Bible Basics: Jesus Asks “Who Do You Say That I Am?” Part 2 – Believing in the Name of Jesus is a Requirement NOW!
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 2 of a very fundamental and rudimentary but essential Bible Subject for every Christian to study, learn, understand and be able to share in an instant with all others in the world! What is that vital subject you ask? The subject that I am referring to is “Who is Jesus to you?” If you did not read from the beginning I would strongly recommend that you go back to “Part 1” to begin reading the series because all of that information will not be repeated again and it was very important for your understanding of who Jesus should be to you. The first lesson was a focused approach to understanding the significance of some of the most important revealed “Names” of Jesus in the Bible. If you read the first lesson you know that I introduced you to 3 of these primary names of Jesus found in the New Testament. There are of course several other revealed names and titles of Jesus that I did not mention. Later in the series we will explore more of these names but I will mention at least two other direct names today in this lesson.
I hope after reading Part 1 that you at least have a better comprehension for the importance of these 3 Bible names of Jesus that were covered. These names were 1) Jesus, 2) Emmanuel and 3) The Word of God. All three names connected us directly to a personal divine appearance on the earth of the creator Lord God coming from heaven in the form of a man like us. In today’s lesson we will expand the subject of these 3 names by adding two new names “Lord” and “King” and we will begin to address the question of what benefit is there for believing in these names of Jesus? Were there any benefits in the early Church? Are there any benefits to these names in the modern church? Why is it important for us to even believe in the names of Jesus? What occurs if we do not believe in Jesus being God in the flesh or in His revealed names? We will soon be learning what the Bible says about what will happen if we believe in His name and what will happen if we do not. Wow that sounds imperative to know.
In many of my Bible studies I place an added emphasis upon how to study the Bible. Today’s lesson will be more of this type of double teaching effort. I want to provide the reader with valuable spiritual information but at the same time I desire to teach a few of the rules and methods for how the information was obtained. In this way I am teaching the reader more about “how to fish for information” than simply just offering them a “onetime fish meal of information”. Of course the number one rule for every Bible study method is for us to be led by the Spirit of God and listen for His guidance as we study the Bible by faith. Following this rule will insure that we are on the right path to not deviate from the way of finding the truth. The Spirit of God is Truth (John 14:17) and we are told that He will guide us into all Truth (John 16:13).
INTRODUCTION TO THE NAME OF THE LORD
Let’s begin this Bible study using the important Bible study technique called “The Law of First Mention. Today’s Bible study’s primary focus is upon the importance of knowing, understanding and believing in the name of Jesus. So we will go back into the O.T. to find the name of God that is found within this name Jesus. Perhaps you do not understand what the law of first mention represents. I found through years of Bible study that the law of first mention is a very useful study technique to learn from and use. This study law introduces us to the subject where God first mentions what we are interested in learning. I have found consistently that God places key information in every initial subject reference that is critical to understanding almost every other subject reference in the rest of the Bible. Since we learned in lesson 1 that the original language Hebrew name of Jesus was comprised of two Hebrew root words “Jehovah and Saves” we will focus in on the O.T. references to the name of God, Jehovah. The first time this name Jehovah is used by God in the O.T. is found in Genesis 2. Let us read the verse and learn what God introduces us to in this first subject mention:
Gen 2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
Did you notice that this verse connects the name Jehovah directly to the God of creation and the creation event itself? In Genesis 1 the name of God primarily mentioned is H430 Elohim which is normally translated as “God”. However in this verse in Genesis 2 Jehovah and Elohim are joined and used in conjunction together as a connecting force for equality, for clarification and for further definition. I believe this simply teaches us that Jehovah is Elohim and Elohim is Jehovah. Why is this important? It is only important because in the New Testament in John 1 we saw another direct reference to GOD and to the creation event that must be included with Genesis 2:4 in order to be understood more thoroughly. Let’s review the first three verses of John 1:
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1 are parallel creation event verses connected together by God’s design. God in the book of John further clarifies and bring newly defined light and revelation to the subject of creation and the Creator. God is being declared equivalent to the Word in these verses and we are clearly informed that the Word created everything that was made. We can now go back and reread Genesis 1 and find that this is exactly what happened. God spoke His Word and the created things came forth and produce life.
In these verses in John the name of God is the Greek word “Theos” and this is the equivalent of the Hebrew name of God “Elohim” by direct association. Notice, in Genesis 1:1 God says “In the beginning God (Elohim)…” and in John 1:1 God says “In the beginning God (Theos)…”. I know technically it says “In the Beginning was the Word” but later in the verse God tells us the Word was God (Theos) and that is a basic Algebraic law at work that says if A = B and B = C then A = C. Therefore I hope you understand why it is legal to say Elohim and Theos are equivalent but I will offer additional evidence as I continue in the lesson and probably repeat what I have said for the benefit of everyone.
One of the things that I want to teach in this lesson is that anytime God quotes even a portion of a verse from the O.T. in the N.T., He is connecting the words across a language boundary. I hope you understand the importance of knowing this. This technique of word structure, definition and equivalency is part of God’s internal technical design of the entire Bible. God used this technique of quotation to help us and teach us the way through the complexity introduced by His usage between two main separations of languages found within the original Bible manuscripts. The O.T. was written in predominately Hebrew and the N.T. was written in exclusively the Greek language. So how do we resolve this major language separation when studying any subject in both the Old and the New Testaments? We do it by finding and using God’s laws designed for us to follow. Following God’s laws of how to cross language boundaries provide us very specific rules and boundary limits to avoid an “anything goes approach to Bible interpretation”. Without following God’s established rules there is only a random unstructured chaos approach to interpretation taking place based upon human reasoning and that will usually fail us 100 times out of 100 attempts. That is exactly why there are thousands of different Christian denominations in the world today. Too many people are ignoring God’s rules and inventing their own ways to understand the Bible.
What we learn from this divinely designed language connection technique is that the Greek word Theos (G2316) is the equivalent word found within the Hebrew as the word Elohim (H430). Do you understand this? What I am saying is, if we were translating the O.T. original Hebrew language into the Greek language we would make the Hebrew word Elohim read as “Theos” because this is exactly what God did in the Bible and we should follow His example. Conversely if we were translating the N.T. into Hebrew the Greek word “Theos” would be translated into “Elohim” because of God’s choice and not mine. This is not that complicated but it is still a very essential concept to learn for correct Bible understanding and interpretation. We can further confirm this truth of the word equivalence between the Hebrew Elohim and the Greek Theos by looking at several verses but I will give only one other verse to keep the lesson shorter:
Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
This is an excellent verse to expand our knowledge from. Jesus is quoting a commonly known O.T. verse in this statement within the Gospel account. Here in Matthew God directly connects two very key Greek words together that we need to know. The first Greek word is G2316 (Theos) which was translated as God and is the same word found in John 1:1 that we just looked at. But now we can also see the second Greek word being connected to God (Theos) is G2962 (Kurios) which is translated as Lord in this verse. This is the exact same word and name connection that God made in Genesis 2:4 if you recall. The “Lord God” is in fact the name that I am looking for to further understand. Now let’s go and review the original Hebrew statement being quoted by Jesus to learn the original Hebrew language words:
Deu 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.
Here again are the two key words LORD and God that are being researched having been connected by God’s design to the New Testament in the Matthew 4:7 quotation. The Hebrew word H430 that was translated into English as “God” is Elohim and the Hebrew word H3068 that was translated as “LORD” in English is Jehovah. We now have a very direct confirmation that the Hebrew word Jehovah is directly linked and is equivalent to the Greek word Kurios and the Hebrew word Elohim is directly linked and is equivalent to the Greek word Theos in all of scripture. Do you understand why I could just say this? If not there are more than enough verses quoted in the N.T. that you could go through to prove this statement if you want to do the work. This is a very critical part of correct Bible study to find these types of details. This should leave no room for doubt that we are on the right track learning about who is named LORD in both the O.T. and the N.T. I do hope that you are beginning to understand where I am going.
Now let’s go back to John 1 and review again. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God (Theos = Elohim) and the Word was God (Theos = Elohim). I just inserted the Greek and Hebrew equivalent words in this verse to help bring clarification to what God is speaking of. John 1:1 is very clearly telling us that the Word is God (Theos = Elohim) and it further teaches us in verse 2 that the Word was with God in the beginning. The terms “with God” and “is God” sound like conflicting statements but these are only possible because of the triune nature of God Almighty (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
Then in verse 3 God (Theos = Elohim) speaks clearly that all things that were made by God (Theos = Elohim) and everything that was made was made by the Word. Wow that is awesome information to teach us something very new and profound. Go back and review Genesis 2:4 again to make the connection. Genesis 2:4 said “Jehovah Elohim” created the heavens and the earth. Do you see the direct connection being made to who Jehovah was? Can you see that the “Word = God” in John 1 is the exact same God as the “Jehovah = God” in Genesis 2:4? Both are speaking of who created our world. I believe overwhelmingly that the LORD GOD is the same as the WORD GOD and they are equivalent and I will prove that statement further as I continue in the lesson.
Let’s review some of the basic mathematical laws again to help us understand the Bible more clearly. The Bible was authored by the same God that created math so it just makes logical sense for us to apply the same laws of God’s math design to God’s application of His Word. Do you remember what I said earlier? I said that God Theos = God Elohin by God’s usage of quoted O.T. verses found in the N.T. I then said LORD Kurios = LORD Jehovah using the same type God’s N.T. quoted examples. Now using John 1 we learn how God connects the “Word” was equal to “God” which was equal to “Theos” which was equal to “Elohim”. I think this may be going over the head of many of my readers but that does not mean that I should not be teaching it. Now using the divinely connected verses of Deuteronomy 6:17 and Matthew 4:7 we learned that Jehovah Elohim (Hebrew) = LORD God (English) = Kurios Theos (Greek). I think I need to say this again because it is so very important for you to embrace, using O.T. quoted verse words in the New Testament we now know that Jehovah Elohim = Kurious Theos = LORD God. I am just laying a very important foundation for more knowledge that is coming.
Ok if I haven’t left you behind so far I want to go a bit deeper. Recall from lesson 1 that Joshua was the original Hebrew name of Jesus. Never, never forget that Jesus was born a Jew and spoke the Hebrew language and not the Greek language. Jesus said very plainly that He was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel (Mat 15:24). When people met Jesus on the road they called Him “Yeshua” (Hebrew) = Joshua (English transliteration) = Jesus (Greek to English transliteration). This Hebrew name came down from heaven and was given to Him by an angel of the LORD GOD. As I have stated more than once we should know that the name Joshua was the Hebrew word H3091 and this meant “Jehovah Saved” which comes from two root words H3068 Jehovah and H3467 yasha being joined together. We have just learned that Jehovah (Hebrew) = Kurios (Greek). Therefore we can by the mathematical law of equivalency say Jesus’ name was the same as Kurios Saved because that would be the legal name using the Greek language equivalent. Why is this important? We will soon find out very quickly as we continue. I hope and pray that you are interested in learning because this is only going to get better.
I have already established who the Word of God was stated to be in Lesson 1 of this series. The Word of God was a given name for Jesus revealed by God to us in the N.T. (Revelation 19:3). I have just emphasized that the name of Jesus was a Hebrew name originally and it is comprised of two key words Jehovah Saves. We are discovering further confirmation that Jesus was Jehovah come to save His people just as He was prophesied to do. So let’s now move on to further study that subject in the next section of the lesson to go even deeper.
CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD
Psa 20:9 Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.
This is my opening key verse to this entire section of the lesson. Please, notice what God says. The verse begins with “Save Lord”. Uh oh do you remember what that means in Hebrew? Opening in this verse are found the two key Hebrew root words that comprise the name of Joshua and Jesus. These words that were translated correctly as “save” and “LORD” are H3467 and H3068. Wow this is pretty good stuff if you are paying attention. I’ll say it again “these are the exact two Hebrew words that make up the name of Jesus” and this verse in the Bible calls Him the King that saves the people that call upon Him. Save us Lord (JEHOVAH) is the cry being made by the people in this verse. These were people on the earth crying out for the LORD to save them. So let me ask you who came to save them? Who is your savior today? Is it not Jesus? I know Jesus saved me for sure, but I cannot speak for you.
We are told that they are crying out and calling for a king to save them. I’ll ask you again, “Who is this king that will save them”? Wow again, because if you know the N.T. just a little bit you know that Jesus is called the “King of kings” in Revelation 19:16 another divinely appointed name and title. I told you earlier that we were going to learn a new Name of Jesus today and that was it. Jesus is the KING of kings which clearly qualifies Him to be called upon according to this verse. Now know and believe that Jesus is this King and make the connection being made to Jesus our Savior and Lord in Psalms 20:9. Jehovah Saves = Joshua/Jesus and the people are calling upon this King named Jehovah for their salvation. Could it really be that Jesus is this prophesied King that will come to save us who call upon the Lord/JEHOVAH? I believe beyond a shadow of doubt that it is Him and we will certainly see many more verses in this lesson that will affirm that this King is Jesus.
What I am trying to teach over and over in this lesson until we all get it is that Jehovah is Jesus and Jesus is the Jehovah God that has saved us when we believe in Him and call upon His name. Now let’s shift our focus slightly to a different first mention in the O.T. concerning those that “called on the name of JEHOVAH”. In this part of the section we will look at when men first began to call on the name of the Lord in the Old Testament. This is accomplished by a simple Bible text search within a good Bible search software program like “eSword”. If you do the search you will find the first mention of the words “name of the Lord” to be in Gen 4:26:
Gen 4:26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
Seth is the third named son of Adam and Eve. Seth has a son and names him Enos. Enos is the same as the Hebrew word H582 that means “mortal” and I find that fact very interesting when observed by what God connects within the context of this verse to this name Enos being given. Enos was born approximately 235 years after Adam’s creation. You may recall by reading earlier in the context of Genesis 4 that Adam and Eve had a son named “Cain” first and then they had another son named “Abel”. The older brother Cain murders his younger brother Abel and this is the first direct mention of any natural human death occurring in our world in the Bible. I’ll say it again that this natural death of Abel entering into the world was the first recorded occurrence of human mortality to actually be observed by any other human on the earth. God plainly prophesied and warned Adam that death would come if he sinned and disobeyed God’s command. It was truly the sinful disobedience of Adam that allowed death to enter into the world according to Romans 5:12. I personally believe that it was the observed death of Abel the first human’s blood to be shed upon the earth that caused this verse in Genesis 4:26 to come to pass.
I believe that as soon as men and women on the earth began to realize the great impact and consequences of human sin they began to call upon the name of the Lord/Jehovah. Why do you think that people would feel the need to call on the name of the Lord in Genesis 4:26? What were they calling Him for? That is a very great question to ponder. What benefit was there to calling on the name Jehovah at this time or anytime? Was there actually any profit for doing this? I firmly believe that there was then and still is now. Let’s look at an example of one O.T. stated benefit for calling upon the name of the Lord:
Psa 99:6 Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
Notice that Moses, Aaron and Samuel all called on the God named Jehovah. Let me ask you this question, if you are calling on the name of Buddha will the LORD God named Jehovah answer? If you are calling on the name of Hare Krishna will the LORD Jehovah answer? What about the name of the sun god Ra or the mythological god named Zeus? What if you called upon the name Allah? Will the LORD Jehovah answer to any of these names? Let’s look at a great Bible example of why it is so very important to call upon the right name and the right God:
1Ki 18:24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.
Wow this verse is pretty awesome. Elijah challenges the priests of the false gods and tells them to call upon the name of their gods and he would call upon the name of Jehovah the true living God just like Moses, Aaron and Samuel did and the God that answered by fire would be God. That was an overwhelming display of faith in the name of Jehovah by Elijah. If you read the rest of the chapter you will find who heard, who answered and who prevailed in this challenge and it was the God named Jehovah. Was there any advantage gained by Elijah for him to call upon Jehovah? It is very self-evident that there was a great benefit found in this example for Elijah’s faith and wise choice to call upon Jehovah.
This is just a very basic fact of truth being taught. If you called me by the name of John when my real name was Ron, please understand that I will probably not answer you. If you want a response from anyone you should probably know their name. If you want someone to answer you, it is wise to call them by their name. These are very simple truths yet extremely important to know. We could say that this “call on the right name and He will answer knowledge” is just “common sense” but yet this human quality seems to be an escaping virtue to possess these days for so many. God gives us examples in Psalms 99:6 of a few select men that called upon His name. These men were Moses, Aaron and Samuel and they are said to have all called upon the name of Jehovah and it tells us clearly that they received a response from Him. That is the first astounding benefit revealed by God in this lesson for believing in His name and calling upon the name of the Lord. God teaches us that if we call upon His name then He will hear us and He will answer because He is no respecter of persons. Therefore, if your LORD is Jesus then call upon Jesus and see if He hears and answers the same as Jehovah did in these examples. I believe that we have already established with scripture that Jesus was Jehovah in the flesh in lesson 1 but we re exploring more evidence in this lesson to remove all doubt.
CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD BENEFITS
I introduced you to just one of the benefits to calling upon the name of the Lord in the previous section. This section will continue the lesson with more of the stated benefits for believing in the name of the correct Lord and calling upon His name. I want to begin this section of the lesson with a verse for you to read and then ask you a question to why it is important. Please read over this verse carefully noting what is stated and then you begin to ask yourself questions from what you believe that God has given to you to know:
Act 4:18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
Notice the Apostles were teaching others about Jesus and this made the Jews very angry. But more specifically notice that the apostles were teaching directly about the “name of Jesus”. Wow that sounds important to me. Why would it even be necessary for the apostles to teach in the name of Jesus? Could there have been any directly stated or even implied benefits that were attached to this name that needed to be made known to the others that heard? Could the others that heard the name of Jesus being taught also gain any benefits from hearing about His name? Why would Satan not want the “name of Jesus” to be spread to others? According to this verse there must be some great significance for teaching in the name of Jesus that the enemy wants to silence. This name of Jesus sounds very important to me and I hope you will agree. This is exactly why I am spending so much time teaching on the name of Jesus.
We are studying the reasons why the belief in the name of Jesus and calling on His name is very essential. We have discovered that when we call upon the name of the Lord, He says that He hears us and that He will answer. We can learn some very key facts to know about the name of the Lord Jesus if we open our spiritual eyes to see and receive them. The word benefit is defined as “an advantage or a profit gained from something given or obtained”. The something in this case given is for us “to believe in the name of Jesus” and then “to call upon this name of Jesus”. The profit and advantage gained from doing these two simple things may be far greater than you can possibly imagine right now. Before I go further I’ll state the antithesis truth of what I just said. The opposite truth states that the losses and disadvantages that are faced by not believing in the name of the Lord and not calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus could be infinitely consequential to your life. Let’s get started with learning some of the essential benefits and advantages for learning the name of the LORD:
Psa 116:12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
Psa 116:13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
Here are two great subject verses. The Hebrew word in verse 12 translated as benefits means to “bestow on” or to “deal bountifully” with someone. That reveals to us that God by His freewill and sovereign choice has placed His infinite divine grace and favor upon those that call upon His name. But many will try to say that these verses are not about Jesus so why are you including it here? However that is really not true. Almost everything in the Old Testament points us to Jesus even if you do not see it at first. I teach that Jesus is the central themed subject of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
Verse 12 teaches us that we cannot earn or repay what God is prophesied to do for us in this verse or now has done for us after Christ has come. However, this undeserved gift is truly a New Testament Grace concept. What is God talking about here that cannot be repaid? Verse 13 gives us a glimpse into what one of these coming benefits is. Salvation is the stated primary subject benefit for believing and calling on the name of the LORD. However, this “cup of salvation” must be taken by the one that it is being offered to. God does not force anyone to drink from this saving cup. This cup is what God has offered to every man, woman and child on the earth. God has extended the cup of salvation to each of us in this life. If we choose to take it we will be saved. How does this work? God tells you in the last part of verse 13. We must call upon the name of the LORD. Again that sounds critical to know. Could that be the reason why the Apostles in Acts were teaching the people about the name of Jesus?
The key name of God found in verses 12 and 13 are translated as LORD which is the Hebrew word H3068 again referred to in English transliteration as “Jehovah”. The Hebrew word Jehovah is included by God in over 5500 verses of the O.T. Jehovah is also a root word of the name of the English transliterated name of Jesus as I have previously taught several times now. What we need to do is to learn if there are any other supporting God given connections of Jesus being Jehovah. So let’s establish truth using the Bible and the Spirit of God to guide us. Consider this important subject verse next:
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Here in this chapter’s context is found the primary subjects of human salvation in conjunction with the belief and placing our faith in the name of Jesus in order to be saved. Did you notice what this verse said? God tells us that whoever shall choose to make a decision and call on the name of the LORD they and they alone will be saved. Who is this LORD? I believe if you are intelligent you will know that this LORD is speaking of only Jesus Christ.
Now please know and understand that this verse in Romans 10:13 is a direct quotation of another Old Testament verse about Jehovah found in Joel 2:32. Wow, that is just an amazing coincidence that God through the inspired writer Paul would use an obscure O.T. verse to teach us that the N.T. man named Jesus is the same LORD as O.T. named Jehovah. You see the Hebrew word that is translated as LORD in Joel 2:32 is Jehovah (H3068) the exact word found in over 5500 verses of the Old Testament and the Greek word in Romans 10:13 that is translated as Lord is Kurios (G2932) the same word we have been learning is the equivalent language match. Again these two verses in Romans and Joel further establish that the Greek word G2932 and the Hebrew word H3068 are equivalent words about the same subject just across a language division boundary. Are you getting it yet? I hope so.
I hope and pray that you are beginning to learn why this is so important. God is teaching us that the O.T. Jehovah (LORD) is the same as the N.T. Lord Jesus using the direct law of inspired quotation. They must both be the same person called by one name “LORD” in two different languages. God is teaching us that it was Him, the Jehovah/Lord God that became Jesus and walked among us to save us. Why can’t people see this? People do not see the truth because the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:4 their minds have been blinded by the god of this world (Satan). Satan is still trying to stop people like me from teaching on the name of Jesus and who He is. There is truly nothing new under the sun.
There are so very many people who call themselves saved Christians and ignore the Bible. They do not believe that Jesus was God come in the flesh and I believe this endangers their salvation tremendously. These types of people take their selective verses and attempt to prove Jesus was just a man, just a prophet or even just an angel sent down from heaven. This type of belief leaves God’s direct participation and contribution in our salvation process completely out of the picture. It would further make Jesus an impersonal created unwilling participant and would certainly deny His deity. In other words some believe that God sent or created someone else instead of coming Himself to save us. That type of belief denies the name of Jesus to be meaningful. Wow that is such a huge deception being pulled over the spiritual eyes of people. Let’s move to two other verse witnesses that Jesus Himself spoke:
Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Joh 13:13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.
In the first verse Jesus asks “Why do you call me Lord (Kurios) and do not do what I say?” In the second verse Jesus says “You call me teacher and Lord (Kurios) and you speak well because I am (He)”. However, remember again the basic fact that Jesus was a Jew and spoke Hebrew, so He was not speaking the Greek language when He said these statements even though it was recorded in the Greek language for us to read. This means from our previous study that Jesus said Luke 6:46 “Why call you me “Jehovah” “Jehovah” and do not do what I say?” and in John 13:13 He said “You call me teacher and JEHOVAH and You are correct I am”. Wow, Wow and Wow! Are you receiving who Jesus claimed to be? Get what Jesus is saying. Think like a Hebrew for a few moments! Put yourself in the audience when Jesus made these statements and you will soon understand why many picked up stones to kill Him.
Jesus is directly claiming to be God Almighty in the flesh with both of these statements. Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus ever dispute being the Jehovah LORD. Nowhere does Jesus ever deny being God Jehovah incarnate. In fact the completely opposite is actually found true. Jesus repeatedly alluded to the fact that He had come down from heaven and that He and His Father were ONE (John 10:30). Yet so many people refuse to see the truth and they choose to buy into a lie of Satan so easily. Here is another additional witness to insure the accuracy of Jesus being Jehovah:
Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Let every word of truth be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses the Bible teaches. God again quotes the prophet Joel here in this verse in Acts. This verse is a duplication of Roman’s 10:13 statement. The Apostle Peter after being filled with the Holy Ghost stands up and preaches to the multitude that was found present to hear him. If you read the context you will find that He is speaking directly of Jesus as being this “Lord” that Joel prophesied about coming. Wow again, is that not just a little bit crazy? I’m being humorous by asking that question. No, Peter was not crazy. Peter was a Jewish man also and he was quoting a Hebrew verse about Jehovah claiming that it was written about Jesus. Therefore, Peter claimed that Jesus was Jehovah come down to the earth and was teaching this to anyone that hears it.
We just read that Jesus Himself claimed to be Jehovah. Then if men like Peter believed Jesus was Jehovah and Paul believed Jesus was Jehovah why don’t you? We would have to follow a completely different and false Gospel in order to believe in a salvation process that did not come from the God Jehovah personally being present on the earth to die for our sins. I would strongly suggest that you go and reread Roman 10 and Acts 2 again and again to see how God used the Joel prophecy to describe Jesus as being LORD (Jehovah). This is exactly what was being proclaimed by the early church believe it or not. I am going to take this divine message even deeper to help you to learn the truth. You are probably familiar with this verse but hopefully new light will shine upon it so that you will see it differently:
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Paul a Jew writes that “if you will confess (call, speak, say) with your mouth the LORD Jesus….you will be saved”. The Greek word translated as “LORD” in this verse is the same G2962 Kurios that we have learned is the equivalent to the Hebrew Jehovah. Now change this one word Lord in the sentence and reread the verse:
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth JEHOVAH is Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
I made three minor but legitimate changes to the KJV Bible verse. I took away “the”, added “is” and change Lord to the Equivalent Hebrew word “JEHOVAH”. All of this was legal. I will confirm this with using the amplified translation:
Rom 10:9 Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord (JEHOVAH) and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Notice how the amplified translated the original Greek. I added the word (JEHOVAH) to bring clarity because this was the original Hebrew equivalent word. The amplified Bible said for us to say “Jesus is LORD” and by the law of Algebraic equivalence we know that we can or should say “Jesus is Jehovah”. BY believing who Jesus was and making this statement we are declaring Jesus to be Jehovah our God and this verse says when we do that we will be saved. This harmonizes precisely with the verses we just looked at in Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21.
What we are learning is that our New Covenant salvation is found in believing that Jesus is the God Jehovah. Before we end this section we will observe an additional essential reference for this part of the benefits to the name of Jesus subject study:
Act 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
Act 4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
Act 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Here in these verses we find the primary reason for believing in the name of Jesus and calling upon His name. Peter very clearly teaches us that there is no other name under heaven given among men where we can even think to be saved. Wow, wow and wow!!! Here we again get confirmation that the name of Jesus is an absolute necessity for being saved. This implies that we must know who this name was given to and what He represents. What makes this name different than anyone else’s name on the earth? Why would Satan want us to not teach about this name, learn or know this name? Anyone telling you that Jesus was not God is from Satan and you have a choice to believe them or not. I am telling you plainly that Jesus was God using more than enough verses from the Bible to establish the truth and you have the same choice to believe what I say from the Bible or not.
We should learn that salvation is the primary need to learn, know and believe in the name of Jesus, but there is also another quick reference given to us in verse 10 that should be mentioned. If you read the context you will find why Peter is speaking about Jesus and His name. Peter had just used his faith in the name of Jesus to cause a lame man at the temple gate to walk. It was this name of Jesus that Peter said made the man whole. The Greek word translated as whole means to be healed and made complete. That teaches us that salvation is much more than just God taking our spirits to heaven after we die. No the Greek word translated as salvation is “sozo” and it means to be made whole spiritually, mentally and physically. Go back in Acts and read verse 9 where Peter is telling the elders “by what means this man was made whole”. The Greek word “whole” in this verse is G4928 “sozo” and it means “to save, deliver or protect”. This word is used in the N.T. in a varied and wide all-inclusive process. The name of Jesus saves us in so many ways that most of us have not yet realized or believed. I’m really not going to get into this part of the meaning of salvation any further in this lesson. I have other lessons that will expand upon this if you are interested.
What we must conclude from just these few verses that I have gone through so far today is that Jesus was Jehovah come down to save, deliver and protect us by our faith in His name and saying He is our Jehovah (LORD). That is what the name Jesus means and that was what has occurred and is offered to you if you choose to believe it and receive it. Therefore, our salvation is the most important reason for believing in and calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus. This truth was clearly established in Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21. We are commanded to call upon His name and God says we will be saved. Satan will fight you over this and try with all his power to get you not to believe this because this will take you out of his kingdom of darkness and he will no longer be your lord. I seriously hope and pray that you understand what is being said here because the antithesis truth not directly stated is that if you do not believe or call upon the name of Jesus you will not be saved and go to hell.
DIVINE SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE NAME OF JESUS
I am going to conclude this name of Jesus Bible lesson with a final message of warning. This warning comes directly from God’s Word and not from my imagination. I am just the messenger that is delivering the warning. Paul is writing to the church in these next few verses and we should take special heed to what is stated especially in the light of what we have learned so far about Jesus is Lord/Jehovah. Turn to Philippians chapter 2 and read with me:
Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Php 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Php 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Php 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Php 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
According to God people can bow their knees to the name of the LORD Jesus right now by their choice or they will be forced to bow later without a choice. There are no other options given to us. It is and always will be a right now decision by an act of freewill humble submission and surrender or later by an act of superior force. You need to spend a lot of time reading these verses and understanding what is being revealed about Jesus conforms to everything that I have taught up until this point and then realize who God claimed Himself to be in His written Holy Word. Verses 5 through 8 teach us about God coming down from heaven and taking on the form of a human male. He humbles Himself to be a servant in order to die on a cross for our sins. Verse 9 is referring to God raising Jesus from the dead to ascend back into heaven being given a much superior name above every other name.
Read down to verse 11 and notice who Jesus is written by God’s design to be again. God tells us in this verse that every tongue will confess that “Jesus is LORD”. Who is this LORD? Always remember that the Greek word translated as “LORD” is G2962 Kurios the exact same word that we learned earlier that was equivalent to the Hebrew word H3068 JEHOVAH by God’s definition? If God inspired the writer Paul to write this message in his native Hebrew language instead of the Greek, what would it have said? Remember the writer Paul was a native Jew by his own admission. Paul would have thought thoughts primarily in the Hebrew language. Therefore, reread the statement inserting the Hebrew word equivalent, “every tongue will confess that JESUS CHRIST IS JEHOVAH”. Wow that is a very strong word of warning for us to believe in right now. I really do not understand why people do not think when they read the Bible. The truth is staring them right in the face but it is hidden from their view by wrong thinking. Please confess that Jesus is Jehovah right now because later you will be forced to say it but it will be too late.
We have only begun to touch on this very major subject of believing that Jesus is Jehovah and calling upon the name of Jesus to be saved. I have only introduced you to a very small portion of the importance of the name of Jesus. However, we have seen more than enough reasons and evidence to confirm the significance of why it is vitally essential to know Jesus by name and who He was as Jehovah incarnate. I have also taught on why we all need to believe and call upon this name in order to be saved using multiple verse confirmations. We have learned a few reasons to know what is gained from believing in the name of Jesus and by calling upon Him by name. It is very clear from Bible research that the early church taught on this subject of the name of Jesus everywhere they encountered people that needed to be saved. If the early church placed such great emphasis on Jesus being Jehovah why should we not do the exact same? I will list a few benefits for doing this now again for a quick synopsis overview:
- When we believe on Him we will call and when we do not believe we will not call.
- When we call upon Him, He will hear us.
- When He hears us, God says that He will answer.
- All who believe and call on the name of the LORD Jesus will be saved.
- Salvation is found in absolutely no other name but the name of Jesus.
- I’ll say it again, there is no other name given to men whereby we may be saved.
- Never forget to tell people that Jesus is Jehovah.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this Bible lesson. I do pray that it opened your eyes to see some things that you have never considered before about Jesus and God’s Word. I hope and pray that this lesson will give sufficient evidence to convince any doubters to confess Jesus is Jehovah now. If you have the opportunity to share my website with your friends and family I would be so grateful for your help spread the Word of God to others. Thank you all and God Bless you until next time.
(Ver 1.1) Today I am teaching another lesson on the highly controversial subject of “predestination” or “election” as it is also referred to many times. This is Part 4 of what should be a basic Bible study series concerning a very difficult and easily misunderstood Bible subject that is taken to extremes to place deception into the minds and lives of Christians. Satan does this to remove human “freewill” as being a factor for salvation. It further removes human responsibility to getting saved or staying saved. The extreme predestination philosophy allows an anything goes belief for acceptable human behavior without consequences of guilt or punishment. It removes the need for repentance, believing, learning, growing up spiritually and many other factors for a successful Christian life. If you have not read this series form the beginning I would strongly recommend that you go back and start with “Part 1” and then proceed forward to today’s Bible lesson. In doing this you will get a more complete understanding of the entire subject.
In today’s lesson I will begin addressing more specifically two sets of Bible verses that are commonly used by extreme teachers to preach their erroneous doctrine of extreme “predestination”. I received a question from a friend and this will be an answer for everyone to read and benefit from. I was asked about Ephesians 1:3-11 and Romans 8:28-30 and I have to admit that reading these verses in isolation certainly gives us all the appearance of a valid “predestination” theology on the surface. But was this what God did? Did God predestine some to heaven and some to hell without any human participation or determination upon where they wanted to go?
It might surprise you that I agree with a part of the “predestination” theology. The word “predestinate” is certainly a part of the Bible and this means we need to learn about it. Bible “Predestination” simply means a divine plan was put into place by the sovereign mind and will of God and God putting His plan into action has predetermined the outcome result. That is “predestination” in a very limited definition form. Predestination simply means a predetermined outcome was planned by God by placing severe limits upon the possible outcomes. That is what the word means and that is what God is bound to do but taking that definition and teaching what people do today is totally absurd.
I completely agree that God had a plan in place for human salvation long before He did anything to create our world. This plan involved Jesus who was the Almighty God in the flesh coming to the earth as the sacrificial lamb (Rev 13:8). Therefore God predetermined before man even existed that He would come down to the earth in the form of sinful flesh (Rom 8:3) to die for the payment of our sins removing our penalty for them while we were all yet sinners (Romans 5:8). This is the part of the doctrine of “Predestination” that I believe in with my whole heart and I hope and pray that you do also.
