with Adam until his last human born descendant at the end of this age (1 Cor 15:22) will be divided into two detached groups of people with continuing eternal existence but, within separated spiritual realms of life or death existence. We will see clearly how the first group that I will call “the living” or those that received “eternal life” by faith in Jesus Christ (John 20:31, Rom 6:2) will be completely separated from the second group of those people that make the choice to not believe in Jesus Christ (Mk 16:16). The second group I will name as “the eternal dead” simply because that is the legal and logical opposite name of the term “eternal life” used many times in the Bible (Mat 25:46, John 3:15, John 5:24). But, technically speaking a more Biblically accurate name for this group of non-living individuals should be called the “eternally damned” (Mar 3:29). That name places the proper emphasis of “eternal existence”, “mental awareness” combined with characteristic of “never ending agonizing punishment”. Wow! I do not think there are enough people that believe this truth in the world and there are even a lot of people in churches that choose to not believe in an afterlife and hell.
Please allow me to teach concerning a very real story that Jesus gave to us that will very clearly illustrate this point of separation, division and eternal comfort versus never ending punishment. We are going to read the story of a real unnamed rich man and another real man named Lazarus that lived at the same time found starting in Luke 16:19. Please read it carefully with an open mind to receive the facts being given to us:
Luk 16:19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.
Luk 16:20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
Luk 16:21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.
Luk 16:22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried,
Luk 16:23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
Luk 16:24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’
Luk 16:25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.
Luk 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’
Luk 16:27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house–
Luk 16:28 for I have five brothers–so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’
Luk 16:29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’
Luk 16:30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
Luk 16:31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'”
I’ll start by teaching that whenever verses conflict with a previous belief, the conflicting verses must either be explained away, ignored or our belief must be changed to align and conform to the Word of God. Which would you think is the right choice? Many people that believe a false narrative where every human will be saved simply explain these words of Jesus away as being just a parable that teaches a moral lesson. However, that would be wrong! Jesus never gives the names of any real actual people in any parable. The introduction of a factually named individual forces the statement to be a true or a false account about that named person. Since it is impossible for God to lie (Heb 6:18), we are obligated to conclude that Jesus did not deceive us and what is stated to have had happened to Lazarus as well as to Abraham must have actually happened or we must call Jesus a liar. Therefore, if Jesus was a liar we can’t trust anything that He taught us, can we? This is the logic behind why I believe this story is a real factual account of things that actually happened to individuals that lived before Jesus did and who still exist today in one of two divided realms of spiritual existence.
I am not going to teach this entire true story in this lesson on the Book of Life. But, I want you to observe the primary truths being spoken from the lips of our Creator. He describes two real men that lived on the earth together at the same time. Also both men lived potentially hundreds of years after Abraham died. We technically do not know the actual date but it has to be after Abraham’s physical death and before the day the story was being related to people on the earth.
One unnamed man was rich and lived very well his entire life on the earth. The other man named Lazarus was extremely poor with great physical ailments who sat desiring even crumbs from the rich man’s table to eat. Wow, these are two radically different types of natural people in the world. Both men died within a short time of each other with their bodies being buried, but their spirits were carried away to two different places that could not be traveled between because of a “great gulf” that separated them and confined them to be apart. Also it is vital to notice that Lazarus after he died was carried to be with Abraham and the rich man was not.
The rich man is revealed to be in anguish in a great flame wanting to be given just a drop of water to cool his tongue. Lazarus is stated to be in a different state of comfort not experiencing any pain or anguish. Remember this is NOT A PARABLE! This is a real live true story of real people that Jesus observed. This was also before Jesus had been crucified and therefore, the reason why both groups were closer together in the under regions of the earth within sight of each other. Righteous people today that die go immediately to heaven to be with the LORD (2 Cor 5:8). I am just not going to teach everything that we need to know about this story, it would take a lot of time and I have more information in other lessons on this website.
What Jesus is introducing in this story is a factual spiritual reality that takes place after physical death. Human spirits leave their bodies and go to one of two very different locations. The righteous now go up to the place of the living in heaven to be with Jesus and the unrighteous leave earth and go down and go where the rich man is still to this day. The righteous people we will find are those that have their names written in the “Book of Life” and the unrighteous, do not. How can we verify this statement of truth? I’ll give you a scripture that will place us on the path of learning the truth about the living group:
Mat 22:32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”
In this statement given by Jesus to answer a question that was testing him about his knowledge of human spirits at the resurrection, Jesus provides us an amazing declaration of truth. Jesus is quoting from the book of Exodus 3:16 where God spoke to Moses about being the God of their father’s Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But Jesus adds the explanation and correct interpretation of the verse in Exodus to his quotation saying “that God is not the God of the dead but of the “living”. This is a revelation and a lesson in correct Bible interpretation from the mouth of God that made every person that was listening to him to be amazed at His wisdom and knowledge. Jesus just taught us that there were two different groups, one called the living and the other the dead in this verse.
When Jesus was speaking this statement he is indicating very clearly that each of these named men that were thought to be dead men (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) were all very alive at that moment and in the same spiritual location where Lazarus was being described to be carried to. Therefore, all of these people are being called members of a “mathematical set” named collectively as “the living”. This statement further points us to the fact that all of their names must have been written in the “Book of Life” since they were living after physical death. Wow, that is awesome.
I will quickly talk about mathematical basics because God created their design for a purpose to help us understand more advanced spiritual realities. A “set” is defined in mathematical terms as being a “collection of distinct objects that is considered to be a greater combined object simultaneously”. It is very much like every cell in your human body is an individual separate unit/object but collectively they are named together as the greater complete object called “your human body” at the same time. This is exactly what Jesus is teaching in this verse. Jesus states Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are all individual separate members in a much larger collection of human beings called the “living”. Let’s review a picture of the message lesson we just found and learned in Luke 16:
This is a picture diagrammed overview of the basic information that we just learned from the LORD Jesus in the story of the rich man and Lazarus. This story further points us to the fact that the unnamed rich man was not a part of the “living” member set of humans and was now forever to be in torment in the “eternally damned” member group. I am amazed at the fact that God does not name the rich man in hell. I believe that this is the mercy of God to not place his relatives and descendants in painful torment. It also causes us all to think if one of our relatives could be in hell right now asking for someone to be sent to me or you asking us not to come to this place of torment. This is truly so very important to learn and to embrace. Which group do you want to be in? It is completely up to you.
THE INTRODUCTION TO ETERNAL LIFE
I believe that the Spirit of God will be speaking to us in both direct and literal spiritual terms in this Bible lesson. In order to comprehend any spiritual Bible subject correctly humans must rise to a higher spiritual way of thinking and seeing the divinely spoken Words. After all, we should know that the Bible says these word are God inspired (God breathed) (2 Tim 3:16). According to God’s inspired word, no carnal/natural thinking human can possibly understand the Bible (1 Cor 2:14). Since God is a Spirit (Jo 4:24) and His ways and thoughts are far above lowly human ways and thoughts (Isa 55:8) we are challenged to grow up spiritually. Of course I’m not diminishing God’s awesome ability to come down to our level of thinking through His mercy when we are mere spiritual infants. But, I still believe that our God desires us to mature spiritually and expects us to know more Word today than we knew when we first received our salvation (1 Peter 2:2, 1 Cor 3:2).
We have had too many Bible teachers that attempt to understand the Bible through mere human reasoning and definitions and this will never work. One of the key ways of determining God’s spiritual truth is to use God’s spiritual definitions of the words being studied. This is what we are going to do now in this section by searching for God’s spiritual definition for what “Eternal Life” represents in His eyes. We might be surprised to find that this God definition does not match our human dictionary definition. Are we prepared to rise to a higher way of spiritual thinking? If so, let’s proceed.
First, it is important to know that ALL created spiritual beings (humans and angels) will NEVER DIE (MAT 25:36, MK 3:29, 2 PET 2:4, REV 20:10); as in cease to exist or even go into a suspended state of spiritual sleep or mental unawareness. We have already learned this true fact of spiritual life after natural death simultaneously being mentally aware very clearly in the previous section introduction of Luke 16. But, I am going to quickly go over some concept verses that are always given to me by someone to counter what I teach about spiritual life that are found in the Old Testament. These people misinterpret natural truth to be spiritual truth and are guilty of mixing spiritual apples with natural oranges to call them all a message of fruit truth. I hope I didn’t lose anyone with that analogy. Please let me give you an example verse that is wrongly divided to say something that it does not say:
Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
What I am trying to say is that there are verses like this that are used to claim that dead people do not know anything after they are physically dead. However, that is not what this verse says. Notice the beginning of the statement. God is speaking of a living and moving human body that the spirit inside them knows that their body is going to die someday. You know that right? Are you alive? If you are reading this you are. What if you were physically dead laying in a casket or a grave and I sat a smart phone, tablet or computer screen in front of you? Would you be able to read the screen? The correct answer is absolutely not. Therefore, would your dead body know how to read and understand any natural things after you died? Again, the correct answer is absolutely not. That is what this verse is talking about. God gives a natural truth from a natural human perspective that does not contradict to speak against what we know in the afterlife in any way. These types of verses are not conflicting truths to Luke 16. Their two bodies of these dead men were in the ground knowing nothing, could do nothing, say nothing, move nothing, etc. But, their spirits could still do all of these even without their bodies. Please Wake UP and see the truths of the Bible that do not conflict when rightly divided.
A carnal thinking individual will reason largely in natural terms based upon natural human experiences and natural educational teachings. This is a great mistake when reading spiritual truth. If we attempt to define “death” as seen to God the same as “death” as seen to the human point of view we will be 100% wrong. For example, human “death” can be defined as a permanent cessation of vital signs and senses required to be alive. This would include but would not be limited to mental awareness, feelings, emotional response, a heartbeat, a pulse, respiration, etc. However, that is not what death represents to God many times in the Bible. I will say that many times in the Bible this physical description and definition of “death” is called “sleep”. But that is only a label from a human point of view because the body of any dead persons just looks like they are sleeping. Let’s read additional statements of Jesus that can be easily misunderstood about life and death:
Joh 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Joh 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Here are some very strange words when viewed from only the human definition of “death”. Jesus speaks some things here that appear to conflict with other Bible verses. For example, if we know Hebrew 9:27 God says “It is appointed to man once to die…”. Yet, Jesus said if you believe in me you will never die. Both verses use the exact same Greek word G599 translated as “die”. Now this is a problem unless these words have either differing definitions or differing perspectives or viewpoints. Could it be like what I said earlier that one is from a divine heavenly viewpoint and the other from a natural human viewpoint? I believe very firmly that this must be the truth in order for there to be no conflict in the two inspired verse statements. I believe this is why God commands us to “rightly divide the Word of Truth”. Both are true statements one from a natural definition/viewpoint versus the other from a spiritual definition/viewpoint. I pray that you are receiving this and understanding this.
I will ask you to pay close attention to the statement that Jesus made. He says very clearly that if you do not want to ever die, you better believe in Him. To never die is another synonymous way of claiming to possess eternal life. Therefore we must understand what this concept of “eternal life” is defined to be in order to understand this verse correctly. But, the other verse in Hebrews is clearly a verse that is literally speaking of physical death. The verse in John speaks of spiritual death and the other verse in Hebrews is speaking of the natural human body death experience that EVERYONE will experiences regardless of whether or not you believe in Jesus. The only two men in the Bible that are exceptions to that last statement are Elijah and Enoch and both of these men were carried away from the earth without ever physically experiencing death (at least yet to experience it). Of course people that will be taken in the rapture will also miss out on experiencing physical and spiritual death. This discussion of the types of death and the types of life is where we are going next in this section. Let’s look at a very important verse of truth to consider in our study of “eternal life”:
Jas 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
I am only going to focus on the beginning fact of truth and not mention the comparison that is being made to faith without works. God very clearly inspired the writer to tell us that a human body without a spirit being inside is “dead”. That compares to the definition of natural death that we just read. This is a body that does not breath, does not have a heartbeat, does have a pulse, is not moving, is not feeling anything, is not aware of the circumstances and cannot respond. But, God says very plainly that this is a body that has no “spirit” in it. This is exactly what happened to the rich man and to Lazarus in Luke 16. Both men’s bodies died when their spirits left and they were found to be in hell and Abraham’s bossom still living as spirits. These spirit beings had responses, feelings, emotions, could talk, communicate, think and reason. Only the physical senses were left with their physical body. This teaches us very clearly that “spirits” are alive.
We are about to discover that God simply defines “(spiritual) death” as a state of human existence that never fully desired and committed to know Him on the earth in their past natural life and this is combined with a no possibility of ever knowing Him throughout their afterlife in eternity. This describes the rich man in Luke 16 perfectly. Conversely God defines “(spiritual) eternal life” as a state of human existence that desired and committed to know Him in their natural life on the earth combined with a never ending continuing desire to grow in knowing Him in the eternal future. This is a more difficult definition to associate with the man Lazarus, because we are not told about his heart and spiritual practices of hearing the Bible taught in his life on earth. We are only informed of his extreme poverty and him being in great physical need and suffering. We have to deduce the rest based upon our knowledge of scriptures.