I also totally agree that God has omniscient foreknowledge of every event within human history and uses these events to put His plan into effect. However, the problem that arises very quickly is when people take these basic truths and stretch them into realms of beliefs that are not stated in the Bible. For example many people teach that God has predestined some to go to heaven and some to go to hell by His sovereign will and choice. That part of the doctrine of predestination represents a line in the sand that I refuse to cross because it violates God’s written word and makes Him to be a liar and my God is not a liar. I have already taught in three lessons about many things concerning why extreme predestination does not balance or conform to God’s entire precious Holy Word and we will be going into even more verses today because this is absolutely so important and vital for every Christian to understand.
AN INTRODUCTION AGAIN TO SALVATION
I realize that these verses that were given to me from Ephesians and Romans appear to confirm predestination as a legitimate theological doctrine. I’m very sure that these are two of the primary references being used by pastors to teach on the subject of “predestination”. But the extreme teaching and interpretation of these verses is by far not even close to being a correct or accurate representation of who God is or what God says. These extreme teachings are certainly not balanced properly with the rest of the Bible. For example let’s begin talking briefly about how we were saved according to scriptures:
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Here we have some of the most important basics of Christianity and salvation. God declares that we have been saved by God’s Grace but only in conjunction through our faith and we have been also made the children of God by our Faith in Christ Jesus also given only by God’s Grace. Therefore it is only because of our faith and belief in Jesus that has accomplished salvation by God’s Grace. If we have NO faith in Christ and choose NOT to believe in Him then we are not saved nor are we called His children. Knowing this truth is the foundation for the rest of Christianity which causes spiritual growth to continue helping us to see our role, relationship and purpose for being saved in Christ. Therefore I’m going to say something that may blow your mind but according to God’s Word it is the freewill choice of man to believe that determines whether or not we are selected (saved) and not God selecting us that determined our salvation. I’ll probably get a lot of negative comments and may even lose some readers because of that statement but so what I’m not going to change God’s word to fit your theology. It is really so very simple yet this scriptural truth of human faith being the determining factor for our salvation is ignored completely by many extreme “predestination” only preachers. Let’s look at a new verse briefly to learn an additional confirmation of who should be considered the chosen and how they became this:
2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
We should be able to clearly see at first glance that God has chosen us from the beginning. This is a basic predestination verse that teachers like to grab hold of to easily misunderstand the subject. However, this verse is another example of divine and human partnership working together to achieve our salvation. You see there are two direct things mentioned that God does in this verse and these are 1). God has chosen us to (for) salvation and God has done this 2). Through a process called sanctification. Then there are two direct things that we as Christians are said to do and these are 1). Give thanks to God for what He has done and 2). Believe the truth. The key word I want to focus upon is the Greek word G4102 translated as “belief” in this verse. This Greek word literally means to be persuaded of something. It can be translated as “believe” or “belief” or even “faith”. This is a word for humans not God. This Greek word represents what we do. It is a verb action of human response after hearing the Gospel (good news) of what God has done through Jesus Christ. We are required to have faith in order to please God according to Hebrew 11:6. Thus we are given one of the primary reasons for being chosen or selected by God is because of our faith. In other words if you don’t believe or have any faith you will not be selected. Do you understand this? People want to say it was only God’s sovereign choice and His right to choose some and reject others that caused us to be saved or lost but that is foolish thinking based upon poor human reasoning with no scriptural backing for that belief. No, the truth is that we determine whether we will be selected by our faith in Jesus Christ. It is so easy when you finally see it.
I was asked specifically about Romans 8:28-30 and Ephesians 1:3-11. I’ll talk about Romans 8 first in this lesson but everything that is written could apply to Ephesians 1 also. There are at least three mistakes that Bible teachers take upon themselves with their wrong interpretations of these scriptures that cause error to go forth to be taught. First they ignore the context of the verses and that is taking phrases out of their setting to say what they think they want them to say instead of what they actually say. Second there is a common problem of seeing verses from the wrong scriptural point of view to make the verses again say what they want instead of what God actually said being balanced with all other verses on the subject of human FREEWILL. You see context is also much more than just the verses in the surrounding chapter. Context must also include the whole Bible and every scripture that is related to the subject directly or indirectly. God is one author of one book and people taking one statement without the rest will lead us to error. Third there is the problem that occurs when an assumption is drawn based upon no direct facts being given. We must not make assumptions if God does not give us two or three witnesses to our belief.
Let’s go over a quick overview of good interpretation and understanding principles. We need to first learn to read and study the context of the verse within the chapter, the book, and the entire Bible in order to understand any single statement better and more clearly. Next then we need to read the Bible using the correct perspective. Many times we should consider what is written from God’s viewpoint since He is the admitted author of the text. God’s viewpoint is normally from a very spiritual perspective because He is a Spirit. God’s spiritual viewpoint is superior and normally conflicts with the human natural viewpoint (Romans 8:7). We learn this principle from several Bible selections including Romans 8 that we are currently studying but consider another reference found in 1 Samuel 16:7 when God spoke to the prophet and told him not to look on the outward appearance of the man (flesh) because God looks upon his heart (spirit). Wow, that is an awesome bit of knowledge to learn from and apply in our lives and study today.
Now consider the fact that there are other possible verses in the Bible that are directly related to the subject of “predestination”. These verses must also be considered contextual information that should be weighed together. Wouldn’t any or all of these other verses possibly have an impact in determining how we need to believe in the whole subject of predestination? I believe they do. Finally after reading and studying the whole subject we should be able to gather together all the known facts and use these to drive our belief process after we have felt confident that we understand the verses adequately enough to do so. Finally, as part of the drawing conclusions process we must never conclude anything unless we have 2 to 3 factual Bible witnesses of the conclusion from the Bible and I’m going to talk about this next.
For example NOWHERE in the Bible does it say that God predestined men to go to hell and that is a very wrong assumption and belief that many people have created in their minds and have bought into it like it was the truth because they think they were “selected” to go to heaven and therefore nothing they ever did effected them to get saved or nothing they will ever do can or will ever change their status of salvation. What a lie of the devil. If that was actually true then a lot of the N.T. is not necessary. In fact we can take that further and say the Bible as a whole is unnecessary for salvation. No one would need to preach the gospel, no one would need to believe the Gospel, and no one would need to go to church, no one needs to read the Bible and no one would even need to pray because God’s will would always be done regardless of what we do or say or pray. Also there would be no need for there to be any BIBLE commandments from God or instructions or warnings in the Bible for us to not be deceived or to depart from the Lord (Heb 3:12, 1 Tim 4:16, Gal 5:15, 1 Cor 10:12, 1 Cor 15:33, Gal 6:7, Luk 21:8, …. and others).
Let’s talk about the context first of Romans 8. The verses directly prior to these verses asked about speak of praying in tongues also called praying in the Spirit. I know it does not say it directly but that is how God wrote it in order to give man a choice to believe or not believe in speaking and praying in tongues. So let’s read the preceding two verses for direct contextual understanding:
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Rom 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Ok “intercession is mentioned twice and “prayer” is directly mentioned in verse 26. The key to knowing this is not just any kind of prayer is the fact that God is helping us to pray it. Therefore this is a supernatural prayer language because man can only pray a natural type of prayer language without God’s help. Do you understand this? God gives us the ability to pray supernaturally by helping us with the words to speak that cannot be normally uttered with natural human reasoning as He has stated in verse 26. In the Greek language this word means these words cannot be understood r spoken with the normal human articulate speech process. When we pray in the Spirit, God gives us the words and these are usually words not understood by people but rather they are heard by God and known by God for our benefit and this is why God says in verse 28 that He will cause all things to work together for our good. God does this primarily so that Satan does not know what is being prayed and can make an effort to stop it from coming to pass.
The reason I talked about praying in tongues is because the next verses following these statements are now conditional upon people praying in the Spirit in order to be qualified for what is said to happen next. Uh oh that changes everything or at least it should. We could talk a lot about other things written about in chapter 8. For example there is a whole discourse concerning the flesh verses the spirit. Those walking the flesh are not qualifying for the rest of the chapter either. But I know I was asked about the verses concerning “predestination” and that is where I will go next. Let’s jump down to verse 30 to see where the controversy really begins:
Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
This verse begins with “Whom He did predestinate”. Ok, this is pretty compelling if you only read it in isolation that God selected some and therefore must have rejected others by assumed indirection even though it does not say that directly. It is clear that God did select those that this verse was written to in the church but again nowhere does it say that God rejected those that were not in the church. I MEAN NO WHERE! Also there is a Greek word found here that needs our further attention. This Greek word is G2564 and it was translated as “called” twice in this verse. This Greek word means to “bid” or to “call” someone. What exactly does that mean?
Let’s say we go outside our house on the back porch and don’t see our dog. We could “call” the dog and see if he will come to us by yelling his name. The “call” would be an invitation to come and that is exactly what this verse is saying to us. God has invited us to come. What would make the dog not interested in coming to us when we called? It could be the fact that they are occupied with something they value more like a big bone that they are chewing on. Whatever the reason for not coming the dog has the choice of freewill to come or not to come and this is what we must realize is joined within the context of the subject of God “predestining” us. This is where we need to look afresh at this verse from the God spiritual perspective and weigh the context of the rest of the Bible also. I’ll do this with an introduction to a new way to think about predestination.
Why couldn’t God call and invite everyone through a plan of salvation called “to predestine” and offer to them all an invitation to come and be at His big wedding party in heaven? Then why couldn’t God send out all of the invitations to everyone to come to be a part of this party by an act of their choice to attend? But then what if only those people that actually showed up (chose by an act of their freewill) to come to the wedding party would be called those that were “selected”? In other words what if God has predestined everyone to show up for a huge big wedding party but yet not many valued or regarded the invitation as important and therefore did not come and what if this was the reason that caused them to not be selected? Could this possibly be the truth? Wow, I really think it is according to the Words of Jesus in the Bible. Let’s go read some words written in red ink within the distant context of Romans 8 that must be balanced with Romans 8. You should be able to read these verses and see my “what if” story in a parable form given by the Lord Jesus that helps us to learn what I was just trying to teach:
Mat 22:1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
Mat 22:2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
Mat 22:3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
I’ll stop here and make some quick important points. The King in this parable is a representation of God. The Son in this parable is a symbolic representation of the Jesus Christ. The marriage in this parable is a symbolic representation for the New Covenant. His servants in this parable were His prophets and they called to the wedding the children of natural Israel but they would not come to the wedding by an act of their own stupid choice. The Greek word translated as “call” in verse 3 of Matthew 22 is the exact same Greek word found in Romans 8:30 making a direct divine connection to the same subject being spoken of by God. Does this not have anything to do directly with selection or God’s predestination process? Didn’t God call them all to come? Didn’t God desire them to come? Wasn’t it the will of God for them to come? I mean come on and think. God selected them and invited them to come but THEY WOULD NOT. Get it? This is really not rocket science and it is right there in front of our faces. Are we going to believe God or are we going to believe the traditional errors of man?
Mat 22:4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
Mat 22:5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
Mat 22:6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
Mat 22:7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
These verses were written about the natural nation of Israel. The natural nation of Israel was overrun and laid low over and over because of God’s displeasure for their ignorant choices and killing His servants. It is more than clear that this was not the plan of God for their lives. It was more than clear that God sent His servants to invite them to the wedding feast. It is more than clear that it was their own actions that caused them not to come in and be a part of the process. This is called man’s “freewill” and this must be taken into account when teaching anything about “predestination”. Now continue to read the rest of the parable because this is how we were selected:
Mat 22:8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
Mat 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
Mat 22:10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
So God goes forth into the rest of the Gentile world with more prophets and teachers inviting them all to come to the wedding and guess what I came by own freewill choice to believe and now because of my choices I have been selected. Also because I am now selected I now go into the world and preach the Gospel to others so they can also be selected by an act of their own freewill choice and faith in Jesus Christ. Wow this is how God designed it to work. We either believe and are saved or we don’t believe and we are damned by our own freewill choices (Mk 16:16).
Mat 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
Mat 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Mat 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
In this parable there are only two types of people mentioned that are rejected from being at the wedding and these were the one man without a wedding garment and those that chose not to even attend. However, this one man without a wedding garment also represents the man’s own foolish choice to try to come to the wedding without being properly clothed. This verse was symbolically talking about people who call themselves Christians but have not “PUT ON CHRIST” (Gal 3:27). This parable is all symbolism but this story gives us natural realities that apply directly to predestination and election.
I hope that everyone can read this over carefully and see the truths beings presented. This is exactly what I have been attempting to teach about salvation, election and predestination. Everyone is invited but only those that choose to show up to the wedding properly attired get to stay in the party to be called the select or elect ones and all others are left outside trying to get in. Remember the parable of the 10 virgins? This is the exact same reality. All 10 were invited but only 5 were prepared and entered in and the others were left out because of their lack of preparedness. Wow, this teaches us plainly that human FREEWILLL choices have a great determination to who is “selected”. We can choose to not attend the wedding or we can even choose not to dress for the wedding and both of these will cause us to NOT be selected. I don’t know how to teach it more clearly.
Let’s look at another verse to help us with the Bible basics of selection or predestination. I will give you a verse found in the Book of Hebrews that has nothing to do on the surface with this subject of predestination yet it has everything to do with it by indirect subject content and contextual association. God is speaking to Christians in this verse so read the words like they were written to you personally:
Heb 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Here is an additional confirmation that God had a divine plan from the foundation of the world. But, back up and see who it is that has been determined to enter in. Believing is stated to be the determining factor for entering into God’s rest. Those that have not believed do not enter in and those that believe do enter in. The entrance door is God’s Word and believing in God’s word gives us entrance.
I am trying to teach a difficult subject called election or predestination but not the way it is normally taught by many confused people. Becoming God’s elect is based upon a partnership between God’s divine grace and human faith. God is not a respecter of persons as we should know by now but God is most definitely a respecter of faith. The basis of what is taught by many predestination teachers would make God a respecter of persons by selecting some and rejecting others. This would make the Bible a lie and that is a conflicting problem with their philosophy. The only way to balance and resolve the conflict correctly is to understand that any good gift given to men by God is received by their faith. Any good thing ever given to men, done to men or done for men is only received or we could say entered into by individual freewill human faith. This is the way that God designed it to work.
Hebrews 4:3 is just further evidence that proves faith is a necessary part of the plan of God established from the foundation of the world. Read it again and again until you get it and accept it into your heart. Write a big sign and put it up on your wall and it should say “We who believe do enter in….”. What God is plainly saying is that everyone is invited to believe but only those that choose to do it are selected. God has predestined everyone to salvation but only those that have chosen to dress and come into the wedding will be selected and those that do not believe, or have not prepared themselves or have other more important things to do will be shut out when the door closes. That is the truth of God, believe it or not.
Thank you again for reading and studying the Bible with me. I appreciate your time and diligence to read and verify what is written in these lessons. Do not ever buy into a teacher’s words without your own personal verification. Allow the Spirit of God to minister and lead you into all truth. Be blessed and be a blessing to all that you meet every day. I’ll try to do another lesson on Ephesians 1 soon. I hope these word help you to better understand the Bible and your role in being selected.
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 1 of a very fundamental and rudimentary essential Bible Subject for every Christian to study, learn, understand and be able to share in an instant with all others in the world! Who is Jesus Christ? Is Jesus the most important person mentioned in the Bible or any other book available to read? If He is, then why is He so important? Many today in the world in other religions simply call Jesus just another human originator of a new religious system that died just like other religion founders like Mohammed or Buddha. Others in certain religions recognize Jesus to be nothing but another prophet of God like Moses, Mohammed or Joseph Smith. There are even many people in the world today that read from the Bible and believe Jesus to be far from divine. Are any of these the truth? Was Jesus just an ordinary man like me? If He was then I believe that I am one of the biggest fools in the world for following Him. Today we will explore just the Bible verses that teach us who Jesus really was described to be. We will be specifically focused on some of the revealed names of Jesus in the Bible and what they relate to us. Later in this series we will also look at the recorded words and claims of Jesus and see who He professed and claimed to be. I hope and pray that you have a very open mind to receive the truth as written and inspired by the Holy Spirit from the Bible. We will be exploring the basics of Bible truth that are the essential foundation for God’s grace and our salvation through our faith in Jesus Christ.
INTRODUCTION TO THE QUESTION “WHO IS JESUS?”
Jesus asks His disciples two very simple questions in the book of Matthew. And their answers to these questions will determine much more than you can imagine. At this point in time when these questions were asked to the disciples by Jesus they had been with Him for a long time following Him from place to place. They had witnessed many very significant things done by Jesus and heard many teachings from this man they called Rabbi (John 1:38). We will begin this section with reading in Matthew 16 and verse 13. Please observe the first question:
Mat 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
Why would Jesus even need to ask anyone who He was? There were a lot of people that obviously heard of Jesus but why would it be necessary to ask these people know who Jesus is? Anyone can know of someone but that is totally different than knowing them or knowing who they are, isn’t it? So who is Jesus? Jesus is asking those that were closer to Him than anyone else “who do men think that I am?” This is the question that is still very valid for today. Jesus could come to you and ask the exact same question. What would you say to Him? Perhaps you would need to go and take a survey in order to find out what men said about Jesus. Today, it is much simpler to just go and search the internet and see what people are writing about Him. Then notice how very wide and diverse the answers were.
Mat 16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
The disciples answer “Some say Jesus was John the Baptist”. Other men claim Jesus was Elijah. Still others claim Jesus to be the prophet Jeremiah. Even other men claimed Jesus to be just another one of the prophets but did not know which one. What a diverse set of possibilities for the identity of Jesus. However there is a common theme to them all. They were all calling Jesus a human man acting as a prophet but there was not any majority agreement to which prophet he was. This is still the most popular belief today in most false religions. The general consensus is that Jesus was simply a prophet or holy man like many others; Muhammad, Buddha, John Smith or even the Dalai Lama. This would place Jesus Christ on their exact same level of humanity but is this, the whole truth? Is this all that Jesus claimed to be? Let’s see the second question being asked by Jesus then and now:
Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Now Jesus changes the question and makes the question very personal. The question has substantially narrowed from “who do OTHER men say that I am” to “who do YOU say that I am”? Jesus was making a point by asking these two questions in succession. Jesus is teaching them that it does not matter what other men think but it does matter greatly what we think individually. Wow, I don’t know if you just got what God said there or not but it was very substantial. What Jesus is saying is that someone else’s opinion of Him is not going to help you or save you. Let’s look at their answer and see if anything changes.
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Peter answers the question of the Lord with an amazingly new and different perspective to the identity of Jesus. Two things are directly stated by Peter and you need to notice that neither of these stated beliefs of Peter is denied by Jesus. There was no rebuke from Jesus for any of Peter’s answer. In fact the opposite is true if you read down into the next verse. Jesus praises Peter and tells Him this answered revelation came from His Father and not from any man. That is a very significant amount of information to learn from. Jesus teaches us that there are at least two possible sources for knowledge and only one source is praise worthy. The knowledge originating from God is implied to be very good and noteworthy and the knowledge coming from ignorant men was judged as not important. Did you see that? Who is your source for who Jesus is? Is it God or is it a man? It would be extremely wise to figure this out now before it is too late.
Peter could have gone along with the majority wrong opinion. Peter could have chosen to conform to the religious crowd. Peter could have listened to popular peer pressure. Certainly the popular human concept is still what is taught today by many. But I believe that there still exists a God that can reveal the truth to anyone that asks Him and seeks Him with their whole heart.
What were the two God revealed things about Jesus that Peter gave as an answered reply? The first was that Jesus was the Christ. Wow, what exactly does that mean? Many of us have heard the combined named “Jesus Christ” but this title “Christ” was not the last name of Jesus. And you better also know that “Jesus Christ” is not something you say when you slam the door on your finger. Let’s look up the Greek word translated as “Christ” and learn:
From G5548; anointed, that is, the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus: – Christ.
I want to begin with the definition and say Christ is an “epithet” for Jesus. What is an “epithet”? An “epithet” is a word that is used to describe the person being referenced. It is an adjective description. If you understand what an adjective is then you should already understand that an adjective is used to distinguish one man from another. If there is only one Jesus for example no one would need to say “Jesus Christ”. But since there were and still are others then this is one way to make Him uniquely important to the conversation.
Here in this definition is a new connection to a Hebrew word being established along with a meaning of someone that is anointed. The literal definition of the Greek word G5547 translated as the adjective “Christ” means “the anointed one”. Jesus is called “the Christ” by Peter and Jesus does not deny it. This title Christ is only significant because of Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled when Jesus begins His ministry. The Hebrew word being connected in this Greek word definition is H4899. In order to connect the Hebrew word “Messiah” to the Greek word G5547 translated as “Christ” we need to do some homework and search for the title in the O.T. If you do this you will find one key “Messiah” prophecy in the book of Daniel. If you go and read Daniel 9:25-26 you will find the verses that I am referring to. It would take a very long study to try to explain just these two verses so that will not be covered today. But I do want you to notice the Hebrew word that was translated as “Messiah’. This Hebrew word is H4899 and it has the following Strong’s definition:
From H4886; anointed; usually a consecrated person (as a king, priest, or saint); specifically the Messiah: – anointed, Messiah.
As you can observe in the definition this word has the exact same meaning as the Greek word G5547. We can therefore conclude that these two words are equivalent in both languages. I also want to point out that this word can apply to more than Jesus Christ. Any king, priest or even a saint can be anointed by the Spirit of God and this tends to lead some to say that Jesus was just another anointed man like so many others. In that regard if that was the only criteria being analyzed that would be a true statement. However, Peter did not stop talking with calling Jesus “the Christ” and he mentioned another quality that must also be considered.
Do you remember the second statement that Peter made? Go back and reread it if you did not recall that Peter said that Jesus was the “Son of the living God”. Wow that description makes Jesus unique and unlike any other anointed human born on this planet. Jesus had a great opportunity to rebuke Peter for this statement if it was a false claim but Jesus very clearly did not do it. This means that Jesus was confirming His identity to be the “Son of God” with His praise for what Peter had just spoken and because He said that this had been revealed to him by God, His Father. We will talk more about Jesus claiming to be the “Son of God” as we continue in this lesson series. But, Jesus claiming to be “the Son of the living God” is one of the most important things for anyone desiring to be a Christian to learn and believe by faith. I will tell you very plainly right now that if you do not believe that Jesus was the Son of the Living God then you are not a Christian and you are lost and going to hell. This is a very plain and simple truth found in 1 John 2:22-23 so please go and read it.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NAMES
I’m going to shift the focus for a moment to teach briefly an introduction about another very relevant Bible subject concerning “names”. This rabbit trail subject should be a Bible study series all by itself but an introduction will help our study of who Jesus claimed to be and should provide a great benefit to us by us understanding His names. Almost everyone in the Bible was given a name not by chance but rather the name given to them reflected a situation, quality, circumstance or characteristic of something very specific about the person. For example, these given names could have been a reflection on the circumstances surrounding their entrance into the world. Perhaps you remember in Genesis 35:18 when Rachel gives birth to her last son. She called the boy child by the name “Benoni” and this name meant “son of my sorrows” and then she died. But his father named him “Benjamin” which meant “son of my right hand”. God gives such great significance to names in the Bible and these name meanings are often overlooked and ignored but they all have a divine purpose. I will also say that if Benjamin would have been called by the name given of his mother then this would have changed his entire life and who he was tremendously. But since Benjamin was given a name change and a very different positive name he was blessed and favored.
Let’s go over a couple of other significant name changes that made a major difference for those people in the Bible to prove the significance of this subject. The man Abram was selected by God and given a promise by God in Genesis 12. The Hebrew name “Abram” means “high father”. Yet God changes Abram’s name to “Abraham” that meant “a father of a multitude” and it was only after this name change transpired that the promise began to be fulfilled. There is a revealed law of God found in the Bible that as long as the earth endures seed time and harvest will never cease (Gen 8:22). This divine law teaches the concept of cause and effect. In other words for every observable effect (harvest) God teaches us that there must be a cause for it (a seed sown). Some seed sown transpired to cause the promise to be made manifest to see the harvest and I am convinced that God’s name change to Abraham was a major role for this event occurring. Perhaps you will understand that statement as you continue to learn the God given facts of the Bible.
I’ll give you at least one other significant Bible name example. You may recall reading in Genesis 32:29 about Jacob wrestling with an angel. Jacob we are told prevailed against the angel and again as a result, the angel changes Jacob’s name from Jacob to Israel because of this victory. The name Israel obviously came from God and from heaven and you need to know this. When God gives a man a name it usually causes something good to occur and this is just another example. The name Jacob meant “heal catcher” and this name described the circumstances of his birth. But the name “Israel” is a Hebrew name that means “he will rule as God”. I’ll say this again, when God gives you a name there is a great seed that was planted to bring about a divine harvest and this is so very important to understand.
Modern names of people are really no different from Biblical names of people and they often reflect who a person is and what kind of person they present themselves to be. For example I was eating at a restaurant and my server’s name was named “Tisha”. I looked up the name’s meaning on the internet and it meant “joyful” and “happy”. This name meaning fit the personality of the lady very accurately.
What I am attempting to teach you is that it maters what the name of a person is in the Bible and even in the world today still. I am also trying to teach that it matters who gives a person the name and why it was given. In other words why and where the name originates from is critical and the name can certainly influence the outcome on a person’s entire life greatly. Let’s examine the Hebrew word that is translated as the English word “name”. This word’s meaning may shed some additional light of confirmation upon the significance of “names” in the Bible:
A primitive word (perhaps rather from H7760 through the idea of definite and conspicuous position; compare H8064); an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character: – + base, [in-] fame [-ous], name (-d), renown, report.
This Hebrew word means an “appellation”. This word means the act of giving something or someone a name. Then notice the next statement “a mark or memorial of individuality”. Wow that is a very important definition. God and people name things to mark them as being different from other things that may even be similar in appearance. For example any normal family with identical twins will always give each child a different name. This unique name separates one identical twin from the other. When a parent wants a specific twin they will call their name and this should bring the one called. Clearly names matter because it causes a separation from others to occur.
Then notice in this Hebrew word there is an associated implied meaning of any given name. According to the definition a name can carry the positive implication of “honor”, “authority” or it can even denote personal “character”. This positive truth can also be taken from a negative antithesis truth perspective. A negative name given to someone can cause them a negative outcome in life like dishonor or even bad character. I’m trying to teach you how things work in the spiritual realm. If you call your kids stupid then they will become more stupid. If you call your kids lazy then they will become lazier. Whatever names you have placed on your children are all seeds to mold their lives either building character or destroying their character.
I’ll end this introduction to the significance of names in the Bible with this truth. There are so many significant names given to us in the Bible that we often overlook the lesser names mentioned only a few times. For example in Genesis 5 there is a genealogy given to us by the inspiration of God concerning the first eleven men. This genealogy begins from Adam the first man to Noah and then to his son Shem in succession. The name Adam means “man” and the name Noah means “comfort”, the name Shem means “name” and this. Let’s just go through all of the names for review:
If you take the meanings of each of these 11 names given to us in the Bible and combine them into a sentence, you will find the Gospel of Jesus’ coming into the world and one of the primary reasons for His appearing. Here is the sentence using the Hebrew name meanings:
Man (has) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God will come down teaching (and) His death shall bring the despairing comfort (by or through His) Name.
I hope that you are beginning to see how Jesus is even mentioned indirectly here in the names of two prominent Bible men (Adam and Noah) and 9 other relatively obscure men in the Bible. This hidden reference to Jesus using only the names of men certainly is beyond chance or random occurrence. This information had to be placed there by God’s design and plan and this teaches us plainly that God even uses names in the Bible to inform us of things that are very important for us to learn and know. I will give credit for the majority of this information to Chuck Missler and you can find it on his website. I added the name of Shem to what he taught because this should have been given. Remember this prophecy using the 11 names because this will be readdressed in this Bible study later. Let’s move on to the specific name of Jesus next.
INTRODUCTION TO THE NAME OF JESUS
We will continue our Bible study concerning “who is Jesus” with a statement being made to Joseph from an angel sent from the Lord. In this statement is the name of the male child to be born to Joseph’s wife Mary. This name comes from God just like the name of Jacob came directly from God through an angel giving it great divine significance and purpose.
Mat 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
I want to reemphasize this point that the name of “Jesus” came directly from heaven and not from Joseph or Mary or any other human. This fact gives the name of Jesus a divine reason and purpose for being given. The next thing that you need to know is that the name “Jesus” is an English transliteration of the Greek name “Iēsous” being written in the book of Matthew. A transliteration is nothing but a man’s attempt to transfer and preserve a name from one language’s alphabet to another by using similar sounding vowels and constantans. The problem we begin to encounter very quickly is when we realize that the man Jesus was not English nor was He a Greek. Neither of these names would be correct based upon the nationality of Jesus. The genealogy of Jesus given to us in Matthew and Luke both prove that Jesus descended from the Hebrew nation a descendant of Abraham and David. Therefore the name of Jesus should be a Hebrew name and this is exactly what we discover when we look up the Greek word in the Strong’s dictionary:
Of Hebrew origin [H3091]; Jesus (that is, Jehoshua), the name of our Lord and two (three) other Israelites: – Jesus.
You should be able to quickly recognize that the Greek word name has a Hebrew origin. It is also apparent that the name of Jesus was not a completely unique name and that there were other Hebrew men that were also given this famous name. But we still need to ask the question why did the angel tell the man Joseph to name the child Jesus? In order to answer that question we need to revert further to the original Hebrew. Let’s look up the name H3091 and find its meaning:
From H3068 and H3467; Jehovah-saved; Jehoshua (that is, Joshua), the Jewish leader: – Jehoshua, Jehoshuah, Joshua. Compare H1954, H3442.
The English transliterated name for the Hebrew word H3091 is “Jehoshua” or “Joshua”. This name literally means “Jehovah saved” in the original Hebrew meaning. This Hebrew word is made from two Hebrew root words being combined together. The first word is H3068 meaning “Jehovah” and the second being H3467 meaning “saved”. “Jehovah” is simply one of the key names for God found within the Old Testament. The name Jehovah is used by God in over 5000 verses. The name Jehovah (H3068) simply means “Self Existent or Eternal One” and was most often translated as “LORD”.
The Hebrew word H3467 simply means “to save”, “to deliver”, “to free”, “to be made safe”, “salvation” and even “to get victory”. This part of the definition goes along with the statement made to Joseph in Matthew 1 if you will recall the angel said “you shall call His name Jesus because He will save His people”. We can learn from the meaning of the name that Jesus was the hidden fulfilled prophecy of the genealogy of Genesis 5 using the 11 names of Bible men. Remember this prophecy predicted that “the Blessed God would come down teaching and His death gives the despairing comfort through His name”. The despairing are simply humans that were held captive prisoners within the darkness of this world. The Name of Jesus was the God given name that men were required to believe upon and we will talk abut this more in the series as we go. This is exactly what transpired. The name of Jesus shows us by its definition that He was the Jehovah God that delivers and saves His people. This is now the second Biblical confirmation that Jesus was God in the flesh that came down to the earth. Let’s move to new name given to Jesus and study a further confirmation.
JESUS = GOD WITH US!
We are now going to explore another name given to Jesus in the Bible. This name will be the third conformation that Jesus was God in the flesh come to the earth from heaven. I will first give you the name found in the Greek New Testament. This name is found in a verse of Matthew 1. Please read it very carefully not overlooking any of the words in the stated scripture.
Mat 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
First consider the beginning of the verse where God declares a “virgin” will be with child. A virgin simply means an unmarried daughter and this clearly implies that she has never had sex with any man. Right there that gives us the first impression of a supernatural conception. Next the Greek words translated as “be with child” simply means that she is pregnant in her womb. Next the author (God) says she will bring forth (birth) a son. Here is where we get to the good stuff. God say “They shall call his name Emmanuel”. Wow, this is a very meaningful name that was being bestowed upon Jesus. Of course this name is meaningless if you don’t know what the definition of the Hebrew word being given to us is.
What we have just witnessed in this verse is a very vital principle (rule) that God teaches us to how to understand selected parts of the Bible. I have already been using this principle when I taught on the meaning of the name of Jesus earlier in this Bible lesson. This principle given to us by God is the simple fact that names have meaning and that these meanings have significance to indicate something important about the one being named. This principle also teaches us very directly that we need to go back to the original language meaning in order to insure the significance.
Perhaps you missed it again. The name “Emmanuel” in this verse is just another Greek to English transliteration. This Greek word (G1694) was also a transliteration from the Hebrew original name H6005 which was transliterated into English in the Old Testament as “Immanuel”. This is further confirmation that what I did for the name of Jesus going back to Joshua was very legitimate. Finally I want you to see in this verse the Greek word (G3177) that was translated into “interpreted”. This Greek word literally means to “translate” from one language into another. What God is doing is confirming the fact that names have meanings and these meanings have purpose as I have already stated. Let’s go back and research the original prophecy that this verse in Matthew is quoted from:
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
This verse quite literally says that this will be a “sign” given by the omnipotent God. This Hebrew word (H226) that was translated as “sign” can mean “evidence” or even a “monument”. In other words Jesus will be the visible proof for the name being given to Him. So what did this name ‘Immanuel” given from God mean? You read it in Matthew but it was not given here in Isaiah because you are assumed to already know Hebrew if you are reading the Old Testament because it was written to Hebrews. This is a reason that God wrote the meaning out in the New Testament because it was predominately read by Gentiles who needed to learn more about this old language.
If you knew the Hebrew language then you would find that “Immanuel” means “God with us”. If we break down the Hebrew root words found within this name we should start with the ending syllable “el” which is the short form for one of the prominent names of God in the Old Testament “Elohim”. The short form name “el” for God is used in almost 150 other names in the Old Testament and that is an interesting study all by itself. Then go back to the beginning syllable of the name “Im” and this means “with” or even “in”. Now look at what remains in the middle “man”. Put them together it could read something .like “God in the form of man” which could also means “God with men”.
Do you understand these God given principles? I’ll say it one more time, names have meanings in the Bible and these meanings are important especially based upon who gives the person this name. Any name given to anyone by God is of the ultimate importance since God is supreme. Based on Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23 God comes down from heaven in the form of a man to be with us, to walk among us and to live like us but as a higher example. So far we have found 4 witnesses in the Bible that claims Jesus to be God in the flesh but there are more. Let’s examine another name of Jesus.
GOD THE WORD BECAME FLESH
All Bible truth is found only by searching and studying the Bible with the Holy Spirit’s help to reveal it to us so we are able to see it clearly. This is why the Bible is not understood by even many Christians. They are not studying, not searching or not praying and asking God to open their eyes to the truth and lead them into it. We are going to need to search to find the names of Jesus in order to discover who He really is. I’ll give you three verses to read next and then talk about them:
Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Rev 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
Rev 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
Did you see the two names of Jesus given to Him by God? First there is the one called “Faithful and True” and this can only be a name for the divine God since every human can and will fail us. Then in verse 13 He is called by the name “The Word of God”. It is this name “The Word of God” that I want to focus upon next. But both of these names prove that Jesus was God in the flesh come to the earth as a man. How do they do that you ask? Well again you have to study and read the Bible to find the answers. The real answers don’t fall on you like a piece of ripe fruit from a tree that you are laying under doing nothing.
The book Revelation was written by the inspiration and revelation of God through a man named John. John wrote other books of the New Testament and we need to go back to the first book in order to find the answer to who “The Word of God” represents. Read these next two verses to begin with from the first chapter of John:
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
God is the primary subject of both verses and the verse begins with the statment “In the beginning was The Word”. This statement is talking about Jesus indirectly since Jesus is called the Word of God in Revelation 19:13. Jesus is being indirectly called the Word again with a direct association of the Word for the theme of God being the primary direct subject. The Word was with God and the Word was God. If you know anything about the laws of mathematics you understand that if A=B and B=C then A=C. Therefore if the Word = God (John 1:1) and Jesus = the Word (Rev 19:13) then God = Jesus by undeniable mathematical proof. I’m not going to go through every verse in this chapter of John because that would take too long but I will give you 4 more verses for you to read:
Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
Joh 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
These verses begin with “He was in the world”. Who is He? This is talking about Jesus in conjunction to the primary subject still being God. Then notice what it says, “The world was made by Him”. Again this is a combined reference to the Spirit of God, the Word of God and God the Father because these three revealed personalities are all the same God (1 Jn 1:5:7). Only God created the world. You can go back to Genesis 1:1 and read this plainly. In the beginning “God” (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth. Now remember God says in Isaiah Immanuel (El = Elohim) is coming to be with us.
In verse 12 God tells us that if we believe on His name He will give us the power to become the sons of God. Why am I teaching you all about the names of Jesus in this lesson? I’m teaching you this so that you might believe in His names in order to be saved. I am teaching on the names of Jesus to reveal Him to be God in the flesh. Did you read verse 14? More importantly did you actually see what it says in verse 14? It says The Word (THE WORD = GOD verse 1) was made flesh and dwelt among us. God dwelling among us is just the name “Immanuel” again written out in definition form. Jesus is declared to be God with us in the form of a man (flesh).
God directly connects John 1:1 with Genesis 1:1 by the same three simple words “In the Beginning”. Whenever God does something like this it is not an accident or chance occurrence. God is telling us they are about the same themed subject. In Genesis 1:1 it said “In the Beginning God” and in John 1:1 it said “In the Beginning was the Word”. This is God’s hidden way of saying “I am the Word and I created the world”. You see there is another hidden reference to Jesus found in Genesis 1:1. I have written about this before in other lesson but it fits very well with what God is saying here that I will repeat it.
Gen 1:1 In the beginning (the A-Z) God created the heaven and the earth.
The fourth word of the Bible in Genesis 1:1 was omitted by the translators because they did not know what it meant. This fourth untranslated word was technically not a word at all but rather the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Uh oh, that should turn some light bulbs on in your brain if you have read the Bible very much. Genesis 1:1 should read in the English “In the Beginning the A-Z God created…”. The A-Z God is another hidden reference to Jesus because Jesus said in Revelation 1:11 “I am the Alpha and the Omega”. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last letter in the Greek alphabet. In other words Jesus was saying in English “I am the A to Z”. This is exactly who Genesis 1:1 said created the world that we live in. Wow, this is great stuff if you open your eyes of your heart and let it in. I guarantee you that it will save you from hell if you begin to believe it.
This is really not that complicated but Satan does not want these truths to be known. Satan perverts the truth to change Jesus from being divine (God in the flesh) to being only a man (a descendant of Adam) or a prophet to defeat you. Satan does everything in His power to blind the minds of people so that they cannot see the obvious truth of God’s Word in order to be saved (2 Cor 4:4).
I have gone over multiple truths in this Bible lesson that declares Jesus to have come from God in heaven. Not only this but that Jesus was God in the flesh. The Bible says let every word be established in truth by the mouths of two or three witnesses (2 Cor 13:1). I have given you double that with at least 5 to 6 witnesses that Jesus was the God of creation come to the earth in the flesh. We started this lesson with Jesus asking us all “Who do you say that I am?” We then went into the significance of names in the Bible and I introduced you to a hidden prophecy of Jesus coming into the earth in the flesh in the genealogy found in Genesis 5.
We then went into three of the primary names given to Jesus in the Bible, 1) Jesus, 2) Emmanuel and 3) The Word of God. The name of Jesus was the Hebrew name, Joshua and we found that Joshua meant “Jehovah Saved”. Therefore Jesus was this God named Jehovah that came down from heaven to save His people just as was prophesied to occur. We then talked about the name “Immanuel” and that this meant “God with us”. We then talked about Jesus being the Word of God that came in the flesh and it was this A-Z God that created the world that we live in. If you are still wavering and doubting after all of this evidence then I don’t know what else to say that will help you. Go back and reread your Bible and all of the verses that I just gave you. Study the names of Jesus until you have them memorized.
This was only Part 1 in the series of lessons on “Who do you say that I am?” I will be going over more scriptural evidence for Jesus being God in the next lesson in this series. I want to thank you for being open minded enough to read this lesson and I pray that God will help you to see Him in all His glory. Help me spread the word of truth to your friends. Tell them about my website. Send them links to my lessons. Please, help me spread God’s Word so that we can reach the lost world. Jesus is coming back very, very soon. The timing cannot be that far off based upon current world events transpiring. We need to reach everyone that we can and help everyone that we can so that none will perish. Thank you for your prayers of support, because they are very needed and valuable to me. God bless you and keep you until the next time. Always remember the correct answer to the question “Who do you say that I am” is “You are Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God, my Savior, my Lord and my God”. God Bless you!
If you would like to continue reading in this series you may go to “Part 2” now.
(Ver 1.1) This is a Basic Bible Study requesting an answer from every reader to a very serious question. If you have read all of my Bible lessons you should already know that I occasionally teach a Bible Basic Subject for those that are new to Christianity or just in need of learning the simpler milk truths of God’s Word. However, for those more mature Christians or those Christians going through a struggle that could use a refreshing reminder of the Word of God this lesson just might be a great blessing to you also. Today’s Bible lesson is intended and designed for those types of readers but everyone can still benefit from what God will share about the subject of rejection. Let’s begin by asking the important question “Would you rather be rejected by your friends, your family, your peers, your co-workers, your bosses and the people of the world or would you rather be rejected by God?” Wow, how do we begin to answer or respond to that question?
INTRODUCTION TO REJECTION
Rejection from anyone should usually never be viewed as a positive experience from a natural or spiritual perspective. No one that I know of that is vaguely or remotely “normal” will ever feel excited, happy or good about being rejected by anyone for whatever reason. I can personally identify with this subject directly in my own private life. I have been personally rejected by my family, my friends and people of great importance to me in this last year that has caused me great pain, suffering and hurt. How do we deal with this? Has God provided a divine coping mechanism for rejection? This is what we will be talking about today from a God and Bible perspective on the subject of being rejected and handling rejection.
We have all been at the cross roads of rejection and hurt, haven’t we? I know I have. As I have stated I have been ignored and rejected by close family, friends and acquaintances for one reason or the other. These acts of rejection can cause significant emotional distress, hurts and pains that can make us feel very insufficient, inadequate, second-rate and inferior. Rejection is nothing new to me. I am frequently rejected by some of my Bible Study readers. These people who reject me online usually provide critical reviews through unloving negative comments that can be very painful and upsetting if I allowed them inside me. If you did not realize it rejection is a spiritual force. Just like love, hate and fear are spiritual forces. Each of us can become overwhelmed by the undesirable force of rejection. If we do not learn how to deal with this force it can easily overwhelm us into a pit of despair. Please read this initial definition for “reject”:
REJECT: dismiss as inadequate, inappropriate, or not to one’s taste
Let’s stop and review this definition of “reject”. As you should be able to see when someone or something is rejected then that which was rejected is stated to not fit within the positive expectations of the observer for any unstated reason. What we find from this definition is that there are either implied or unstated rules of acceptance and not meeting these will result in rejection of the person or the item being observed. Rejection can obviously become very subjective if you know what that means. Rejection is based upon subjective human reasoning and this simply means that there is a direct level of personal opinion, bias or preference to most forms of rejection. One’s personal opinion will usually drive their acceptance or rejection of someone else. However there are also other types of rejection based upon a stricter standard of rules.
For example a shirt being manufactured for sale in a store will undergo an inspection by a trained observant inspector. Each inspector is given a set of established standards to determine if the shirt meets expectations. If a flaw is determined to be present in the garment then the garment is rejected and cannot be sold as a new quality garment matching the established standards. It does not matter if there are over 100 things right about the garment because if there is found one minor flaw the garment is rejected. This is exactly what happens with people rejecting people also if you did not realize it. However the established set of rules is usually very loose and not well defined. Many fault finding people look for flaws and overlook any good qualities found within a person and will simply reject them as being imperfect. This is basic human nature and you need to know this in order to understand rejection more completely and why it occurs.
Some of the synonyms for reject are “castoff”, “throwaway” or “discard”. All of these are negative observer reactions from failing the perceived observation acceptance standards directed at the person or object being rejected. As I have stated previously rejection of anything is clearly a subjective personal decision based upon the observer’s own personal preferences, experiences, rules, likes or dislikes. Let’s review another quick example of a type of rejection. A person can reject eating broccoli simply because they do not like the observable smell, shape, appearance, color or even the texture. Many people reject eating broccoli having never even tasting it. Therefore rejection by the casual observer will usually be done by someone based upon a very limited set of superficial information void of all of the facts. The observer would not consider the taste or the vitamin content or nutritional value of broccoli but would rather pass a quick judgment based upon superficial and insufficient observation. Always remember this and this may help you tremendously with dealing with rejection. Many decisions of rejection are performed based upon pure human ignorance. Let’s consider a set of verses very quickly to get this subject started:
Mat 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Mat 7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Mat 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
These verses do not mention rejection but this represents the same action of rejection that happens when someone is rejected by an observer. Did you see the principles that Jesus was teaching the man doing the observation and trying to pass judgment upon the other man? Jesus asks how can you perceive correctly the flaws in your brother’s life if you have not seen the flaws in your own life first? This is such a profound warning from God about how we act almost every day. Too often people are rejecting others simply because of a minor flaw when they are the ones that should be rejected from their own self-examination. However since they are not examining themselves Jesus calls them a hypocrite for seeing something so minor in another person.
Ok did you observe the process of rejection taking place in these verses? There is both an observer (rejecter) and someone that is being observed (one being rejected). The observer is looking specifically for faults and ignoring all the good qualities of the person. The observer passes a hasty independent judgment without attempting to find or see all of the facts. The observer’s actions are stated to be WRONG. The observer is judged by God to be a hypocrite for not looking at himself first before passing judgment upon anyone else. Uh oh! What do we do with all of this great information?
I am starting out the lesson on how to handle rejection by saying, don’t become like a hypocrite. If you are rejecting people because of some insufficient information then you will be making the same mistake that others will be doing by rejecting you. This is a very good time to interject the golden rule. We should all do to others as we would have them to do to us. In other words don’t reject people even if you are the one being constantly rejected. As you learn this subject of rejection all of this will become more real to you. Are you ready to learn more about rejection? I think we will begin the lesson with a further discussion of ignorance.
# 1 – REJECTION IS NORMALLY DONE FROM IGNORANCE
Rejection (passing judgments) can be caused by many reasons but one of the main factors is human ignorance. Every human is born into the world an empty vessel waiting to be filled with some knowledge. Therefore we are all in varying states of ignorance no matter how much we have learned. This is good knowledge for dealing with personal rejection. We need to understand that the person doing the rejecting usually does it from their own pure unawareness or lack of understanding of you or your situation, experiences or even your circumstances. Wow, this is much truer than you may understand right now. I once heard a preacher responding to the rejection by a man that heard the message that he preached. This preacher said to the man “If you knew me you would really like me”. Do you understand why he said that? The preacher understood that his rejection was based upon the man’s insufficient information. He knew that the man had rejected him based upon very limited evidence from only one sermon. This should help teach you a new way to handle someone’s rejection of you. Don’t call them ignorant to their face but rather walk in love towards them because this is the way you should react to rejection as we will soon find by a living example in the Bible.
Did you know that Jesus was rejected? Yes Jesus was definitely rejected by many of the people that He encountered here on the earth. I’m not going to go into every verse example of rejection concerning Jesus but I will give you some very quick verses to consider about the subject of rejection and how to treat those that are rejecting you.
Luk 20:17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?
Here is Jesus speaking directly of Himself from a verse of prophecy found in Psalms 118:22. Jesus is speaking of Himself as the “Stone” that the builders rejected. This stone is a figurative symbolic representation of the foundation within a new spiritual temple that would be coming to fruition by the design and plan of God. I do not have the time to explain this statement in full in this lesson. It would take much too long to understand what these builders were supposed to be building and why Jesus is called the major Stone in that building project. Just understand that this is a spiritual house being foretold by the prophets of God and it is not a physical natural house or temple. I will also tell you that it was the natural nation of Israel that represented the initial builders of this house. Jesus by His own admission claims to be the rejected Stone. It was natural Israel that was rejecting the Stone. Ignorance of God’s purpose and plan is probably the key reason why the nation of Israel rejected Jesus, their Messiah. They were thinking temporarily and naturally and Jesus was thinking and speaking eternally and spiritually. Wow again, that was a very important concept for understanding how to handle rejection. Did you get it? I’ll try to emphasize this again later in the lesson to help you. However I will give you another verse witness to the fact that Jesus was the living Stone:
1Co 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Jesus is being called a spiritual Rock and this is just a synonymous term for “Living Stone”. Spirits are living beings that cannot die or cease to exist. This is one of the keys to understanding what God is doing within the New Covenant. The Old Testament types and shadows were just a foretelling of a coming greater spiritual reality. Ok we have just established that Jesus was rejected as a living stone by the nation of natural Israel. Let’s review a very specific verse example of this rejection and the reaction of Jesus to this as the Living Stone. Please read this verse carefully.
Luk 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
If you read the context you will find that this is Jesus stripped naked and then being nailed through His flesh to a wooden cross. Jesus is in great pain and dealing with extraordinary levels of human suffering that had all been imposed upon Him through the rejection of His own people. This rejection arose from the root cause of their ignorance. None of these people knew or understood what they were doing as you can clearly see from the statement being made by Jesus Himself “They know not what they do”. None of these people recognized or understood that this man hanging on this tree was God come to the earth in the flesh. None of these people knew or understood their actions for why they were rejecting Him. None of these people cared about the pain that they were inflicting upon Jesus by their rejection. All of these people were extremely ignorant of the facts and very far from any knowledge of the truth. Jesus could have been like the preacher man and said to them all “If you knew me you would really like me” but He did not say this. However the reaction of Jesus to this personal rejection is quite the opposite of what most people would have done or said. Let’s talk about His reaction next.
# 2 – LOVE & PROACTIVE FORGIVENESS WILL OVERCOME REJECTION
We just quickly reviewed the example of Jesus hanging on the cross. Jesus had asked His Father to forgive them even while being hurt extensively from the pain caused by their ignorant human rejection. Jesus offered them all forgiveness as He endured unimaginable agony from their dismissal. None of those that rejected Him asked for this forgiveness so this was a proactive outreach from His love and mercy. Why was Jesus asking God to forgive them? It is primarily because walking in love will always forgive others proactively. If we wait for someone to ask for forgiveness before we extend it, I believe this can cause ill feelings to be harbored in our inner being that can build up and harden our hearts.
What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is a personal act of the freewill to extend mercy to someone that does not deserve to receive mercy. Wow, is that a tough concept for new Christians and for even many mature ones to grasp? It has been rare for me to see people with any mercy much less any forgiveness on the internet. Yes, I am talking about people who call themselves Christians. We can either decide to act like Jesus and proactively forgive everyone before they ask for it or we can become the judging condemner and stay in bitter un-forgiveness. What do you think we should do when people reject us? There are only two real options to choose from and I think I will follow Christ’s example.
# 3 – HANDLING REJECTION CORRECTLY WILL BE EASIER IF YOU KNOW THE TRUTH
If the people doing the rejection are acting out of ignorance of the truth then it stands to reason that we can best deal with this rejection by knowing the truth. Therefore the third thing to know about handling rejection is we better learn the truth. I personally believe that we are on the right path by studying this subject. We want to replace our lack of knowledge by filling our hearts and minds with God’s truth. God’s Word is the only source for spiritual and eternal truth. We should claim by faith that we are always in the right place at the right time studying the right subjects so God’s Word will prevail over all rejection and its evil intent from the enemy. Let’s go back and reconsider Luke 23:34. Jesus is in a process of extreme rejection yet He prays to God for their forgiveness instead of calling down fire or angels from heaven to destroy them all. You see Jesus had the power and authority to destroy them but chose not to. Human reaction would have been to get revenge or to set forth a process for justice at minimum. But Jesus did none of these. Why is that? Jesus could look beyond the current rejection to a greater and more significant purpose for His existence. Jesus knew that He knew the truth and that His rejecters did not. This should teach us that there is a right way to handle rejection and if there is a right way there is also a wrong way. I believe that one of the right ways of dealing with rejection will always be based upon us acquiring right knowledge. Jesus did this from an early age always being in the temple to hear the Words of God being read. Jesus gained right knowledge and understanding and this was a key factor for His correct handling of rejection. So what am I saying? I am saying ignorant people will reject you but you can overcome this by learning the truth and using this to overcome the rejection.
Life is full of choices. Making any right choice will always be based upon correct and sufficient knowledge. Jesus made a right choice while being rejected through an act of His own freewill. This act was made possible because of the knowledge that He possessed from the Word of God. I believe that we can do the same if we come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ to grow and increase in the understanding of His precious Holy Word. This knowledge of God will be what helps us deal with any human rejection. Therefore the third key to dealing with rejection is to get God’s understanding built within our hearts and minds. Put God’s Word first in every situation and leave the thoughts and ways of the natural world behind. It was the Jews that were thinking naturally and missed their Messiah. Wrong thinking and wrong believing based upon ignorance will be one of the primary causes for people rejecting right things and the right people. But it is right knowledge that will cause the rejected one to not be affected by the rejection.
Pro 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
God directs us more than once in the Bible that we need to obtain understanding. Understanding the reasons for rejection will help us handle it when it comes to us and it will come to you. There are people in the world today that are being rejected and do not know how to handle it and this allows Satan to convince them that they should take their own lives or withdraw from normal human interaction. God says in Hosea 4:6 that “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge”. Therefore what you do not know about any subject can be used against you by Satan to destroy you. Learn to overcome rejection by obtaining the knowledge of God.
I hope you are learning something because I know I am. All my Bible lessons are for me from God and if you can benefit from them then that is just an added blessing from God. Also if you don’t like what I teach I would just tell you “You would really like me if you knew me”. Let’s move on to the next point in dealing with rejection.
# 4 – UNDERSTANDING REJECTION CAUSES PAIN
Let’ go back again to Luke 23 where Jesus was hanging on the cross and asking God to forgive them. In the case of the Lord Jesus, His rejection caused Him extreme physical and even emotional pain because of all the things that He endured for us. So the fourth key to understanding how to handle rejection is for us to understand that there will always be pain that follows the initial rejection. Just learn to expect it because it will occur. Perhaps you do not understand me yet. I do not mean to imply that the pain of rejection will always be the same as Jesus’ physical pain. However that is still a reality even in this world today. People are killed, tortured and physically hurt by rejection today. Just look on the news or the internet and you should be able to find this easily. Even in the days of the early church the leaders, teachers and the followers of Christ were rejected by many people. Many of those in the early church were martyred. Many of them suffered greatly because of their faith. Many of them died horrific deaths of all sorts and types of slow demise. Such great suffering occurred simply because of human rejection influenced and conceived by Satan.
Can we agree that pain is not a positive feeling? Only a perverted and twisted mind will delight in pain. However there is a positive factor that pain can alert us to something harmful occurring. For example if something is hot and you touch it accidently the natural reaction is to withdraw your touch very fast because of the pain caused by the heat. This is an example of how pain can alert us to trouble. God built us with the capability of feeling all types of sensations including pain and pleasure. I personally would rather experience a good feeling rather than the negative feeling of pain but yet both still exist for a reason. Since pain exists in the world and we will probably feel it, learning how to react correctly to pain might be something good for us to learn about. If not in this lesson then maybe in a follow up lesson on this subject.
There are certainly many types of pain that rejection can cause other than physical suffering. The factor of emotional pain is significantly as great as physical pain to most people. Emotional pain could cause us the same type of reaction as a physical pain. Many will withdraw from a person after they are hurt by them. If you have ever been rejected by the love of your life then you know exactly the kind of pain that I am talking about. I believe that physical pain can always feel the greatest when it is happening but emotional feelings can linger for a while. When a woman is in labor about to deliver her baby I am told that the pain is practically unbearable at those moments. But after the baby arrives the pain suddenly is considered to be worth it all. At least the rewards now appear to be worth the cost of endurance because of the joy felt by the presence of the baby. This is a concept that is taught to us by God in the New Testament. For example read this verse found in the book of Romans:
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
The Greek word translated as “sufferings” can mean “emotional or physical” types of pain. God warns us that we will experience this here in this world. But God then tells us how to endure it. Wow, again and again. Here we are told to get back to thinking spiritually and eternally. God tells us very clearly in 2 Corinthians 4:18 that the things in this world are very temporary. God then instructs us to focus upon the things that are not seen because these are those things that are eternal. God is simply saying that spiritual things are greater and more important than any sufferings or pains being endured right now. God tells us that there is coming a glory to be revealed in us. These coming glorious things will make the current pains seem very insignificant. This is exactly the attitude of the woman that brought a new child into the world. It will be worth the pains when God shows us what is waiting for us. I hope you accept this because I know the current pain is very difficult to ignore. I can speak from experience from the tears that I have shed before because of the pains and hurts and I’m sure that your pain is not any less significant to you that you are going through either.
Jesus endured His natural pain because of His great Love for us and His knowledge of a greater spiritual purpose and plan for our eternity. He knew this pain endured in the natural would benefit Him and us and it was this love, knowledge and spiritual insight that kept Him on the cross. Thank you Jesus! Let’s begin to learn to follow Jesus’ example of looking into the future. I know that seeing into the future is not natural for us. It is very difficult to focus on anything beyond the current level of pain being experienced. I keep emphasizing this because this is a reality we have all shared in common at some time in our life and our Christian walk. Here is another verse of future glory to be revealed:
1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
I like this verse. It is an excellent commentary on the future. Because we cannot fully comprehend the power of God or what God could do for us we do not yet understand what He could have planned for us. However, we can still begin to think of His goodness and expect some pretty marvelous things that await us. This should help each of us endure human rejection for a short time. Begin to think eternally. While doing this think spiritually and get out of the natural perspective of your rejection. Ask God to forgive those that are rejecting you. Ask Him to send laborers across their paths to help them see and know the truth.
We should now start to understand that this type of observer offense called “rejection” causes people pain and these pains can create great feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, loneliness and inferiority to the one being rejected. The pain is real but this is definitely a temporary feeling. Even if they killed you dead, you would pass into eternity to be with Christ and the pain would not be remembered.
# 5 – CHRIST’S INSTRUCTIONS – EXPECTING REJECTION
I have implied this subject briefly in previous topics but this will be a more direct emphasis to teach us all to expect rejection to occur. When we expect something to happen we will be better prepared to handle it. If we do not expect something to happen then we will usually be taken by surprise when it does happen and this will usually result in our failure. There is an old saying from my work history that says “Fail to plan then you should plan to fail”. Do you understand this? This is only teaching us that we need to come up with a plan before we are rejected just in case it happens and this will give us the greater advantage when it does. Let’s examine a principle found in the book of Proverbs to help us:
Pro 24:27[Put first things first.] Prepare your work outside and get it ready for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house and establish a home. (AMP)
This is a very interesting verse that says nothing about rejection but does teach us to make a plan and follow the process. God gives us instructions to do things in a specific order. This is generally called “common sense” but this quality is sometimes a feature lacking in the modern age of people doing things without thinking of the consequences. The Hebrew word translated as “Prepare” is H3559 and it means “to set upright or erect”. It is clearly implying a correct process to accomplish this. In other words a plan is expected and it must be followed. This is what I am attempting to give you in this lesson. This lesson is talking about making a plan for rejection. Preparing for something negative is not a lack of faith but is rather a common sense approach to balancing the scriptures. We need to learn to expect what God said would happen to happen. Let’s see what God said would happen:
Mat 10:24The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
Mat 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Jesus declares we are no better than He was. He says very clearly that how He has been treated by people in this world will be how we will be treated by the same. This is a foundational doctrine being established and applied by the Lord Jesus Christ to all Christians. If Jesus was unjustly labeled, accused and rejected by people we should not expect anything differently. We need to know this because this type of persecution will certainly increase as the time nears for Christ’s return. Do you understand the connection between persecution and rejection? These two are directly linked together like Siamese twins. I can see this persecution happening now even in the media very clearly. Anyone standing up for God will be tried and torn down by those who do not want to hear it in a court of public opinion. We will be labeled intolerant hate mongers by those that hate us. That is a very hypocritical attitude isn’t it? They can criticize us but we can say nothing about their sin. I did say their sin and not them. I try to never talk about anyone specifically by name ever.
We should know from reading the Gospels that Jesus was heavily and frequently rejected for one reason or the other. There was the time once when the people wanted to stone Him (John 8:59) or throw Him off a cliff (Luke 4:29). Many others simply walked away mocking His teachings about eating His flesh and drinking His blood for example (John 6:66). The religious leaders of that day rejected Jesus and planned to kill him and they eventually succeeded (John 5:18, John 7:1). Rejection was a very significant part of the life of Jesus. You need to know this and then apply what Jesus just said to you in Matthew 10:25.
Therefore the fifth factor in this lesson for dealing with human rejection is for us to begin to expect for it to occur. However this only applies if you are anything like Jesus and doing what He was doing, saying what He was saying and acting the same way to people in this world. Just don’t be surprised when someone rejects you, your message, your witness, your testimony or your life style choices and this will help you deal with it in a healthy manner without striking back from emotional anger or hurt. Striking back in anger or from the pain or other emotional hurts will usually only cause greater problems of strife as well as give other Christians a bad reputation. The same as Jesus walked in love to those that rejected Him, is how we should respond to the same types of denunciation.
I will also say this quickly about Christians not being rejected by worldly people. If you are currently accepted by the vast majority of the people in the world then you are not preaching, teaching or telling people what Jesus told them. It is impossible not to offend the world with the truth of the Word of God. Wow, that was a very strong statement but it is a well-known fact. Always expect the world to reject you and then learn to walk in proactive forgiveness towards them just like Jesus did hanging on the cross when He said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. This is the beginning of handling rejection and I hope you are learning something today that will help you in your walk with Jesus Christ. I will just give one more witness to this truth for this lesson today:
Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
We are warned that we will all suffer with Jesus by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost given to Paul. In other words the same rejection that He endured we should expect to happen to us. Do you see it in this verse? Perhaps it will help to study the Greek Word that was translated as “suffer with” in this verse and it could help us to see what God was trying to say.
G4841 – From G4862 and G3958 (including its alternate); to experience pain jointly or of the same kind (specifically persecution; to “sympathize”): – suffer with.
It should become significantly clearer by reading this definition from Strong’s Concordance that our rejection will be the same as Christ’s rejection. “To experience pain jointly or of the same kind” is the primary definition of this word. I do not know how to make it more clear than this. After reading this you should now be expecting the same level of rejection and persecution to come to you as what Jesus experienced in this world.
# 6 – UNDERSTAND CHRIST’S EXAMPLE – BECOMING ACCEPTED BY GOD
I believe that I have at the very least implied this point briefly in the previous sections but it should be emphasized again more directly for a greater clarification and retention. I firmly believe that Jesus lived a pattern of life on the earth that we should expect to reoccur in our lives and I further believe that His life was an intentionally designed example for us to follow after. That does not mean that we will die on the cross like He did but some Christians have experienced that. What I am trying to say is that we should walk, talk and live the way that He did towards other people in love.
Was Jesus rejected? I think we have more than confirmed that He was rejected repeatedly. Did Jesus ever feel the pain of rejection? I think we have seen this evidence also. I think I will give you another witness for the emotional pain that Jesus felt about being rejected. Please read this next verse and see beyond the words to feel the emotions behind them.
Mat 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Jesus starts out with a heartfelt cry “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem”. Depending upon the voice tone it could be any emotion between anger and extreme sadness. But I believe that these words were spoken in pain and disappointment. You can see this by the further statement “How often would I have gathered your children…”. This part of the statement is God longing to accept these people into His arms just like a mother hen covers her little young ones. This is a very powerful statement that the children were refusing this love and nurturing. They were rejecting the love of the only true God. This broke the heart of God and He cries for them. Feel the tears and experience the pain of being rejected. God is clearly weeping over His people.
How did Jesus deal with all of this rejection? I would think that we should follow after His example. We have already talked about many of the things that Jesus did to counter rejection. I mentioned learning and knowing the truth, walking in love, seeing things spiritually, emphasizing eternal realities and proactively forgiving the rejecters. Let’s now read my lesson’s foundational verse and consider what God is saying. This verse will be the central theme for my entire subject today.
1Pe 2:4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,
This verse is the applied basis for my question that I asked you in the title today. This verse is speaking directly of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ set us a living example for us to follow after. He was very clearly rejected by the vast majority of the people present in the region of the earth where He was born. He did nothing except teach them, heal them and work miracles in their sight and they rejected all the good that He represented and killed Him. These people took an innocent man guilty of no crimes and killed Him like a murderer. Did Jesus deserve this rejection? Did Jesus sow any discord, disharmony or anything else to cause this rejection? I don’t really believe that He did. No Jesus simply presented the truth and this truth was rejected out of their human ignorance.
This teaches us that human rejection may not be justified, earned or merited and that it could happen to anyone doing what Jesus did. However, did you notice the antithesis preference found within this verse found in 1 Peter 2:4? Doesn’t God say here in this verse that Jesus even after being rejected by men was still plainly accepted by God? In fact wasn’t Jesus already accepted by God even before he was ever rejected by anyone? Let’s look at a verse that confirms this:
Luk 3:22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
God in a spiritual form of a dove descended from heaven upon Jesus. The voice of God in heaven spoke and declared the Son of God Jesus to be pleasing to the Father. To be pleasing in the eyes of the observer is clearly acceptance by the Father God. At this time in the life and ministry of Jesus, He had not done one miracle yet nor started to teach or preach any Word from God. Therefore human rejection had not taken place. Here is a secret for surviving human rejection. We must make sure that we are first accepted by God. Wow this really sounds like something that we need to learn about. How do we become accepted by God when people can reject us? I guess I should clarify this question. You see I believe that we are primarily rejected by men simply because we have previously been accepted by God. I am attempting to talk to Christians in this lesson but I do know we all can still be rejected before we become Christians. So this lesson can even help a non-Christian if they will join in a do what the Bible teaches about dealing with rejection.
# 7 – UNDERSTANDING HOW TO BECOME REJECTED BY GOD
Mat 10:33 “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
There are at least two antithesis truths that can be gleaned from this verse. The key word being found in this verse is “deny”. This Greek word is G720 and it means to “reject”, “renounce” or “abnegate”. The English word “abnegate” means to reject something valuable. God says to us if we “reject” (deny) Christ (that which should be valuable to us) verbally to other people that He will reject (deny) us (that which is valuable to Him) before these same people. Wow, wow, wow!! That is something that many people have not considered. Have you given this verse much thought? It would be good for all of us to meditate on this verse for a long time to get it built into our hearts.
What are the implied unstated or indirect truths found within this verse? This verse teaches us by the law of antithesis truth that if we “accept” and “proclaim” Christ before men that God will accept and proclaim us in the exact same way. This fact declares plainly that we control our acceptance or our rejection from God by our own freewill choices and actions. This truth contradicts the erroneous teaching of extreme predestination where people are appointed for salvation or for hell based upon God’s sovereign plan. It is very clear to me that we have a great role to play in being accepted or rejected by God. Let’s obtain another witness to this truth of being rejected by God:
2Ti 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
Again God declares that the rejection (denial) of Christ will be His rejection (denial) of us. These are established truths which places all of the responsibility of what happens to us upon our personal will, choices, decisions and actions. I keep saying that because this was how God designed salvation to work. Salvation is totally dependent upon what you believe and what you say. If you don’t believe me then let’s believe God’s Word and read this verse to confirm it:
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
I am going to say something very controversial about this verse that I have said before in other posts. I get more religious people’s negative comments trying to convince me that salvation is based upon works and not completely on our faith than any other subject that I teach on. What are the key words found in this verse? They are “believe” and “confess”. God says if we do these two we will be saved. Now place this verse in harmony with the previous two verses about denying Jesus? You should be able to see that “denying” Jesus is implied to be a public declaration. Would it not stand to reason that confessing Jesus is the same? I do not want to get religious or legal minded about salvation being only one certain way because I do believe a person can get saved all alone in any private setting by calling on Jesus. However, the public confession of Jesus factor is still implied even after the initial salvation. Who said we have to stop confessing Jesus after the one time public or private confession of Jesus?
Do you understand what I was saying? I believe if we confess Jesus in private but deny him in public we could be in serious trouble. God says salvation is dependent upon us confessing Jesus and believing in His resurrection from the dead. This would simply imply that our continued salvation hinges upon us continuing to believe and continuing to confess Him as our Lord and Savior in public or in private. This is what I believe whether you choose to believe it or not. Please do not write me comments about eternal security and once saved always saved philosophies that do not balance with the whole word of God and ignore so many scriptures that contradict it. I am probably causing offense to so many readers by attempting to teach the truth as I have been shown it by God but that is the risk of any teaching from the Bible. Someone will always be offended and I will be rejected by some.
What does all of this teach us? This means that we should not be ashamed of Jesus Christ to talk about Him and tell others about what He has done for us. We should not be bashful but rather bold enough to proclaim Him in a public setting. Uh oh I can feel the readers shutting me off as they just read something that is potentially controversial about doing something potentially offensive to others in the world. This verse is very strong to say that God will reject some people on the earth. It seems to me that it would be very wise for me to determine how to not become one of these being rejected. We are talking about being accepted or being rejected by God. We have just determined that it is possible to be in either category of mathematical sets. The set of God’s accepted versus the set of God’s rejected. Which are you in? Are you one of His sheep or one of the goats that will be turned away?