There is a third group of people that are uniquely implied to exist as a part of the previous other two groups. This group of people came to a saving “knowledge” of Jesus Christ personally in their past natural life on the earth but then before their natural death they turned back away from following Him to be forever damned to NEVER know Him further. Jesus spoke about these types of people and said something very powerful and concerning:
Mar 14:21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
Wow, this is such a powerful message of warning. Jesus was specifically talking about the man named Judas Iscariot in this verse but the warning message is also for anyone that follows after the same Judas pattern. You see Judas walked closely with Jesus for three and half years, heard all of the Words taught by Jesus and saw all of the miracles that He did. Judas even did miracles himself being sent out by Jesus. Yet this man desired wealth in this life and turned away to follow after Satan to betray Jesus. This exact same thing can happen to any born-again real saved Christian, believe it or not. There is more than one verse in the NT that will describe this situation but this is not my main subject today. I will point you to a few verses to help someone today. Please read about this situation concerning a Christian knowing God but turning back to Satan to be lost. For example, read in 1 John 5:16 to help verify what I just said about a Christian saved brother who has eternal life but is still able to sin a sin unto “death” (damnation).
1 Jn 5:16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
This is an amazing verse of truth. There are two types of sins being compared. According to God, a Christian brother could commit either of these broad categories of sin. But, God says DO NOT PRAY for the brother that chooses to commit a “sin unto death” because He will not give them life. Both terms “death” and “life” are from God’s point of view definitions that we are about to study.
The second Bible example of human people that were saved but have turned back to be damned is found in 2 Peter 2. This chapter is a prime confirmation of the division that occurs between the unrighteous and righteous angels and humans of this world. For example verse 4 informs us that God did not spare the angels that sinned and through them into hell locked in chains. I believe this is referring to Genesis 6 when the “sons of God” took the “daughters of men (Adam)” to procreate a race of giants on the earth.
Verse 5 speaks directly about God saving Noah out of the reprobate evil world where all of them were destroyed but Noah and his family were declared to be righteous and spared. In Mathew 12:24 Jesus is quoted to say “that like it was in the days of Noah so it will also be in the coming of the Son of Man”. This simply means the righteous are treated much differently than the unrighteous. Righteous people will be saved and the unrighteous damned. There are other examples of division in this chapter but, I want to get to these two verses of warning written about Christians that were saved:
2Pe 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
2Pe 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
This verse 21 statement sounds very similar to what Jesus taught us on the man named Judas. These Christians being described found the “Way” (Jesus Christ) and had escaped the polluted trap of sin in this world. God goes on to say they have come to the “knowledge” of Jesus Christ which is a key covenant relationship terminology that we will find soon is the main part of the definition of having “Eternal Life”. But, now these people being mentioned have turned back to become connected into the evil trap of sin and Satan. Wow, that is a very strong warning statement not to be ignored. God then very clearly states that their ending outcome will be worse than their beginning sinful life and that it would have been better if they had never known Jesus at all. Wow, Wow and Wow! I’m going to give you one other great scriptural verification for the fact that a saved Christian can depart and be forever lost:
Heb 6:4 FOR IT IS IMPOSSIBLE for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
Heb 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
Heb 6:6 IF THEY SHALL FALL AWAY, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
There is absolutely no way that this passage is not speaking about real saved Christians. I know I just used a double negative and that forces us to change it to a positive statement like “This verse is absolutely speaking about real saved Christians. I repeat important points a lot. This sometimes annoys some readers but I believe it helps others. If it annoys you please just try to consider someone else other than yourself. We are all different and need to show each other a lot of mercy.
So many people claim that in these types of verses that we just read, they are only speaking about people who were only Christian in name only and have not really been fully saved, but that is not what this says at all. Notice in verse 4 these people were once enlightened (2 Peter 1:19) meaning brought out of the darkness of Satan into the Light of Jesus. They have tasted of the heavenly gift meaning salvation (Eph 2:8). Then they were made to be partakers of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 1:17) meaning one Spirit w/ Christ. Then God says they have tasted of the Good Word (1 Peter 2:2) meaning they desire the milk of the Word that they may grow spiritually. Finally they have tasted of the powers of the world to come (Rom 8:11) meaning they may have performed miracles by the Spirit of God. All of these qualities describe a real saved Christian.
Verse 6 should be the real warning message to ALL saved Christians that have received Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins through His shed blood on the cross. This verse warns us that it is IMPOSSIBLE for any Christian IF they “fall away” which simply means to make the choice to depart from the narrow path that leads to eternal life to ever be saved again. The reason for this is given that this person would put the one time work of Jesus’ forgiveness on the cross to open shame. God is teaching us that saved people can still turn back either out of deception, stupidity, ignorance, lust, desire or probably many other reasons to fall away from being saved with no way back to repentance. This is when their names will be forever erased from the Book of Life.
Take note of another very concerning teaching from the LORD Jesus. He said these words to people who clearly believed that they were saved and felt secure in their beliefs and works for God:
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
I included these verses in Part 2 of the series. But these are so important that I wanted to go over them again for emphasis. I believe these statements should be viewed as some of the most fearful words that ever came out of the LORD Jesus’ mouth. Jesus is speaking a direct warning to believers about a coming day of judgment when the book of life will be used to judge us and He very clearly says some people will say “I called you LORD”. They will continue by saying “I did this and I did that in your NAME”. These people clearly thought they were eternally secure in their own efforts and works for God. But, Jesus turns and tells them “DEPART FROM ME, I NEVER KNEW YOU”. WOW, WOW, and WOW! This is exactly why I want to make sure I have a right understanding in my Bible beliefs and I hope you feel the same way after studying this Bible lesson series. Let’s move on with the vital important definition of “Eternal Life” from God’s point of view.
GOD’S DEFINITION OF LIFE ETERNAL
We are now going to confirm GOD’s definition of “life eternal”. Please read this definition of “life eternal” given to us by the lips of the LORD Jesus:
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
This verse contains scriptural and spiritual truth that is essential to learn. We could teach a whole book just on this verse by digging very deeply into it. This verse states significant truth given directly to us in plain sight as well as hidden, antithesis and implied truths that must be searched for, found, considered and applied. God very clearly states that “Life Eternal” is defined to be those people that “know Him and Jesus Christ that He sent”. That statement teaches us that everyone lives but only those with “eternal life” know the real God. It implies that those that “do not know Him” are in the spiritually dead/damned category of eternal existence.
Do you understand the concept of “implied unstated” or “implied unstated antithesis” truths from scripture? These are equally as true as the plain stated truth but, they are just not directly stated. For example, if I said to you “I live north of town” you know by implied antithesis truth that I do not live south, east or west. This is simple basic logic and reasoning. There are so many unstated Bible truths to learn from utilizing this technique, if we choose to look for them. There is another logical method of understanding scripture called “implied unstated” truth. These are inferred ideas and concepts that are not directly mentioned in the passage but, can be understood to be a part of the message by subject inference.
Consider one implied unstated truth from Jesus in this verse. Jesus is implying in this verse that it is a direct human will and right of choice to make the decision to desire to “know” God. This knowledge should throw all extreme theological predestination beliefs directly in the trash. Jesus implies that this human right and freedom of choice to know Him is based upon a divinely given “freewill” right. Jesus implies that a human must desire and make the commitment and effort to seek after knowing the True God. If you need additional scripture confirmation to show that man has the right to choose, please search your Bible for the word “whosoever”. Most verses with the word “whosoever” implies human choice and the right to make that choice. For example, Jesus said “whosoever looks at a woman…”, “whosoever shall put away his wife…”, and “whosoever believes in me…”. These are all verses that show a right to choose with responsibilities and consequences for choice that we made.
But, there are other implied rights of choice. You see I could at first want and desire to go to school and take a class to learn the German language but when I get there, sign up and begin the process I could totally turn around and make the complete opposite choice to not learn it and to even leave the class. I could also want to learn how to play football and go out to join the team but then when I find all of the hard work that is necessary to be good at it I can quit and leave that also. These are all choices that I can make. So it is with knowing God.
This fact of truth further implies that there must also be many other gods not called the True God that can also be desired and sought after. Clearly Jesus is implying that it is our human right to choose to know Him that will initiate a process to place us on a narrow path to obtain this defined “eternal life”. Let’s quickly verify this statement with the source verse:
Mat 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Ok, do you see the parallels between John 17:3 and Matthew 7:14? In Matthew 7:14, Jesus recommends all humans to seek to find the one narrow pathway that leads to “life”. This is a clear example of human choice and the right to make that choice. This verse also comes after a warning to choose to not enter into the “wide gate” that leads to “destruction” (damnation). It is very clearly stated to be a binary human choice! If you don’t understand “binary” that means that there is only one right narrow way of choice to obtain “life” and all other wrong choices are gathered into the set called the “wrong wide way” that leads many people to eternal death (separation from God).
If you are reading this and have not made this choice to find the narrow path to life, it would be a great time to do it. However, notice there are more unstated implied truths in this statement also. If someone can choose to enter into the wrong wide path, they have the right to turn around to find their way back to the right narrow path. The antithesis truth is also true. Anyone choosing to enter the narrow pathway to find life can at any time be deceived to turn around to find their way back into the wide pathway leading to death. Wow, this is profound. Please do not let it slip from your mind ever. This knowledge will definitely help you to stay on the right path way.
Our name written in the “Book of Life” will insure our eternal security at judgment day and it clearly establishes the fact that we initiated the process somewhere in our past to desire to “know” God (a desire, choice and act of our freewill) and as a result we became “known” by Him. This right choice placed us on the narrow pathway leading us to life eternal.
Do you believe that you can never be deceived to turn away from desiring and seeking to know God? I mean think about it. Think back when you were first born again and saved and compare that to now and ask are you still as excited and joyous about it as now? Do you read your Bible more now or back then? Do you pray as much or more now as back then? Do you go to church as much now as back then? If the answer to any of these is no you are slipping away from your desire to know Him more.
If you believe you can never lose or as I call it be deceived and walk away from your salvation and you are right and I’m wrong then I have absolutely nothing to lose for believing the way that I do. I could change and believe your way and no longer need to guard myself from falling into deception. I could do absolutely nothing for the LORD including read the Bible, teach the Bible or pray to the LORD for you and have no great penalty since I would be guaranteed to make it to heaven. What I do or do not do wouldn’t mean anything. What motivation would I have to better myself or for improving my character and moral convictions? Why would I even need to ever pray to God? Why would I need to even read the Bible? Why would I need to witness to anyone? Why would I need to go to church? Why would I need to hear and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit? And why would you also?
But, if I’m right and you are you are wrong and any Christian can be deceived to turn away from the Grace of God and stop believing in Christ for whatever reason or wrong desire, what would be the consequences for you to hold firm to your beliefs that you or Satan can do nothing to cause you not to be saved? Do you get my point? I have nothing to lose and you have everything possibly to lose. Me being wrong is of no consequence to me or to you if you are right. But, if I am right and you are wrong in your beliefs of eternal security it could be of major significance if Satan was able to trick you into doing just one thing that could cause you to be lost forever. I mean please think with me!
I am going to use a common natural example of truth to help us understand the reality of taking your eyes off of our desire to seek for truth. What if I am driving my car and I get a text on my phone and my curiosity causes me to look at it and the reading of the message causes me to become even more distracted to answer the message immediately and an 18 wheel truck pulls out in front of me while I’m going 70mph and suddenly I die! Was the message of distraction worth the cost? This example is exactly what is happening with some Christians today. They get a message of deception from a really great preacher and they buy into it so easily because this is what their mind and flesh really desires to hear. But, this distraction causes them to not look into the Bible for themselves to see if it is true or not and the next thing they know Satan has pulled his big spiritual truck in front of them and bam it’s too late.
May I ask you to please try to understand the great spiritual advantage that Satan would gain over anyone, if they believe that there is absolutely nothing that he can ever do to deceive them, defeat them and cause them to fall or turn away from Grace? How would anyone with such a belief ever be able to see the lie or trick of deception that was coming at them? How would anyone with that belief not be so blinded and distracted to even look for the deception seen though their very limited Bible knowledge windshield? I believe that this belief of unlimited security would make it so much easier for a deception to occur that could cause someone’s name to be omitted/erased from the book of life that we will be learning about today. What would be the consequence of someone’s name not being found in the Book of Life? We will soon learn that it means eternal separation from God and His family.
I would personally rather error on the safe side of being alert and vigilant while looking out for any distraction of deception in order to guard against Satan’s text messages of possible death. Rather than err on the side of possible pleasurable distracted damnation and die by a trick message sent from the enemy. Do you remember what God warned Christians in 1 Peter 5:8?