# 8 – UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL SOURCE FOR HUMAN REJECTION
Mat 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
I have been doing a very basic Bible lesson on the subject of rejection and how to deal with it. We have already learned some very valuable information on this subject. Let’s think some more about the implied truths found in Matthew 10:25. Did you notice what Jesus was further suggesting in this statement? Jesus was saying if we are accepted by God then we will probably be rejected by men. This is just basic logic derived from analyzing the stated truths and the unstated antithesis truths that must also be true. If we are God’s disciples then we must have been accepted by God. If we are God’s servants then again this implies God’s approval has taken place. Now learn how the world will treat those that are accepted and approved into the household of Christ Jesus. Jesus said that they will be called names and rejected. Therefore it is one or the other and not both. What this teaches us again is that if we are accepted by God we will be rejected by the vast unsaved world. And if we are rejected by God then we are more likely to be accepted by the same lost world. Therefore we should have learned to expect rejection after our acceptance from Jesus Christ.
As I have continued to teach we need to expect this rejection of men to occur in order to not be taken by surprise. Please understand that it is ultimately Satan that is using these people to come against Christians. Satan will be directing the assaults by providing thoughts that blind their minds to receive the truth. It is essential to know what Ephesians 6:12 says in this discussion of rejection.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Why did I include this verse in a discussion concerning handling rejection? It is primarily because we need to know who is behind the rejection from the people in the world. God very clearly teaches in the Bible in more than one scripture that we are in a spiritual battle with the rulers of the darkness of this this world. Every unsaved person is a puppet in this dark world. Most of them do not have a clue what they are doing and why they are doing it. This is why Jesus could hang on the cross and ask God to forgiven them all because of their ignorant allegiance and obedience to the devil. Jesus knew the ultimate enemy and it was not people. People were who He came to the earth to save. Jesus was clearly thinking spiritually and not naturally. Wow, we really need to get a hold of this concept. When a person comes and rejects us and calls us names we must realize that it is Satan inspired. This is why we don’t ever retaliate with a person that is rejecting us. You can however learn to speak to the spirits that are working in those people. I would not normally do this to their face unless God instructed me to do so. We can also pray to God and ask God to open the eyes of understanding for the person doing the rejecting. These are two things that we can do when being rejected. Remember that and this will further help you to overcome the rejection. We can talk more about these in another lesson someday.
# 9 – OVERCOMING THE REJECTION OF MEN WITH THE ACCEPTANCE OF GOD
What God declares in Matthew 10:25 is that rejection by Satan and the world is inevitable if we are Christians. We will either be rejected by men or we will rejected by God. That makes it extraordinarily clear to me who I don’t want to be rejected by. I want to definitely be accepted by God. We have already talked about denying Christ or confessing Christ as primary factors for rejection or acceptance but there are other factors that are stated in the Bible. This will be the next tot he last section in this lesson discussion to further expand out knowledge on becoming fully accepted by God. We will need to learn as much as we can about this subject in a short overview format.
Rejection by men and women in the world will always hurt us emotionally and possibly physically. I would love to be accepted by everyone that I teach or meet but I know this will never happen. Also I do not wish to become a “man pleaser” just to have the friendship with the world. It would be foolish of me to water down the teaching of God to just not to try to offend anyone. These principles are clearly taught to us in the Bible. Let’s review some N.T. verses about rejection and acceptance by God:
2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
We are told by God to come out from among them and be separate. This Greek word translated as “separate” means to set a boundary between two things. In other words God tells us to be very different from the world. Being different from the world alone will cause many people in the world to reject us as fools. We will be called names like intolerant hate mongers or even a boring unexciting person just because we don’t party, drink alcohol, smoke or take drugs like them. We will be accused of propagating a message of exclusion and preaching a message of hatred simply for speaking of Christ’s love being the only way for their salvation. What people in the world do not realize is that in their present condition they are far apart from God and on their way to hell. We are instructed by God to tell them about a remedy for this condition that God has given to them freely. If they will listen to this message then Christ said they will be saved from the rejection of God.
Go back and reread 2 Corinthians 6:17 again. The verse ends with the declaration that we will be received by God “IF” we come out from among the world. This Greek word translated as receive is G1523 and it means “to take into one’s favor” or in other words to “be accepted” and “approved”. Wow, this is great information to learn. God is telling you how to be accepted by Him. This is clearly us rejecting the world’s ways and walking in God’s ways. The reverse antithesis truth found in this verse is that if we accept the world’s ways we will be rejected by God and that will definitely be an unsatisfactory result for eternity. What God is teaching us in the Bible is that there exist conditional promises. Acceptance by God is conditional and never guaranteed unless we learn to follow the instructions that He has given to us in order to qualify.
We have just learned a basic principle for achieving God’s acceptance and avoiding His rejection. We must proclaim Jesus before men and we must come out from among the world. It sounds like a contradiction but this is the way of God. We can tell the world about Jesus without looking like them, acting like them or sounding like them. Being accepted by God is a partnership between God’s Grace and man’s faith. We cannot earn this favorable position with God by our works. Our works of labor will never make us accepted by God. This is truly a paradox being presented to us. If right works do not save us yet the wrong works could cause us to be rejected how do we deal with this? Let’s view a perspective from the Lord Jesus on this part of the discussion:
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
We are called the lights shining to the world in this verse. As a light we are told to do good works in order to give glory to God for saving us. You see our good works certainly do not save us but yet they can be viewed by the world clearly to be seen as a different and new way of life. There is a tremendous deception contained within the ways of the world. The life of sin is very attractive at first but the consequence of sin will always come upon them suddenly and then this is when people might wish they had made better choices. Let me give you a quick Bible verse that relates to this subject of enjoying pleasure for a short time and an eternity in hell for making that wrong choice:
Heb 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
This verse is speaking of Moses if you read the context you will see this clearly. Notice what God says about Moses. God says Moses made a wise choice. Moses chose to live in persecution and affliction rather than live the good life with the Egyptians for a season. It is self-evident that we should not choose a short life of pleasure just to hang around the popular people, the aristocrats and the wealthy. This is what God is trying to say to us all. Come out and be separate from the world and this will cause you to be accepted by God but rejected by them. However, this will result in far greater rewards than you can possibly imagine.
#10 – THE WITNESS OF GOD IS GREATER THAN THE WITNESS OF MAN
Now let me end this lesson with one more key verse when learning to deal with rejection found in the book of 1st John. I am going to emphasize one more time that the acceptance of God should be our focused desire. This goal will help us to deal with the certain rejection of people in this world:
1Jn 5:9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
I think this will be my last verse in this very important Bible lesson. Here is God comparing two possible realities that I started out asking you in the lesson title. Did you see them? One is a natural reality and the other is a spiritual reality? Which one is greater? Can you comprehend the connection to the subject of “rejection”? Let’s look up the Greek word G3144 which was translated as “witness”. Witness is defined to be someone that gives evidence for or against you in a court of law. Now do you begin to see the connection? What happens when someone rejects you? They usually will verbally speak something negative about you. What happens when someone accepts you? They usually will verbally speak something positive about you. So how does this information apply to being rejected by men?
If a man rejects you God informs us very clearly that His acceptance will be greater and far more important to us in the end. In other words the temporary acceptance of men will not be worth the eternal separation and rejection of God. God is just confirming that His divine spiritual acceptance outweighs any natural rejection every time. I think this will be very helpful to everyone that will learn to receive it.
After reading this Bible lesson on rejection let me ask the titled question again. Would you now rather be rejected by men or rejected by God? This is a test just like in school growing up. However, God’s tests are always open book tests with the answer found right after you search for them with your whole heart. What does God recommend for this question? God recommends that you make wise choices and become accepted by Him. Then don’t worry about the rejection that the world will bring you because the acceptance of God will triumph over this dismissal by the world giving you great eternal rewards.
There is so much more on this subject of rejection in the Bible but it will have to wait for a follow up lesson. I would recommend that you go back and reread this lesson more than once. Print it out and take notes. Share it with others so that they too will know how to deal with rejection. I thank you so much for taking the time to read these Bible lessons. I pray that the seeds planted in your heart from these lessons will sprout and bring forth much fruit in your life. Until next time may God richly bless you and keep you in the paths that He would lead you in. God Bless you!!!
Bible Answers: Was the Eye of the Needle in Mark 10:25 a Literal or Figurative description and what does it mean?
(Ver 1.0) I recently received a question about what Jesus meant concerning the “camel” going through the “eye of a needle” spoken about in Mark 10:25. This is a commonly misunderstood verse in the Bible that is often misused and misapplied to mean many things that was not stated. If you read the surrounding verses you might discover that there were two primary subjects being spoken of. One subject was salvation and the other was money or possessions. Jesus actually taught more on the subject of money than practically any other subject found in the Gospels. It is very obvious to me that this makes money a very important subject to learn and understand correctly. It further teaches us if money was discussed in the same context as salvation that we are required to learn how they fit and work together to have any confidence that we are following the words and teachings of Jesus accurately. This is a potentially controversial topic to teach. There are so many strong opinions on this subject of money and they go from one extreme on the far left to the opposite extreme on the far right. This subject will be difficult for some to receive but please do not get offended by anything that I say just because you disagreed. To become offended at your brother for saying something is a childish carnal reaction. If you want to grow spiritually and discuss it in a mature Christian way, I will be happy to hear what you have to say if you have Bible verses that back up what you believe.
There is a significant challenge being presented by God with studying a prolific subject like money. The more abundantly any subject is presented in the Bible the more difficult it becomes to learn completely because every verse on the subject must be balanced with every other verse about the subject in order to come to the correct interpretation of what is being taught as a whole. If you go and do some study you should find that there are over 2000 verses in the Bible that directly or indirectly relate to the subject of money. That is a lot of verses to study and to understand. If you know and understand them all, please feel free to share that with me so that I may learn from you. If not, then please do not condemn what I teach by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Since no one knows or understands every verse on any prolific subject except for God we need to trust God to speak what we need to learn about today and trust He will guide us into more and greater understanding tomorrow. What I have learned from studying this subject is that if we take any single verse on a broad subject like money in Mark 10:25 and study it in isolation it will cause only confusion and misunderstanding because we lack sufficient knowledge to make any correct assessment. We will begin with the primary verse in question and then continue to understand what is being said by Jesus using certain basic Bible interpretation rules:
- Mar 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
The question being answered today was “Is Jesus talking about a literal sewing needle in this verse or one that is figurative representing something else?” I guess that also implies, is Jesus talking about a literal camel in this verse or is the camel a symbolic representation for something else? If one is symbolic the other by direct association must also be symbolic and the antithesis to that truth is if one is literal then the other reference must also be literal. Because the camel is stated to pass through the eye of the needle both objects must interact directly with the other. It is usually wisdom to be consistent in the interpretation of objects of such close proximity in the scriptures especially if they interact with each other. Determining whether or not these objects are literal or figurative will be a difficult question to answer so we need to use the defined rules of Bible interpretation to come to the proper conclusion. We will start with the rule of God’s Selected Word Usage in the other parts of the Bible to determine if God sets any pattern of usage or if God has presented us with any redefinitions for any of the words being questioned. This is actually one of the most significant Bible interpretation rules that is often ignored, not known or not applied. I hope that you at least understand the principle behind why this rule is beneficial. I’m not here today to teach rules for interpretation, but I will always use them whether I tell you about them or not.
GOD’S SELECTED WORD USAGE
The Greek word G4476 translated as “needle” is only used in three verses in the entire N.T. and these all quote this same statement (Mat 19:26, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25). This Greek word literally means a sewing instrument also known as a sewing needle according to the Strong’s dictionary. The Greek word G5168 translated as “eye” is also only found in these three same quoted statements in the same three verses in the N.T. The meaning of the “eye” is literally an opening like an orifice in the human body. Clearly this is a description of a literal natural sewing needle. Therefore, we have no other word usage convention in the N.T. to help us compare God’s selection of the terms to be either literal or figurative. That means we need to move to the next Greek word and learn what it teaches us.
The Greek word G2574 that was translated as “camel” is used in the same exact three quoted verses but this word is also found in three additional N.T. verses where two times (Mat 3:4, Mar 1:6) it is definitely used by God to describe an actual literal created camel. In these two verses John the Baptist is described wearing a coat of “camel’s” hair and since John is literal the camel-hair coat must also be literal by the rule of direct interaction that I mentioned previously. There is only one other verse (Mar 23:24) in the N.T. where this Greek word for camel is used and this time it is clearly selected by Jesus to be a figurative statement where it cannot be taken literally. In this verse Jesus is talking to the scribes and the Pharisees and He tells them “You strain a gnat and swallow a camel”. These were “figures of speech” with deeper meanings that could be understood by the hearer. The gnat and the camel were not to be taken as literal statements where they were literally straining gnats and literally swallowing a whole camel. I do not have time to explain figures of speech but they are found in the Bible in several places by God’s design.
What we have discovered so far is that it is not going to be easy to learn what these words really mean by observing only the usage of the Greek words in the rest of the Bible. There are no definitions for the words given in the rest of the Bible that I found. There were no other occurrences of the words “eye” or “needle” in the New Testament. The Greek word for “camel” could be taken literally or as a figure of speech and that only means the verse in Mark 10:25 is one of the two and we need to continue to study to determine which it is. That was only one rule of Bible interpretation and there are others to follow so let’s go to the next and find how that applies.
Before I apply the next interpretation rule, let’s expand the reader’s question using the implied unstated meaning behind the question. What I have discovered is that the reason for one asking a question is equally as important as the question itself. I understood my reader’s question to imply “If this verse is a literal camel going through a literal needle’s eye, then Jesus was teaching that we shouldn’t become rich, own any possessions or live outside of the realm of absolute poverty”. But was that what Jesus was actually teaching us? I have seen where many believe this to be true and go and live in a commune owning nothing. I have even heard preachers teach that this verse in Mark 10 is a proclamation that having wealth and riches in this world is a direct pathway to hell. I do not know for sure if that was the reason for the question, but that will be the focus for my answer to the question nonetheless. Is having money a negative in the eyes of God? If we own nothing is that a positive thing in the eyes of God? If having money, wealth and possessions in this world is a negative then I believe hell is full of a lot of Old Testament saints that were rich like, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon, Job and I could name others that possessed great wealth in the Bible. If the possession of wealth causes one to be evil, I would begin to ask God, why did you create it? I would then ask an even better question next to God saying “why are the streets of heaven paved in gold”? It would appear to me that the Bible contradicts the teaching that having wealth is an evil by giving us so many examples to the contrary. This is where we need to learn the application of balance. Let’s balance every verse about money in the Bible and not just focus on this one alone in Mark 10. We still need to overcome the apparent contradiction to the presumed statement made by Jesus in Mark 10:25 about a rich man not being able to enter into the Kingdom of God.
STUDYING THE CONTEXT OF MARK 10:25
One of the key Bible interpretation rules is to interpret the verse in question using the surrounding context of the statement. Ignoring the context or taking the verse out of context will usually result in a false meaning of the information given within the verse. This is normally true except when a verse contains information of a universal truth nature. A universal truth is a statement made by God that is true regardless of the context or application. This verse in Mark 10:25 is NOT a divine universal statement of truth and therefore the context is valuable and even essential to understanding the meaning. A context type of study would include what is being described directly around the statement in the chapter and if you want to expand the search to go beyond the chapter context you can also include what was spoken in the entire book about the subjects presented. But context study also includes the search to find the answers for three additional questions which are:
- Who is speaking?
- Who is being spoken to?
- Who is being spoken about?
This verse is a prime example of the necessity for this rule’s application. We cannot read this verse in Mark 10:25 alone and attempt to understand it because it is a small part of a much larger story that is being used to teach a far greater principle. Therefore, we really must consider the surrounding context in order to better understand what is being stated by Jesus in verse 25. It is very similar to what I said in a previous paragraph. The reason for Jesus speaking this statement in Mark 10:25, is equally as important as what was said by Jesus in the statement alone. Without understanding the purpose behind it, you will never understand the statement being made. Please read all of these context verses together starting with verse 17 where the lesson begins:
- Mar 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
- Mar 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
- Mar 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
- Mar 10:20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
- Mar 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
- Mar 10:22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
- Mar 10:23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
- Mar 10:24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
- Mar 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
- Mar 10:26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
I gave you several verses before verse 25 and one after because they all go together in a single lesson. Jesus is the primary speaker with the majority of the spoken words being in red ink. However there are secondary statements being made by a rich man at first and later the disciples of Jesus. Actually it is important to note that the rich man initiates the conversation and that causes Jesus to begin to respond to his question. Therefore the conversation was not initiated by Jesus. It is always important to notice if Jesus initiates something or if it is simply Jesus responding to what another has initiated. One reason for this distinction is to know if Jesus is teaching generally to everyone or if Jesus is teaching directly to just one person. This fact will have direct bearing upon how we view the context. What we have is Jesus as the main speaker answering a question from a solitary rich man not about money but about his salvation. Therefore the lesson within the conversation begins with a personal response to one man and not a general discussion to everyone about how to be saved. Do you understand this? I’ll try to say it again differently; Jesus is speaking to only this one rich man at first with the disciples in observance of the conversation not being direct participants but rather simply observant students of the Master who was giving a lesson to an isolated rich man about his personal salvation.
As you can read in verse 17 the primary subject of this discussion is concerning only salvation. One of the secondary subjects of the conversation that later comes out is about the subject of the rich man’s money in verse 21. We know from reading verse 22, that Jesus was approached by a very wealthy man asking what he could do to inherit eternal life. Jesus names several of the commandments of God in verse 19 and the rich man claims to have followed all of these since his age of accountability in verse 20. Many today would think that obeying God’s law would be enough to be saved but that is not what the New Testament teaches us. In Romans 4:13-14, God says that the promise to be an heir of salvation was not given to any man through the obedience of the law but rather it came by faith in Jesus Christ alone who was doing the speaking in this lesson. In Galatians 2:16 God says “No flesh will be justified by the works of the law”. This knowledge of the law makes the initial answer that Jesus gave to the rich man almost irrelevant. So there must be another reason for Jesus making the statement. Why then does Jesus tell him that he should have obeyed the law if this obedience was not required for New Covenant salvation? Well first we need to remember that the New Covenant was not yet implemented and thus they were still under the jurisdiction and the concluding timeline of the Old Covenant. The Law was the only Words of God available to follow, so that is clearly the emphasis being given at first. However, Jesus was not done talking and continues with some personal spiritual realities on things this rich man would need to fix in order to be saved after the New Covenant was implemented. Not sure if you understood what I just said, but it will become clearer as we go forward.
What I observe here in this lesson to the rich man so far is that Jesus was dealing with his core spiritual heart issues and not just his perceived loyalty to obey God’s commands. Jesus appears to be confirming the existence of the rich man’s pride by offering him a chance to admit to just one law that he has not followed completely in his entire mature life. You see the law was created by God to show man that it was impossible to keep the entire law consistently and by coming to this revelation of the truth teach man the need for a savior. Romans 3:20 teaches us that it is by law that the knowledge of sin was given to man. In Romans 2 Paul talks a lot in this chapter about those under the law attempting to keep the law but then breaking it in some way. Then in Roman 5:20 Paul wrote that the law entered so that the transgression of the law might abound. Not sure if you understood that last statement either that God made through Paul. You see here in the U.S., the 5 largest cities with the strictest and most prolific gun control laws are where the majority of gun murders occur. If you want more deaths by guns to occur God just said you should pass more laws against them and this will cause the violation of the law to increase. Wow, that was good to learn! I wish more of our government would learn that.
This rich man’s claim to have followed the law completely is a virtual impossibility since only Jesus fulfilled the law to the full extent. One problem that Jesus consistently encountered in the Gospels was religious people who believed that they were superior to Him because of their self-righteous good works. These Pharisee types looked at their ability to obey the law as the true way to God. They created manmade traditional rules on top of God’s laws to insure that they never even came close to violating God’s law. However, Jesus would look at them and say that they were like whitewashed tombs that looked pretty on the outside but were full of unclean dead men’s bones on the inside (Mat 23:27). This rich man’s response was much like those of the Pharisee types. Therefore the rich man was clearly in pride not admitting to the truth of his own faults and shortcomings in need of a savior. This is when Jesus begins to dig deeper into the man’s inner heart condition to show him that there were more profound root issues that needed correction in order for him to receive this “eternal life” that he was seeking.
Jesus says to go and sell his possessions and give to the poor and that is when the rich man turns away from his only hope named Jesus in a state of grief. That was the end of that personal conversation with the rich man about his salvation and that is very important to note. Jesus then looking around about at his surroundings said out loud “how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”. This new statement to a totally different audience appears to be the beginning of a major controversy for the disciples of Jesus and it is totally unexpected to them because they did not understand the reason for what had just happened to the rich man. What we must observe is that a significant target audience transition has just occurred. Jesus has just moved from answering a rich man’s personal question on what he needed to do to be saved to teaching a different valuable lesson to His disciples and us in the church. This new lesson is about a greater previously unmentioned subject. What that should potentially mean to us is that the primary subject has moved from a conversation about the salvation of a single natural rich man to a conversation about spiritual internal conditions that were never discussed. Here is a good time for us to ask, why did Jesus ask the rich man to sell his possessions and give to the poor. The reason behind the request is actually again more important than the request itself.
This is where the Bible reader who desires to know the truth needs to become a Sherlock Holmes type of serious Bible student to observe the details to what is really being taught to the church and not to an unsaved rich carnal man. Why were the disciples so astonished at this saying of Jesus in verse 23? Why were His disciples so surprised by this statement about the rich of this world being so hard to save? Think about it. If the disciples were all poor men that had nothing and owned nothing they should be rejoicing because they could now be easily saved on their way to the Kingdom of God, but that was not their reaction at all, was it? Can you read? Can you see what their reaction was? This was clearly the reaction of men that were NOT poor. Being shocked that a rich man is almost impossible to save makes no logical sense for anyone but men with money. I believe if you study the Bible you might agree that these men selected by Jesus were not poor men who owned nothing. In fact, the majority of the disciples described came from successful businesses that were making them money. Many were fishermen like Simon Peter and Andrew who caught and sold fish for money (Mat 4:18). James and John are described to also be fishermen with possessions (Mat 4:21). Clearly fishermen owned large boats, fishing gear, nets, as well as owned houses and worked and made money in the markets. One disciple named Matthew was definitely a tax collector (Mat 9:9) and Luke was described to be a doctor (Col 4:4). None of these disciples were poor men begging for money to exist. That is why they are so very concerned with this statement that Jesus just made. Do you understand this?
Jesus then continues the lesson saying “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to be saved”. Again all of the disciples are flabbergasted and that confirms that they all have money and the statement is making them think about asking if they can even be saved. What I have discovered being taught within the Bible is that the Bible is not opposed to people having money. Jesus was not teaching poverty in this example. Jesus was not even teaching that we need to sell or give away everything in order to be saved. That is very unintelligent religious thinking drawn from wrong conclusions that teach this is found in the Bible. What Jesus was teaching, is that rich people must not trust in their money more than they trust in God. This further says that rich people must not love their money and their possessions more than they love their God. Jesus was making a point to the rich man that he needed to learn to trust in God and His Grace rather than to place all of his confidence in what he had done and what he had obtained. Any rich person who is self-reliant, self-made, and self-sufficient in their own eyes will find it very hard to be saved because they are full of pride in their own abilities. The Bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). The rich man that came to Jesus was asking how to be saved but he was too heavily bound to and by his money and his possessions for him to let go of them to make Jesus his Lord. The rich man therefore does not qualify to receive grace. His money was in effect his god. He was joined to his money and he was unable to part with any of these temporary things of this world simply because he valued them more than he valued the eternal rewards of God and that was the major problem that Jesus was addressing in this personal lesson to the rich man.
Jesus was dealing with a heart issue and not a money issue. What we value will be what we place our trust and confidence in. A man with great wealth has learned that money will buy him practically anything and he has placed a false trust in it. Jesus actually spoke of this in Matthew 6:2 when he said “Where you treasure is there will also be your heart”. Jesus clearly says what a man values in this world is what he will be focused on in his heart. Jesus is not going to share first place in your heart with your money or your possessions. Everyone is going to have to choose between Jesus and money or whatever it is that they value to determine which will be of more lasting worth and benefit and then make only one of these their priority in this life. In the first part of the lesson to the rich man Jesus was trying to get him to see that he needed to change. In the last part of the lesson to the church Jesus was teaching a lesson about how people can still possess money but that this money must not possess them or they will never see the kingdom of God. This lesson being taught goes along with other statements that Jesus made on the subject of money that are parallel examples to what is being taught in Mark 10:25:
- Mat 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
You see when a person becomes a Christian they are required by the design of God in Romans 10:9-10 to make Jesus their personal Lord and Savior. You cannot make Jesus your Savior without also making Him your simultaneous Lord. If Jesus is your Lord then your money or your possessions or whatever cannot be your Lord. Jesus states this very clearly using money in Matthew 6:24. When someone tries to serve two masters they are distracted by the one to not fully serve either. Jesus requires your undivided attention when you make Him your Lord. He is not going to share His Lordship with your business or your money. That was the major problem with the rich man that came to Jesus in Mark 10:25. Jesus was attempting to get a commitment from the rich man to make Jesus His Lord, but the rich man turned away to continue to serve his wealth. Does this make sense to you now?
Jesus was teaching the rich man about his problem without ever stating that he had a problem. When the rich man heard this he should have become humble and asked a few more questions instead of going away without knowing the rest of the truth for the reason to why Jesus asked what He did. What did I say earlier? I said the reason for the statement is as important as the statement itself. This man heard the request but did not desire to know the reason behind the statement. That was one of his greatest failures. It is not offensive to God if you ask Him questions. People are like two year olds to God’s level of thinking. God understands that people are in need of knowledge and understanding to grow. Asking questions is an excellent way to learn more about your situation. Don’t believe me? When the angel of God comes to Mary and tells her that she will have a child, she doesn’t walk away in grief saying, “yea right”. No she was wiser than this rich man and she asked “how shall this be seeing that I have never known a man?’ God was not angry at the question and gave her the straight answer and this was to her benefit because now she understood more about how this was possible to occur. Do you ever ask God questions? I ask God questions very often, it is the easiest way to learn the truth.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT GIVING TO THE POOR?
Now for the potentially controversial part of the lesson. I have already shown briefly what the N.T. says about Jesus’ instructions concerning obeying the law so we should move to the next statement made by Jesus and learn more about this subject. Since the rich man was next instructed by Jesus to release his possessions and then to “give” to the poor it might be helpful if we understood how this relates in order to understand what would have happened to the rich man if he would have been obedient to the request. I will confirm that his disobedience to the request to sell and give denied him his salvation but then I will also say that it would not have been his poverty that saved him. I’ll repeat this again, it was Jesus working on the man’s heart issues that caused the request to sell and give. I know I repeat myself, but these are important facts that need to be understood.
One key to understanding a subject is to find related verses in the Bible that speak about the subject. We did this with the key words “camel”, “eye” and “needle” and found very little to help us, but that is not all of the subjects within the context of the verse in question. We know before Jesus spoke these words about the camel going through the eye of the needle that Jesus asked the rich man to go and sell his possessions and to “give” to the poor”. I tried to teach you that this rich man was not valuing the correct things and placing them in the correct order of priority. He was clearly placing his trust in his money and possessions and that will never please God. Still there is a need to understand what “giving” has to do with God’s proposed solution to change this man’s heart around to learn to trust Him? Wow, that sounds like an awesome thing to learn for every Christian. So let’s get started.
Jesus literally taught many other things in the Gospels about money. Because the rich man did not know these other sayings he walked away from obtaining a blessing and he didn’t even know it. God says in His Word “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). I just taught you that we need to learn to ask God questions if we want to learn more from Him. I really meant that! So let’s ask God the question “what would have happened if the rich man gave away all of his possessions to the poor”? What would be the end result of such obedience? Would this rich man have remained in poverty from then on? Could this rich man never work or earn anymore money ever again? Or should this rich man go to work and then continue to give everything that he made away? In order to begin to learn how to answer these questions in God’s word I believe that we need to learn what God said about giving. I’ll start with a verse that is certainly important and directly related about this subject of giving:
- Act 20:35 “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.‘”
What is being repeated here in this verse? I want you to first observe that this statement says the writer is working hard as an example to those that he was writing to. Therefore we just answered a part of the question about should a Christian continue to work after becoming a Christian! Did you know that the writer of the book of Acts was Luke? Can you see that Luke is one of the Apostles of Jesus that was present when the rich man’s lesson was taking place? Did Luke learn anything from that experience? Apparently he did! Luke is saying that we should help the weak. This word weak means the sick, the diseased, and the feeble which implies those that are poor. Everyone in a weak condition is not able to work and therefore is in need of assistance. Can we agree that this statement applies to the poor?
Then Luke by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost quotes something that Jesus taught him directly. Luke said that Jesus said “It is more blessed to give (to the poor) than to receive (from the poor). I put the poor in the statement because that was the associated meaning based upon context. Do you understand that? Please tell that you do. Why is God asking his disciples to help the poor, the sick and the weak by giving to them? It is primarily because the poor need the help, but God also says whoever gives will be blessed more than those that received. Oh, that doesn’t make any sense does it? How is a rich man the one that is blessed by him giving away all of his money? That is a divine mystery that is being ignored in much of the church body today. What I would like you do to is to start believing that there is a blessing associated with giving to the poor. Now we just need to determine if this blessing is here in this life or is only found in the eternal rewards to come?
I’ll try to answer when this giving blessing occurs by observing more about what Jesus taught us on the subject of giving in the Gospels. However I do need to review an observation of where Jesus placed the emphasis when He told the rich man in Mark 10:21 to go and sell and give. I did not go over the last part of the verse previously. If you go back and read this verse again you will notice that Jesus after telling the rich man to give to the poor Jesus then promised him that he would have treasure in heaven for doing this. That is very self-evident that there is a stated eternal blessing from God that will be given to him if he would have been obedient and given to the poor. Jesus places the emphasis upon eternal rewards and that makes total logical sense to me. An eternity of treasures is far more significant than 100 years of existence on earth with riches. But do not assume too much here. Just because Jesus did not emphasize any earth benefits to the rich man does not mean that they do not exist. That would be foolish presumption to take one verse as the complete truth on the subject of giving to the poor. Therefore we need to study and find additional Bible information in order to come to a balanced conclusion. Can we at least agree that God will bless us also, if He comes to us and asks us to give to the poor? If you understand that God shows no favoritism (Acts 10:34) and what He promised to one is the same that is available to any other in the same circumstances then you should be able to agree with that belief.
Let’s turn to the book of Luke and read a verse that many of you may already be familiar with. Read this verse very carefully and observe that the same Greek word translated for “Give” in Mark 10:21 is used in this verse connecting the lessons together by God’s direct word selection and subject. Then notice what Jesus teaches about giving in this verse. This verse must also apply to the rich man’s giving or God becomes a liar:
- Luk 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
According to Jesus (God in the flesh), If the rich man would have only understood that what he gave to others, God would have caused those gifts to be returned back to him multiplied. This knowledge has the potential to cause the rich to see the giving away of his riches in a much different light. Of course the rich man did not give Jesus the opportunity to teach this part of the lesson about money nor did the rich man ask Jesus any questions about it. Jesus also did not voluntarily offer this information up either since Jesus wanted the rich man to learn faith and trust in God. Not sure if you understood what I just said or not? The rich man trusted in his money to be his supplier and God’s word says “My God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory” (Php 4:19). There is a promised supply by God in the N.T. By the rich man having to learn to look to God instead of his own money this rich man would have learned a more valuable lesson about trusting God and walking by faith. However, it still does not mean that the rich man could never have any money again. I believe that the rich man assumed too much just like many Bible readers today assume too much when they read this lesson. Remember what God says in the Old Testament? Let me remind you:
- Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. (AMP)
God says very clearly when He asks you to do something it is for your good and not to harm, hurt you, ruin you, or even to make life hard for you. Failure to believe or understand this is one of the key reasons why people today will resist God’s instructions. This rich man in Mark 10 was not asked by God to do something that was not going to benefit him in the long run if he would have just been willing and compliant God would have rewarded him greatly for his obedience. If you believe that God is going to take something away from you without knowing the purpose behind the request you are not trusting God’s wisdom, knowledge and plan for your life. It is usually at this point where I emphasize that you need to learn if God is directing you to turn away from anything then there is greater purpose behind that request and if you ask for it God might just show you or you can just trust Him and learn it when it happens which is usually wiser. But, it is also important if Satan is trying to steal anything from you (John 10:10) you need to fight against that and resist him. If you do not know how it works yet, God will ask you to give something up, but Satan will just try to come and take it from you without asking. It is pretty simple to learn which is which. Let’s go back and talk some more about Luke 6:38 and Mark 10:21.
There is a stated law of reciprocity that is placed in effect with God when a human in faith participates voluntarily and willingly with the requests of God. God is not going to ask anyone to give away something without observing the obedience and blessing them in return. We clearly saw this stated in Mark 10:21 when Jesus informed the rich man that there would be treasure in heaven awaiting him for his giving. Then again in Luke 6:38 God says if you give to men, men will give back to you. Reciprocity is also found in the established decree of God called the Law of Sowing and Reaping (Gen 8:22). Sowing is the stated release of a seed from your hand into the ground that is believed to give it back to you multiplied over time. If the rich man would have viewed the release of his money into the poor as a seed sown I believe that it would have been returned back to him multiplies based upon what Luke 6:38 taught us. God states this clearly in Luke 6:38 when He says that others will return to you what you have given away as multiplied. This is a very basic farming concept where any seed planter sows their valuable seeds that are returned back as a greater and more valuable return after time has passed. This multiplication principle is implied in Luke 6:38 in the phrase “good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over”. That certainly makes it sound like giving to others is a benefit and not a liability to me. If you don’t understand the concept of seeds in the Bible I would recommend that you go read that lesson series (Understanding Seeds in the Bible).
We should still understand that in Mark 10 that Jesus was not emphasizing this sowing and reaping part of the lesson simply because He was dealing with the man’s love for his money and possessions. Do you understand the motivation for Jesus telling the rich man to get rid of his possessions and give them away now? Whenever God asks you to give away something it will normally be because it controls you and gets in the way of His relationship with you. After a time of learning that God is more important to pursue many times God will see that you get back what you were asked to give up. This of course is not true if it is drugs, alcohol or some other substance that controlled you and will do harm to you and this is even true for money and possessions if they return to being your gods. I’ve been going longer than I expected in this lesson so let me see if the Holy Spirit will allow me to wrap it up by giving you one more O.T. verse on this subject about giving to the poor:
- Pro 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
If the rich man would have just considered this old fact written by Solomon probably one of the richest men ever in the Bible, I believe that it could have made a tremendous difference in his attitude towards giving to the poor. You see this verse literally says that when we give to the poor the Lord observes it and takes over the responsibility for the debt. Therefore we do not expect the one that we gave something, to give back to us anything in return even in the future. This is simply because God says “I owe the debt” and I believe God is faithful to repay it. If God takes the responsibility for the debt, then we must ask is this repayment now in this life or is this in the next life to come? I believe that we could get correct answers for both beliefs, by saying all of the above. I do not place any limitations upon what God wants to bless me with or when God wants the blessing to arrive. Since I’m not God He can sovereignly do as He pleases. I definitely believe that there are eternal rewards based upon what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:20 when He taught that we should be laying up treasures in heaven where moth and rust will corrupt them. But the counter to that statement was given to us in Luke 6:38 that claims if we give to men that men will give back to us. Luke 6:38 is clearly talking about receiving a return for giving here in this life. I’m not going to teach this part of giving anymore in today’s lesson. I really do not know how many I have offended by even mentioning it. Christians often ignore vast parts of scripture thinking they are not applicable for today. However to those like me that believe in them they still work just fine. I will end this section about giving by saying that there are definitely heavenly rewards laid up for us for everything that we give here on the earth so the eternal benefits will by far outweigh any temporary benefits that we can enjoy for a short time here on this earth. You should always keep your focus on the eternal rather than the carnal temporary, as I try to do.
In conclusion I will say that there are certain Bible teachers who teach that the “eye of the needle” was a figurative type for a city gate designed to be very narrow to limit passage into the city. This was done in Bible days as a safety measure to keep large foreign armies and enemies from invading the city in mass numbers. This narrow gate was like a funnel that kept the inflow and outflow of traffic to a very few with limited size restrictions. It was so narrow that many times a fully loaded camel would not be able to enter it. The merchant or traveler would usually have to unload the camel and squeeze it through the gate and then carry the loads by hand into the city. So many teachers today believe that this was what Jesus was talking about in this verse in Mark 10:25. However, that is still a private interpretation of the verse since it is not mentioned in the Bible anywhere and therefore I do not agree with it. It also mixes one noun Luke 10:25 (eye of the needle) as a figurative object and the other noun (camel) as a literal object and I do not agree with that type of interpretation. I take scriptures literally when I can and then I apply what is stated spiritually based upon what is specified or being taught following the rules of interpretation of which I only mentioned two or three today in this lesson. In conclusion I will give you two more verses to consider:
- 1Co 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
- 1Co 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
We have more directions being given to the church in these passages. God is speaking to the church and telling them not to associate with those that are in the world. Uh oh? That sounds serious to me! Then God lists a few types that fit that description. Read these again and tell if you see the rich man being described? I’ll help you by pointing you to two key words. The first word is “covetous”. This Greek word means a human with a desire for more of something. This type of person has a very difficult time at releasing anything. I believe that description fits the unsaved lost rich man. Since the rich man was unwilling to give away any of his possession that implied that he loved them greatly and possibly desired (coveted) to even have more of them. It was like he was a collector of natural things. Any collector that I have ever observed is never satisfied with their collection. Most collectors are looking for more of the same whether it be coins, stamps or baseball cards. This “covetous” word is a problem if you are wanting more natural possession and not more of God. Again remember that Jesus said you cannot serve two masters. The second Greek word in this sentence describing the rich man is “idolater”. What is an idolater? This is a person that worships a manmade object. Uh oh again for our rich man! It is very clear to me that this rich man placed too much emphasis upon his possessions. They had become his focus and they are clearly manmade objects of temporary status. Do you understand why Jesus asked him to sell them now? I could give you many more Bible verses on this subject but I have gone long enough today.
What I believe about Mark 10:25, is that Jesus was speaking of a literal camel and the literal eye of a needle with a human trying to pass this large beast through it. That would be a nearly impossible task and that was the message being communicated to the church, but not to the rich man since he was not present to hear it. Therefore, we should take this verse literally and see that the salvation of a rich man is a nearly impossible task. However, we also need to balance that message with the fact that it was not the money that caused the problem but rather the love of the money that was at issue. Jesus was clearly motivated by the heart condition of the rich man and tried to show him that the money and possession were his lord. Know that Jesus deals with individual heart conditions differently. Only man looks at the outward and sees a rich man and believes that he should be poor to be saved. God looks at the man’s motivation for being rich and if it is for his love these objects will becomes the area that God will attempt to correct in your life. Each person is unique to God and only God knows what is taking priority over His relationship with you. What God tells me to get rid of will almost always be different than what God will tell you to get rid of. And if you believe that God will never instruct you to get rid of anything then you are either deceived or a perfect person in need of no savior.
Jesus was teaching that it was impossible for anyone here on the earth that was rich to be saved if they did not put aside their love for money to make Him their Lord. While this is impossible for most men to do, we know from reading the Bible that with God all things are possible if we believe (Mat 10:27). So a rich man can be saved if they want to learn how to enter through Jesus who is called the narrow gate in Mat 7:14. Remember what Jesus said there in Matthew 7? Jesus declared there were only two paths to choose from. One narrow way was describing the selection as Jesus to be your Lord. The other choice was a wide gate and a broad path and many there are that will choose it to their destruction (Mat 7:13). Please don’t allow something so temporary like money or possession be the reason for selecting the wrong path as this rich man in this lesson did today. Thank you for your time reading and studying the Bible and until next time may you continue to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
(ver 1.1) This is Part 1 in a lesson series on understanding the prophesied saving work of Jesus predicted to come in Isaiah 53. I recently received a valid important question concerning the prophecies found in Isaiah 53. The basis for the question was who this chapter was about, who are the players and characters being described and is this God pouring out His judgment upon someone and why was it necessary? As part of this question I surmised that this also included the implied question of, “Was all of this prophecy fulfilled and if yes, what was accomplished by the fulfillment of this prophecy?” I will not be attempting to answer every part of all these questions in this single Bible lesson today. In order to understand the deep subjects of any chapter in the Bible we must first regress to understand the very basic subjects that establish the foundation for the deep. Therefore today’s lesson is a teaching of the basic concepts found in Isaiah 53 to lay the foundation for the coming more complex subjects being mentioned. I pray that you understand why I teach in this manner. Paul said “I fed you milk and not with meat because you were not able to bear it” (1 Cor 3:2). God teaches us very clearly that we should not get the cart before the horse and expect the passage to be successful while striving for deeper knowledge and understanding. Therefore I am going to leave the meat parts of this subject to a future lesson in the series and focus upon the more important subjects in today’s lesson.
This chapter of the Old Testament is actually vital to understand as a Christian. God places certain facts here that apply to us today and these help us understand why some people are saved and some are not. In the English King James Version of the Bible there are several Hebrew words that were poorly translated by the translators. These mistranslated Hebrew words cause serious doubts and even confusion when read in isolation ignoring the New Testament explanations and descriptions. Without studying and researching what these original Hebrew words really mean people are left wondering what was actually prophesied by God to occur and who these words were really written about. Also when we find the Hebrew scripture being quoted in the New Testament many of the Greek language translations were done with greater degree of accuracy. Why the translators were not smart enough to be consistent I cannot explain but I have learned that I must find the answers from the New Testament in order to understand the writings of the Old Testament.
There is an essential basic concept found on the pages of the Old Testament that is absolutely crucial to understanding any of it. Every word found on the pages of the Old Testament is completely true from a natural perspective but the spiritual meanings of the words have been hidden from the natural human viewpoint being veiled from their carnal minds. I know of very few Bible teachers that teach or try to explain this spiritual veiled writing technique. I have learned this fact simply because the Holy Spirit taught it to me personally and I did not learn it from any human teacher. That is exactly why I teach this over and over to allow more people to understand the importance of this truth. Every unsaved person will never be able to read the O.T. in isolation and figure out what it is all about. Even carnal baby Christians do not have a clear perspective to what the O.T. was written about. In today’s lesson whatever I say about the chapter of Isaiah 53 will come directly from the New Testament and this is the proper way to understand any verse written in the O.T. In doing this we allow the Holy Spirit to interpret and define the O.T. words that are presented. I am going to focus only on the first verse in this lesson on Isaiah 53. I believe that Isaiah 53:1 contains the key to unlock the rest of the chapter. In other words if you do not understand Isaiah 53:1 completely you will not understand the verses that follow. We will discover this fact by continuing to read and learn what the Holy Spirit has to say about it.
IS ISAIAH 53 EASILY UNDERSTOOD?
What I am going to do to begin this lesson is to turn to a story in the New Testament and go through a good portion of it to help confirm what I have just introduced you to in the first few paragraphs concerning the hidden spiritual information found in the O.T. I want you to ask God to open the spiritual eyes of your understanding and allow you to see what He has to say in His Holy Word! God gives us a very clear example of the O.T. hidden spiritual truth fact in the book of Acts. If you go to Acts chapter 8 you will find this story and I ask that you read it over carefully and consider what was just revealed to you by God and how it applies to your understanding of the same passage:
- Act 8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
- Act 8:27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
- Act 8:28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
- Act 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
- Act 8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
- Act 8:31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
- Act 8:32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
- Act 8:33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
- Act 8:34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
- Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
This God inspired story is pretty awesome. You can clearly see from reading verse 34 that the man did not understand what he was reading. Here is a Gentile man from Ethiopia and he was sitting and reading the book of Isaiah and wondering what these words meant. If you note from the context this man was a seeker of God coming to Jerusalem to worship and that is very important for what happens next and why. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that God rewards those that diligently seek Him and this story is a prime example of that basic truth. The Ethiopian man was struggling greatly with the understanding of the words that he could clearly read on the scroll before him but he still desired earnestly to know their meaning. If you are observant you will find that this man was reading the words found in Isaiah 53. God sent to him a preacher man to help explain the words and this man was named Philip an evangelist of God. Well as you can clearly read in verse 35, Philip preached the hidden Christ in Isaiah 53 and as a result of this explanation this man was saved. We have just learned something very important.
I have personally learned a lot from this story. The primary take away is to understand that Isaiah 53 is predominately about Jesus the Messiah/Christ. The second most important thing to understand from this chapter of Isaiah is the primary theme concerning Jesus pertains to human salvation since the Ethiopian was saved after hearing and understanding just these words. The initial verse that Philip preached from was Isaiah 53:7. This was where the Ethiopian was focused on so Phillip used it to teach the man about Jesus our silent sacrificed lamb. It is important to note that when Acts 8 occurred there was no New Testament to read or share with others. So the early church had to use only the Old Testament to preach and get people saved. Do you understand this? Why couldn’t this Ethiopian man just read the text, figure it out and get saved without anyone preaching and teaching him what the words meant? Did the words on the page suddenly change when someone preached them? I really do not think they did, but something happened to change the man’s perspective who was listening to a new way of seeing them. A wrong thinking within the human mind is the greatest reason why the words are not known to the spirit of the man. Once the mind is opened and cleared to see the words they are passed into the spirit of man to be believed. I’ll definitely be talking more about his as we go forward.
God designed a system based upon divine grace and human faith where salvation is the common desired end result for both. The fact that someone must preach the Gospel and the hearer must believe the Gospel is just a part of God’s design for salvation. There is something about a man speaking with authority and preaching the Gospel with boldness that makes the words on the page come alive to many people that want to know them. This Ethiopian man clearly desired to know them, was open to learning about them and God sent the preacher to open the words up from their concealed original state to be seen through preaching and teaching.
So far we have looked at only one reference of Isaiah 53 found in Acts 8 and have discovered the central theme to be salvation and the theme giver to be Jesus Christ. That is the foundation for the rest of this lesson. I might point out to you that the name “Isaiah” does not appear in the New Testament. However that does not mean his written words are not found there. The problem is that the New Testament was written in the Greek language and the name Isaiah was transliterated from Hebrew into Greek and then into English. The Old Testament was transliterated directly from Hebrew omitting the Greek transition and thus we have two different spellings for the same name. In the KJV New Testament the name “Isaiah” is written as “Esaias”. This Greek word that was changed to “Esaias” is G2268 and it is derived from the Hebrew name H3470 written as “Isaiah” in the English. Just understand that they are both the exact same name. Then learn what the name means in the Hebrew. “Isaiah” literally means “Jah saves”. “Jah” is a short form of the Hebrew “Jehovah” (H3050) a primary name of God in the Old Testament. The name of the prophet designates further hidden confirmation of the book’s main subject content. Isaiah the prophet wrote about God’s plan of salvation for man so we need to learn how this applies and what it entails.
I’m only going to go through the first verse in Isaiah 53 to keep the lesson shorter. Then I will move to the New Testament to understand this verse. What we will be looking for is the New Testament explanations and applications for what Isaiah recorded for God. It is absolutely essential that you understand these words written to the natural nation of Israel are applicable to us and for us in the church. If you do not know this you will discount them as being irrelevant and unimportant. The reason I know they apply to the church is because these verses in Isaiah 53 are quoted in the New Testament repeatedly and explained there. So we will begin reading with verse 1 of Isaiah 53 and then find the references to it in the New Testament:
- Isa 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
Isaiah 53 begins with one of the most incredible O.T. hidden secrets that was only revealed to us in the New Testament writings after Jesus was raised from the dead. Isaiah 53:1 is about the subject of faith. Nowhere in this verse is that subject described, named, or defined and that is the reason very few understand it. Galatians 3:23 describes a principle that faith was revealed (uncovered, made clear, opened for view) by God in the New Testament. In order for any subject to be uncovered for view it had to be previously covered from view. That is further confirmation for what I have taught. However, if you do not understand the subject of faith then you will not understand this verse is about faith. I would strongly suggest that you go and read my lesson series on “Understanding Bible Faith” if you have not read them. This will build a foundation for understanding what is written here in Isaiah 53:1. I will attempt to give you a brief overview of the subject of faith but I cannot repeat the lessons in any detail. What is the number one question being asked here in Isaiah 53:1? God very clearly says “Do you believe the report”? What is a report? A report is a spoken account of a given event by a witness or an expert qualified to speak about it. Remember what we just read about in Acts 8 concerning the Ethiopian man? Didn’t God send the report of a witness to the man from Ethiopia so that he could hear and believe it? Did the Ethiopian believe the report sent by the Lord? Evidently the Ethiopian man was saved because he did believe what was reported to him by Phillip. Wow, that is pretty amazing!
Let’s analyze the last part of the verse, before we move on to the New Testament references. What does it mean if something must be revealed? As I previously stated anything that is revealed must first be concealed. No one on their birthday ever knows for sure what present they have been given until it is opened and revealed to them. What does the arm of the Lord represent in this verse? These are both key determining factors for what I am teaching. God reveals what was previously hidden from plain view was something unexpected. In this case the subject being revealed is connected directly to the “arm of the Lord”. The Hebrew word H2220 that was translated as “arm” can have either a literal or figurative application. God’s “arm” in this verse is a reference to the figurative and not the literal. This figurative Hebrew word will apply to God’s strength and power being revealed. But, since we are limiting the discussion to Jesus and the salvation of man by definition of context discovered from reading the Acts 8 application, we will need to search and find what God says concerning the power of God that has saved men today. Do you recall any verses like this in the New Testament? One comes to my mind very quickly and I ask you to read and learn the reason why I say this:
- Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
I need you to see what God has just plainly stated. The Gospel is defined to be the power of God for our salvation. We also have a direct connection to Isaiah 53:1 with God’s usage of the word “believe”. Since we have previously seen a clear example of Phillip preaching the Isaiah 53 verses to an Ethiopian Gentile man and him being saved from it because he believed the spoken report, we know concretely that Isaiah 53 is the Gospel that contains the power of God for salvation. Therefore God declared Isaiah 53 to be His arm of power that saves if you will see what it says. Let’s move on and look at the direct quotes of Isaiah 53:1.
Isaiah 53:1 is quoted specifically in the New Testament twice. We will look at both of them. I believe to fully understand this verse we must go and discover how God used it in the New Testament, how it was applied and why it was selected. The first occurrence of Isaiah 53:1 is found in the book of John. Jesus is the primary speaker within the context and His words are followed by God’s connection to Isaiah 53:1. Therefore these words of Jesus must contain some very important information directly from the author of the entire book. Read these verses very slowly and carefully:
- Joh 12:35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
- Joh 12:36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
- Joh 12:37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
- Joh 12:38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
These are actually very relevant words to learn. Jesus claims to be the light of the world. But this is a spiritual light and not a physical one. Then Jesus says to them “to believe in the light”. What is God in the flesh saying? He is saying I’m here to fulfill Isaiah 53 and you can see this very clearly reading the context in verses 37 and38 where John also quotes from Isaiah 53:1. What God is doing is teaching us that people have a very significant role to play in the process of salvation. Jesus was God in the flesh walking like every other man before them and they chose not to believe in Him of their own freewill. These Jews were NOT saved because they failed to believe and not because Jesus failed to save them. If you don’t understand this you need to regress to even more basic Bible subjects.
Isaiah asks who has believed the report and Jesus said “Believe in me” and then goes away and hides himself from the people so that they can see what it would be like without Him being found. John tells us that they saw great miracles but still did not believe in Him. That is not good news for them because there are no second chances after death occurs. I do not have time to teach everything that is found in these verses. Just understand the statement that Jesus was sent to fulfill Isaiah 53 and this further confirms the chapter was about Him and His saving work for man to believe in. Let’s move on to read the second critical N.T. reference of Isaiah 53:1 which is found in the book of Romans:
- Rom 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
- Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Here in this chapter’s context is found invaluable information concerning God’s saving power extended to man. God quotes Isaiah 53:1 in verse 16 after He tells how to be saved in verses 9 and 10 of this chapter. How are you saved according to Romans 10:9-10? You must start by believing in Him and this includes believing that God raised Him from the dead. Then you must confess with your mouth Him to be your Lord. This is the basic requirement for salvation and it starts with believing the report since you were not there to witness the resurrection for yourself. That is how faith works, you believe and you say. This is a very basic reality but one that is ignored by many Christians.
It is very interesting to note that Paul quotes 12 different O.T. verses from Deuteronomy, Psalms, Isaiah, Proverbs, Nahum and Joel in this chapter context including the last verse of chapter 9. I find that fact off the charts fascinating and significant to learn. This knowledge helps to prove what I call the law of related distributed truths. I am a firm believer that God has placed many connected clues in the Old Testament being spread out like random seeds in a field as perceived by the casual reader. To put these random verses all together correctly without the Lord’s assistance is like trying to solve a large complex double sided puzzle without any pictures on any of the pieces. If you do not understand the significance of this distributed factual information being combined together as an integrated lesson then I would suggest that you go and read the context of every O.T. quoted verse found here in Romans 10 and then try to figure out for yourself how God did this and why. How is it possible that 12 different verses from several different books of the Old Testament were combined into a single unified subject lesson taught to the church? I wish people would begin to learn the complexity of the Bible instead of ignoring these types of important factual details.
I believe that this information which I have just given to you is confirmation that the entire O.T. contains hidden references about Jesus, the church and salvation and we should quickly begin to realize that Jesus is the central theme of the entire book. God teaches us how that the writings of 5 or 6 different prophets can all be tied together to teach a single cohesive lesson about Jesus and human salvation. I’ll give you a list of the verses so that you can do some more research on your on:
|Romans 9:33||Isaiah 8:14|
|Romans 10:6||Deuteronomy 30:12|
|Romans 10:7||Deuteronomy 30:13|
|Romans 10:8||Deuteronomy 30:14|
|Romans 10:11||Isaiah 28:16|
|Romans 10:13||Joel 2:32|
|Romans 10:15||Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15|
|Romans 10:16||Isaiah 53:1|
|Romans 10:18||Psalm 19:4|
|Romans 10:19||Deuteronomy 32:21|
|Romans 10:20||Isaiah 65:1|
|Romans 10:21||Proverbs 1:24; Isaiah 65:2|
I want you to understand God’s usage of the Isaiah 53:1’s reference in the context of Roman’s 10 more clearly. If you back up and read the end of chapter 9 you will clearly see that Paul was writing about the natural Jews that Jesus was speaking directly to in John 12 and this connection carries forward into chapter 10 with Paul’s statement “I pray that they all will be saved” in verse 1 of chapter 10. Paul then goes into a comparative writing between two diverse types of people; those saved by faith and those that were attempting to save themselves by their individual works of righteousness. Paul as you can observe says these people of natural Israel have rejected the gift of God’s righteousness through faith because they have failed to believe the report. Now let me emphasize two other verses found in Romans 10:
- Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
- Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
These words contain some of the keys to understanding Isaiah 53. We need to learn that God has directed some to preach the Good News Report. This is a required design from God. Jesus came to the earth to preach and teach as well as to save. We have already seen the fact that Isaiah 53:1 was used by John to inform natural Israel that Jesus had brought them light and Jesus said for them to follow the light. Follow the light is just another way to say “Believe”! I have also previously shown you in Acts 8 where Phillip preached Isaiah 53 to get the Ethiopian to believe and get saved. Now we can see Paul using Isaiah 53 and all of these references have to do with the existence of a preacher with a message sent to those that can hear and have faith to believe the report to be saved. We have just achieved 3 witnesses in the New Testament that Isaiah 53 is the GOSPEL of JESUS CHRIST! Gospel literally means good news. What was the good news that Jesus provided to us from Isaiah 53? I guess that is what everyone needs to know next. But let’s focus in on one more verse in Romans 10:13:
- Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Whosoever means me! This is a verse written to me since I am clearly a “whosoever” by qualified application. Whoever calls upon the name of the LORD, will be saved. I want you to review one key word in this verse found in the original Greek language. The Greek word G4982 which is translated as “saved” is the word “SOZO” and I have made mention of this word before. But I want you to learn a new association. We can clearly see the primary subject is salvation and God connects salvation back to the verses found in Isaiah 53:1 by His choice and intelligent design. Therefore we must understand what Isaiah 53 was written about by understanding how God uses it here in the N.T. The Greek word SOZO literally means to be made whole and complete. The antithesis of wholeness is incompleteness. Incompleteness is a state of lack or a deficit in entirety. This word has broad application. This Greek word crosses over into three realms of reality simultaneously. God’s plan of salvation included your spiritual salvation (wholeness), your mental salvation (wholeness) and your physical salvation (wholeness) in one act of His divine saving Grace. This teaches us literally what Isaiah 53 must contain and it MUST include all of these subjects or God does not remain consistent with the N.T. message of salvation. We now should better understand what to be looking for when reading Isaiah 53. We must search and look for the salvation of our spirit, soul and body.
I think this is a good place to end this lesson today. We have learned a lot of good basic information from searching the New Testament and finding God’s explanations for what was written in Isaiah 53. We should now know that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah is God’s power (arm) to save, heal and deliver us. We should also know that Isaiah 53 is only made effective in a human’s life if they choose to hear it proclaimed and believe the report. I thank you for your time reading the Bible and studying God’s Words. Please come back and tell others about what you have learned. God Bless!
If you would like to continue reading in this series of lesson you may continue to “Part 2” now.
(ver 1.2) This is Part 2 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”. If you have not read the first lesson I would highly recommend that you go and start the study with “Part 1” and then continue with today’s lesson. During lesson 1, I took you through a brief explanation of what Rapture is using the dictionary. From this word definition I derived a list of synonymous terms that can be interchanged with the word “rapture” to convey the same thought or message. Some of the words were “caught up”, “taken away”, “removed”, and “to depart”, etc. Seeking to learn the basics we looked at three to four messages taught by Jesus using different symbolic representations to teach very similar rapture concepts. Of course none of these lessons contained the word “rapture” and that is why they are often ignored when studying the subject. We examined the “Pathway Analogy”, the parallels given to us in the “Sheep and Goat Analogy” and the “Wheat and Tare Analogy” and finally we looked at the “Ten Virgin Parable”. You should have easily observed that each lesson contained a central theme of the concept of division. Division is nothing but the separation of two distinct groups. One group can be separated from another group for many distinct reasons. In the world today criminals are sent to prison to separate them from hurting others outside of prison. Therefore, we can potentially call rapture the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous. In today’s lesson I will continue to expand on the basic concepts using Bible patterns of rapture to confirm the basic concepts. Here are some of the items that we will be covering today:
- Rapture is a separation of one person or one group of people from the others.
- Rapture is a change in location either physically or spiritually or both from one previous location to another new location.
- Rapture is usually the forced removal without scheduled notice and without any human consent.
- Rapture demonstrates the sovereign divine Power of God to transport a person or a people from one location to the new location.
- Rapture event timings are always determined by God and nothing you do or believe can change that.
- Rapture can be the exclusionary act of God upon the unrighteous that were not taken (not saved, left behind, those to be destroyed) separated from the righteous that were taken, saved and removed.
We have read several basic verses and have so far not officially determined the timing for any potential rapture event. Many get distracted by the intimate details and miss the more important basic concepts. I want to firmly establish the basics and then work towards the details in their proper order. You might recall that in the first lesson I implied that there are at least 3 future raptures that must still take place and eventually we will readdress what those can be. I also said that I can clearly see that there have already been around 6 previous raptures that have previously occurred in the Bible and we cannot ignore them. These examples will conform to the basic factual rules that I just listed above. I plan on exploring many of these historical rapture accounts in this lesson today to help further the establishment of the valid patterns for the future rapture concepts being taught in the Bible.
GOD REVEALING TRUTH
Too many people want to read the Bible and believe that God placed all of the truth in obvious plain view for anyone to easily find, see, read and understand. However that is just not how God wrote the Bible and it is not how you should approach learning anything from the Bible. We must all learn to see the true concealed nature of God in His Word and in the world around us. Let me ask you, have you ever seen God personally? Can you prove to anyone that God exists? What evidence for God’s existence do you possess? Obviously you have never seen God and cannot prove that there is a God to anyone here on the earth. Yet God says in Romans 1:20 that the invisible things of God are clearly seen being made known in the things that God created. Wow, there are some amazing parallels in that verse to what I am teaching you about the Bible. How can the invisible God who has not been seen with our natural eyes, or made known or displayed to our physical senses, His presence being improvable in a court of law, lacking any clear evidence of existence still be found by searching and studying the things that were created? It is simply because God in His wisdom hid clues throughout creation that clearly allow people to see the existence of a creator if they want to know Him. If anyone does not desire to know God they will never see the truth that is plainly right in front of their eyes. That is just how God designed everything.
Now ask yourself how many educated scientists today after studying the facts of creation have concluded and found that there is a God and a creator because of the overwhelming evidence found from what they are studying? Not very many are there? The majority of the scientists today are either agnostic or atheist in their beliefs of God. Yet God still says I can be seen everywhere if you are looking for me. What make you think that the truth in His written Holy Word will not also be recorded in the same type of secreted format? You see I completely believe that the truth in the Bible can be easily seen, but only after you want to know it, are saved, then know what to look for and then extend the effort to look for it with great diligence allowing the Spirit of God to help you see it. There is a principle discovered especially in the New Testament that is very important called “revelation”. Revelation is God illuminating His Word to humans so that it can finally be understood. Revelation is never man suddenly discovering what God has said using their individual human reasoning to figure it out. Every human requires God’s revelation in order to understand the spiritual things that were written inside of the natural words and stories.
Rom 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
You see Paul tells you that the previously hidden Christ has now been uncovered and revealed by God. He states that this was a formerly hidden mystery of God. Paul gives us a better explanation of this revealing process in Ephesians 3:1-5 if you would like to go and read how the mystery was not revealed to men prior to the Apostles but has now been given to us by the Spirit of God’s choice. Wow, that concept seems to pass over the head of many Christians today and it teaches us so much about the nature of God. The rapture of the church is just another one of those mysteries hidden by God in His Word. Look up the definition for the Greek word translated as “revelation” here. It means a “disclosure”, an “appearing”, an “enlightenment”, or “something that was previously hidden but has now suddenly been revealed”. This Greek word G602 comes from another root word G601 that literally means to “uncover” or “take the cover off”. It is like someone in the natural taking the lid off of a box to discover what was previously hidden inside of it. That uncovering concept teaches us that we can look at the outside cover words all day long and still never understand what is underneath the surface until the cover has been removed. Only God can remove the cover from His Word. However, that is exactly what the Spirit of God is doing in the church today to those that want to know the truth. There are literally hundreds of mysteries in the Bible and most of them you probably do not know or have any understanding of their existence because you are still looking at the covered text and not seeing the hidden spiritual meanings beneath. Do not throw away the rapture teaching simply because it is not easy to find on the surface. Wait until you at least ask God to reveal it to you and show you if it is true. God is no respecter of persons. If He revealed it to me, He will also reveal it to you so that you can see it also.
I read a couple of the internet lessons on the no-rapture theory just to see how they were explaining the verses that God showed me about rapture. Nothing that they said swayed me in the least little bit since what they said conflicted with the voice of the Spirit of God and the real meaning of the verses in the Bible. Their arguments were very cleverly written with many supposedly supporting Bible verses but they were totally blinded to what the scriptures said and how to apply them correctly. These were nothing but examples of how natural men can “wrongly divide” the word of truth to produce a message that can be accepted easily by other carnal men. What I say in my Bible lessons is generally not accepted by carnal minds because it is so spiritually based. Natural people tend to be attracted by natural words and spiritual people tend to be attracted by spiritual words. It is very much like the law of Genesis being restated everything producing after its kind.
You see I am certain to run into the same problem that Paul ran into with what I am teaching. Paul was confronted with both natural thinkers and spiritual thinkers. God gave Paul certain spiritual revelation and understanding that no other man knew in his day (Gal 1:12). Paul then went about trying to teach this God given revelation to the others in the church with the only confirmation evidence that the hearers in the church possessed was from them listening to the Spirit of God that resided in them and the previously written Old Testament Words of God. If they could hear and see spiritual things they were accepting, but if they were carnal thinkers, then they were rejecting the truth. Here is what God says about the people in the early church that were faced with this great decision:
Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
God says that the people in Berea were nobler than the people in Thessalonica. God informs us that the Bereans were first open to hearing something brand new from Paul implying the Thessalonians were not. However, God then says that the Bereans did not just automatically accept the new teaching of Paul, but that they were rather wise enough to go and search their scriptures to find if what Paul was preaching was actually the truth that God had declared in His Word. So regardless of which rapture category your beliefs fall into today at least be open to hear a new perspective on the subject and then to go to your own Bible to search for yourself to see if it is true or not. Do not believe anything that I say because you do not even know me. Who I am, is of no significance to you also what I say is only important if it is what God says. If you do not see what I say in your own Bible then toss it away and believe what you do see. You will not offend me if you reject what I teach.
BUILDING A STRONG RAPTURE FOUNDATION ON THE BASICS
We are going to continue in this Bible lesson with some of the basic foundational verses for the existence of the legitimate doctrine of the rapture. We need to go to the letters written directly to the church and see what God records for us there and make sure that we clearly understand what God is saying to us correctly. Every teacher that preaches a “no rapture” philosophy must explain away all of these verses that we will be looking at today or they must totally ignore them to teach what they teach. They can be very creative in their attempts to explain them away and many people believe what they say without doing the necessary study to prove it in their own spirit which will result in deception. Therefore you need to follow along with me in your Bible using your heart to see if God is giving you internal spiritual peace about what is written here and then verify it using the Bible.
We will go to the book of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and verse 16. You may recall that this verse was mentioned in Wikipedia as a foundational scripture for rapture. This is certainly not the only verse found in the Bible on the subject, but it is clearly one of the most prominent and important verses on the subject. People want to discount one prominent scripture in the Bible and explain it away because they think one verse is not important without many other confirming verse witnesses. That is very true that one verse cannot be taken as a complete doctrine of theological belief, but it is also true that it is still found in the Bible and that there are other confirming witnesses that can be found if you look and search for them.
I also want you to understand that the books of the N.T. Bible were not necessarily placed into the Bible in their chronological written order. First Thessalonians was probably the very first letter written by Paul to any church. Therefore, God saw fit to teach the church about rapture from the very establishment of the church. Many today try to say that rapture is a modern creation of man not taught by the early church founding fathers. But simple minded people clearly do not choose to see what the Bible says and must ignore what Paul taught and wrote to remain in their ignorance. You do understand that what Paul wrote about in the Epistles to the churches were also the things that he taught to everyone in the church when he was physically present with them, don’t you? Can you separate the two? I cannot do that. Let’s read what Paul taught about the rapture:
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Verse 16 begins with the description of the Lord descending from heaven. Who was this Lord and why is it necessary for Him to descend? What is the stated purpose for the descent? This Lord was the God of heaven come to the earth in the flesh that died for all of our sins on a wooden cross and He is named Jesus in the English tongue. We should remember from reading in Acts 1:9 that after Jesus died and was raised from the dead, He ascended back up into heaven where He has been seated for the past nearly 2000 years (Heb 8:1). This statement of descent being described is simply the reversal of the preceding ascent that visibly took place on the earth with the early church disciples being witnesses. I will also say that what was seen by a few in the church of Jesus going up will be seen by those in the church that He is descending to come back for. Let’s start by just listing the basic facts given in the order of mention to us in these verses and then talk about them in more depth:
- Jesus descends from heaven with a shout.
- The voice of the archangel is the next observed mention.
- Immediately followed by the trump of God.
- The next mention is the dead in Christ that will rise.
- Then followed by those that are alive in Christ on the earth being caught up.
- Those alive on the earth are stated to be elevated to the level of the clouds in order to meet with the Lord.
- At the culmination of this event both the dead and alive in Christ will forever be with the Lord.
Those were the very basics from what I just read in the Bible. What did you read? Can you agree with them or is that why you don’t believe in rapture because that is just not what God says here? I believe that there are both direct and indirect implied statements being made in these verses. I just listed the direct statements of facts only. First it directly says that the Lord descends from heaven to initiate the event with a shout. We must determine the definition of heaven based upon the context of the statement being made and using the other facts of the Bible to correctly interpret the term. For example, the Hebrew word translated as heaven in the O.T. is H8064. This same Hebrew word can refer to up to three different locations and that same statement is true about the N.T. Greek word G3772. Heaven is defined in the Bible in three different ways. There is the immediate atmosphere surrounding the earth and this is often spoken of as what I will call the first heaven (Deu 11:11). There is the universe of stars and solar systems in space and this is often what I will call the second heaven (Gen 1:17). But Paul we will soon learn spoke of a “third heaven” (2 Cor 12:2) and this is the literal location of the spiritual throne of God. The first two heavens are natural and the third heaven is completely spiritual. This heaven being described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is clearly the reference to the unseen third spiritual heaven. We will get more confirmation for that as we continue. Therefore I see two dimensions of existence being stated in these two verses. Jesus is descending from heaven and is coming out of the spiritual dimension to re-enter back into the natural dimension to accomplish the rest of what is stated.