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Why are there any warnings written to Christians in the Bible if there was nothing that Satan could do to hurt, harm, trick or deceive them? Why would God suggest that we keep our eyes looking down the road through the windshield of His Word if there was no other distraction that could take our life? Being sober and being alert to any satanic possibility of deception or trickery is the same as not being drunk, sleeping or distracted when you are driving an automobile. Being eaten as a meal by a hungry lion is the exact same as a big truck pulling out in front of you while you are distracted by what appears to be a great text message. I hope and pray you are getting this warning message along with the analogy of truth being taught here today.
We have just been introduced to God’s definition of “Eternal Life”. God says desiring to know Him is part of the initiating life producing process. This further implies that you believe in Him. Remember Hebrew 11:6 “He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him”. I pray that you have begun this journey into the narrow path of seeking to KNOW Him. This is the only pathway that does not lead to “eternal damnation”. Let’s keep learning more and move deeper concerning the existence of a book called the “Book of the Living”.
THE BOOK OF THE LIVING
There are only a limited number of verses in the entire Bible that God has used to reveal the truth about the existence of this very important book called the “Book of Life”. I have found at least 3 to 5 verses in the O.T. that point us to the existence of this book of the living. I found at least 7 verses in the N.T. referencing the “book of life”. The vast majority of the N.T. “Book of Life” references are written about in the book of Revelation. We should already know that Revelation is the final described conclusion of God’s present created age. The book of Revelation describes clearly things that will shortly take place including rapture, antichrist, tribulation, judgment and a division between all of the righteous (clean) spirits being separated from all of the unrighteous (unclean) spirits. This book takes place in a period of seven years followed by the return of Christ to earth with the saints to rule on the earth for 1000 years the symbolic 7th day of creation called God’s Day of Rest in Genesis 2. It is important to keep the timing in mind later when e read about the Book of Life in Revelation.
What does the existence of the Book of Life mean? I believe that it literally informs us that God keeps very detailed good records. It also means that God is very legal minded. I believe that God does everything in a lawful righteous manner such that no devil could ever accuse Him of being unjust. I do not believe that the existence of this book is for God’s sole usage to remember what has happened on the earth. No, in fact we should learn from our study that the existence of this book provides evidence that God already knows everyone that will ever live on the earth (Jer 1:5). I am a very firm believer that God is omniscient meaning all knowing (Isa 46:10).
We will begin our detail study of the “Book of Life” in this section with this verse found in the Book of Psalms:
Psa 69:28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.
This verse has a lot of basic truths in it that are essential to our subject of “division”. God inspires the writer David to speak of a book that has the implied recorded names of all spiritual living beings, past, present and the future to come. This is an amazing thing to think about. I said that it implies the existence of every natural human being’s name in it because David asks God to not include the unrighteous names with the righteous names. David is more direct in his request by asking God to “erase” their names meaning they must clearly all be there in order for any one name of an unrighteous being to be erased. This information is truly amazing.
I believe we will see that the Bible indicates this truth of erasing names from this Book of Life in more than one place. This indicates that God knew and desired everyone in the world to be saved (John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9) from Adam to the last human born. This further means that these “unrighteous people” can have their names erased by not repenting and believing in the LORD Jesus (John 3:16). Wow, I think that is a chosen hidden warning to everyone including saved Christians.
There are three key Hebrew words that I wish to focus on in this verse. The first is H5612 that was translated as “book”. This Hebrew word literally means “writing”. Therefore it can be used for any collection of writings that are formed together to be called a “book” as it is done frequently in the O.T. Knowing this we can conclude God is speaking of a literal book when referring to the “Book of Life”. The next Hebrew word is H2416 that was translated as “living” and it literally means “alive”. This Hebrew word can also be used as “life”. God uses this Word in the Bible to describe natural living plants, animals, birds, fish and humans it appears that it can be extended to also refer to a spiritual application.
The next Hebrew word to focus on is H4229 that was translated as “blotted out” in this verse. This Hebrew word implies “erasing written lettering by rubbing them out”. This concept infers that something was previously written down in order for it to be erased. Do you ever remember the old fashioned days of typewriters? We used to use a product called “White Out” to remove our typed mistakes. By painting a white substance over the mistake and letting it dry the paper would once again appear as if it was clean. I’m not saying God makes mistakes whatsoever. I am just saying people’s right or wrong choices will determine if their name remains in this book. I believe that God is a faith filled optimist and desires everyone to be saved so He records the name of every person. However, when the door is closed for any further opportunity to repent and receive forgiveness that person’s name must be removed from the book in order to conform to divine justice. Let’s look at another O.T. verse:
Exo 32:33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
Here is a very similar Old Testament reference of names being blotted out of a book. Even though the word “life” or “living” is not included in the verse, it is definitely implied to be the same book by God’s common subject parallels, references and associations. God very clearly states that those that “sinned against Him”, their name will be blotted (erased) from the book. The names of the sinner had to be first written down in order to be removed. I understand that these verses and statements will possibly shake up many people. But, I believe very sincerely that every miscarried baby and aborted child had their names already recorded in the “Book of Life”. These children when killed or upon their death have not reached the legal age of accountability but due to the fairness of God, I believe that He takes them all to heaven as being righteous. If this offends you I’m not going to apologize for this belief. We will eventually all find out later after we go and see for ourselves. Let’s keep studying this verse.
Also notice the word “whosoever” in this verse because I believe that it is important to relate us again to John 3:16 and other verses that I previously used as reference verses for freewill human choice. In John 3:16, God says “God so loved the world (all sinners) that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believes in Him should not perish (be damned) but have eternal life”. We are connecting so many dots of the puzzle together. It would appear to me that one primary sin against God is choosing not to believe in His Only-Begotten Son”. I believe very firmly that this factor of unbelief in Jesus is potentially the main reasons why someone’s name will be blotted out of the Book of the Living! Let’s move our study to a new verse found in the New Testament:
Luk 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
This is a very interesting statement. If you choose to read the context you should notice that Jesus was speaking to the 70 disciples that he sent out to prepare people for his physical coming into their cities. Jesus gave all of these 70 men the authority to heal the sick and to cast out devils. Then when they returned from these city trips they give Jesus the report and are excited that devils were subject to them. But, Jesus instructed them to focus and rejoice on a much higher spiritual truth that their names were written in heaven. This statement implies that there are potentially names that will NOT be written in this book. This statement aligns with the O.T. verses that unrighteous names will be erased.
Have you ever noticed what Jesus said in this statement? It is an amazing statement since it was spoken before He had died on the cross to forgive or save anyone! Jesus states very clearly that while He was living physically as a man on the earth, that their names were already written in a book in heaven. This appears to confirm what I taught before. First, I DO believe that this reference being made to a book in heaven is to the “Book of Life”. I know it does not say that directly but we can infer it indirectly by the statement. Why would a man rejoice? Would anyone be happy if this was a list of unrighteous and unsaved names? I really do not think so.
I have read where some Bible teachers claim that a saved person’s name is only written in heaven after they are saved to receive Jesus as their LORD. However, that belief just does not align with what we are reading in the Bible. These 70 unsaved men that Jesus was speaking to are told clearly to rejoice by faith that their names were already written down in heaven without seeing the book or their names written in it. That is called “faith”. It is like shouting before the walls fall down around Jericho!
This further aligns with the statement that someone’s name can also be erased if they choose to turn and no longer follow Jesus. We will see more references of this as we continue. Let’s move to the Book of Revelation next:
Rev 3:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Here are some very, very important words spoken from the lips of Jesus that were written down to be read by people in a saved church. Most people that do not believe that a saved Christian’s name can be erased from the Book of Life must not have seen what is plainly stated or they are willingly and on purpose attempting to explain it away to justify their erroneous belief like I spoke of earlier in the lesson. Like I said earlier, if a verse in the Bible does not reconcile or balance with your current beliefs, don’t change the Bible, change your belief. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you why there is a potential conflict and show you how to resolve to change my belief to be in agreement with Him.
Please notice what Jesus said. Jesus said “Some NAMES in the church have “NOT defiled” their garments and walk with me in white”. Jesus then said “these are worthy”. But, in this truth there are those that had clean garments on at one time but have now defiled them by their implied sin. We should really read every verse in context starting at verse 1 to get the full impact of the statements of comparison being made. It is a very clear warning written to “saved Christian people” in the church that at one time had on clean white garments. Jesus is warning all Christians to watch, stay ready, hold fast and repent for their sins in order to remain clean and be ready for His coming.
The main point of these two verses in this lesson is the statement of warning concerning Christian names that can still be blotted out of the “Book of Life” because of their defilement and uncleanliness. This is just more very convincing evidence that no one’s name is safe to remain forever written down in the Book of Life, not even saved Christians.
I would like to stop here and address another false teaching that is going around the church. There has been introduced by some teachers that hold fast to the doctrinal belief of “Once Saved Always Saved” that is used to explain away the erasure of names from the “Book of Life”. Some preachers try to explain that there are two books in heaven called the “Book of Life”. One book are names of people that do not actually receive Jesus as their savior but possibly go to church to look like Christians on the outside to be religious. Therefore, these people are “NOT REAL CHRSTIANS”. This helps them to explain why their names can be erased from the “Book of Life”.
Then they claim that there is another book in the Bible is called the “LAMB’S Book of Life” that Real Christian names are recorded in and these names can never be erased. This belief helps to justify the false doctrine of “Eternal Election” and “Eternal Security” that they so desperately desire to believe in to allow them to live anyway they want on the earth and not to have any fear of consequences that they could drift apart from salvation. But, notice in these verses written to Christians Jesus that is repeatedly called the “Lamb of God” is speaking directly to real saved people about a book He called the “Book of Life”. This has to be His book for Him to warn His people that their names if they defile their garments with impurities can cause that their names could still be erased.
No there are NOT two books of Life in heaven! There is NOT one book of secure names and the other of unsecure names. There is only one book with this title and the Lamb is found to be the owner. What is it that Jesus said to these people? He warned them that they had to overcome and stay clean. Overcome what? Jesus implies it is Satan and Sin which are synonymous terms. Let’s look at another verse in Revelation:
Rev 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Ok, this is another verse with a different perspective being given on the same subject. This verse is speaking specifically about the lost damned people that remain on the earth during the time of Great Tribulation. These people have taken the Mark of the Beast and this mark causes the door to slam on their ability to be saved. This covenant union with Satan will cause every opportunity of salvation to end and thus their names written from the foundation of the earth are now gone from the Book of Life. This is another warning to people NOT to take the Mark. If anyone misses the rapture and can still read this blog this is the time to do everything in your power to not die and go to hell forever.
BOOK OF LIFE – CONCLUSION
This is not that complicated yet people want to change the Bible to make it fit their doctrine of belief instead of changing their doctrine of belief t make it fit the Bible. I’m going to start to conclude this lesson with these two verses written in chapter 20 of Revelation:
Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Again we see further confirmation of a division between the living and the dead (damned). Everyone whose names are not found (meaning they were erased as previously stated) will be cast with Satan into the eternal lake of fire. This is the same place that was being described by Luke concerning the rich man being in torment. This is not a good place to exist for eternity yet many will be tricked and deceived by Satan to be there. Do you remember the story of Judas who betrayed Jesus earlier in the lesson? I believe that there is an unstated proportional “regret” factor based upon your level of knowledge and experience in this world that will become an activating agent for greater regret that will cause greater eternal “weeping and gnashing of teeth” that Jesus described would be found present in hell.
Luk 13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
If you are a Christian or an unsaved person that is being tempted by Satan to seek worldly fame or fortune and do not run from this temptation very fast back into the arms of Jesus, I believe verses like this are a great warning. It is not worth a few short years of pleasure to spend an eternity in hell in regret. Here is another confirming witness to this truth:
Heb 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
Heb 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
These are my ending verses of warning written about Moses. God clearly says the very limited pleasure found in this world is not worth the never ending painful consequences of being separated from Him. Psalms 84:10 says better is one day in your house than a thousand elsewhere. Moses made the wise choice and later we would see that he was standing on the mountain with Elijah talking with Jesus (Mat 17:3). Moses decided by an act of his own free will to align with God’s Word, purpose, plan and will for his life. A man with short sightedness would not have made the right same choice. A man narrowmindedness or hardheartedness would not have made that same choice either.
Life is full of choices, I have not made all the right choices and probably you have done the same. But, we all have a new day every day to change and make a better choice than yesterday. We all in need of daily course corrections with the help of the Holy Spirit inside us. I am doing the best that I can with God’s help to make changes, corrections and right choices that keep my name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and I pray that you will desire to do the same.
If you enjoyed this Bible lesson and gained some spiritual insight please share it with a friend to help bless them. I could have written a lot more on this subject and I would encourage you to continue to dig deeper to find out what else the LORD says about it. Thank you for reading and studying the Bible with me and I pray God’s blessings on each and every one of you.