Surely you can see Christ’s descent from the spiritual heaven in parallel with a shout, the voice of the archangel and the trump of God are the beginning of something else about to occur. I view verse 16 as starting in the spiritual realm and ending in the natural realm. I then see verse 17 as starting in the natural realm and ending in the spiritual realm to complete the cycle and we will see this more clearly as we go. But notice in verse 16 there is no mention of anything natural or physical until the end of the verse and then it speaks of death which is clearly natural only. Every noun mentioned is a spiritual being or place until the last mention of the dead rising. Therefore the archangel’s location is also implied to be in heaven being mentioned following Jesus descending from heaven. Immediately following the archangel is the trump of God and this is also implied to originate from the location of spiritual heaven.
I believe that both the shout and the trump are announcements from the spiritual heaven for the coming event to occur upon the physical earth. The Greek word translated as “shout’ is only used in this verse in the entire N.T. However this Greek word G2752 comes from another Greek root word G2753 that means “to command”. The source Greek word is less of an event announcement than it is the shout of an ordered command expecting some subsequent action to take place. The root Greek word means a direct command has been ordered from heaven for the next expected action to occur. I take this command to be given by God Himself personally. Angels generally do not have the authority to give commands apart from God’s will. It is interesting how this verse is phrased and worded, because the shouted command could be taken as being from the Lord or it could be a command given by the archangel. However, based upon supremacy of rule, I teach it as originating from God and going through the archangel like the chain of command in a military hierarchy.
Let’ reconsider what we learned about from the earlier messages of Jesus on the separation of the sheep from the goats or the wheat from the tares. Both of these lessons contained commanded symbolic servant workers (aka angels) that were given orders and instructions to separate the one group from another group. I believe that we can see some distinct parallels being taught by the usage of this Greek word when the Lord commands and the voice of the chief angel in heaven is heard to possibly repeat the shouted order. I believe that you need to resolve in your mind who is doing the original shouting and who the shout is directed towards. I do not believe that the command order from heaven is directed to those that are about to be taken from the earth, do you? Clearly the order is directed to those that are doing the taking and those can only be the angels of God. This is clearly a chain of command type of military order being described. The commander in chief God has given a direct order to gather and the order is shouted to every ranking member of the staff to be carried out. If you have never been in the military you may not understand chain of command but most things in life work this way. Every large or small corporation has a chain of command from the ranking CEO going down the chain. Any way that is how I view the shout mentioned in this discourse and you can disagree and believe what you like if you see something different.
Let’s move on to the trump of God mentioned next. The Greek word G4536 translated many times as trumpet or trump occurs in only 11 verses in the N.T. and it is a word that means a “vibration”, a “quavering” or a “reverberation” all descriptive synonymous terms for a loud audible sound. Because the Greek word is only found in 11 N.T. verses it is easy to determine if any of these other verses play a role in describing the same type of rapture either directly or indirectly. Also take note from reviewing these verses that they do not necessarily have to mean that a physical horn type of instrument is blown. Many have the idea that the ram’s horn called a shofar is used for this event announcement. I do not have a problem with that interpretation or belief but that is not technically what is stated in this verse or several other verses in the New Testament (1 Cor 14:8, Rev 1:10, Rev 4:1). In these verses it describes voices being like a trumpet but, in other verses like in Revelation 8:2, 8:6, 8:13 and 9:14 it appears to be an actual literal trumpet. However if you notice anything when reading the book of Revelation, you should immediately recognize that the majority of the book is cloaked in symbolism. Therefore the trumptes mentioned in Revelation can possibly be a symbolic representation for a greater spiritual truth. At least that is what I believe at this point in time with my current level of knowledge on the subject.
Let me reemphasize the initiator of the event in 1 Thessalonians 4. Understand that Jesus is described as the originator of this unique event. Clearly Jesus coming down with a shout starts the entire process. Therefore this affair is a divinely initiated occasion that I believe is describing the bridegroom coming down to fetch His bride that we learned about in lesson 1. How does this description in 1 Thessalonians 4 correspond or compare to the information given to us in the parable of the 10 virgins? If you recall in Matthew 25:6 the bridegroom is implied to start His return at midnight when all of the virgins were asleep and an outcry or shout announces His coming before they ever see Him and the virgins are told to “Go Out” to meet Him in the parable. There was the stated coming of the bridegroom first and then there was the subsequent shouted cry that followed to trigger the virgins to go out and meet their bridegroom. That sounds very amazingly accurate to what we are reading about here in these verses in 1 Thessalonians 4 to me. I know it does not match word for word but the similarities are too close for it not to be God telling the same story using different types and symbols in one and more literal references and descriptions in the other. These types of writing styles of God make the Bible very complex to the casual reader. I take them to be the same event because of the match of all of the recorded characters and actions mentioned occurring in the exact same order. I also know that Jesus is the bridegroom and that we are the bride (virgin) in the Bible. Do you see it? Don’t you think that there could be some direct similarities between the description of 1Thessalonians 4 and the Parable of the 10 virgins? I can see a very distinct pattern of resemblance.
Do not confuse this event description in 1 Thessalonians 4 with the Second Advent event when Jesus literally sets foot back upon the earth to rule for 1000 years with the saints. There is no mention of Jesus coming that close to the earth in 1 Thessalonians 4 anywhere in this description. In fact the way that I read it I can never find Jesus descending below the normal cloud level anywhere in this discourse. In verse 17 it is clearly stated that those that are still alive on the earth surface of the earth go up to the clouds in the air to meet Jesus. How far up are the clouds from the surface of the earth? We might also consider the height of the earth’s atmosphere as being a stated factor. We obviously can learn easily that these are known facts discovered during modern space exploration. The reentry of a space craft from the realm of space first encounters resistance of the earth’s atmosphere at around 120 km (75 mi). At this altitude above the earth, the air is extremely thin and there are no clouds. The air continues to thicken as the craft descends and clouds eventually are able to form.
In order to determine where clouds normally reside in the atmosphere we need a deeper study of meteorological facts. Clouds come in three general categories of high cloud layers, mid-cloud layers and low-cloud layers. If you search the internet you will find that low clouds can range in altitude from surface level to upwards of 2 km. Mid-clouds can range from 2 to 4 km in height. Finally, high clouds can range from 4 to 8 km in height. Therefore Jesus can legally meet us in the atmosphere depending upon if it is a foggy day or a normal day anywhere from 0 to 8 km up in the atmosphere. I can personally see that if you do further study on the internet that NASA has spent time averaging maximum cloud heights over the course of the last 10 years and they have in their data found that clouds normally occur at a maximum average height of between 3 and 4 km and that is a long way up. People in the “no rapture” belief camp have tried to explain this verse away stating that the Greek word translated as “air” is a sea-level only point of view in the Bible. They completely have to ignore the “cloud” reference and overlook the term “caught up” to be in the clouds. They must be assuming a foggy day for the return of the Lord back to the earth’s surface. They have purposely closed their eyes to what the Bible is saying not using any factual evidence to support their beliefs scripturally or scientifically.
Act 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
The Greek word translated as “clouds” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 only occurs in 22 verses of the N.T. so that is a very manageable number to go and read every occurrence. What you will find in your search is God’s exact same usage of this Greek word here in Acts 1:9 where Jesus was described as ascending up and then the clouds are said to receive Him out of their view. Have you ever watched an airplane take off? How long can you view it until it disappears from your view? I guess it depends on the clouds, doesn’t it? But, that sounds like a very high altitude up in the sky to me. What God is doing is describing two separate related events and He is connecting them together with the usage of the same Greek word G3507 translated as “clouds”. Five times in the Gospels Jesus is found speaking of Himself and says that He will be coming in the clouds (Mat 24:30, Mat 26:64, Mark 13:26, Mark 14:62, Luke 21:27). However every mention of this may not be all describing the same event or times. For example, Matthew 24:30 could be speaking of the second advent after the tribulation or of another specific time. In Matthew 24:3 the disciples asked Jesus 3 different questions and in this chapter Jesus answers them all but does not always tell you which answer is to which question. Maybe we will talk about these in a future lesson. In Matthew 26:64 the time frame is not directly given. Mark 13:26 can also be considered a description of the same three questions that the disciples asked in Matthew 24. Again in Mark 14:62 there is no time reference given other than it is after the ascent into heaven in Acts 1:9. That leaves us with Luke 21:27 and this is a very interesting set of verses that appear to be a different timing than the Second Advent. I believe from reading these verses that Jesus could very well be describing the rapture before the tribulation revealed by the wording of the statements. We will get to those verses in more detail later in the series.
What is stated to happen on the earth first in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17? We can see that there is a very clear reference to those that have already died (IN CHRIST) a physical death on the earth “rising” first. Here is a good time to learn a basic truth. Every Christian that has been born again by the Spirit of God is now in the universal group set called “IN CHRIST”. However, God makes a new distinction in this discourse to differentiate between two sub-groups found within the global set of IN-CHRIST. God says here in these two verses that one subset group called the DEAD IN-CHRIST is a little bit different than those that are still ALIVE IN-CHRIST. One group is dead and one group is alive and this has been stated from the physical natural human perspective. Why is that important? Why does one group of DEAD “rise” and why are the others in the ALIVE GROUP “Caught UP”? You really need to ask these types of detailed questions when you read and study the Bible.
This is the first mention of the natural realm and it represents a transition from the heavenly realm that initiated the event. These dead bodies are identified to rise first because of their former experiences with natural death that has caused their old physical bodies to be left here in the dust of the earth. If you examine the context of chapter 4 you will see that one of the primary subjects being discussed is about those that have died believing in Christ and how that they can still have hope of a certain resurrection like Christ’s. When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, did He take His physical body or leave it here on the earth? I think you know that Jesus took His body with Him. There is no tomb with the body of Jesus on the earth. Therefore, Jesus was fully resurrected from the dead physically and spiritually. This is the hope that is given to all of those that have died in Christ. These verses about resurrection were written to the church. These dead people are the saved righteous believers in Christ Jesus. They have died a physical natural death but when this occurred their spirits then departed the earth and went to heaven to be with the Lord Jesus (2 Cor 5:8). Thus the reason for the unique wording of the dead “rising” versus the alive being “caught up”. I’m really not sure if you are getting where I’m going here or if you understand yet what I am attempting to say.
The Greek word translated as “rise” in verse 16 literally means to “stand up” or “arise”. This rising can be from any non-standing position seated, reclining or lying flat. Since God is discussing the dead in Christ rising we can conclude logically that the original unstated position of those arising are normally found in a lying flat position like most dead bodies at a funeral. This description is given to us from the human natural perspective and not the spiritual divine perspective. Death in the Bible is many times described as what looks like natural sleep of the physical body and this is stated from the casual human viewer’s perspective. People here in the natural world generally view things from the natural human standpoint. That is what we see when we look at a dead body. But the spirit of that person has departed their body and is either with Christ or is in hell right now according the Luke 16.
Jas 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Here in James is a statement of universal natural truth concerning natural death. When the physical body dies, the spirit of the man or the woman that died has departed and is no longer present in the body. Or we could say when the spirit departs the physical body, the body dies. Both statements are accurate representations of the truth. However also take note that if the spirit of the human departs the dead body, the spirit always remains alive. Do you know the difference between natural things and spiritual things? Natural things die, but spiritual things never die or cease to exist. Humans are spiritual beings that live in a temporary natural body.
All of this information is just my attempt to explain why God’s distinction between the dead “rising” and the alive “departing” references that are given. In verse 16 of 1 Thessalonians 4 it ends with the natural perspective of the human body that possessed the appearance of sleeping being resurrected or raised to stand up again in order to be joined back to the departed human spirit. This resurrected body will be rejoined back with the human spirits of those that were already in heaven and this new eternal resurrected body will be their personal living place and the dwelling residence for God’s Spirit forever. Then in verse 17 we see a contrasting difference being stated with those that remain here on the earth and are described to be alive being “caught up” to meet Christ in the air. Can you seriously see the difference being stated here yet? Why aren’t both groups “caught up”? Why don’t both groups “rise”? This is actually very important information. When all of the puzzle pieces are put together correctly it makes such clear logical sense. God is in effect saying that when this event occurs the dead in Christ will descend with Christ from heaven to be joined with their risen resurrected bodies, but the living Christians on the earth will be personally “caught up” to be with Christ with a resurrected body in the clouds. Now do you see it? Do you now understand why the difference between the two stated experiences and why God describes it as two sub-events beneath the one greater event? What God is doing is giving you a lot of unstated information by using distinct unique word selection.
Verse 16 was only the dead bodies rising and not the spirits of the dead people being “caught up” since the spirits were already present with Christ in heaven. Verse 17 makes the radical transition from what happens to the dead bodies to those that are still living in a body. Two separate verbs are selected by God to describe what happens to each group. Verse 17 starts out by saying those that are “alive” and these are a clear reference to the people with a natural life existence on the earth given to us from the human perspective. This Greek word G2198 literally means to possess life or those that live. Again this viewpoint can only be from the natural perspective and not a spiritual or divine perspective since it is impossible to kill a spirit being. Both the dead in Christ and the living in Christ on the earth are spiritually alive unto God. If God was using His spiritual viewpoint in these verses He would have stated it differently. What God is teaching is the difference of the locations of the living spirits affected during the event. The dead in Christ were already in heaven and those living in Christ remained here on the earth during the start of this event. At the end of the event they are all together with Christ in the clouds with their new resurrected bodies.
UNDERSTANDING BEING “CAUGHT UP”
These verses are simply comparing two types of believers. These two groups of believer types represent two new sub-sets of the whole set group called those “in Christ”. We really need to understand basic math set theory when studying the Bible on many subjects. God created math and mathematical laws which are used in the Bible repeatedly to teach us concepts that only could have come from Him. Let’s stop here and define that Greek word translated as “caught up” and then dig much deeper to find out why God states it differently from the bodies that “rise”.
From a derivative of G138; to seize (in various applications): – catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).
The Greek word “harpazo” (G726) literally means to seize or take someone or something by force. It is only found in 13 verses of the New Testament and many of these are very significant connected verses to explore about the subject of rapture. Begin by understanding that the definition of the word represents a divine orchestrated demonstration of power. In other words this event in 1 Thessalonians 14:17 being described can only take place because there was a great external force of power behind it that causes it to occur. This description of force corresponds to the direct controlled information given by Jesus of the angel reapers taking out from the earth the wheat and the tares as well as the separation of the sheep from the goats. There are distinct parallels of external power being enforced in common in all of this imagery. In these lessons the wheat, the tares, the sheep nor the goats have an influence or contribution on the separation that occurs. In each instance the force of control is external to those that are affected.
No natural exertion of resistance, human effort, human force or any human power from the participants on the earth being raised or caught up was necessary or even mentioned during this event. I probably did not state that last information exactly correct. You see I believe that every human is required to have faith and believe in the rapture in order to participate in the event. I cannot see where the Bible says that anyone that does not believe is still rewarded with the same prize of those that do believe. Crowns of salvation are not handed out to everyone like Universal Salvationists like to teach. I believe that rapture is exactly like salvation. No one that has not already placed their faith and beliefs in Jesus Christ will be saved or can be saved. Everything that God gives to His people through His divine sovereign Grace must be received by the people through their faith. I don’t have the time to teach you faith, if you have not read my lessons on Understanding Bible Faith then do that to help clear up any conflict. Let’s quickly review one dictionary definition for the word “rapture” to recall how it was defined:
RAPTURE: the carrying of a person to another place or sphere of existence.
To me this definition of the word rapture fits precisely with the Greek word definition of “harpazo”. To carry someone away from one realm to another is clearly a display of power and force that must be present to move them. The English term “rapture” is derived from the Latin term “raptus” also meaning to carry away or carry off. I have concluded that “raptus” was a synonymous Latin term for the Greek word G726 “harpazo” that was translated as “caught up”. This is one of the primary reasons for the legitimacy of the doctrine of the “rapture”. The modern term was developed to help Bible teachers teach the subject using a simple one word title. Do you understand “harpazo”? It is a very well defined word that teaches a lot on the subject. Harpazo is a show of external force and power. It is a convention beyond the power of human resistance. Even if you did not want to go the Bible teaches us that you are going. No debate is offered. No options are given. Those being taken are simply gone being removed from existence upon the earth physically and spiritually.
All of this discussion so far today was just an introduction to the basic foundational concepts proving that the catching away of believers is a valid truth taught by God, Paul and the early church in the Bible. The timing of the event has still not been fully developed or established and we will eventually get to that part of the subject as we progress.
HISTORICAL RAPTURE EVENTS IN THE BIBLE
Before we go into future rapture events and other verses about the subject, let’s prove to all of the skeptics that this harpazo or “catching away” by force has already occurred multiple times in the Bible. In proving historical event occurrence, this will help us to define and confirm the possibility for potential repeated future event occurrences. God simply says in the Bible “There is nothing new under the sun”. He continues in this discourse to teach us “that which has been is that which shall be again” (Ecc 1:9). Verses like this teach us that there are established patterns found in the Bible and that we need to learn them in order to see what might occur in the near future. Discarding the past will cause you to not know the future. You see for any doctrine to be legitimate it must be an established pattern throughout the Bible with more than one witness to the truth being stated. God required for every word to be established in the mouths of two or three witnesses so that they all can be verified to be in agreement with the other witnesses. This truth disallows the taking of any single verse out of context to prove one’s erroneous point. Let’s go to the book of Acts and see one type of rapture example and a direct type and shadow of the coming rapture being described in 1 Thessalonians 14:
Act 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Was Phillip just raptured away so that immediately the eunuch after being baptized saw him no more? Why did God take Phillip away? Why didn’t God take the eunuch also? You see this does not say that Phillip walked away or swam away under his own physical power. The power of God literally takes Phillip away from the place that he was previously seen and places him physically and spiritually in a completely new location. I mean if this description is not a type of rapture of a man from one physical point to another physical point you tell me what it is. You see someone being raptured does not always have to mean that this someone was taken directly to heaven. It can mean they were just physically transported from one part of the earth to another. Rapture is nothing except a real divine encounter of a fictional Star Trek type of teleport or transport. This rapture of Phillip is simply a change in his physical location and it is a valid pattern for what will happen to the church very soon. Patterns can simply be natural events that will correspond to coming spiritual events. Notice that Phillip had nothing to do with what just happened to him. Phillip did not pray to be taken, Phillip did not ask God to take him and this is again a pattern of the coming church rapture. Also note that one man was taken and one man was not and this again is a pattern for rapture. Rapture includes the separation of one or more people from another group of people.
Notice that God brings this verse into the subject discussion by the inclusion of the Greek word G726 harpazo. I understand that Phillip was not given a supernatural resurrected body during this event. I also understand that Phillip did not leave the earth to go to heaven and then return in a new earthly location. While that was certainly possible that is not what just happened to Phillip. We need to learn not to put God in our box of human narrow minded limitations. We need to see that almost anything is possible when God is involved. I said almost anything is possible, because God is not going to do anything that violates His written word or causes Him to lie. Keep that in mind as you study the Bible. I am simply viewing the “catching away” of Phillip by the Spirit of God to be a natural pattern for the coming greater spiritual event. If God can do this event to a man in the church then God can also take the whole church in a future event. Let me show you another type of rapture event recorded in the Bible that is often ignored by rapture skeptics.
2Co 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
I mentioned this verse earlier but I feel this is important enough to look at again. This event is in a position of greater alignment with the normal concept of what most people believe is the primary type of rapture. Here we have Paul describing an event about himself and saying that he was “caught up” to the third heaven. “Caught up” is again the Greek word G726 harpazo. So Paul was taken by force in this experience by the Spirit of God. He says he does not know if he was in his body or outside of his body and that is not the important point to take away. However notice that Paul says that he was taken and this means his spirit went to heaven at the minimum. What you must observe is that Paul’s spirit was literally transported from the physical earth to a spiritual heaven location and then you can read that he saw things that he could not even describe to us. Clearly this is another example of rapture in the Bible. The spirit of Paul was taken up by force to see things in heaven that he had never seen before. This was another divine sovereign choice act of God. Paul did not ask to be taken but it still occurred to teach Paul and the rest of us that it can occur. Do you still not believe in rapture? I seriously do not know how you can still be on the unbelief side of the fence after studying all of the events that have already occurred. But, I’m not done yet and there are more. Let’s go back and reflect on a story from the Old Testament of a rapture event and possibly the first rapture event recorded in the Bible:
Heb 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Wow, so Star Trek really did not invent the “Transporter”, God did. God clearly transports the living natural man Enoch wholly, completely and directly from this earth to an undisclosed, unnamed new location in this verse. We are never informed of where Enoch went; we are just told that he vanished off of the face of the earth. Did you notice that Enoch did not have to die naturally first? There are only two men in the O.T. that did not taste of natural death that I know of and Enoch was one of them. Enoch is a clear O.T. pattern for the church members that will be “caught away” alive in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Clearly Enoch was raptured from this world alive to the eternal spiritual realm being taken bodily so that there is no grave here on the earth containing his body. How can anyone teach that rapture is not a valid Bible concept and truth? Look up the Greek word translated as “translated” in this verse. It literally means to “transfer” or “transport” as in an exchange of physical locations. This is so significant that I do not know how people miss it or why they choose to ignore it. I’m beginning to see a Bible concept that I really like here, and I’ll call it the “Beam me up Jesus” method of spiritual travel. I really believe that this is going to be an awesome experience when it occurs. There is only one other man in the O.T. that was taken up by divine force without seeing death and this was the prophet Elijah.
2Ki 2:1 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
The Hebrew word in the verse translated as “take up” literally means to ascend. This is not rocket science so everyone should be able to recognize another obvious pattern for human translation or transportation out of this world while still naturally alive by divine sovereign power. If you study the context of this event you will also see that God reveals what is going to happen to Elijah before it happens. That is also significant since God repeats that pattern by revealing to the church that rapture will occur before it occurs. Elijah is again a pattern for the living church members remaining on the earth today. They do not know the exact timing of the “taking up” but he knew it would occur before it occurred and he even knew that it would even occur very soon. Clearly Enoch and Elijah are valid “harpazo” patterns. These are two direct witnesses for the future.
Let’s talk about Isaiah chapter 6 briefly. This chapter describes an event that took place that clearly resembles what Paul experienced of being caught up to the third heaven. I’m not going to quote any of the verses or review them in any detail. You can do that research for yourself. I will say that what Isaiah describes is clearly not of this world in any form or fashion. In verse 1 there is mention of a throne but then following this is the mention of winged creatures that are a special type of angel. This creature had 3 sets of wings. One set covered his face and one set covered his feet and with the final set he flew around. That is pretty amazing stuff. This experience is no doubt a type of rapture where Isaiah is taken to the throne of God to view and record some things that we need to see. It does not say that Isaiah was there bodily, but he had to be there spiritually in order to come back to write what he saw. I find that very interesting and also very relevant to our discussion of rapture. I will not address this experience any further in this lesson other than to give it to you as fifth potential pattern reference for a type of rapture.
Act 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
We could talk a lot about Jesus ascending into heaven in Acts 1. I have already mentioned this example previously in this lesson in a direct reference connection to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Here we have Jesus ascending up into the clouds and disappearing and this is another pattern of what is described will happen to the living on the earth when Jesus comes back to the clouds to take us up. I will point out one distinct difference in this verse. This ascent is not “harpazo”. In other words Jesus was not seized out of the earth by force or caught up by the Spirit of God or any angel. No this Greek word is very different because this is the divine God himself going up under His own power. This Greek word is always used in conjunction with self-control and personal extended effort of self-power. This is clearly an example of rapture because God is controlling the ascension event. However it is done indecently from external power and is the internal power of God within Jesus that causes Him to go up. The first five examples of people being raptured were clearly events independent from human human power and they can only be displays of the power of God. I really pray that you are receiving these parallel examples and seeing the possibilities that can occur from them?
Satan fights the teaching of the true rapture because he will be forced to present an explanation to what happened to the millions of righteous people in the world that simply vanish without a trace prior to the tribulation. He will come up with an ingenious twist of the truth. He will probably claim that the wicked people on the earth have now been taken out for judgment and now only the righteous remain to rule with him. You see this explanation fits with the pattern of what is transpiring in the media today. The media is blasting Christians as hate mongers of an intolerant message of God’s love. The homosexual agenda is the most intolerant group of people that exists in the world and they are in direct opposition to God and what the Bible says on the subject. However, they claim that Christians are intolerant ones for claiming the truth in the Bible and not embracing their sin as normal. What we see developing is a dividing line between those that are on God’s side and those that are opposed to God. I would think that it would be wise to remain on God’s side, but they have had their minds blinded to the truth so that they are unable to see it.
I think I will wrap up this lesson for now. I have given you a lot of information to examine and to consider. I thank you for your time in reading and studying the Bible. There is so much more in the Bible on this subject and I will continue on it in a future lesson. God Bless!
If you would like to continue reading in this series you may proceed to “Part 3” now.
(Ver 1.1) This is now Part 5 in the series of Bible lessons on the very popular misconception called Unconditional Eternal Security (U.E.S.) previously known as Once Saved Always Saved (O.S.A.S). We have covered a lot of information found in the Bible and if you have not read this series from the beginning I might suggest that you go and start with “Part 1” first. In the last lesson I talked about the ongoing Christian Responsibility revealed in the salvation process that is clearly laid out for us by God in the Bible. God uses several metaphorical comparisons to describe our salvation to be like a process, like us having to fight a good fight (1 Tim 6:12, 2 Tim 4:7) or running a marathon type of race (1 Cor 9:24, Heb 12:1). Both of these symbolic types represent our participation in set contests with competing opponents that are attempting to take from us our victory. Clearly these examples give us the established truth that we can lose or fail or quit the contest. Both of these competitions were clearly defined processes of endurance and not simply a onetime salvation event where we start and automatically win like many of the U.E.S. teachers want us to believe. Both process examples have clearly defined beginnings, followed by many middle steps of conflict and struggle with a set well-defined ending. Both examples are processes governed by defined rules of engagement to help guide the outcome but yet not to determine the outcome. In other words, neither process has a pre-determined victor of the fight or the race. In either of these types of contests any of the individuals competing can always grow tired or weary and quit or give up and fall short of the desired initial expectation for victory. Do you start a race to lose it? Do you start a fight to be defeated? In any fight you might just believe that you are the winner from the start, right up until the point in time that your opponent hits you hard and knocks you down. If you believe today that you are running a fixed race or fighting a fixed fight that you have already won, then you are clearly not very familiar with realities of fighting or racing. I really hope and pray that you understand these really basic Bible concepts that God is using to teach us.
Today I am going in a totally new and different direction on the subject of Unconditional Eternal Security using a series of new subjects that I will introduce and connect together to teach the subject of the contribution of the “Deception Factor”. Today’s lesson will be primarily focused on the potential role and effects of deception in the ongoing process of our salvation and how we are warned by God to avoid it. However, it will take me familiarizing you with and reviewing other prerequisite subjects to get us to where we need to be to understand how deception is such a major factor to why we do not have eternal security. Let’s start by first knowing that we have an enemy.
THE REALITY OF YOUR SPIRITUAL ENEMY
The subject of deception is specifically tied to the requirement that a deceiver must exist and be present, willing and able to deceive or deception is a non-issue for every Christian. If no deceivers exist, then no deception is presented as being possible. Was that just way too obvious? Therefore I need to focus on the existence of a deceiver using the Bible. I am going to introduce you to the existence of the primary deceiver who is also known as Satan. From Satan comes every other deceiver, so if I can prove his existence in the Bible it should be easy to transition that others exist also. Using my Bible program I searched for the key word “deceive” and found multiple verses on the subject. Satan is described as the individual spirit responsible for deceiving the people of the whole world in Revelation 12:9, Revelation 13:14 and Revelation 20:10. The whole world would be an all-inclusive statement not omitting any nation of people. Remember what I just said! Therefore, Satan qualifies to be the deceiver by definition from God’s Word. Does Satan still exist in the world today? If you said YES, then you are on the right track. If you said no, then you do not understand that Revelation 12, 13 and 20 has not happened yet and only by studying God’s Word can we understand that God says Satan is still present to deceive people in EVERY nation. I just said that again didn’t I? Now, let me ask you do you still exist in the world today? I think if you are reading this Bible lesson you must say YES again. Therefore by God’s definition you have the potential to be deceived because the deceiver is still present here with you. Also notice something new that you have not connected yet to the subject. You see God teaches us in the New Testament that the church is a new “Holy Nation” of people (1 Peter 2:9). However that still makes everyone in the church a potential candidate for deception because we are clearly defined to be a nation. Now do you see why I emphasized Satan deceiving the nations? If Satan is the deceiver of the nations, then we in the church are still the potential victims of his deception by our association to God’s definition of a nation. The Bible is not that hard to see things if you can put them together correctly.
If you did not know it, the Bible declares that every Christian still has a spiritual enemy. The enemy of the church is named Satan. Technically Satan was God’s enemy before he was our enemy but I won’t go there today. Just understand that God’s enemies are now our enemies by covenant relationship. There is an old proverb that says the enemies of my enemies are my friends and conversely the friends of my enemies are also my enemies. Jesus taught us a similar variation of this proverb in Mark 9:40 saying “He that is not against us, is for us”. This Bible fact of the existence of a spiritual enemy is declared repeatedly in the Bible both directly and indirectly (James 4:4). We are first introduced to our enemy as a symbolic serpent in Genesis 3:1 and he continues through the Bible in many forms using many names, descriptions and titles all the way to the last mention in Revelation 20:10. Satan is described as a spiritual opponent that is arrayed against us trying desperately to defeat us. Many Christians have left me comments about Jesus’ outstanding victory over Satan (John 16:33, Col 2:15). They have concluded from these verses that Satan was completely defeated at Calvary thus Jesus rendered him to be a defeated insignificant or trivial factor going forward. However that is just not all of what the Bible says about Satan, the people on the earth including the church, Christians and their role with resisting Satan and many other statements of truth.
Jesus also taught us that Satan was the ruler of a kingdom (Mat 12:26). Jesus further taught us that Satan still had power (Luke 10:19). Understand that this stated kingdom of Satan was not the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven, but a new separate dominion taken from man. We learn this fact by observing what Satan told Jesus during the 40 day temptation in the wilderness (Luke 4:5-6). If you go read Luke 4 closely you will see Satan offering Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world if only Jesus would worship him. Satan told Jesus that these were given to him and since we are not told in the Bible that God gave them to Satan, they must have been taken from Adam. You see according to Genesis 1:26 Adam was given dominion over all the earth by God yet we see Satan claiming to have control of it in Luke. One of the first indirect mentions of this kingdom of Satan is also found in first book of the Bible in Genesis 1:16. On the fourth day of creation God sets the moon (the lesser light) to rule the night and the sun (the greater light) to rule the day. This verse was a highly prophetical statement using hidden symbolic information for the coming of the Son of God into the world. This verse predicts the coming of Jesus into the world on a precise timeline and reveals to us one reason why Jesus has come. The moon in this verse is symbolic of Satan, the Sun in this verse is symbolic of Jesus, the night is symbolic for the kingdom of darkness and the day is symbolic for the Kingdom of Light. Furthermore, the “4th day” of creation is also symbolic for the time of the coming. Jesus just so happens to come into the world after four days from Adam using God’s definition of a day from 2 Peter 3:8. If you do not understand the significance of this information I have a more complete teaching on the subject called “Understanding Night and Day”.
Jesus came personally into Satan’s kingdom of darkness being born of a virgin to bring us light (John 8:12). However this was not external light, but rather internal spiritual knowledge. God’s plan was never to take over Satan’s kingdom of darkness or even to take it back into the light or to establish a rule over it here on the earth; no the plan of God was more precisely to create a new pathway out of Satan’s kingdom for all of those in the dark world that would believe on Christ. The light of God’s day and this new kingdom of God would be formed internally in every believer. This way the light of God would be present in every believer but still separate from the darkness of this world that still remained in Satan’s control. God was in effect creating a new separate Kingdom of God that never existed before apart from Satan, his angels, his kingdom and He was offering all those on the earth the blessed opportunity to come out of their darkness to live in the light of God forever for free through His shed blood. That was a very quick overview of some new things that you have probably never heard taught before and I do not have time to explain them all fully today. However, go through the N.T. and see how many times this kingdom realm of darkness or night is mentioned and then observe the scriptures that say Christians are now in the light of God’s day. Let me give you a couple of the key verses that may help you to understand:
Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Jesus is being described as the one that has delivered us from the “power of darkness”. There are three basic things that you need to grasp immediately from this incredibly important verse. First, the kingdom of darkness still exists and has not been eliminated. Second, notice that this kingdom of darkness still has power. Then third, notice we that are saved are not in this dark kingdom anymore having been translated into the Kingdom of Light by Jesus. This verse clearly implies that those that are not saved are still in the kingdom of darkness where some spiritual force of power still rules over them. Clearly there is a distinction between two separate spiritual kingdoms of existence being stated in this verse. These two kingdoms must still exist concurrently or this verse is a lie. Clearly the kingdom of darkness still has great power and influence or no one in their right mind would still be in there right now. Also understand by implied inference if anyone has come out from this kingdom of darkness by their freewill choice of salvation, then by the definition of antithesis, they can also potentially return back to that darkness by another freewill choice. I pray you understood everything that I just said to you. It was all extremely important. Let me give you another great verse that contains vast knowledge about this kingdom and this enemy:
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Read this new metaphorical case closely, because God gives us another example of a spiritual contest between opponents with an implied winner and loser outcome. To wrestle an opponent is a paradigm process that is very similar to boxing or racing. In this verse in Ephesians you can see that just because Christians are not in the darkness this does not mean we are not still in a spiritual war of opposition with the darkness or the rulers of that kingdom. Who rules the darkness? Clearly this verse is another reference to Satan and his angelic followers as I mentioned earlier. Clearly from this information we can see that these spiritual individuals still exist along with their kingdom if we are currently wresting against them. There is absolutely no way that you can teach that Satan is a non-factor for any Christian today if you correctly balance these verses with the other verses that the exclusive U.E.S. Grace teachers want to focus on.
If defeated Satan had no more power or influence to do any harm to a saved Christian, then why are there so many warnings given to the church in the Bible to the contrary? A truly defeated enemy would have no such supremacy, weapons, ability or present any further risk, but an enemy that still has power and ability to do Christians harm must still be a major danger if we do not know how to counteract his plans and attacks. This spiritual war subject is not my main topic today and I have other lessons that you can go and read about how to be a victorious child of God. Just realize that God has given you the potential for victory by Jesus’ victorious actions and accomplishments but now it is your God given responsibility to enforce the victory and to become the overcomer like I introduced you to in the last lesson. Let’s change to a brand new subject called “Patterns”.