(Ver 1.4) This is Part 1 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the revealed subject of God’s Divine Spiritual Laws, Systems and Legal Proceedings. Are there spiritual laws found in heaven? Is there a heavenly courtroom? Are there trials that have taken place in this heavenly realm? If yes, who is the judge? Who is the one that brings charges and against who are the charges addressed at? There are so many things to learn from the Bible that we will not abe able to answer every question in one Bible study. To attempt to do so would do each answer an injustice.
It has always been my priority to teach what God has given to me for free and give it to others without any charge. If you knew my heart you would understand that I don’t only want to teach you what God has given to me, but I also desire to teach you a better way to study and learn from His glorious Word. Hopefully, the LORD has used me to teach you how to fish for yourself and not just for me to feed you a fish for a single day.
Like many other lessons that I believe the Lord has given to me, today’s Bible lesson should be viewed as a very advanced spiritual topic intended for Christ followers that are fully committed to grow to become a spiritually mature student of God’s Word able to partake of spiritual meat. Please judge if you meet this requirement before continuing to read this lesson further. It is one of my greatest heart’s desires to not offend or cause any newborn or spiritually immature Christian to stumble or fall causing them to depart from the LORD. I believe that the Apostle Paul wrote with this same quality when he said I would have liked to feed you meat but you were unable to receive it and therefore I could only give you milk. Ok that was my paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 3:2. But, I believe the hidden heart of Paul’s message contained in that verse is that of one of his greatest desires for his students to grow up spiritually. I believe Paul desired people to grow up so that they were able to receive a much stronger spiritual message of truth. Then I believe Paul wanted for each of them to go and spread his message from the word of God to others with the same love for people. Please judge for yourself before you continue.
We in the United States have three branches of Government. These three are a Legislative Branch, an Executive Branch and a Judicial Branch. This was the idea framed by our founding fathers of our nation and they were mostly Christians that I believe modeled their government beliefs on God’s Bible principles. I believe this was not by chance or accident but rather by divine design. I believe God placed His hand on their efforts and blessed them to know things way beyond their natural ability.
In this lesson we are going to focus upon God’s Judicial Branch found in heaven and how the earthly U.S. court system is a pattern of that which God originally designed. Maybe you did not realize that God’s heavenly spiritual government (Kingdom) had a Judicial Branch? If you have read the Bible, I am really not sure how this fact has escaped you but if you search for it you will find that it is very true from Genesis to Revelation. For example, in the Bible the LORD God reveals Himself as the Most High Righteous Judge in so many verses. A named existence of a Heavenly Superior Divine Judge implies very strongly that there also must be found present laws, a courtroom, some legal proceedings and rules, lawsuits, trials, a plaintiff or a prosecuting attorney, a defense attorney and a defendant. I will prove to you using the Bible that these all exist in a form or pattern using the Bible. I will also teach you that there are innumerable court cases that are taking place every day including today right this moment while you are reading about them. Wow, that should at least peak your interest a little bit to desire to learn more about God’s revealed truth.
If you have read very much of the Bible you should already know who the Heavenly Judge is and that is certainly the LORD God and Jesus Christ according to Genesis 18:25, Acts 10:42 and Hebrews 12:23 to list just three of many confirming witnesses of truth. But, there are also so many new implied questions that need to be answered. Who is the plaintiff or prosecuting attorney bringing the charges and cases against someone in God’s Court System? I’ll tell you right now it is Satan and I will prove this later in the lesson. Who is the defendant being charged or sued? I’ll tell you up front again that you are the one being charged by Satan and I will prove this with scriptures also. We will also begin to learn about the charges being made to God by Satan. This should interest you because we will learn that it is our human wrong actions here on the earth that open the door for Satan to bring a lawsuit against us.
Is there a defense attorney in this trial? If so, who is the defense lawyer in the case? I’ll tell you right now we have access to a legal defense team ever since the LORD Jesus Christ died and was resurrected from the dead. You can be introduced to this part of the message by reading an older Bible lesson that I wrote called “Understanding How to Make Jesus Your Legal Advocate Right Now”.
I’m sure you must be asking “How can there ever be a spiritual case of law being brought into a heavenly trial to be heard by God for a Christian if Jesus has truly paid for every sin that we have ever committed or could ever commit in the future?” Many would say “I thought we were not under law but under grace therefore can there really be a spiritual trial now before we die?” Others ask the question “I thought the only judgment was after we die according to Hebrews 9:27?” We know from reading the end of Revelation that there will be a Great White throne Judgment but I believe that there are also other named judgments that will occur after death and even now before death. If there is a judgment that can take place before we die, “What could be the charge brought against a forgiven saved Christian?” These are complex deep questions to answer and God gives us the revelations in the Bible if we dig for them and find them. Seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you and ask and it will be answered (Mat 7:7).
This Bible lesson is a response to a question raised by a good reader doing their homework. They asked the question concerning a message being taught within certain churches that appear to conflict with what is taught in other areas of the Bible. The controversy comes from a modern extreme Grace teaching that is being taught that since Jesus paid for all of our sins, past, present and future there are no longer any consequences for committing any sin or any need to ask for any future forgiveness of a sin. In other words sin is presented to be harmless without any negative penalties. In fact at least one very popular grace preacher teaches we do not even need to ask for forgiveness for any sin and they explain away 1 John 1:9 using illogical natural human reasoning to be written to only unbelievers. But this is certainly not what the Lord has taught me about a better way of Bible interpretation and more specifically sin. This Bible study series will address this topic using several ignored scriptures that must be balanced with the doctrine being misrepresented by some extreme unnamed grace teachers.
You see I do certainly believe that Jesus died once for all sin that has ever been committed, is being perpetrated today and will occur tomorrow. We know this truth from verses like Romans 6:10, 2 Corinthians 5:14 and Hebrews 10:10 to name a few foundational truths on this subject of the comprehensive power of the blood sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. I will say it again for emphasis, I am a very firm believer that there was one sacrifice for every human sin and no further sacrifice was or is necessary. However, we cannot ignore other verses that declare very plainly that the sin of even Christians can still have some major potential consequences. Please do not misunderstand what I am teaching. I am not saying every little sin we commit can cause something significantly bad to occur nor am I teaching that a Christian can lose their salvation by committing a sin. But, I am definitely teaching that Satan is looking at each of our lives very closely to gain an access and entry into our lives to kill, steal or destroy us (John 10:10). That is exactly what we will learn next.
SATAN IS SEARCHING FOR A LEGAL WAY IN
There is another part of the extreme Grace message that must be addressed immediately. While it is true that Satan was defeated by the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, it does not mean that he is not presently trying everything in his power (and he is still very powerful) to get you to fall away from Jesus or not produce any savable fruit to be harvested by Jesus. We need to study the parable of the sower and I wrote about this awhile back so I will not repeat it all here again. Just understand that every soil type in the parable “heard” the word of God and only one group produced any harvestable fruit. Satan successfully destroyed the harvest in every other soil type. Satan desires access into our lives after we hear the Gospel and are saved by believing, accepting and confessing Jesus as our LORD (Romans 10:9-10). There must be some insight given by God that shows us what grants Satan access to be victorious over some and not over others. We could talk about this a long time but we need to get to one of the foundational verses for the lesson:
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
We are starting with a verse that was written directly to “saved born-again” Christians. I take this verse personally as an inspired word of warning written to me and so should you. It is so very clear to me that Satan desires to devour every Christian but can’t. What is it that allows Satan access to attack some Christians and not others? If you do not believe you can do anything to grant or permit the devil access into your life to devour, you have definitely been deceived by an extreme grace teacher. It would be very stupid for the LORD God to inspire Bible writers to warn us about something that could not occur and God is not stupid!
I am now going to begin to introduce you to God’s heavenly court system. There are four main participants in every court case. Those that are the accused can also be known as a defendant, the defense attorney may be present, the prosecutor also known as the plaintiff and then the Judge. Many know of these truths better than others. But, these are the basic main participants of every trial in this natural world and these are all parallel truths for the divine heavenly court cases going on today also.
Notice what I just said. I said this is happening everyday of your life here on the earth. I say this because I believe that every day Satan is looking (seeking, searching and plotting to gain access) using a legal charge to accuse and condemn us with. I want to go back to 1 Peter 5:8 and give you one of the key words that will help us verify one of the key principles that I am teaching. The primary word is “adversary”. This Greek word is G476 and it literally means “your opponent in a court trial”. According to this verse Satan is bringing a legal lawsuit before God on a daily basis in order to gain access to someone (even a Christian) to devour them. What this verse implies is that God must judge the “access demand” to be just in order for Satan’s entry to be legal. Wow, that does not sit well with a lot of modern extreme grace teachers. But, I’m sorry it is what the Bible says, not me.
This Greek word G476 translated as “adversary” occurs in the New Testament only in four verses and it is always applicable to a legal battle between two opponents in a court of law. You may look up these verses to verify these truths by reading verses in Matthew 5:25, Luke 12:58 and Luke 18:3. In every case there is a stated defendant, an adversary and a judge. While there is no legal counsel it may be assumed or implied based upon our knowledge of how natural court cases transpire. We will look deeper to verify the identities of the spiritual participants in God’s heavenly court cases very shortly. But, please understand that God’s word selection of G476 establishes a direct word and subject association to a court trial case that must also be occurring in 1 Peter 5:8 and this is a very critical lesson to learn and apply in a better way of Bible interpretation. See how a word selected by God is used in other verses and it will help to establish the definition in the verse in question.
Based upon 1 Peter 5:8 we can learn by implied reference who the defendant is and who the plaintiff is. Since the verse was a written warning to us in the church, that makes Christians the direct implied defendant being charged. We then can certainly see very plainly that since the devil is stated to be our “adversary” we know clearly that he is the one bringing the case before the Judge. Therefore, the case is being brought up before the implied Judge (God) by Satan in order to accuse us and gain access to attack us.
Let’s get another verse to help us verify this truth. After all God instructs us to use the mouth of two or three witnesses to establish every truth which is another best practice to correctly interpret the Bible. Again this truth must be occurring in a judicial spiritual courtroom before God the Spiritual Judge. I believe that God will always require at least two witnesses to establish every case truth. Please turn in your Bibles and read the following verse found in the Book of Revelation:
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.
Wow, this verse is of such great significance to our Bible subject that I cannot emphasize it strongly enough. I would like to begin by stating the fact that this verse is a future prophecy that has not yet occurred. We know this by the fact that God tells the author John in Revelation 4:1 to come up to heaven in order to be shown things that will occur in the future. I am a firm believer that everything in Revelation 4 to the end of the book is future prophetic statements that have not yet occurred. I also believe that they are written in Chronological order of occurrence. Therefore, since Revelation 4 through 11 has not occurred Revelation 12 has also not occurred.
What does this verse say? We must really read the context in order to discover the true identity of one of the central figures being named and discussed in this verse. We can read back a few verses in Revelation 12: 7 to begin to learn that Satan is also called the ancient serpent and the great dragon as figuratively speaking titles. Satan has also just been cast down out of heaven after a significant spiritual war. Let’s read these verses to verify where Satan will be cast out of. Turn in your Bible and begin reading with verse 7 to get the more complete revelation of what is going to occur very soon:
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Here are the future prophesied facts given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. First, a spiritual war will occur. It is definitely a spiritual battle and not a natural conflict. Second, the participants of the war are spiritual beings. There is Michael and his angels defending heaven against the dragon (Satan) and his angels attacking heaven. Third, Satan and his angels lose the battle. Fourth, God states that Satan has ONLY NOW lost his place (right and ability) to enter back into heaven ever again in verse 8. What does this teach us? Verses 7 and 8 are teaching us by implied truth that before this event occurs Satan HAD FULL ACCESS and the ability to come and go from and to heaven any time that he wanted. Why do you think this was granted? I personally believe it is because of two main factors. The first factor is that God is just and that God must honor His Word. I believe we are about to learn more by a deeper study that the access granted was for the purpose of putting God’s people aka. Christians on trial.
We now should know that Satan had access into heaven very clearly from the statements found in verses 7 through 10. Now, look at what Satan is called in verse 10. Satan is referred directly by the Word of God to be the “accuser”. In fact the name Satan literally means “adversary”. Remember that “adversary” means “your legal opponent in a law case” and this firmly connects us back to 1 Peter 5:8. The Greek word translated as “accuser” is a very synonymous legal title to “adversary”. An accuser (Greek word G2725) is literally defined by Strong’s as someone that brings a compliant of law before a judge to gain an advantage over an opponent. I added the last part of that definition simply because that is what is being implied by the definition. Why would Satan come up to heaven before the LORD GOD’s court to accuse a “brother” in Christ? It would be extremely wise to give that question a lot of thought before answering quickly.
I believe God is telling us from verse 10 of Revelation 12 that Satan came up to heaven before Him both night and day to bring up complaints and charges against the people of God. We learn this truth by applying the key word “Brethren” to make it personal to Christians in the family of Jesus Christ. The Greek word translated as “brethren” is found over 300 times in the N.T. It can be used for natural or spiritual brothers. But, we use the context to understand that it must be “spiritual brothers” because everything else in the chapter appears to use natural symbols to point us to spiritual truths. I can see this and I pray you can also. You can search your Bible for G80 to learn how Paul and other N.T. writers applied this term “brethren” to the church family members.