DIVINE GOD PATTERNS
If you learn anything from me today, please learn how God uses divine design patterns throughout the Bible to teach us. I’ve already described to you three direct patterns of process in today’s lesson. One was a race, one was a fight and one was a wrestling match. These were all recognizable patterns of contests with opponents, rules, a beginning effort, a struggle, endurance, and an anticipated end. Let’s get into what a pattern is using additional specific examples. How would we define a pattern? A pattern is normally a set of design templates and instructions used to prepare or to create a new copy of an existing original. The actual copy can be totally different in appearance while being completely similar in design, concepts and principles. That was of course my definition, but did you understand it? Using my 3 metaphorical examples of contests, they appear to be radically different types of games on the surface but yet they all share a set of design pattern concepts that make them joined together with many common similarities. That is exactly what pattern usage produces; copies of an original working model.
Let me give you an example of a natural pattern application on the earth. Patterns are used in sewing extensively and they allow the seamstress to turn out multiple new original creations that can be perceived to be similar to the original by observing the design pattern characteristics but not by necessarily observing the materials selected or the individual options being tailored or customized. There is just a general rule of life that it is always easier to copy a working original piece than it is to create something completely new. I learned this concept in programming computers. Working code reuse is always faster and more productive than new code creation. The creation of any original functional piece of work will always take significant trial and error to produce a great product. It took Edison literally hundreds and hundreds of attempts to create a light bulb that worked. But, now they can be copied very quickly and cheaply by the use of his patterned design. Have you ever asked yourself why Adam was made in the image and the likeness of God in Genesis 1:26? Do you understand that Adam was made from the direct pattern of God, his creator? God took a working design and repeated the process to make a man. This was a very significant example of the wisdom of God being displayed. When God made man, God knew that He was coming to the earth as a man so why not make the man from a pattern of Himself an already working viable component?
Understand that the reuse of any design pattern is just a small part of the complete creation process. Natural pattern usage only comes into play somewhere between the initial steps of conception, the design and before the full implementation. Almost every defined process and pattern can be viewed as interchangeable concepts to some extent. For example, any repetitive process producing a positive result can be viewed as a repetitive design pattern implementation and vice versa. I really try not to get too technical in my Bible studies to allow everyone the opportunity to understand the concepts. I try to leave out technical words and phrasing but I have been teaching you the subject of patterns and have had to introduce you to some new ideas to think about. So hang in there and learn what you can about patterns.
Let’s talk briefly about another earthly natural pattern. Any positive process is like making a cake. A cake could be created using great trial and error like Edison making a light bulb. However if the baker wants to forego the learning curve they can go and find an existing working recipe with the exact steps and ingredients used to create a great cake and in a short time they have a copy of one through the use of a known pattern. Therefore the original cook must have recorded or documented the set of specific ingredients and recipe preparation instructions that must be followed exactly in order to recreate the original design, texture, taste and quality. If you do it right the outcome is great and if you miss one ingredient or step then it will probably be a great failure.
So why am I talking about processes and design patterns, templates, sewing, light bulb and cake recipes so much? Patterns are what God used in the creation of our world to teach us about Him and spiritual things we cannot see. For example, the Bible teaches us that all of the hidden qualities of God are clearly seen in the things that He has made (Rom 1:20). This means that what we can observe on the earth around us was from a designed pattern of what already existed in heaven previously and these things reveal God to us. It is also why we need to learn about the concepts of patterns to see what will be coming soon in the future. What we soon realize is something that God teaches us in Ecclesiastes is very relevant to everything we can observe around us. God says “the things that have been are the things that shall be again” (Ecc 1:9). Ecclesiastes and Romans both explain to us that God uses divine design patterns to teach and to recreate the things we can observe. God took working spiritual realities and used their patterns to create our natural world. God then teaches us that these natural things will again be used as patterns for the new spiritual things that will occur again. Let me show you another verse about patterns in the Bible to help you better understand:
Heb 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
Here we have God describing to us that the things given to Moses on the earth were simply patterns for pre-existing unseen things already found and bound within heaven. In this verse, the original spiritual things created by God in heaven were clearly greater or more significant than the temporary natural things created by the hands of men on the earth. However these temporary natural things given to us by God on the earth also provide us a view into the existence of the spiritual things that we have never seen or experienced. You can clearly see that God gave Moses patterns to use for everything. These patterns will again be used in the design for the coming new heaven and the new earth. Patterns are so very important in the Bible that I should probably do a more complete series on the subject. For now try to understand the existence of patterns is a prevalent reality throughout the Bible. Using our knowledge of divine patterns, we can easily learn about many of the unseen spiritual things found within our past, our present and our future.
There are actually many different ways to name or title a Biblical pattern process using synonymous terms. Some call them similarities, similitudes, resemblances, likenesses, patterns, types or shadows and I even have labeled them by all of those descriptions in my past lessons. I believe that a natural type or a shadow from the Old Testament was usually given to us by God to help point us to a New Testament spiritual reality. For example, Jesus told the Jews to search their scriptures because in them they thought they had eternal life and then Jesus said these were just the words that testified of Him (John 5:39). But, yet you cannot find the direct mention of the name of Jesus, or the direct person of God in the flesh unswervingly mentioned in the Old Testament scriptures anywhere in obvious plain sight. Since I have studied the Bible for many years I can now see Him in almost every chapter, but that is not how I started. God’s use of patterns, similarities, types and shadows were just one of the wise methods of concealing Jesus in the characters and stories of others that are plainly revealed in the surface text. I pray that you are beginning to understand the concept of patterns and how they apply to our Bible study because that is exactly where we are going next in this discussion of U.E.S. Let’s begin to ask are there any patterns found in the Old Testament for U.E.S.?
ARE THERE ANY UNCONDITIONAL ETERNAL SECURITY PATTERNS?
If you examine the design pattern of Adam and Eve as recorded in Genesis 2 and 3 you should be able to find Jesus and the church. I will use the pattern of Adam and Eve to help establish and confirm the false reality of the Unconditional Eternal Security teaching. When God created Adam did God make him to be unconditionally and eternally secure? It is very obvious to me based upon the Word of God that Adam was never created perfect or secure since he sinned, failed and fell willingly into the disobedience of God’s Word. Whatever security that Adam thought he possessed, was suddenly completely lost. If Adam was created with “freewill” to sin, to make mistakes and even to depart from the perfect way and will of God, then how can you or anyone else possibly believe that a Christian now does not have the same pattern of choice? What about Adam’s wife Eve? Was Eve created so that it was impossible for her to be deceived? Again it is extremely obvious that the Bible says Eve was deceived (1 Tim 2:14). I am talking about patterns found within creation to see if there are any ways that are still possible for the church to fall away from the Grace of God. Were Adam and Eve created in the extreme Grace of God? I believe they were. They were created without sin, lacking nothing and placed in a near perfect world to live in. Could it have gotten any better than that? However in this great state of Grace, could they still make the wrong choices, of course they did. I hope you are using your brain today to see what I’m saying to you. How are we any different from Adam today in the church? If Adam could depart from Grace then you can depart from Grace!
Let’s back up before the creations of man and ask what about Lucifer’s status in heaven! Did God create the perfect archangel Lucifer with unconditional eternal security? According to Ezekiel 28:15 Lucifer was created in a perfect state yet sin was still found to be in him. Did this sin matter to God? If we observe his destiny in Revelation 20:10 you will understand that even perfect Lucifer is revealed to have no unconditional eternal security when he is cast into the lake of fire. Clearly perfection with no sin is not a statement for possessing security. Where exactly in the Bible can we find anyone with the pattern of Unconditional Eternal Security? Can you find me just one? I’m talking about someone other than the church that you just think is unconditionally eternally secure! If the church is eternally and unconditionally secure then there must be an existing pattern for this somewhere else in the Bible or it is not true for the church either. How can I say that? And why is this even important? It is simply critical because God tells us to establish every word of truth using at the least two or three witnesses (Mat 18:16). If we cannot find two witnesses that confirm unconditional eternal security as a divine pattern then the modern Bible teachers trying to teach us U.E.S. fail God’s requirement. Now do you understand the importance of patterns?
WHAT ABOUT JESUS?
I have searched the Old Testament and I could not find any man starting with Adam that possessed eternal security here on the earth. Adam never lost his freewill to depart from God’s ways or plan and this pattern repeats to every man born from Adam. If you can find me even one man in the O.T. that God said could not ever fail, then show me the verse. Ok, I’m about to blow your religious mind with a new question to think about. Was Jesus Christ born in the Old Testament? If you are an intelligent and observant Bible student, you already know that Jesus was born a man under the law of the Old Covenant (Gal 4:4). Now let me ask you this radical question was Jesus Christ unconditionally and eternally secure as a physical man? You see I believe that even Jesus possessed the freewill capability for failure, and many religious people will laugh and call me a heretic fool for that belief. However, if Jesus had no potential for failure or sin then God becomes a liar. The Bible says Jesus was tempted in every way just like we are but yet He was without sin (Heb 4:15). The only reason that Jesus was without sin was because He chose to be without the sin as a direct act of His freewill. You see if it was impossible for Jesus to sin, then He was never tempted like you or I. Are you tempted? Have you ever been tempted? Do you fail or have you ever failed? If say yes then you are potentially just like Jesus and Jesus was potentially just like you. Otherwise He would not be able to identify with our weaknesses or our plight. We clearly saw already reading in Luke 4 that Jesus was tempted, but he did not give into the temptations of Satan. This is where Jesus succeeded where Adam failed.
Heb 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Jesus is revealed in the Bible to be the God that became a man exactly like you and I. This was a major paradox and stumbling block to why natural Israel did not accept Him. They knew the Bible says God is not a man (Num 23:19). However they made the major mistake of taking one isolated truth and then ignoring all the others that God is still powerful enough to become a man if He chooses by exercising His freewill. This is the danger of separating one verse and thinking that it is the entire truth. That is an extremely bad and dangerous approach to interpreting the Bible. Do you understand what I am trying to say? I am claiming that the God of creation who created everything has now become an intimate part of His creation and this changes everything. What God was not, God became by His design. Therefore, God as a man was no longer a perfect being incapable of failing or sinning. I did not say God failed or God sinned I just said He had the potential to do that or He was not exactly like us as the Bible has declared. You are going to have to make up your own minds on what you believe; I cannot do that for you. You read the Bible and do the research and the study and see if Jesus was incapable of failure and see if He possessed Unconditional Eternal Security and then notice that even Jesus died on the cross and I believe He went to hell for 3 days to pay for my sins so I would not have to go there. I don’t call that eternal security, do you? Let’s shift our focus and establish Adam as a defined pattern for Jesus and this may help us reaffirm that Jesus was not infallible while in the flesh.
THE HIDDEN PATTERN OF JESUS IN ADAM
1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Why exactly, is Jesus called the “Last Adam” in 1 Corinthians 15:45? I think that is a very great question. God by direct name association has just linked Jesus Christ to the first created man Adam. This is just a very tricky way of God saying my man Adam was a set design pattern for my Son Jesus to come. This is the beginning of the reality that if Adam could have sinned, then Jesus could have sinned but yet didn’t. However, notice that both Adam’s still died. So they obviously both did possess at least one direct equal characteristic and we will find there are many more if we look for them. I find this study of Adam and Jesus as repeated patterns fascinating. It has great potential for many overlapping truths. Let’s go for another witness to what I am teaching that Adam was a pattern for Jesus:
Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
Romans 5:14 emphasizes this pattern usage point again to us even more clearly. The Bible says that Adam was a created pattern of the man Jesus to come. We already observed in Genesis 1 where Adam was defined to be a pattern for the creator spiritual God originally, so this is just a further perpetuation of the same God pattern to the physical God. Look up the Greek word definitions and study these verses to understand what concepts are being revealed to you. The Greek word translated as “figure” means a die as struck. Do you understand what a die is? A die produces an exact image of the same print repeatedly. It is a modern copy and paste concept found in the computer design paradigm. The original printing press created by Gutenberg was a die concept for printing one page of the Bible over and over. We soon realize that God did a copy paste of the spiritual type of Himself into the natural form of Adam, which is then transferred as another copy and paste into the combined God man named Jesus. This verse in Romans clearly teaches us that we should be able to look at the man Adam in Genesis and see Jesus and this is exactly what Jesus said we would find if we searched the scriptures looking for Him. Moses wrote down God’s words about Adam, but God’s words were more about Jesus than Adam. The two Adam’s were simply patterns for each other. I believe God created the first Adam already knowing the second Adam was coming to save the day. This is exactly why God did what He did in Genesis 2 and 3 with the first man and his wife.
Let’s stop here briefly again and consider that if the first Adam had a wife does that reveal that the last Adam (Jesus) has a wife also as a defined part of the pattern? Most definitely He does. I have a much more complete Bible study on the subject called the “The Bride of Christ Revealed”. Therefore, I am not going to repeat any of that information in this lesson. If you do not understand the church position as the bride then please stop and study to find that truth and establish it in your heart because it is essential to our pattern discussion today about U.E.S. I will simply say the church is definitely the Bride of Christ and we are the ones that are united in eternal marriage covenant in Revelation 19. Where I am going is that if Adam’s wife was capable of being deceived then the Lamb’s wife is also capable of being deceived by direct pattern association. Pretty simple yet very difficult to find if you do not understand patterns.
THE ROLE OF SATAN AND DECEPTION IN THE CHURCH
In the Grace message of eternal security there is a belief that Satan has no further influence or power over a believer to cause them to ever depart from their salvation. The belief popularly states that Christians have been sealed with eternal security and thus Satan is no longer a factor to deceive them anymore. Let me stop there and say that if you currently believe that you can never be deceived then you are clearly already deceived into believing a lie from Satan. What exactly is deception? How can we define it as it relates to the church? I believe deception is believing in something that you think is true that actually is not true. It is like my picture on this paragraph of the fish caught with a decieving lure. The fish believed what he was eating was good food, but it turned out to be something deadly to him. That is exactly the definition of deception for a Christian also. Clearly no Christian in their right mid is intentionally caught seeking to find lies. I believe that every easily deceived Christian is just presented the lie either intentionally or unintentionally by other well meaning ignorant Christians and they look attractive so they end up swallowing them and are caught like the fish. Let’s take into account a scripture that has far reaching implications attached to it for our current subject discussion. You will notice that in this next verse that Jesus is speaking, thus we have God in the flesh stating something very important that we must need to know. Therefore, pay close attention to the words of my Lord and Savior:
Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
We have to totally write this statement of Jesus off if we want to believe in unconditional eternal security after our salvation. In order to teach security we must conclude that we are smarter than Jesus and that Jesus did not know what He was talking about when He warned us about not being deceived. We either have to call Jesus a liar or we have to explain the verse as being non-applicable to people in the church today. If you read the context of the statement Jesus was asked by the disciples to teach them of the signs of His coming and the end of the age. Therefore the rest of the statements in this chapter are the answers of God in the flesh concerning the end of the age that we live in today. Who are the people that Jesus is speaking of to not become deceived if not us? Many people have tried to creatively explain it away as the Jews before salvation only, but they were not yet living in the last days so that makes no sense to me. Since we in the church who know the truth are the people now living in the last days before His soon return then I believe that Jesus was certainly speaking about us and to us as those that can be deceived. If we are these potential people that can be deceived, what are the consequences for being deceived? Are there any consequences for being deceived? There must be at least a possibility for us to lose our salvation from this warning from God or there would be no need for a warning from God to be given. Do you understand what I just said?
Why warn people not to be deceived if it is impossible for them to be deceived like the eternal security teachers try to teach us? It makes God look very stupid when you teach eternal security. Of course people can easily twist the scriptures to say this information in Matthew 24 does not apply to us because Jesus was only talking to His Jewish disciples. That is just so easy to do. Let’s just ignore the words of Jesus as being not for everyone, but only for a select few that heard them personally! We could do that type of reasoning with every verse in the Bible. Is that a smart way to interpret the Bible and the words of God? I really do not believe that is a valid approach to correct Bible interpretation. In interpreting every verse of the Bible we must always inspect the words that are spoken, observing the target audience they are directed to, while simultaneously finding the context of all of the subjects being discussed. First understand that these words in Matthew were spoken to more than just a few Jews. These select Jews that were hearing are defined directly to be our founding church fathers so they must apply to the rest of the church by direct association since we are now a part of the same body of Christ that they were included in. If you try to separate us from them, then we are a new body of Christ, a separate or different believer set from what they were and that really sounds like a scary belief to put your faith in. These words were spoken in the time context of future prophetical events and not current events, so they must also apply to us and the times that we live in right now. Finally, since these words spoken by Jesus do not state any target audience they must apply to everyone that reads them as a universal statement of truth. If you want to see the truth in the Bible you will see what I am saying is correct, if you do not want to see the truth, then nothing that I say will change your mind.
If Satan and his deception were no longer factors for our further continued salvation, there would be no need to mention Satan again in the New Testament after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Many modern Bible teachers like to teach the total defeat of Satan by Jesus at Calvary, however if that was actually true we would not see that Satan was so heavily involved in attacking heaven in Revelation 12 and trying to take over the earth in the other chapters of Revelation. The total defeat of Satan and the removal of his power is clearly not the reality of the text found in the Word of God. In fact Satan is mentioned more times in the New Testament than he ever was displayed plainly in the Old Testament. Why is Satan mentioned more frequently throughout the New Testament and especially in the book of Revelation than any other parts of the Bible? There hast to be a reason for this! I personally believe we find Satan in the New Testament to learn of his ways and his future plans so we are not found to be unaware. I believe that Satan is much more than a non-factor on the earth in the church age and that he is clearly revealed to be the direct enemy and opposing spiritual force to the church. His power and influence over the people on the earth are still quite evident and great. His power to deceive people including even Christians is still as great now as it always has been. This power of deception must be applicable for Christians or we would never find any verses in the Bible like these written to the church:
1Co 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
1Co 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Eph 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
1Jn 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
These are all commandments of instruction from our God written to the church and each of them contains direct delegated responsibility for believers not to be deceived. Do any of the verses tell you that God will not ever allow you to be deceived? I do not believe God would warn you if it was His responsibility to save you from it. These warnings were not written to unsaved people. Do you see what these verses say to you over and over? What is the central theme for every verse? Every verse contains a cautionary statement from God that says “Do not be deceived”. If the church could never be deceived to lose their salvation from this deception then these verses become pointless and irrelevant commandments and should be viewed as only misplaced suggestions. To believe in eternal security we must ignore these verses or conclude these verses to be non-applicable to us. Either approach is failure to adhere to the truth which always results in a Christian being deceived. These are not lies from God and we must see them to be clear notices to us Christians. I did not go through the entire New Testament and give you every verse that I could have. I only provided 6 or 7 verses to offer you more than enough witnesses to the truth that the church can still be deceived after initial salvation by many different methods. If you cannot see this fact then you are in denial. I will end this lesson with an example of deception that occurred in the N.T. church:
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.
2Pe 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Peter is writing some very important words to the church about certain former saved church members. The wording in these verses is very significant if you do the research and study. God is speaking concerning certain people that “knew” righteousness. Jesus of course is our righteousness (1 Cor 1:30) and He is even called the “Sun of Righteousness” in Malachi 4:2. The term to “know” righteous is a sexual Hebrew description of the relationship that exists between a husband and his wife. The people in the church are in covenant relationship with Jesus the bridegroom making them His bride. God is saying these people were once an intimate part of my wife that I knew and they have departed from me. God clearly says it would be better for them to either stay or to have never been married to him than to leave their salvation to fall back into the darkness. Why is that? It is because they will remember for an eternity their mistake that they made and only they will fully understand what they missed while they are in hell. Lucifer is going to understand this better than anyone. He experienced the goodness of God more than anyone in the church and while he is in hell for and eternity he will constantly be tormented for his mistakes. These are patterns that teach us we do not have unconditional eternal security.
God calls the people who leave their salvation pigs and dogs. Just as dogs return to their own vomit and the pigs to the mire this is the same result that Christians experience when they return to their previous filth and love it. Clearly this is an example of deception being victorious over those that were saved. Clearly these Christians did not heed the repeated warnings from God not to be deceived and are now suffering the consequences. These are words that were written to you. Are you receiving them? I could give you several more examples of this in the Bible, but I really have gone too long in this lesson.
THE FALSE SECURITY OF THE UNCONDITIONAL ETERNAL SECURITY DOCTRINE
I have systematically covered several subjects in today’s lesson connecting them together to help establish the fact that a Christian can be deceived. We started with the concept that we have an enemy. This enemy is described to be Satan the deceiver. A deceiver is simply labeled that because he deceives people. This is really not that complicated. Sure the unsaved people in the world today are clearly deceived, but they don’t read the Bible and these words of warning not to be deceived were not written to them. Therefore, the use of this weapon of deception by Satan is still actively targeted at the people in the church to take them from the church and the truth. Based upon this information alone the doctrine of unconditional eternal security is revealed to be a major false teaching that should be recognized as another way that is designed to deceive you. Do you understand the danger of the U.E.S. teaching? U.E.S. promotes a false sense of security that we have to do nothing to stay saved or to keep from being deceived. It allows Christians to let in whatever they come across without the fear of any consequences. Fear is not always a negative emotion to avoid. God created real fear for you to learn how to avoid something that is not necessarily positive or beneficial for you. If you do not fear gravity and jump off a tall building you will soon be dead. I am really not talking about fearing the devil as in being terrified of his power. The Bible clearly teaches the fact that the Greater One is in us. However, that does not mean that you do not respect his ability like you should respect the power of gravity. These are just basic Christian life lessons to help you understand that you have an enemy and this enemy is not your friend, he has powers and abilities, and he is trying to take you out and down.
Finally, I talked a lot about Bible patterns. This is a very important Bible study concept repeated in practically every chapter of the Bible in some form. Fully grasp this concept and it will change your Bible study habits. Look for confirming patterns of truth in the Bible. For example, I showed you scriptures that teach us that Adam was a pattern of Jesus. This was technically so radical that I could not fully teach everything on that one subject because it could turn into a series of lessons by itself. However I gave you enough information that should help you to learn about Jesus from the pattern of Adam. See what Adam had or was given by God before the fall and this will be a pictured view into what Jesus will end up with minus the evil, the sin and the rebellion. Adam had one wife and Jesus will end with only one wife. Very simple yet profound truths.
The pure existence of human freewill dictates that we view every one of God’s covenants with conditional application. In other words if we choose to remain in the covenant we are good, but if we choose to leave it then we are screwed. What I am saying is if God comes and makes a covenant with you, God is not the problem, you are. You can become your own worst enemy when you believe a lie. Just as natural Israel departed continuously from God’s covenant as a pattern for the church, the church also has that same opportunity to fall away. If the recipient of God’s Grace satisfies the stated requirements and conditions they remain in the relationship with God’s Grace. If they choose to disobey willfully and depart from God’s extended gift of saving Grace then they are lost without a chance for absolution. Learn today that what you do going forward, matters tremendously. Learn to have respect for your enemy and stay deep in the Word of God so that you are not deceived by him. Your salvation is not completely up to God. Sure He will be there for you and help you and will never leave you or forsake you. But, your continued salvation is more up to you than anyone else so that you do not get deceived and decide to leave God or forsake Him. You have a major role in the ongoing process of your salvation to remain faithful, to endure and to overcome. Thank you for taking the time to read and study the Bible. If you have questions or comments feel free to leave them. God Bless as we continue to learn to grow in His Grace.
(Ver 1.2) This is now Part 4 in the series of basic Bible lessons about an old religious philosophy labeled as “Once Saved Always Saved” theology. If you have not read this series from the beginning I would suggest that you go start reading with “Part 1“. The “Once Saved Always Saved” teaching has been in existence for well over 60 years so it is not a new Bible teaching. However, this old religious philosophy has recently been transformed into a more modern Grace extreme theological message called Eternal Security or Unconditional Security or even Unconditional Eternal Security. This has become a very popular message found on the internet and it is taught in many churches today. Christians buy into the message simply because it proclaims a universally safe no fail no fault approach to being a Christian. It makes being a Christian so ultra-simple. However, the message of Unconditional Eternal Security (U.E.S.) completely ignores the fact that there are any spiritual enemies still left in the world that are now trying to deceive or defeat us. The message of U.E.S. has total disregard for the fact that God gave to everyman freewill to choose to depart from their salvation at any time. It ignores any further Christian responsibility to remain a Christian or to live a holy Godly lifestyle. This teaching lumps every type of sin into a common category of all-inclusive forgiveness and makes them all irrelevant, inconsequential and removed from the equation of either the initial salvation process or the continued salvation process. In fact it technically denies there are any processes defined to salvation at all. They claim that by the removal of their sins by the shed blood of Jesus that God now provides us each with eternal security without any further attached conditions. These types of Christian believers think they have no further accountability thus denying the existence of any future judgments from God. They further deny human responsibility to do anything to remain saved. In other words in their minds their salvation was a onetime decision point event on the timeline of their life on this earth and that this one event has now guaranteed them eternal security with God forever. Since they have already accepted Jesus they assume that there are no further decisions to make, no more scriptures to learn, no need to hear from God, no need to listen to God, no need to be taught by God, no need to be led by the Spirit of God, no need to grow up spiritually and I could go on and on. All of this human reasoning allows them to live independent from anything else that God has declared in His Word on any subject. To me that logic does not make any sense and to base my eternal security upon anything so obviously shaky would really scare me.
I still run into this popular belief more frequently than I would like. This modern teaching of Unconditional Eternal Security is just a new type of the older extreme Grace message called “Once Saved Always Saved”. These teachings have departed from a balanced truth approach to Bible interpretation moving into the false realm of extremism simply by leaving out the other subjects that they do not agree with. These Bible teachers take only specific scriptures of truth found in the Bible that they like to see to base their message explaining away all the other verses of a conflicting nature. But, the problem remains that there will always be more than one or even two truths found in the entire Bible and we are required by God to take into account all of the stated truths given to us in the Bible so that we can know that we are preaching what God actually thinks of the subject of eternal security. Rather than give you all of the verses that these Grace preachers so love to exclusively teach on, I am simply focusing on in this series, what else the Bible says about subject of eternal security so we can see that God says there is more to being a Christian than just us getting saved once in our lives. I’m going to start today’s lesson talking about a subject called Christian Responsibility.
GOD’S DELEGATED CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITY AFTER SALVATION
Unconditional eternal security is a belief that is based upon the irrelevance of man’s future actions. U.E.S. believes what a man does is independent from the process of their continued salvation. This type of belief removes the obvious freewill participation of the man from any further relevance. It also is a belief that proclaims that a man has no given responsibilities from God to do anything. Maybe we need to stop here and define the word “responsibility” to give us an equal foundation. How you view the definition of responsibility might be completely different to what I see it to be. Here is a definition that I found easily on the internet:
- The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something.
- The state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something.
- the ability or authority to act or decide on one’s own, without supervision
Here are three dictionary definitions for the word responsibility. I agree with every one of them and I understand them. But, do you understand them? On Facebook recently one of my friends posted a sign on their wall about something that I really liked. So I took the sign and put it on my wall and here is what it said. It said “I’m only responsible for what I say; I’m not responsible for what you understand”. Did you notice the word “responsible in that sign message twice? That is exactly what I am discussing here today. That saying from Facebook shows us I have a responsibility for what I say and you have a responsibility for what you hear. According to the Bible, God will hold me personally responsible for what I say when I teach, so I’m very careful what I teach. However, you are now also responsible to learn, but not to just learn what I said but more importantly to understand what I was saying. Any parrot can be taught to say anything repetitively, but the bird will never understand the words that he speaks. Don’t be a parrot type of Christian; learn to understand what is being taught and this will cause the knowledge to never be taken away from you.
Using the definitions of the word “responsibility” can you think of anything in the New Testament that God has spoken to you that reveals you as having any responsibility? Look at the first definition. It says you have to deal with something as a duty or a job. Has God left anything here on the earth for you to deal with? You bet He has! The second definition states that you will have accountability for having done something or take the blame for having failed to do something. Is that applicable for any Christian going forward? If you do not understand the coming judgment of God then you do not yet understand your God given responsibility and your accountability for doing it. Number three is also important to see. It states there was given some task assignment along with the authority to accomplish that job. How does that apply to us as a Christian, let me show you:
Luk 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Here is delegated authority given to the church from Jesus personally. The key word in this verse is the first Greek word translated as “power’. This word is mistranslated and should have been translated as the English word “authority”. This Greek word G1849 means “delegated influence”. Real authority can only be transferred or given to anyone by a higher authority. Since God is the highest authority this means He has the right to give us some of His authority. Anytime anyone gives away part of their authority they have now delegated their responsibility to them from which they will be now held accountable. For example, every police officer of a city is held accountable to uphold the laws fairly for that city. Therefore the police officer has been given direct responsibilities from a higher authority. If they fail to uphold the laws of the city then they will face the consequences for their failure. This is the exact same concept being transferred to us by God in the verse in Luke 10:19. You have been given responsibilities by God the highest authority and you will be held accountable for not doing them. In other words Christians have been given specific gifts, talents, tasks and assignments and these are not optional, but rather our God given responsibility to fulfill or they will not get done. Let’s talk about some more of our Christian responsibilities:
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Let’s begin our thought process on responsibility by considering how we got saved. Did we have any responsibility in the entire process of our initial salvation? We should know that we began the process by hearing someone preach about Jesus. We continued the salvation process by believing what we heard about Jesus or we ended the process by not believing and then walking away from Jesus’ salvation offer. However if we choose to believe what was being preached the process continues. For example we believed that Jesus was God in the flesh, that He died for our sins and that He was raised from the dead and we conintue on the path to being saved. Next, we must confess Jesus as our Lord and according to Romans 10:9-10 and God says we are now saved! So how did we just get saved? It was a process! In this process of initial salvation there are three realms of delegated responsibility that must be present and working together. First the preacher was given the responsibility by God to preach the Gospel to us or we will not hear it. Second the unsaved person was given the responsibility to hear, believe and confess or they will not begin to be saved. Finally, the Holy Spirit has the responsibility to confirm the Word of God spoken by drawing the unsaved individual to God and then to come into the spirit of the unsaved person after they have heard, believed and confessed. Clearly “initial salvation” is a multi-step and a multi-responsibility process. Any one party could fail in the process and there would be no salvation. Of course God will never fail you, so that is not the weak point or the weak link in the process. However, the human factors that are participating can always fail. Humans will always be the weak link in the initial salvation process.
I firmly believe that we must determine how we were saved in order to determine how we will remain in the state of our salvation. In other words what got us into God’s grace will continue to be exactly what keeps you there. If initial salvation and continued salvation are both mutually exclusive from each other that would represent a new scriptural inconsistency. Ephesians 2:8 states that we are saved by Grace through faith. Therefore salvation was conditional upon us believing in the finished work of Jesus with our faith. Then in Romans 10:9-10 God says we must not only believe that God raised Jesus from the dead but we also must confess Jesus to be our Lord. If we are required to do something like believe and to confess in order to be saved then that makes our initial salvation clearly conditional upon our faithful obedience. If our initial salvation is conditional upon our obedience then by direct association our continued salvation must also be conditional upon our continued obedience or God would be very inconsistent. Do you understand my logic so far? Ephesians 2:8 told us that our faith was a factor for our salvation. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says we must continue to walk by our faith and not by sight after becoming a Christian. Therefore faith is still an ongoing factor for being a Christian. If continued salvation is only the responsibility of God like U.E.S. teaches, then initial salvation must also have been the full responsibility of God and that is clearly not the truth given to us in the Word of God.
The belief of unconditional eternal security after conditional salvation replaces the concept of any further human responsibility for continued salvation and places the full responsibility solely upon God. However God was clearly not the only factor for our initial salvation, so God just cannot be the only factor for our eternal security. If God was the only factor involved in our initial salvation then everyone would be saved today since 2 Peter 3:9 says God is not willing that any should perish. That however is another clear erroneous doctrine of many Bible teachers that want to believe in the invented concept called “Universal Salvation”. However when we study the Bible correctly we must balance more than one truth and see that just because God’s will is for everyone to be saved, that does not mean that everyone is saved. Clearly even Jesus taught us that people will be in hell with the story of the rich man in Luke 16. Clearly Jesus taught us that there will come a division between the sheep on the right hand from the goats on the left hand (Mat 25:32) and those not in His sheepfold will be lost and cast into the fire (Mat 13:40).
From my understanding and belief in a conditional salvation which is dependent upon my faithful obedience, participation and full acceptance causes me to believe in a conditional eternal security also based upon my further obedience, participation and acceptance. Otherwise we would all be saved by our willing participation but now kept safe independent from our participation by divine sovereign control. That type of belief would be completely illogical to me and very inconsistent with what I have observed in the scriptures. If man has no further responsibilities after his initial salvation then God has taken something away from him that he had before he was saved. If this is now missing from man, how can we claim we ever had it to begin with? Let’s examine the subject of continued Christian responsibility after salvation observing a basic truth taught to us in Romans:
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
We need to begin to understand that we have been given the responsibility as a Christian to remain a Christian. In order to do this we must begin to find our responsibilities given to us by God. Here in this verse God says my children are ONLY those that are led by my Spirit. Is that you? Did you know that this being led by the Spirit of God was a conditional requirement for your continued salvation? This verse was written to Christians and not to unsaved people. Did you hear what I just said? People sometimes simply don’t want to go to hell so they will get saved thinking that is all that is required to keep them from hell, but that is clearly not what God teaches us in His full balanced Word. This verse in Romans displays two separate divisions of people. The two divisions are those that are led by God and those that are not led by God. We can restate this truth by saying it includes those that are His children and those that are not His children. Therefore getting saved and not being led by the Spirit of God defines to us a new state of potential loss. Do you see how conditional your salvation can suddenly become? Today very few Christians understand this concept of even how to be led by the Spirit of God much less to be able to hear and obey Him. But, suddenly in the Grace unconditional eternal salvation message this being led by the Spirit of God to be His child becomes a non-issue. I don’t see it that way. God clearly places responsibility upon Christina to be led. If you do not know how to be led by the Spirit of God I have a Bible series of lesson on this subject “Understanding How to Be Led by the Spirit of God”. Let’s go examine some words spoken by Jesus on the subject of responsibility:
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.