Brethren here in this verse 10 must also be interpreted as those that are still living here on the earth since Satan was just thrown down form the spiritual realm of heaven back to the earth in a great fury of rage to wage war against those still not in heaven. I understand that there will be a lot of people that call themselves Christians that will not agree with what the Lord is teaching us here today. But, I’m not responsible to make anyone believe the Bible. All that any teacher can do is to present the facts given and then let the reader decide what they wish to believe for themselves.
While we are on verse 10 of Revelation 12 we must see and learn the second legal word term being mentioned. This term is the Greek word G2723 that was translated as “accused”. Let me review the part of the verse statement that I wish to emphasize. God says here “which accused them before God day and night”. Wow, this is critical to understand. This Greek word G2723 literally means “to be a plaintiff” in a court case. This word plainly means to bring a charge of offence/crime against a defendant. This is clearly describing spiritual court cases that were taking place 24 hours a day where God was the stated judge, Christians were the stated defendants and Satan was the stated plaintiff bringing the charges. All of this legal activity stops after Revelation 12. According to Revelation 12 these spiritual court cases do not cease until half of the tribulation’s seven years have gone by. That literally verifies to us that they are happening right now as you are reading this lesson believe it or not.
BIBLE EXAMPLES OF SPIRITUAL TRIALS
I will end this lesson today with three examples of spiritual trials that have taken place. The first one is a trial that occurred before Jesus was ever born on the earth. I am talking about a trial that is found in the oldest book of the Bible, the book of Job. The story of Job probably occurred way over 4000 years ago. My best guess would be sometime after Noah and before Abraham.
I am not going to go through every verse that I could, but I would recommend that you go and reread Job chapter 1 using the information we have learned in this lesson so far to verify that this is an example of a literal court case being waged against Job a righteous man. In fact it would be good to read the entire book of Job looking at it from a legal court perspective.
This case is being brought before God by Satan who is bringing charges up against him to the Judge. We learn by reading Job 1:6 that the trial definitely takes place in heaven as we have learned he had access to heaven from reading Revelation 12. Satan appears before God and the omniscient Judge asks him two questions. The first question in verse 7 is where have you come from? You know God knows the answer but he asks the question for our benefit to connect us directly with vital information found in 1 Peter 5:8. Remember what this verse said? Satan answers the question truthfully and states he has just come from going to and fro in the earth. Do you now see the direct connection to 1 Peter 5:8? Your adversary the devil (Satan) goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. God is giving us direct connected insight into Job’s court case by connecting us with a verse that helps us to understand the legal procedure taking place in heaven.
The second question asked by God to Satan was “Have you considered my servant Job”. Omniscient God understands that Job was why Satan came up to heaven to start this court case. Satan then asks God a question “Does Job fear God for nothing?” This is the beginning of Satan’s introductory opening statement for his case against Job. Any way I am not going to go through this all in depth in this lesson . But, please understand and apply what we have learned from 1 Peter 5;8 and Revelation 12. “Your adversary the devil goes about the earth like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” and “Satan accused them before God night and day”.
We also learn from reading and studying Job that God informs Satan that he has access to devour Job (all that he has is in your power Job 1:12) and this is what proves that Satan won that court case. Satan obviously has found someone that is able to be devoured.
Satan then goes about Job’s life and kills, steals and destroys a great portion of his family and possessions. It was a very clear victorious court case won by the devil over a righteous man on the earth.
But, what won the case for Satan? I will let you into a couple of significant clues to why the court case was easily won by Satan. There are at least two major things that Job did to open the door in the hedge of protection that God had placed around him. First, it says in Job 3:25 that Job said “the thing that I greatly feared has come upon me”. This verse informs us of the presence of “fear” in Job’s heart and it was this spirit of fear that helps open the door for Satan to win a case against him. Fear is the opposite spiritual force of faith and without faith it is absolutely impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). Therefore, fear is not a connecting force to God but it must be considered an attracting force of Satan.
The second mistake Job made was pride. The Bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace unto the humble (James 4:6). If you read the book of Job you will find that Job was found guilty of judging God and judging others (his friends) without sufficient knowledge to do either. We should be able to understand that judging others and God is a clear sign of pride. Job spoke many things that he was later rebuke by God for saying.
We learn these truths by reading the rest of the book of Job where he is speaking to his friends and later when God speaks to him. Notice in Job 38:2 that God asks Job a question “Who is this that darkens counsel with words without knowledge?” Here is a very good verse that informs us of another legal term. A “Counselor” can be applied to a person of law or legal advice in a courtroom trial. Perhaps you have seen this before. What I am trying to say here is that words spoken in judgment of others without full knowledge can be an access point for Satan to win a judgment against you.
I have said enough about Job to get you started. Now, let’s go read another example court case that transpired only about 2000 years ago.
The second spiritual trial that I want to point out from the Bible occurs while Jesus walked the face of the earth in the flesh with His 12 disciples about 2000 years ago. We will begin reading in Luke 22 and verse 31:
Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
Reading only the English language translation we miss so very much of the stated truth. Jesus is talking directly to Peter and calls him by name twice to emphasize the critical importance of the next statement to follow. Satan as we learned from Revelation 12 and 1 Peter 5 was the direct adversary seeking access by legal complaint against the human Peter in this case. Therefore, we understand that Satan is the plaintiff in this statement of Jesus. The key word that must be examined with deeper understanding is the Greek word G1809 and it is incorrectly translated as “desired” in this verse. While it is true that Satan desires to get to us all but that is not what the Greek word that was selected and written was intended to have been spoken by Jesus. This Greek word literally means “to demand for trial”. Jesus is warning Peter that he has done something that Satan believes gives him access to sift him like wheat. Perhaps you should do a little research about how wheat is sifted. Sifting of wheat is definitely not a nonviolent or peaceful act. Anyone sifting wheat represents someone using their power, ability and force over the wheat being sifted to remove some good from the bad. It would be good to learn more about this but that is not my primary subject. I just want us to focus on the legal issues that must have occurred to give Satan the right to “demand” by a trial to have access to Peter’s life. But, we later learn after this verse that Jesus (Peter’s implied attorney) prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. This does not mean that the sifting would not take place it only means Jesus asked the Father to help Peter come through the trial’s verdict being rendered. It would be great to go and study more about what Peter may have done to be sifted but I don’t really have the time in this lesson.
A MODERN DAY TRIAL
I am not able to go into every sin that a person can commit in order to be bought into spiritual court by Satan the accuser but I will end this part of the lesson with a third true life firsthand experience of this reality that I experienced a few years ago. This testimony concerns the life of my father. I learned of it by living it and hearing from others about it and I trust the testimony of those witnesses that have shared it with me. My father was a pastor for several years. I grew up attending his churches and hearing him preach his sermons.
My father was going to his second Bible school to learn and expand his knowledge of God and the Bible by attending good classes with great teachers. In his second year of this Bible school attendance in the first semester, he was sitting and taking notes when suddenly the man of God giving the lesson stopped and looked right at my father. God was giving the instructor a vision of a great dark cloud resting above the head of my father. The instructor knew from experience what this meant. He knew it was a death cloud that was warning my father that he would die soon. The Bible instructor called my father to the front of the class before all the other students. He put his hand on him and rebuked death and prayed for him. But, the instructor then asked my father to come see him privately so that he could share what else the LORD had given to him in his warning. I was not present when all of this occurred but my mother was in the class and she is one of the primary witnesses to the story and my mother was not a liar. She recounted this testimony after my father died.
I guess you already know that my father did not ever go and see the Bible teacher in private to hear the rest of the warning message from the LORD. A couple of months later my father had a stroke and was carried unconscious in an ambulance to a local hospital. My brother was home when all of this happened and he can testify to the truth of this part of the story. My father died a few days later after being transported. He never regained consciousness. He died like the Bible teacher warned he would.
The Bible teacher performed the funeral for my father and after the funeral my mother learned the rest of the message directly from the teacher that prayed for him. The Bible teacher informed my mother that God had told him to warn my father about his love walk with people. I should rather say that it was a lack of his love that concerned him more. Jesus gave us in the church a new commandment of LOVE and this is one way that Satan gained access into killing my father through his disobedience. I believe very firmly that because my father was not walking in love towards others that Satan brought him up on trial. I believe very firmly based upon spiritual laws that God tried to warn my father by even giving someone a vision of what was about to happen even before it happened. Like the prophet that warned the king in the Old Testament to get his house in order for you shall surely die, the same occurred for my father. However, the king in the Old Testament repented and prayed and he was granted more years on the earth. I believe this was what was happening with my father also. If he had repented and changed he might have lived a much longer life.
But, my father did not cooperate or may not have believed the warning or may have even wanted to go ahead and die. We don’t know the reason why he did nothing to prevent Satan’s attack. But that is what happened to him. The thief came into his life and killed my father just as John 10:10 states.
There was also another door that my parents opened to allow Satan access into their lives in this spiritual court case. After they were first married and before I was born, they went to a fair where they were just having fun. They ran across a fortune teller/palm reader tent and went in to play Satan’s deceptive game in ignorance. The fortune teller informed my mother that she had a long life line and would live a long time on the earth, but when she looked at my father’s hand she told him he would die young. I believe this foolish act set spiritual laws into motion and gave Satan a plot and a plan to bring up before God in my father’s trial. Had my father not gone into the fortune teller based upon his knowledge of God’s word this may have changed his life significantly. Had he rebuked the words spoken over him this may have also changed his life significantly. But doing nothing is certainly the worst option that anyone can choose. My mother informed me of all this after my father had died.
My father was barely 44 years old when he died. My mother lived to the age of 80 and the palm reader’s words both came true. Become aware of the things that can open the door for Satan before it is too late. Dabbling in the occult, fortune tellers, Ouija boards and the like, I believe opens the door for Satan to bring you before God’s court system. Spiritual laws are put into motion by words spoken by us, over us or about us. I believe that if we do not renounce them and rebuke them they will become seeds that grow and produce thorns and thistles in our lives.
Psa 43:1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
This was only a basic overview and introduction of a much deeper subject. There are many other things to learn on this subject of God’s divine justice system. I do appreciate your time in reading and studying the Bible on this website. There are many other lessons that can be freely accessed by searching or clicking on topics and dates. May God bless and keep you until the return of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.
If you would like to continue reading in this series you may click here for “Part 2“.
(Ver 1.1) Today I believe that I am led to share a testimony from a friend. I personally believe the Bible very strongly. I believe the Bible is the inspired spoken word of an Almighty God that has been written down by human men for our spiritual benefit to learn and grow from it. God’s word says in Ecclesiastes 1:9 that there is nothing new under the sun. This verse informs me very clearly that history repeats itself. What has been will be again. And this lesson also teaches us that if we do not learn what has happened to others we can very easily fall into the same trap of Satan our self. I believe that any one of us should say “if not for the grace of God there go I” when reading about what others have done or not done. I ask you to read this testimony with an open mind but also with a heart of love, mercy and forgiveness. I know there will be some that will feel superior and self-righteous while reading this like the Pharisee in Luke 18:11 that prayed and said “I thank you God that I am not as other men” and named sins that others were guilty of like a true hypocrite would. However, this self-righteous Pharisee was condemned by Jesus for his attitude and his words and I believe that it would be very wise for us all to not to choose to do the same. Please allow me to give you the foundational Bible verse for this short lesson:
2Co 2:10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
2Co 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
In verse 11 is found the primary focused warning written to Christians concerning for us to not be ignorant of Satan’s traps, plans and pursuits. But, the context of this statement is clearly about our forgiveness and more specifically about us forgiving other men for what they have done. According to the inspired word of God in Mark 11:25, if we do not forgive what others have done, God will not forgive us either of our sins. I believe this teaches us that there is a divine spiritual law of reciprocal activity. I believe that how we treat others will be how God will treat us and this is His divine reciprocal choice. Therefore, if we forgive others we will be forgiven and if we do not forgive others we are in serious trouble. Please learn to forgive others, it is an absolute necessity.
Before we read the testimony I would like us to learn another very important truth from this verse 11. This verse plainly states that if we do not forgive others it will open the door for our enemy Satan to come in and attack us. This truth is very similar to what occurred in the life of Job but Job’s sin was different than what is being spoken of here in Verse 11. Here in verse 11 God informs us that Satan is able to take advantage over any Christian if we allow Him to do so by our wrong actions of implied un-forgiveness. Perhaps soon the Lord will lead me to write a more complete Study on the subject of how we open the door for the enemy but that is really not the main subject today.
Let’s read the testimony and learn what the enemy did to one of our dear brothers in Christ. Try to think about what is said from his perspective and not your own personal viewpoint like a Pharisee.
LOST & FOUND
This is my testimony:
“I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.
Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch, like me.
Through many dangers toils and snares, I have already come.
How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.”
(lyrics, from the song, Amazing Grace)
In the safe recesses of my memory is that time so many years ago cuddling on my mother’s lap while she read to me the classic children story, “The Little Engine that Could,” by Watty Piper. I would have her read it every night if my way prevailed, and sometimes mom would read it two times in one sitting: “Again, again,” my young voice pled. It was such a monumental struggle for that little engine to pull those cars full of toys up that mountain for delivery to the children on the other side. That captivating thought flooded my mind: “I think I can, I think I can.” Despite its size, the little engine triumphantly pulls the train up that mountain. Would it? Could it? The image was real and I sensed even then that life at times could be a challenge and a true struggle. As a mere child of four, I began to grasp this lesson that life may at times be a struggle reaching the other side to that place of joy and victory.
Two decades later, in my early twenties, I found myself singing in a Christian band. Often we sang this somewhat country classic, “Life is Like a Mountain Railway.” In this song the lyrics warn, “…we must make the run successful from the cradle to the grave. Watch the curves that fill the tunnel, never falter never fail; keep your hands upon the throttle and your eyes upon the rail. Blessed Savior there to guide us, Till we reach that blissful shore, And the angels there to join us, In God’s grace…, forevermore…” I see a thread and theme from early life. Many years from those moments that single message of struggle I have surely known. Yet, the Savior of my soul has never left or forsaken me, though at times I had strayed, wandered, and taken my eyes off the rails, He has always kept His eyes upon me.
I learned early the fallacy of believing that once you confess Jesus as your personal Lord, and personally accept His sacrificial crucifixion, that life will be an effortless and pain-free endeavor. No, it has not been that. I learned a phrase when acquiring my pilot license. This phrase was a seasoned pilot’s definition of flying: “Flying,” he said, “are hours of boredom, broken up by moments of sheer terror!” Christian life might be like that too.
Another analogy which helps explains how I experience life as a Christian is to recall the two years spent in a war zone. A variation to the old pilots’ thoughts was an enemy strategy of deliberately leading us into a state of lethargy. Days would go by, weeks, and maybe a month and his presence seemed to vanish. There would be little or no confrontations. The enemy would lay low, hide, retreat, allowing the thought to develop in us that he was either beaten or uninterested. Slipping into relative peacefulness you never saw hell dropping on top of you. In the middle of a fitful sleep, the sky would explode with light and fire, concussions of rockets knocking you from your bunk. Noises of confusion as people ran yelling orders, weapons rattling as everyone scrambled for orientation, the smell of sulfurs and fears all combined in that dark. For days following such attacks, we would again become hyper vigilant to movement, sounds, and imaginations. You had to realize that the enemy was unpredictable and ruthless. No matter the seeming peaceful state you enjoyed, in a war zone you had to always remain prepared.
Clearly, a harsh reality was to know that though many people loved you at home, there were well-armed people very close by who hated you for simply being you. This was a hard concept to embrace emotionally – that another living person actually would kill you without any regret or regard. Over the two years in that place I had to be reminded on many occasions this was a war zone and blood could be spilt at any moment. Today I am reminded that Christians may struggle with the idea someone hates them and labors to harm them. We mostly tend to see ourselves as lovable, kind, sensitive, and peaceable; why would anyone hate you or desire your ruin?
I became a Christian one year after I was discharge from the U.S. Army. Although I’d never known the true Gospel or the acceptance of Jesus’ personal gift to me, memories of childhood are full of a consciousness of God’s existence and even His presence. I believed in God, I simply didn’t know His Word or just how deep and profound was my need for His righteousness and acceptance. By His plan I was led to hear the Gospel of Jesus preached, and my heart opened to ‘hear’ the Truth. With a faith, only gained as a gift, I was willing and able to call out and ask for forgiveness and acceptance, embracing Jesus’ sacrifice and the provision of His eternal life indwelling me daily. At twenty-one, my feet and heart were set on a new course. The Word of God was coming alive in me, a passion and gratefulness washed over me. I was free from guilt, free from wandering in the darkness of life and given a purpose and qualification to pursue my Heavenly Father and Lord Jesus, with the help and power of the Holy Spirit. I began to run.
After becoming ‘saved’ my resume,’ so to speak, began to grow and included a number of wonderful activities and accomplishments. I’d become the president of the Christian Fellowship in college, and the co-founder of a contemporary Christian band and theatrical ministry travelling much of New England proclaiming the good news on college campuses, coffee houses, park concerts and churches. Out of that ministry came a radio ministry which I hosted for five years. Eventually I was trained and prepared to launch out on a new church ministry. The church began with approximately twelve dedicated people as we began ministering in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Over the following fifteen years our family at home increased, and the church too grew in new members and growing outreaches. In some ways it all seemed quite successful, with lots of effective outreaches, joys, and progress – perhaps as men judge progress. Though it was understood struggles could and did come, most things were manageable and the enemy seemed at bay and easily contained. In hindsight, and with further spiritual growth, I think too much of our methods for handling conflict were undertaken in fleshly and carnal ways, depending on our human capabilities and gifting. I had thought I was prepared and equipped for a prosperous Christian life and ministry, I don’t believe I ever would have imagined the viciousness and true spiritual battles yet to be faced in life. Though I’d studied ‘spiritual warfare’ through reading books, hearing sermons, and of course studying the Bible, the battles to come would compound beyond my imagination.
Certainly in those years simple and relatively ineffective skirmishes had to be faced. However, the first and most devastating battle and conflict came when my wife and I endured the still birth of our full term baby son, Jedidiah. The agony of losing him was unimaginable. The enemy made a move, he had a foothold. Between guilt, anger, uncertainty, hurt, loss, and unending questions living in my mind, this attack wounded deeply. In further hindsight, it was a harbinger of intense battles yet to be waged.
The toll of poor choices, such as putting other interests before our marital union, including but not limited to inattention, alienation of affections, over commitments to many so-called important activities, including ‘Christian work,’ led to the degeneration and finally dissolution of marriage. While the marriage was failing the church suffered greatly. Eventually, as people began to leave, the ministry came to a close. Not only had the battle raged externally, the inward condition was too troubled to continue reaching out to others. This seemed total devastation, and life began a further downward spiral. I sincerely began to doubt if “I could.” One might wonder if the battles were over.
No, it was far from over. Doubts flooded my soul; how could God let these things happen? How far away from God’s will had I been? Could I ever really hear God’s will and know how to follow? Had I been so unfaithful God simply did not desire my fellowship any longer? I was in a wilderness, it was hard to hear, hard to feel, sometimes hard to care. I questioned my prayer, honestly thinking perhaps I had committed an unpardonable sin (I realize today how this sounds, yet then it was overwhelming). Feeling and believing myself unworthy, with a strong sense of failure, satan was relentless. He knew I was one struggling to stay off the mat, like a fighter pummeled. Perhaps I was heading for the final knock-out. Surely it appeared faith to believe God loved me was being knocked out of me under a relentless flurry of strikes. Not only was I not able to love myself, surely God no longer cared either. Satanic influence was overwhelming. A sad consequence was running from God’s Word. What I began to see in Scripture was condemnation and judgment of so many failures. My mind was being blinded, my eyes shutting under the force of so many punches.
My behaviors reflected this loss. I became reclusive. I was afraid to speak the truth – even to myself. Little did I know, but an incident which occurred a year after the marriage ended, would soon be used as a complete knock-out punch. Not only had I been rejected by a wife, I surely must be rejected by God. Desperate for companionship and acceptance I was now susceptible to even more poor choices. What began as an innocent moment of consolation with a vulnerable woman, lapsed into inappropriate intimacy. This was but a momentary mutual action, and one which did not consummate in other than brief petting, however, it would be more than enough for Satan to throw the haymaker and accuse me of behavior which never took place. Seven years later the story had escalated and false accusations were brought against me. I was accused and convicted of an indecent assault.
The day I heard the judge pronounce a prison sentence, I certainly knew my life was finally and perhaps mercifully over. I was so alone and afraid. Clearly God must now despise me. I must have been cast out. I had some defect which I may have been unaware and which meant God could not love me. Did I bring this on myself? Nothing was clear. Would clarity ever come to me?
Within the first twenty-four hours of prison, perhaps that which I feared most seemed to face me. I was being confronted by a large African man in a prison cell block, accompanied by a Spanish speaking Porte Rican. The previous twenty-four hours found me plunging into a deep abyss of darkness, fear, anxiety, and despair believing that I would never know God’s love or care again. This seemed the ultimate abandonment, the bottom, a profound loss of hope and self abhorrence; it was a dreadful aloneness. What would become of me? What would my grandchildren think? What about my children, how could they manage this horror?
And there he was, towering over me, a huge man, speaking to me in such a thick African accent I could barely understand. His question, “Are you okay?” “Are you okay?” over and over he asked. He was blocking me and I couldn’t see anything but this giant and threatening looking man. Finally I said, “No, I am not okay!” And then as he looked at me, with what I now know were deeply compassionate eyes, the most amazing sounds came from him. He began to minister wonderful, loving words to me, expressing that God knows where I am, and that He is here with me, that He has never left me or forsaken me. He began to share that through all of this, God had a big plan for me, and He was going to use this to shape me anew….
And then his voice seemed to slip away and I no longer actually heard his continued speaking or the terrible sounds of the cell block. Rather, I seemed to leave that cell block and went someplace in my spirit that was quite, safe and peaceful. There I faced the Holy Spirit One on one. Though my questions were not directly addressed, I knew He was aware, and what He did was fill me with peace, with confidence, and with the assurance of His love and clearly His acceptance and compassionate comfort. Though I realized the answers I needed so desperately wouldn’t happen then, I knew an assurance of His control coming alive in me again. I actually knew the reality was that “all things work together for those who love Him…” Though burdened with guilt, doubts, and a sense of abandonment, and feeling profoundly lost during this season of battle, I now knew He was not going to let me go! I knew more and more would be revealed as I trusted in Him once again, fully and without apprehension or insecurity.
The suffering did not end completely that night, but the awareness I was really no longer in chains, no longer a prisoner to what I could only imagine to be failure, guilt, shame, and to letting my Lord down, began to flood my life, and has continued to this very day. And then, as if awakening from a dream, the awareness of my terrible surroundings came in to focus again and I spoke once more to this man, his name I learned was Adam. I simply said, “I am okay now!” Though still facing many unknowns, there was within a new courage, a sure hope and that certain assurance He was with me through it all.
Is it biblical as a Christian to be touched a second time, a third time, again and again? This is a question you may ask yourself. When we speak of salvation is it a one-time event, or is this an ongoing saving? Though I’ve walked through a deep and dark valley, I have found the battle is won and our Lord’s grace is sufficient for me. What I have found is that “Greater is He which is in me than he that is in the world.” What I have found is that “What (satan) intends for evil, God intends for good.” What I have found is that “When I am truly weak, He is truly strong.” What I have found is that when others forsake and bare false witness, with harsh judgment, He embraces and accepts and walks with you. What I have found is that He has a balm of healing and restoration in which He brings double, triple, and unknown levels of restoration, hope, confidence and love. All of these testify that when He saves you it is an everlasting salvation and one which Satan cannot snatch, though he may expend wicked energies and efforts to destroy us at any opportunity.
I have found we really do live in a world of spiritual battles, and unless we stand prepared to engage, with God’s Word, with unwavering faith and without doubt, anyone can stumble, anyone can fall. And there are many biblical warnings that we should never stand proud in ourselves believing we could never fall or let the Lord down. I have found the evil one is paying close attention and he is crouched at the door. But, I have found that though a child of God fall, our Father will not walk past and look elsewhere. He will stoop to our lowest place and with the heart of the Good Samaritan, He will bind our wounds, He will bring us to a safe place, and He will pay whatever the price to see we are rewarded our place with Him in His everlasting Kingdom of love and peace. And finally, for now, I have found that the Callings of God are without repentance (without a change of His heart), and that “what He began in us He is faithful to bring to pass.”
We all have failed and come short of the Glory of God. If you have never failed then you are free to cast the first stone at my friend. But for me I will not be picking up any stones. Love will always restore a brother and help a brother that is turned around and is making the effort to do what is right. There was only one sinless man on the earth and His name was Jesus Christ. He did not come into the world to condemn the world and this was the main lesson from John 8:11 and John 3:17.
Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
We could spend days on this verse alone. We all too often look at another man’s faults while ignoring our own. The problem with this verse is that it is extremely conditional. Only a few people that I have seen in my life qualify to ever be called truly “spiritual”. It would take me more time to explain this truth than I also have today. I will simply inform you that I do not yet feel that I qualify to be at this level of this category. I am human as well as my friend. I have made mistakes and have been in the flesh sometime too often. It is my heart’s desire to become more spiritual and I pray that it will be yours as well.
My main point from Galatians 6:1 is that we should be on a pathway that helps to restore people back into the fellowship with Christ. If anyone that calls themselves a Christian and is not trying to build up a brother that has fallen then I believe that they are either extremely carnal Christians or I doubt seriously that they are a Christian at all.
I would like to end this mini lesson with the warning that is given to us in Galatians 6:1. Here we find a similar bit of wise counsel that we read first in 2 Corinthians 2:11. Remember when Paul said Satan could get an advantage over us? That is the similar advice being transferred to us in this statement “lest we also be tempted”. The implied words not being directly related to us is that if we don’t forgive someone for what they have done and then pursue (make an effort) to restore them back to the LORD, we our self could be carried away by the same trap of deception. I find that very powerful and more than just a suggestion to follow after.
I pray that this testimony has been an encouragement to someone. Perhaps you have fallen in a similar way. It is not too late for you to turn your life around as my friend did.
If you have a comment about this lesson, you are free to share it. However, if you are going to be mean spirited and unforgiving, I will warn you that I will probably not publish your comment. Also, if you have a good testimony like my friend about how God has worked and changed you, I would love for you to share that.
My friend that wrote his testimony is doing well. God has helped him tremendously and blessed him. He reads his Bible, and studies it. He goes to church. He prays for me and others. He has been a great encouragement to me. I believe that the Spirit of God led my new friend to contact me and get to know me. I am very happy to call him my friend and I praise God for a new brother in Christ that I will hopefully meet here or in heaven soon.
Thank you for reading and studying the Bible with me on this website. I am always amazed at the love and grace of God that permits me to do this for Him. May God bless you and keep you.
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 13 in a series of Bible studies answering the questions about the Reality of Bible Faith. What it is, where it came from, how I get it, why it is important and how you can use it. I have taught many things in this series so I will not attempt to repeat them all again today. If you have not read this series from the beginning I would strongly recommend that you go back to Part 1 and start reading there first. In previous lessons I taught that faith was measurable meaning every Christian believer does not possess the same amount of faith. That teaching raised the question that many people have; does that mean I need more faith if the situation that I am facing is greater or more severe? Well I listened to a TV preacher this week that said that every Christian already had all of the faith of Jesus available to them right now. This preacher then implied that the only problem that a Christian possessed was simply that they did not know how to use the faith that they already had. In a way I agree with those statements and when I heard only his Bible verses that he gave he made a very convincing lesson. But he also failed to mention or take into account all of the other scriptures that I have given you that contradicts what he was teaching. The Bible is way too complicated for us to take one set of truths and attempt to make them the entire truth. If we do this then we are claiming to be smarter than God and choosing to ignore what else God says on the subject. There are over 220 verses in the New Testament alone that directly mention the word “faith” and then there are many other indirect related verses that must also be considered on the related dependent subjects of believing, beliefs, confidence, expectation, fear, doubt, unbelief and worry to name a few. In order to confidently teach any subject we are going to have to know the majority if not all of the verses that are related to the subject of faith. For example here is one verse that my TV preacher brother must have ignored on the subject of faith:
2Co 10:15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,
Paul in writing to the Corinthian church and is looking down the road to the future when their faith would be increased in order that they can become a greater blessing to others. Wow, I do not know if you heard what I just said. Paul does not tell the Corinthians that they already have ALL FAITH and that they just need to learn how to use it. Paul clearly says your faith is growing and you need to continue to allow it to grow. The Greek word translated as “increased” means to grow, increase or enlarge. If you can enlarge your faith, then you do not have all of the faith that you could have. There is a definite statement of conditionality placed upon their faith increasing. It is very clear to me that they do not possess enough faith to accomplish what Paul is looking for or expecting for them to use right now. Do you understand this? Faith is like a growing plant or even the fruit on a tree. Spiritual growth is like natural growth. When you are born again as a spiritual child you do not yet possess the fullness of all love, joy, peace or any other fruit of the spirit. Spiritual fruit grows on spiritual trees and it is not something that just magically appears and is there instantly. People are the spiritual trees that will produce the spiritual fruit, if they feed their spirits and water their spirits with the word of God to allow this fruit to grow. The word “faith” is included as one of the nine fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5. Planting seeds and getting harvests is how practically everything in the spiritual realm works. The concept of planting seeds and growing fruit is a natural concept that applies directly to the spiritual realm. Faith is a fruit of the Spirit and not something that you have all of the moment you become a Christian.
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
In an earlier Bible lesson on faith I taught you about how faith comes. Reading in Romans 10:17, we know that Bible Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Therefore Bible faith has a staring origination point that is totally dependent upon you first hearing God’s Word. If there is no hearing, then there is no ability to have faith in God. When you were saved it was because you heard a preacher tell you the truth about Jesus Christ and you believed it and you accepted and confessed Him as your Lord. Does this concept of hearing God’s Word and getting faith carry forward beyond salvation or does it end at salvation? In other words is a Christian when they are born again automatically given all the faith that they will ever need as my Christian brother was teaching? Or is faith still based upon the foundational principle found in Romans’ 10:17 of hearing God’s Word and getting faith? According to my TV preacher friend, you already have all of the faith given to you by God and you just need to learn how to use it or to apply it. If that was true, ignoring Romans 10:17 Christians would never need to hear the Word of God again after they were saved. There would be no need to go to church, no need to study the Bible and no requirement to listen to another preacher. Just go get saved and you got it made. Unfortunately this is not how I have discovered that spiritual things work.
The problem with this philosophical doctrine of automatic faith maximization is that it relieves Christians of any further responsibility to learn more about faith and it reduces or oversimplifies the truth that you only need to learn to use what you have already been given by God. Think with me about the children of Israel looking into the Promised Land of God. Did God not say I have given you the land? Did they automatically possess this land? Obviously they did not and they still had personal responsibilities to perform in order to possess what was clearly given to them by God. My point is that just because God has given you something does not mean that you have it in your possession and can use it. One of the verses that my TV preacher brother used was the one that I already addressed in this series so I will not repeat all of that information again. This verse was found in Romans 12:3 and it is one that many preachers like to jump onto and claim that every Christian has been given the same exact measure of faith by God and they therefore reason that there is no need to try to increase it, just use it. What we need to understand is that the Bible holds more than one truth on any given subject. We are therefore required to learn them all and then to balance each of them to become aware of the actual overall truth. I keep saying this and I will continue to say it, the Bible is much more complex than you think. Let me show you another verse in the Bible about faith and then you tell me how this verse conflicts directly with what the unnamed TV preacher said:
Rom 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
Can you read? Can you understand the words written in this verse? If God had given to everyman the Measure of Faith why is there differing proportions of faith that is required to prophesy? The Greek word translated as “proportion” means a piece or a part and not the whole amount. I guess you could reason away this verse by saying that you have all faith, but that it only requires a small part of the whole to prophesy. That is certainly one way to look at. However, I do not believe that is what God is saying. If it was, then you should stand up in church next Sunday and start to prophesy and see exactly what comes out of your mouth and if any of it actually comes to pass. If it does not happen like you said then you are a false prophet. I personally believe whatever we do for God is done by our faith in Him. But that does not mean that we already have all of His faith. It means we need to learn to use the small part that we do possess and then allow it to grow into a greater quantity. The usage of the word proportion clearly implies growth potential to me. I guess you could choose to look at it differently if you want to. Let me show you another potential set of conflicting verses with contradictory information for my TV preacher brother:
1Co 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
1Co 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
1Co 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
1Co 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
Paul is writing about spiritual gifts that come from the Spirit of God that have been given to different men and women in the church. It is very clear that some have some of these gifts and probably many others do not. The Word of Wisdom and the Word of Knowledge are two impartations of the Spirit of God that I have seen demonstrated by only a very few preachers. These are very clearly not spiritual gifts that everyone possesses, only a very few. Now we continue to the next verse 9 and it says to another meaning not the same one as before God has been given the gift of Faith. Uh oh? That seems to be a major problem for my TV preacher brother. This verse is NOT saying that God has given to every man this gift, is it? Why is it even necessary for God to give any man this spiritual gift of faith if God has already given to EVERY man “the measure of faith” as the TV preacher has claimed? I think that is a very excellent question to try to figure out the answer to. My TV preacher brother probably could not answer this question or didn’t think of this question, so he must have just ignored this information. What is the gift of faith? For that matter what are any of the gifts that are mentioned in these verses referring to? If you do not know what they are then you are certainly going to write them off as being unrelated or unimportant. Every spiritual gift mentioned in these verses is a SUPERNATURAL manifestation of the Spirit of God through a human being to accomplish a divine purpose on the earth. Why is this necessary? Wow that is another excellent question we need to answer today. I believe it is necessary because God can only accomplish things that we cannot in our own ability or power if we cooperate and believe. God occasionally gives to us spiritual gifts such as the working of miracles to confirm His word that has been taught. God will also use the Word of Wisdom or the Word of Knowledge for a sign to help those present. God will use other of the spiritual gifts as ways to strengthen, build up and to edify the body of Christ.
Let’s go back to faith and leave the other spiritual gifts alone for now. Why if a Christian already has all the faith of Jesus would it be necessary for God to give them this spiritual gift of faith? In one of my faith lessons I taught that Jesus always claimed that it was the individual faith of the person receiving that was the determining factor mentioned for anything supernatural that occurred on the earth. If you do not understand this concept you better go back and reread that lesson again. This meant that nothing happened supernaturally on the earth unless a man or a woman believed God and His word and placed their faith in only those factors. This is why everything in the Old Testament occurred. This is why everything in the Gospels occurred. This is why everything in the modern church still occurs today. For example in the O.T., the deliverance of Israel from Egypt was based upon the faith and obedience of Moses. If Moses did not have any faith in God and would not have believed what was spoken to him then the children of Israel would still be in captivity or God would have had to find another deliverer who did believe Him. What about Noah and the great flood of the planet? Could God have saved Noah anyway, the animals and the blood line of Christ if Noah had not believed God and obediently built the boat instructed by God by faith? You see it was only Noah’s faith and obedience in God’s word that caused the supernatural power of God to manifest. I probably will get some people, who disagree with me, but you go through the Bible and you see the involvement of the partnership of man with any major event of supernatural demonstration of the power of God and then you tell me one (other than creation before there was a man) that God did independently from man. Even the virgin birth required Mary to believe in the words of an angel sent by God. It was clearly her faith that allowed God to come into the world in the flesh. What I’m getting at is that faith allows God access into the world and the lack of faith prohibits or reduces His ability to do anything. I know I’m going to get a lot of religious commenters from these statements that try to tell me that God is sovereign and that He can do whatever He desires at any time. Ignorant people often say things that are problematic to others who actually know more about the subject under discussion.
Understand what the gift of faith is. The gift of faith is the supernatural faith of God present inside a man to accomplish something that a man would not normally be able to accomplish without it. Also note that none of these spiritual gifts are resident full time in anyone. They are there temporarily as the Spirit wills to accomplish a single goal and never given at the will of the man or woman using them. They are given by God for a short time and they are then dormant. Even Jesus Christ who was God in the flesh and had the Spirit of God without measure could not operate in all of the spiritual gifts all the time. You go through the Gospels and read them very closely. You will see every manifestation of the spiritual gifts (except tongues and interpretation) mentioned in the ministry of Jesus Christ at one time or the other. But at other times Jesus could not do any miracles because of the unbelief of the people present (Mark 6:5) and then other times Jesus did not even know who it was that touched his garment and got healed (Mark 5:30). The presence of Jesus at the porches healed only one man and there were probably hundreds of others who did not get healed (John 5:2-3). It clearly shows the manifestation of the Spirit of God was totally dependent upon the Spirit of God and not the man that was given the gifts. I hope you understand these concepts. If not, please ask me questions and I’ll try to answer them more clearly.
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.
I’ll wrap this lesson up with this verse for today. I find this verse very interesting in the chosen phrasing of the translators. Jesus Christ is called the “Author” of our faith. Clearly this implies to us that our faith has a starting or originating point. The Greek word “author” technically means a chief leader. However I love the use of the word “author” in this verse. In the English language the term author means the writer of words. Since we learned that faith comes by hearing God’s Words earlier we know that faith is a spiritual word based system given to us from God. Without God’s words there would be no Bible faith on the earth. In the context within this verse Jesus is also called the “finisher” or “completer” of our faith. It sounds like a man writing a book. It sounds like the book was started at some point in time and then progressively grown through phases or chapters to an ultimate end of completion. Writing a book is like growing a garden of words. This is what God is doing whether you realize it or not. That is how I view our faith and God’s Word. I believe that the hearts of men and women are the new writing tablets of God’s divine authorship and I can give you Bible verses to back that belief:
Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
Did you see what God says in Hebrews 8:10? God says I will put my laws into their minds and write them on their spirits. How does God get His words into or onto your spirit? Is that an automatic one time occurrence or is that an ongoing continual process? My personal faith in God had a starting point and my faith is now increasing based upon my knowledge of God’s word and it will eventually be completed because of the continuing work of the Spirit of Christ within me. This is the continuing ever increasing faith and that represents a state of transitional passage from faith to ever increasing faith (Rom 1:17). This tells me that we are responsible for participating in the spiritual growing process of our faith. This tells me that it is not automatic or that we have already been given all of the faith that we need. If our faith was already complete, we would no longer need a Jesus to be our finisher. Wow, I hope you understood what I just said. I am still awaiting a completed work of my savior Jesus Christ and I hope you are also. But, I also have a role to play. It is only with my involvement that God will continue to write on my heart His Word. Jesus is the Author, His word is the spiritual ink, my heart represents His blank pages and I get them written onto my heart by hearing them over and over. This is how things work and when you understand that you will be on the path to growing up into a faith giant killer like David.
I have attempted to teach you another basic faith lesson today. No you do not have all of the faith that you need to do everything that you need to do for God. If you did, then we would all be in heaven right now. Ask yourself this question, do I know and understand the entire Bible? If you answered no, then you do not have all of the faith that you could have. We are all still growing in the knowledge of Him and we better all be building our faith in increasing stages. I really did not talk directly about how much faith you need for each situation. I believe that it takes greater faith for bigger situations. In other words there are people today that have faith for millions of dollars that at one time they did not have faith for even two dollars’ worth of food. My TV preacher friend was one of those individuals. His testimony was that he and his wife went a long time without food because they had no money when they first started in the ministry. Now he teaches on TV and it costs him literally millions of dollar to pay the costs of TV time. Truly it is self-evident that his faith has increased over the years because his knowledge of God’s word also increased over the years at the same time. So if you want to be a TV preacher and think it is automatic success, just try it and we will watch you fail. I have seen many preachers on TV fail and they are no longer around. It is very clear to me that those who succeed are those that believe God will supply the need and those that fail are those that ask for donations from people. Faith is always the factor for success. But faith as we saw in Romans 12:6 is proportional. God said for us to do thing according the proportion of our faith. It was implied that we could overextend our faith and fail. If you want to start a TV ministry, first start with a group in your house and build your faith to grow to the millions of viewer level. If you fail with 4 in your house then you will fail even more with 4 million on TV. So faith is a factor and faith grows but there is also another matter that needs to be taken into account. Jesus taught us that even with a mustard seed size of faith we could move a mountain (Mat 17:20). A mountain represents a symbolic great obstacle or problem. So we must balance the fact that we do not have all of the faith that we could have with the fact that we just might have enough faith to solve at least some of our problems we are facing right now. What I recommend is that you prioritize your problems. Maybe they are financial, marital, children, or job related, emotional or even physical health related. Then go find all of the scriptures you can find on that subject that you deem to be your greatest need. Finally, feed your spirit on them daily speaking them out loud to yourself so that you can hear them to cause faith to come. There will come a time very soon after you do this continually that faith will become resident in our heart to solve your problem in that area. I also recommend that you do not start with the greatest most severe problem and combine every related need at the same time. To overwhelm your faith can be disastrous. It is usually best to start with the smaller things first and then work to the larger things like my TV minister example. Get faith for your daily natural food needs and then grow your faith to the millions of dollars of TV time costs. My TV preacher brother did not start on TV, he spent many, many years not on TV learning God’s word and growing in faith. It is like David in the Old Testament. He started watching sheep and grew to be King of Israel. David killed lions and bears before he ever tried to take down the giant facing Israel. Grow in faith and learn how faithful God is with your small successes and then greater things will come to allow you to have larger victories.
I hope and pray that you have learned more about the subject of Bible faith than you knew before. This is always my goal. I want to provide spiritual knowledge and insight to help you to grow spiritually. Thanks for taking the time to study the Bible with me today on the subject of faith. My guess is that I’m not even close to being finished with this topic but it will help me to know if you have any specific questions in any area. So drop me a comment and share anything that you might be struggling with and I will do my best to try to be a blessing to you. So until next time, may God continue to bless you with all the knowledge and spiritual wisdom of Jesus Christ. Amen.
If you would like to continue to study in this series you may go to “Part 14“.
(Ver 2.1) This is Part 7 in a study series on the subject of Understanding Genesis 3. It is also a continuation of the last lesson concerning the Tree of Life introduced by God in Genesis 2 & 3. If you have not read the Genesis 3 lesson series from the beginning I might suggest that you go and start with verse 1 and read Part 1 first. If you have not read this current subject on the tree of life from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 6” first before you study today’s lesson. Studying the Bible is one of the greatest challenges we will ever face in life, God who is a Spirit writes us a book about both natural and spiritual things and we have to be smart enough to discern which words are speaking of which. This is by far one of the greatest challenge and the trickiest methods that God has implemented in this Book to conceal the truth. You can clearly see that God calls spiritual things and natural things by the same name and that He rarely ever tells you which one He is talking about. In my last blog I introduced you to some more complex subjects found in the Bible. We began trying to figure out if the trees in the garden in Genesis 2 and 3, were physical fruit trees or were just symbolic representations of spiritual truths. I am a firm believer that these trees, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life were symbolic spiritual representations. I have a number of reasons for this logical deduction based upon many verses that I have already given to you and then some more we will discuss today. In my last lesson on this subject I also showed how that God places a Cherubim to guard the way to the tree of life and how God was not keeping the way from the man, but from another spiritual being, someone who was interested in obtaining its power and benefits. If you understand compass directions and reading maps you can understand what I showed you last time about the differences between east and west.
Next I also took you to Revelation and showed you in the last chapter the clear reference to the tree of life. It is funny how things from the beginning are repeated in the prophecies of the end. It seems to me that God must have wanted it (the tree of life) to play a major role in His plan if it ends up the way it started. We can see that this information found in Revelation 22 seems to imply we are that tree, that produces fruit and drinks from the river of life flowing from the throne of God, but that is my opinion. Today I want to go through other scriptures found in the Bible that describes this tree. These are the verses that represent God’s commentary on the subject so I place great value upon them. Hopefully we can, by searching the Bible see who or what this tree of life is and who God was keeping from it. If you search your Bible using your computer you will discover around 11 verses that contain a direct reference to this “tree of life”. These three words occur, four times in Genesis, three times in Revelation and four times in Proverbs. It is absolutely fascinating what these verses say to us. We will start with the last verse in the Bible about this tree.
Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
In this verse that is written to the church it declares that those who keep God’s Words may have the right to the tree of life. The word “right” here is a very interesting word because it means authority, power, and liberty. But more than that, it can refer to someone who is a potentate, magistrate and superhuman. These are all terms of royal sovereignty and ruler ship; terms given to kings for example. I believe what God is saying is that He wants it to end how it started, but without the influence of evil. To me it goes along with Genesis where God said that Adam could stretch forth his hand (power) and take from the tree of life. God intended the man to eat from this tree of life from the beginning, but Adam made the wrong choice. Now let’s go to the first occurrence in Revelation and see what that verse says to us. Here we find Jesus speaking to the church:
Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
You see some more valuable information given to us. Jesus is speaking directly to the church and He tells us, that whoever overcomes, to him will be given to eat from the tree of life. Overcoming implies an enemy or opposition force that is opposing us, trying to keep us from eating and partaking of that which was promised. The prize of winning this battle or contest appears to be us eating from this tree of life. That sure seems to be the reward for overcoming these evil forces of opposition. Finally, we see the location of this tree given again. This time it does not contain any reference to or is any way associated with the Garden of Eden. Even though we do not know the actual location of this tree of life we can clearly see its relationship being repeated with it being in the “middle” of the paradise of God. Adam, when God told him of this tree said it was in the middle of the garden. So what was this garden? Where is this paradise? What does it mean to be in the middle? I feel that the term middle could be a symbolic reference to someone who is well centered. Not into the extreme of this or that, but one that holds on to a well-balanced understanding of God’s Word. Of course this is my opinion again and I would hope that you can at least understand how I arrived at that opinion. I would also make this suggestion for you to consider, Jesus when asked about the Kingdom of God always told people it is not here and it is not there, but the Kingdom of God is within you. People wanted to focus on outward things and God wants us to focus on inward things. Inward things would be things associated with the heart and the spirit of man. Keep that in mind when trying to figure out where this paradise of God is located. I believe that God’s garden is within us. We are the garden of God that produces the precious fruit that God places such great value upon that He purchased it with His shed blood.
We can now move to the only other direct references in the Bible to the tree of life and these are found in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs was written by King Solomon and holds great understanding and wisdom from God. This book contains extremely valuable spiritual information about which we need to better understand. I’m going to start with a verse found in the 11th chapter and it goes like this:
Pro 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
This verse speaks to us about fruit in relation to a tree of life. But did you notice where the fruit was and what type of fruit it is speaking about? The clear implication is given to us that this is a spiritual tree with spiritual fruit. The church is declared to be the righteous ones by faith, in the New Testament (Rom 10:10, 2 Cor 5:21), so we can claim this verse as applying to us directly with great confidence. If we are supposed to produce fruit unto God as it says in Romans 7:4, then what kind of fruit is this that God is looking for? We can clearly assume it is spiritual fruit and that spiritual fruit only grows on spiritual trees. This is the “fruit” of the righteous and this verse says this comes from a tree that has eternal life. I guess I paraphrased that verse a bit, but we will get there eventually so hang in there.
Pro 3:18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
Here we have another verse which has great spiritual implications. This verse points us to the origin for the fruit that we are supposed to be producing. God’s words are declared to be the spiritual seeds of life. If planted in our hearts and watered correctly it will produce this spiritual fruit. In this verse in Proverbs God speaks about a woman who is symbolic of a spiritual force to be desired. This woman if you look at the context of the chapter is called “wisdom” and “understanding”. To have a sexual relationship with this woman is a covenant act of knowing her. God declares that by knowing “wisdom” and “understanding” you will participate in eating from the tree of life. It is a spiritual system of planting and reaping. God’s word contains all of the essential ingredients necessary to produce this tree of life. It actually says that by us knowing and understanding His word it would cause us to live and eat from the tree of life. But it really says more than that, it implies that we are the trees of life that produces the fruit for God’s glory. It is fascinating that we have read a couple of direct references to the tree of life and that these point us to spiritual things and not to any natural fruit trees in a physical garden. God did make the natural fruit trees, to help us to understand these spiritual concepts, but too many Bible teachers have ignored the spiritual things to focus only on the natural. Let’s continue in Proverbs to the next reference to this tree of life found in chapter 13:
Pro 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
Pro 13:13 Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
Pro 13:14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
Pro 13:15 Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.
These words again point us to spiritual things. In verse 12 it declares that “desire” is a tree of life. That to me is an interesting concept. If you look up this word in the Strong’s, we can learn that this word means “lust”. That implies there are certainly good and positive desires and things to lust after. Conversely it means there are bad or evil things that you should not desire to know or participate with. To lust after God and God’s Word are right desires that produce good results. By reading down to verse 14 we can see another reference to the waters of life that flow from God’s throne. These waters are again are God’s words and what He has spoken to us. So within the context of these verses we have a relationship established between the tree of life and God’s words. These are very awesome verses in Proverbs and we are at the last direct mention of the tree of life, given to us in chapter 15:
Pro 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
This is probably the most important of all the verses that we have seen so far on this subject. This verse informs us that the words coming out of our mouths produce this tree of life. You see just because God says something good for you in the Bible, does not mean that you have to accept it. You can say something totally opposite to what God has said and you will not benefit from what God has said in any way. What you say is far more important than what you can possibly imagine. What you say affects you personally more than it affects anyone else. What you say personally determines if you are saved or not. If you recall from another verse I gave in an earlier blog, also from Proverbs that says “death and life are in the power of the tongue” and then it says “those who love it will eat the fruit thereof”. We can clearly see that God has given us the choice to live or die based upon what we say. God’s spiritual system is a word based system. Everything that God has done has originated from His spoken words. God’s words have dominion over all other words, but yet they do not overrule the words that you speak. God’s words are ultimate truth, but your words are what are true for you. God does not force His will on anyone. Your will and your words rule your life and determine your destiny. The subject of words in the Bible is probably one of the most important subjects you can study and yet many ignore it and close their eyes to it. Just because you ignore the subject doesn’t mean your words are not working for or against you. The law of gravity works for you regardless of whether you understand it or not; if you do not believe in the law of gravity and step off a tall building you will find that your fall will be met with a disastrous end regardless of your beliefs. It is much better if you cooperate with the laws of nature than if you ignore them. This is the way of spiritual laws found in the Bible also. Be smart enough to learn about spiritual laws and then let them rule your life. Perhaps someday I will get into more depth on this subject of words in a future Blog. I hope that you have been challenged to see these spiritual subjects today in some new light and that they have become more real to your spirit. I have believe that I have given you sufficient evidence that the church is the ones who partake of the tree of life and produce fruit unto God. There are many, many more scriptures in the Bible that speak to this subject and further confirm what I have been attempting to say to you. If you can you should go and search for them and see what they say. God Bless!
If you would like to continue reading the Bible study series on Understanding Genesis 3 please continue to “Part 8“.