Jesus said I will look at some and say to them “depart from me for I never knew you” and these were clearly people that thought they were saved and were even calling Jesus their Lord and thought they were doing many righteous good things that we see people in many churches do today. Do you understand that? I mean use your brain and think with me for a moment. Jesus is not talking to people who were in the bars, the night clubs and the strip joints of the world. God certainly does not know those types of people, no Jesus was talking to people who thought they were doing good things for God and they did not understand they needed to be led by the Spirit of God in what they did. In other words what they did for God they did independent from God and thus they failed to qualify for their continued salvation. In Matthew 7:22-23 Jesus was not talking about people or to people that never got saved! These are clearly people who got saved but went no further with their continuing salvation process to learn how to be led by God to become His child. Let’s look at the following verses in the context of those that Jesus was speaking to saying depart from me to find why they are being instructed to leave:
Mat 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
Mat 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Mat 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
Mat 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Read these verses very carefully for they are talking about two types of saved Christians again. These two types of Christians are being compared and separated from each other in these verses. You can try to explain them away as being saved people versus unsaved people but that is not what is being stated. Both types of people had houses built and both heard the same Word of God. These are two types of Christians. First there are those that heard the Word of God and do what they heard and then second there are those that heard the Word of God but ignored what they heard. Both of these people had to sit in the same church services to hear the same word of God being taught. The wise man in this description is stated to be the doer of the word of God and the foolish man is he that is destroyed because he chose to only hear. If you cannot see the stated Christian responsibility given to you in these verses, of Romans 8:14 and Matthew 7:24-27 to become a doer and a follower of what God has said to you by His Word and His Spirit then you are deceived greatly. God has placed conditions upon your continued Christianity and your continued salvation. I could give you many other scriptural salvation conditions but I’m only going to end this lesson with some verses written directly to the church in Revelation spoken to us by the Lord Jesus:
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.
Rev 2:17 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 hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Rev 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
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.
Rev 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
I just gave you seven verses from Revelation chapters 2 and 3 written to the church telling us that we must “overcome” something or someone in order to receive something else from God. What does that teach us? Any time that God promises you something and then tells you what you must do to qualify for it that changes the promise of God to a conditional requirement that is based upon your successful participation. Let’s get the definition for this word translated as the English word “overcome” in order to understand what it means. Here is the definition from the Strong’s:
From G3529; to subdue (literally or figuratively): – conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory.
Do you understand what subdue means? It means you have an enemy opposed to you. Do you understand what conquer means? It means you have a responsibility to win. Do you understand what “prevail” means? It means you can fail if you do not learn what you are doing. To be defeated as a Christian is as simple as you doing nothing. You are guaranteed failure for your lack of participation. The easiest way for any evil to prevail, is for good people to do nothing to prevent it. Do you know what “get the victory” means? It means God expects you to be a winner. To “overcome” clearly denotes responsibility to be victorious over your enemy and you will be held accountable if you do not do this.
What exactly is there left for us in the church to overcome if Christ has overcome it all already? I think that is a very excellent question that is being ignored by Christian Grace teachers of unconditional eternal security. Clearly we have just been given a major conflict with the belief for unconditional eternal security for all the church if we have anything left to overcome in order to qualify. God tells us repeatedly in these verses that we are to overcome in order to qualify for the participation of any further gifts. This is clearly God’s delegated responsibility that makes God’s gifts conditional. Several of these verses make it sound like even our salvation depends upon us being an overcomer. Read them closely for yourself. For example Revelation 2:7 says if you we overcome we get to eat from the tree of life. What would be the opposite of that truth? Would that be to eat form the tree of death if you don’t overcome? Uh oh? That is a potential problem isn’t it? Read Revelation 3:12 and see what God says to those that overcome He will give His name meaning to those that do not overcome He will not. Then understand that one name that is given to these overcomers is the name of the New Jerusalem and this is identified to be His bride in Revelation 21. Clearly if you do not overcome you are not His bride. If we don’t overcome, then Jesus implies we cannot eat from the tree that gives us life, we cannot be His bride, and we cannot have His name. This is really not that complicated, but it is an unexpected problem for those that believe in U.E.S.
Clearly to me our continued salvation and eternal security is not independent from our future decisions or actions. To me it is very self-evident that our continued salvation is totally dependent upon our continued faithful participation and obedience to God’s Word and His Spirit for the rest of the process of our salvation to make us overcomers. These truths that God gives us in the Bible make the reality of eternal security to be a completely conditional divine proposition. I only gave you a few great examples of continued Delegated Christian Responsibility after salvation. I could give you many others, but I believe I made my point and will move on to another topic that you need to understand in the next lesson in this series that I call the Deception Factor. Therefore, thanks for your time in studying the Bible today and I pray that you learned something that will be a blessing to you. Until next time if you feel like leaving me a comment, please do that. If you want to find me on Facebook and be my friend you are welcome to do that also. God Bless you until next time.
If you would like to continue reading and studying in this series, you may continue to “Part 5“.
Understanding the Hidden Spiritual Family Structure of God’s Household! The Hidden Family of God in the Abrahamic Covenant! Part 9
(Ver 1.5) This is now Part 9 in a series of extremely advanced Bible studies about a subject that you have probably never heard anyone teach on before. If you have not read these lessons from the beginning, I would suggest that you go back to “Part 1” and start there. The Spirit of God revealed this information to me more than 10 years ago and I have been diligently studying it in the Bible ever since then to prove it was true. Over these years I became totally convinced that this was accurate simply because I could see it plainly in the Bible and I knew that it was actually what the Bile said. This is my introduction to one of the last lessons in this series of one of the most important and complex Bible studies that you may ever try to study or try to understand. All of these lessons have come directly from my heart today to yours. I can’t make you see anything in the Bible. So my prayer today is that you may have an open mind, a receptive heart and may the eyes of your spiritual understanding become enlightened with the spiritual knowledge of knowing Him who was and is and will always be eternally faithful; my God of all Grace and all Peace, my Lord and my Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
I was a computer programmer for over 25 years. I have worked on the development of several complex large computer software systems for some very large corporations. I will occasionally introduce computer terms in my Bible lessons and I may do that again today. But, I have found the design of God’s Word system to be so much more advanced and complex than anything that I have ever seen created by man that it is at times overwhelming. God’s extreme intelligence is clearly displayed in the design of His Word. However if you have never worked on a large scale computer system before or approached the Bible with this way of study, you will not understand what I am talking about. This is why not very many people on the earth today actually understand how to study the Bible. Intelligent design is displayed in every word printed right in front of them, but many do not recognize the patterns being presented. I have been studying the Bible faithfully for over 20 years using my computer and I am not any closer to learning everything that God says because of the vastness of what is covered in the Bible. Having said all of that, God has taught me a few things since the beginning and I am closer to knowing the complete truth today than I was 20 years ago. The things that have taken me over 20 years to discover, you can learn in a matter of a few days if you apply yourself and actually believe what you are reading and then search and see them in the Bible for yourself. When you do this, Satan will not be able to come and steal them from you.
In the last lesson I reviewed three distinct hidden patterns of the family of 5 divided 3 against 2 using the Micah 7:6 prophecy as the foundation and the stories of Abraham as two of the repeated models or patterns. Abraham was both the father and the son in the family in these patterns. In each of these examples, the pattern of family division recurred as an arrangement of 3 against 2. The patterns were always close enough that you should have been able to recognize that they came from the same Designer. You could call these little hidden patterns just amazing coincidences or you could call them the work of God like I do. Today I am going to show you another even more potentially controversial hidden pattern of the family of 5 divided 3 against 2 that is also found within the life of Abraham. This will be the third witness of God’s hidden pattern found in the life of a single man in the Bible. I do not believe that the existence of three very similar patterns found within the story of one man in the Bible can be called a chance occurrence, a happenstance or even an accident. If you could determine the mathematical probability of this occurring I believe it would be way beyond random probability. If you can find this pattern in the life of anyone else in the Bible please let me know about it, I would really be interested in hearing if you can find it anywhere. I personally believe God is trying to teach us something that is extraordinarily complex and important for us to know about. Today we are going to explore the Abrahamic covenant and what God has initiated in a cleverly designed hidden textual format that will probably amaze some of my readers and for others they will probably just walk away being perplexed and skeptical. I cannot predict which one you will choose to be, but I will hope that you will at least give God a chance before you shut the door on what He has to say in His Word.
I am now going to take you back to Genesis again to some prominently featured Words of God in the Old Testament that are very relevant to the family of 5 being divided 3 against 2. Of course all of this information has been very widely studied for thousands of years and yet no one could have understood what was being said because I believe that it was only intended for us to know before Jesus returns. I want to specifically show you these hidden secret concepts found within the Abrahamic Covenant so get ready to learn something new. We are going to be studying the verses found in Genesis chapter 15. You may recall while reading in this chapter of Genesis that God comes to Abram and makes some very specific promises to him and to his seed and these verses are all very interesting. Let’s start by reviewing the general themes found in this chapter. Here is my list of the important themes found in this chapter.
- Abram is very concerned because he has no heir.
- God comes to Abram in a spiritual vision.
- God makes Abram certain promises.
- Land is a central theme in this chapter.
- God makes a covenant with Abram.
- The seed of Abram is a central topic to this entire chapter.
- The majority of the statements spoken by God are prophetic.
In reading and studying Genesis 15 these were some of the central themes being related to me. God appears to be dealing with Abram personally, but also simultaneously speaking prophetically about many subjects. The central theme concerning an heir and the central theme of the seed are both critical to understanding the purpose and the plan of God being revealed in this chapter. I believe that we should quickly list the promises of God made to Abram in this chapter also to understand what is being promised as well as the prophecies being revealed.
- Your heir will come from your own bowels (Gen 15:4).
- Your seed shall be as the stars of the heaven (Gen 15:5).
- Abram will inherit the land (Gen 15:7).
- Thy seed will be a stranger in a land and they shall serve them and be afflicted in bondage 400 years (Gen 15:13).
- God will judge this nation and the seed will come out with great substance (Gen 15:14).
- Abram will live a long life and die in peace (Gen 15:15).
- In the fourth generation they shall come here again (Gen 15:16).
- God makes a covenant with Abram saying the land from the Nile to the Euphrates is given to you and to your seed (Gen 15:18).
These are the basic prophecies and the promises that were made concerning Abram and his seed from direct statements of God in the spiritual vision. I believe these are very important to note, because we will learn more about them as we go further into the lesson. I think we need to do some introductory concept analysis to exactly what a “seed of Abraham” is in order to understand who God is talking to and why. I have done a much more extensive Bible series on the concept of Understanding Bible Seeds so I will not repeat all of that information here, but I may touch on some of it again in this lesson. If you want to understand this subject more completely you can stop and read that series first and then come back to here and continue or you can wing it and try to catch up with what I am teaching just today about Abraham’s seed.
Before I continue let me make a point about something that God does in the book of Genesis as well as other places in the Bible that is potentially very confusing to many Christians. God will speak about natural things and spiritual things within the context of the same chapter, even calling them by the exact same name and description and not ever tell you which one He is talking about or if He has even changed the subject or has shifted the realm of domain of the subject from what we were just reading about in the previous verse. Wow, I’m not sure if you really understood what I just said. Maybe you will as we continue through the lesson. Also know that one verse may be from a participant like Abram’s viewpoint and the next verse may be given to us from God’s viewpoint of the situation. Scripture view point is a complex subject analysis, but one that you need to be aware of in order to understand how to rightly divide the Word of truth. For example, Abram could ask a purely natural question and God could give a spiritual answer and both should be viewed differently. There is also another level of complexity built into the story of Abraham based upon what we learned from Galatians 4. The story of Abraham was and still is an allegorical representation of the family of God. This means God tells a natural story about a natural man and these are parallel references to the spiritual realm. All of this makes the correct interpretation of Genesis 15 infinitely more complex.
There are many spiritual things mentioned in Genesis 15 as well as many parallel natural things. For example the concept of “seed” found in Genesis 15. “Seed” is mentioned directly 4 times in 4 different verses. Is every verse speaking about the same type of seed? Is every verse speaking of the same exact seed? Is this “seed” natural or is it spiritual or is it both simultaneously? Is the term “seed” used as a singular reference or is it used as plural reference meaning many or is it both again simultaneously? When I studied the subject of “seed” in the Bible I found where God called at the very least 10 different things by the exact same Hebrew word translated as “seed”. Which one of these ten is the type of “seed” being spoken of in this chapter? Or is every reference a different type of seed? The Bible is so much more complex than you think it is, so let me try to answer some of these questions. Let’s go to Genesis 15 and start reading in verse 18 first.
Gen 15:18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
I am going to start by talking about the covenant that God makes with Abraham first and then I’m going to talk about the seed of Abraham and then finally end back up at the covenant at the end of the lesson. According to my Bible studies that I have done, a covenant is a spiritual marriage in the eyes of God. If God makes a covenant, he is proposing spiritual marriage. If you do not understand this concept then you should go and read my lessons on “Understanding Bible Covenants” first. God says “Unto your seed I have given this land”. God is speaking to Abram directly and speaking about his seed. What or who is this seed that God is speaking of? God actually does not define that in this verse does He? People automatically assume it is only the natural children of Israel since they possess a small portion of that land today. We can read in Romans 11:1 and 2 Corinthians 11:22 that Paul calls himself a seed of Abraham and Paul is very clearly speaking of a natural seed as being a physical descendant of the man Abraham. You may recall that Abraham begat Isaac, Isaac begat Jacob and Jacob begat the 12 tribes of Israel. We can also see in Hebrews 11:9 that Isaac and Jacob are described to be heirs of the promise. So clearly we have some scriptures to lean towards an all-natural interpretation of Genesis 15. We also know that Paul was born on the earth from the descendants of the tribe of Benjamin. So there is clear precedence for a purely natural interpretation of the Seed of Abraham as being only a physical people. This is a popular position that many Christians stand on. But, is this all that the Bible says on the subject? I think we are about to find out some new perspectives on this subject.
When reading the Bible it is important not to mix apples and oranges just so that you can call them all fruit. This would be an example of trying to take the Word of God and make it all natural or to make it all spiritual by lumping both of these into a general basket category that you want to call the Truth and that would work if God wrote the Bible that way. However God makes us divide the word of truth into categories of either spiritual or natural sections in order to understand it clearly. What I am getting at is that there are many things that are spoken by God in this one chapter and if you think that God is only talking about one covenant, one people or even one man then you are in a position to be very confused. You are going to have to read the Bible with a more open mind and then learn to use the Bible to interpret the Bible. You are also going to have to discern the differences between natural things and spiritual things. Here in this verse in Genesis it appears that God is speaking only to a natural man named Abram and that He is making a covenant which includes some physical land on the earth. There is an explicit region described that goes from the Nile in Egypt to the Euphrates river going through Turkey, Syria and Iraq and this land has been directed to the seed of Abram. I really do not have a problem with that general interpretation of this verse. It is usually best to always take the Bible literally first and then stick with the literal interpretation when you can. I said when you can, because there are some other places in the Bible that appear to expand our definition of what God was talking about in Genesis 15. For example, read this verse in Galatians 3:
Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Here we have a major new conflict brewing with the pure natural interpretation of Genesis 15. You see in Galatians 3:29 it appears that God is calling all Christians the “seed of Abraham”. God also calls us the “heirs” of the promise. Which promise, is God speaking of and what is it that we are supposed to inherit? This is obviously a very different new type of seed being spoken of than what we originally thought from reading Genesis 15:18. Galatians 3:29 must be referring to a “spiritual” type of seed and not a “physical” seed since I am not a naturally born Jew and neither is the majority of the modern church today. Since I’m not in possession of the natural land of Israel, this also means there is a potential spiritual inheritance that is different than the natural inheritance that was given to natural Israel by God in Genesis 15. All of this new information makes correct Bible interpretation infinitely more complex for us immediately. We are going to have to learn to rightly divide the Word of Truth if we are ever to correctly understand it. We are going to have to balance this new spiritual information with the old natural information that we previously thought to be the entire truth. It is important to note that this scripture implies a plural type of spiritual seed, meaning many spiritual individuals being called the seed of Abraham. Everyone that belongs to Christ is now called the spiritual seed of Abraham. This is the same pattern that existed when we read in Genesis 15:18 and there were many implied natural descendants of Abraham called his natural seed. What I begin to see developing is a natural pattern found in Genesis 15 that has occurred first to help point us to a spiritual pattern that has occurred after Christ was raised from the dead. I know I added the words “spiritual” and “natural” before the words “seed” in my interpretations but that is the only logical way to differentiate them in my view point. Let’s back up in this chapter of Galatians and see what else God says about the Seed of Abraham.
Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Here is another verse that complicates our efforts tremendously when interpreting any verse found in Genesis 15 with a reference to the seed subject. Here in Galatians, God is speaking directly about the promises that were made to Abraham and to his seed and this time God clearly comes out and says that the seed in Genesis 15 is a singular reference to Christ and that it is not a plural reference meaning many. Do you recognize how this presents more complex problems in interpreting the seed and the promises of God found in Genesis 15 correctly. At the very least it appears to imply that God has made simultaneous promises to the natural and the spiritual seed of Abraham. Here in Galatians 3:16, God says this promise was only made to the one seed of Abraham called Christ (Heb 2:16). So we have a continual increasing conflict developing. We just read in Hebrews 11:9 that Isaac and Jacob were called heirs of Abraham and God now directs us to Christ as being the only seed that was spoken of. We have now gone from many to one and this is a totally new perspective. I believe that we are seeing more parallels being revealed. Abram had only one natural son that God recognized to be his natural heir. This heir was Isaac and he represents a natural pattern of the spiritual Christ to come. Let’s read another verse found in the New Testament from God’s commentary about the seed of Abraham:
Rom 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
These are vastly ignored verses in the Bible. They clearly say the promise was not made to those natural seeds that were under the law, but that the promise was to the spiritual seed that would inherit the world through the righteousness of faith. This is obviously a major problem for the exclusive natural seed interpretation of Genesis 15. Here in this verse it does not name the specific region of the Nile to the Euphrates any more, it rather states it in the general term called the “world”. The Greek word translated here as world means “an orderly arrangement”. It denotes a place with structure and organization. When God spoke to Abram in Genesis 15, the known world was centered between the Nile and the Euphrates. That was the world back then. I believe that this is what God is saying to us from these verses using patterns found in design and speech.
What I see developing is two realms of parallel existence. The natural realm occurred first and Abraham produced a nation of natural seeds. But, God then reveals that there is another type of seed that has also come from Abraham and this seed must be viewed spiritually from God’s point of view. These verses in Romans and Galatians clearly inform us of another parallel type of seed that is spoken of by God and too many Christians want to ignore them to focus only on the natural descendants of Abraham. There is an implied reference that the land between the Nile and the Euphrates was only a symbolic representation for the greater reference of the “world”. Notice in Romans and Galatians God is speaking of the fulfillment of prophecies and He mentions the promises, the heirs and the seeds in these verses and this proves conclusively that God is speaking directly about what we are studying in Genesis 15. Practically every major theme of Genesis 15 is explicitly satisfied in these verses. To ignore God’s definitions, God’s perspective and God’s words of explanation will cause you to wrongly interpret the Bible 100 times out of 100 attempts. I hope you are learning something today.
2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
I believe that one of the primary goals of the New Testament is to cause Christians to transition away from looking at the temporary things of this world to try to teach us to look at the eternal things of God within the greater spiritual realm of domain. Both in Galatians and Romans, God is attempting to shift our focus off of the natural things found in this world in an attempt to get us to see the supernatural spiritual things that He has accomplished in the unseen realm. My mentioning these verses will probably not make me a very popular Bible teacher to a select number of people who believe that natural Israel was given the land eternally. However, I am not going to ignore these important verses in the Bible that speak of Jesus and the church as the spiritual seed of Abraham in order to satisfy their personal private interpretation of Genesis 15. Too many people read the fifteenth chapter of Genesis in isolation and think that God is speaking only to the natural people that will forever possess the physical land in the Middle East named Israel. However, when we read the New Testament more closely we found some additional insight that is too important to ignore. The New Testament appears to say that the seed of Abraham is not the natural seed, but that it is rather the spiritual seed who will inherit the promise of God. Do not get me wrong, I’m not abandoning the natural nation of Israel. I fully support them to get saved and come into the reality of Jesus Christ. Let’s go through the rest of the verses in Genesis 15 that speak about the seed of Abraham to see how they might fit with what we have just learned from God in the New Testament.
Gen 15:2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
Here in verse 2 it is very interesting to note that Abram is speaking to God and telling God what God already knows. It is not news to God it is only the sound of Abram complaining. But, one hidden word stands out to me in this verse. The word translated as “steward” is actually two Hebrew words and the translators omitted one of them. The Hebrew word left out is “H1121” and it means “a son” and “a builder of the family name”. Abraham is clearly saying to God I have no son; my only family builder is my servant. So Abram desires a son. This hidden son reference is not a coincidence. This is the exact same Hebrew Word that Jesus used when He said “I am the Son (H1121) of Adam (man)”.
Gen 15:3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
Here in verse 3 of Genesis 15, the term “seed” appears to be a singular natural and physical reference and it is spoken by Abram from Abram’s perspective of his personal situation. Try to see how Abram is asking God a natural question and the answer that God gives back to him is precisely not the exact same question that was asked. As you can see Abram is focused entirely on the singular fact that his wife Sarai has given him no children. Abram desires to have an heir to inherit all that God has blessed him with. Abram is seeking God for the very basic human need of a sole physical heir. It is also interesting to note that Abram is blaming God for not having this heir. Abram has been married to his wife Sarai for a while now and they have had no children but not for a lack of trying to have children. Abram has only a servant in his house that is currently his sole heir if anything would happen to him. There is a possible voiced discouragement in his question to God. From this information so far we see a singular focus for a solitary son to be the natural physical heir. To me this relates indirectly to another spiritual heir named Christ we saw in Galatians 3:16. You see when Isaac was born to Abraham; God called Isaac his only son (Gen 22:2). Jesus the Son of God is also called God’s “Only begotten” in John 3:16. Are you seeing the parallel being established here with Abraham being a type of God the father? Isaac is definitely a type of Jesus the future spiritual Seed of Abraham and the promised heir. Let’s examine God’s response to Abraham’s natural problem. Abraham tells God you have given me no seed. This “seed” that Abraham is talking about is clearly a physical son. Can we agree so far?
Gen 15:4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
As you can see God is telling Abram that this servant born in his house will not be his heir. God then tells Abram that his heir will come directly from his own internal bowels. From this statement we could automatically assume that God is indirectly speaking of a new second type of “seed” called sperm. You can see this type of seed mentioned in the Bible in verses like Leviticus 12:2, Leviticus 15:16 and Numbers 5:28. The sperm of a human male is definitely called by the same Hebrew word translated as “seed” in those verses. Since this type of seed originates internally and then is produced externally we could think that God is speaking of this seed in Genesis 15:4. If we do that the number of human male sperm cells (seeds) passed to the female can vary. The number of sperm cells can range from 20 million to 400 million individual cells. Yet this amount is a very countable number so keep that in mind. Abraham was asking God about one natural seed called a child and God seems to confirm that this child will come from his own body (bowels) and that he will be produced from one of the millions of seed cells that were in him. However that is a very human natural viewpoint of another actual spiritual situation and circumstance being spoken of in the New Testament. The word translated as “bowels” is more likely to mean the “womb” as in a female reference to a woman’s natural body part that produces children. Obviously Abram does not have one of these, or does he? You can look at this verse two different ways using the Bible. There are specific verses that say Sarah’s body is Abraham’s body and that they are now one flesh (Gen 2:24). So what his wife has Abram also technically possesses. Then there is another aspect that is also highly applicable to our subject of having children. These are called the spiritual children that will be birthed after the resurrection of Christ.
Gal 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
Here is a very confusing verse for many people. A human male named Paul is writing about being in labor with soon to be born children and clearly he is not speaking literally or more specifically physically. Paul must be writing about a spiritual process that is taking place. I believe God is speaking spiritually in this verse in Genesis also while people are thinking naturally. Abraham is called the “father” of the church in Romans 4:16 and James 2:21. This cannot be speaking naturally and it can only be revealing a spiritual fatherhood that has transpired as a result of Abraham’s faith. Do you see how complicated these subjects found in Genesis can become? So far we have two different types of natural seeds being spoken of and one new third spiritual kind being implied in this chapter and it is about to get even more complex in the next verse. Genesis 15:3 was a natural question and verse 4 was a potential natural answer that I believe can simultaneously apply to the spiritual realm. These are God’s words of promise to Abram with definite spiritual applications. We also saw a seed transition occurring; moving from a singular reference to a potential plural reference. Now let’s see what God says next to Abraham.
Gen 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Here in verse 5 of Genesis 15 the subject of “seed” seems to shift dramatically beyond the concepts of anything natural or singular. Reread this verse very carefully and see if you can see how God has shifted the focus and the perspective has changed from a naturalistic human way of thinking to a purely spiritual divine point of view. Notice how these words seem to be coming from how God see’s things happening up in the spiritual realm. To me it appears that God is looking down from heaven at a new and different type of seed. Remember that the last verse spoken by God could be taken either naturally or spiritually, but here in this verse it is practically impossible to take it naturally at all. God is still speaking directly to Abram and this is still the same answer to his natural question about a singular natural heir (seed). However, God is now comparing the concept of Abraham’s “seed” to be like the number of the stars in the heavens. Do you have any idea how many stars there are in the heavens? Using modern telescopes we have determined that there are so many that we cannot even begin to count them all. Modern scientists have only been able to estimate the astronomical number of heavenly bodies. This number is way over the trillions of stars level. Therefore here in Genesis 15:5 God has escalated from one seed or even millions of seeds all the way to a range of uncountable seeds. So obviously what God is saying to Abram is something way beyond what a natural human mind could conceive. The current earth population is around 7 billion and this is still a very countable number. Even if every human on the earth got saved today, we would not come close to the number of stars in the heavens. Are you following me so far? I know you can look at this verse other ways and reason that God was only speaking of people seeing stars with the naked human eye in order to determine the number of seeds to come. However, since the knowledge of this is going forth in a day when we can see way beyond the naked eye constraints, I believe that God is answering Abram from a prophetical spiritual way of thinking and seeing? Let’s estimate the count of the stars visible by the naked eye on a clear night to be somewhere in the range of the low thousands maybe even tens of thousands. Is that all of the seed that Abraham will produce? Even if you count to a million, there are 7 billion people on the planet. There are currently over 4 million natural descendants of Abraham living in Israel today. Neither of these numbers is in the thousands. There is no logical way that God is talking about a number that low to be all of the seeds of Abraham. After all God knows how many stars that He created. I personally believe based upon what we learned in Romans and Galatians God was thinking eternally all along while simultaneously speaking of both natural and spiritual things. Let’s skip down quickly to verses 13 and 18 to see the last two times the “seed” of Abraham is directly mentioned in this chapter. One of these verses we already looked at, but it won’t hurt us to see it again:
Gen 15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
Gen 15:18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
Here in these two verses we have what appears to be the usage or a reference to the fourth type of the Hebrew word translated as “seed” of Abraham found in Genesis 15. This time God has seemed to shift back to the plural natural perspective of the nation of Israel being the natural seed that are to be captive slaves in Egypt for a period of 400 years and that was not what Abram was asking about in verse 3 or even what God was talking about in verses 4 or 5. This “seed” in verses 13 and 18 appear to be plural and it is definitely natural on the surface. Yet we are still talking about the same subject of a singular seed heir of Abraham. This makes it very complex to interpret all of these scriptures correctly. When the children of Israel were freed from Egyptian bondage scholars estimate their numbers to be around 1 to 2 million people. This would involve all the men, women and children that came out of Egypt. This reference is somewhere beyond the number one, but way below the number of the stars in the heavens. So this is why I stated that this appears to be a fourth type of seed referenced in this chapter. We have seen multiple seed references and multiple numbers associated with each reference. Going back to Galatians 3:29, God said “If you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed”. Based upon what we just read in Genesis 15 of the 4 different types of possible seeds mentioned, which seed type is Romans 4:13, Galatians 3:16 and 3:29 talking about?
- Seed of Abraham = the son Isaac a solitary seed/heir (Genesis 15:3)
- Seed of Abraham = the sperm in his bowels in the range of millions of cells (Genesis 15:4)
- Seed of Abraham = something as the stars of the heavens an uncountable number (Genesis 15:5)
- Seed of Abraham = the natural nation of Israel in bondage 400 years 1 to 2 million people (Genesis 15:13, 15:18)
Since the majority of the church does not qualify to be seed type 1, 2, or 4, we must be found somewhere in the seed type 3 by default or we are another parallel seed type that is not directly mentioned. We also saw that Jesus was called the singular seed of Abraham. Which one of these seed types fit that pattern? I believe Jesus was a pattern of the seed type 1, Isaac. That was an introductory analysis of the very complex subject of the “seed of Abraham”. I just showed you 3 or 4 different things that are called the seed of Abraham concurrently. Yet God said none of these are the heirs in Galatians or Romans. How difficult is this? A physical heir was what Abram sought from God and Galatians 3:16, 3:29 and Romans 4:13, tells that Jesus Christ and the church are these revealed heirs of Abraham. Yet we (the church) were not held captive 400 years in Egypt. However, you may be able to see that according to Bible typology, the human race was held in symbolic bondage to Satan for 4000 years until Jesus Christ came and died and provided us freedom from the bondage of sin. There are many distinct parallels given to us in the Bible about the natural nation of Israel being a pattern of the church for us to learn from. I will not expand that part of the subject any further today, but I thought I would throw you a couple of new clues to think about.
An heir is one of the major themes of the entire story of Abraham found in Genesis 15? A physical heir was what Abraham desired and it was a spiritual heir that God desired. When God was telling Abraham what He would do in this chapter, you need to understand what Jesus said about this chapter in the Gospels. Moses wrote the book of Genesis and in John 5:46 that Moses wrote about Him. This was a very key statement to understanding anything in the Book of Genesis. It is ulitmately about Jesus. The truth of the Bible is rarely found on the surface text, it will only be clearly understood when we dig deep beneath the surface and find out what else God says about the subjects being discussed. I am now ready to talk about the Abrahamic Covenant and its hidden meanings. So far in this lesson I skipped over the primary verses that I wanted to talk about in an attempt to explain how things in Genesis 15 were given more from God’s spiritual point of view rather than they are from Abraham’s natural point of view. What I am going to say now will further confirm that if you can see it. We can fairly easily understand that God is doing something much greater than just making a covenant with Abraham in this chapter if we perceive the underlying messages being revealed to us. Let’s go to verse 7 in Genesis 15 and begin to read there next.
Gen 15:7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.
Gen 15:8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
Here we have another direct promise given to Abraham to inherit the land. Notice in Genesis 15:7 God says to Abraham I brought you out of your former land to give you this land to inherit it. I can see spiritual implications on that statement. We as Christians have been brought out of our previous natural land to become the spiritual heirs within a new heavenly spiritual domain. I think we need to look up the definition of the word translated as “inherit” in this verse to learn what it means. I think we need to analyze this statement. Did Abram ever possess the Promised Land? Uh oh? Abraham certainly sojourned in this land but there is no way that you could say that Abraham inherited it! I think you will be surprised to find that “to inherit” does not mean what you automatically assumed that it meant.
A primitive root; to occupy (be driving out previous tenants, and possessing in their place); by implication to seize, to rob, to inherit; also to expel, to impoverish, to ruin: – cast out, consume, destroy, disinherit, dispossess, drive (-ing) out, enjoy, expel, X without fail, (give to, leave for) inherit (-ance, -or), + magistrate, be (make) poor, come to poverty, (give to, make to) possess, get (have) in (take) possession, seize upon, succeed, X utterly.
This Hebrew word represents a wide range of possible meanings and uses. It would appear to me that many of the meanings are an aggressive action of force against an enemy. It also appears that there is a double edged sword of blessings and cursing attached to the very definition. The occupying people would be blessed and the occupied people would be cursed. To occupy is a conquering term where one nation overtakes another nation. It denotes the seizing control of, the casting out of the previous occupants, or to make the previous owners poor, consume them, destroy them, ruin them, to take possession and to seize control away from someone or something. This is not what we normally think of when we say I inherited a house from my uncle. Using this definition that would mean you kicked your uncle out of his house by force and you took it over to live in it for yourself. Did Abraham ever do this? I do not see how Abraham ever fulfilled this prophecy until after his natural descendants did it hundreds of years later when Joshua led his children into the Promised Land again to possess it. Did you know that this story of Joshua and Israel taking the Promised Land was a type of Jesus and the church today? Do you know what Jesus’ Hebrew name was? The Greek word transliterated as “Jesus” is the exact same Hebrew name transliterated as “Joshua” who led his people into the land to possess it. Do you think this is a coincidence? I can see the parallels being given to us again, can you?
Wow, I could spend a lot of time talking about that but, perhaps I better not today. Just take note that God is speaking here about a pending battle that will take place in the future. God is denoting future responsibility and action that is required by Abram and his seed to inherit the Promised Land. Then look at verse 8, where Abram says “Lord how will I know that I will possess (inherit) it”. What is God’s answer to this question? I am about to blow you away with God’s proof text answer. This is the surprise that I have been building to today in this lesson. Here is God’s reply to Abram’s question.
Gen 15:9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
Gen 15:10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.
I can read these two verses now and see how that Abraham is given the task of dividing the Spiritual Family of God very plainly. Can you see it? You are going to have to learn to look beyond your natural thinking and begin to look for the spiritual pattern characteristics from what you have learned before. In these two verses there is no mention of a family, a father, a mother or a mother-in-law, a son, a daughter-in-law or even a daughter, yet they are all right there in front of you in plain sight. I call this the display of God’s intelligence and His ability to hide the truth in plain sight. It is like I taught you earlier, when you are sewing together dresses from a single pattern, one dress can be made to look totally different than another dress by the simplest choice of options or the material fabrics selected. One dress might be made from black silk with white pin stripes and the other dress could be made from a linen or cotton red polka dot pattern. They can appear totally different on the surface. However, the expert will always be able to recognize the reuse of the same pattern in both. The designer can make specific selections to change the entire look and feel of a dress and still be using the exact same pattern.
In object oriented computer programming this is a cool feature called “inheritance” that exists that is related to our subject today. One computer object inherits the characteristics and patterns of another object and the new object can make little additions or modifications to individualize the new component. However the original pattern is still available and is clearly recognizable to the expert. Did you notice this computer technique was called “inheritance”? Did you notice that inheritance was one of the primary subjects within the Abrahamic Covenant? You should really learn more about computers if you want to learn more about God’s word. Sometimes the parallels are amazing. I am teaching you God’s object oriented technique of inheritance today found in His word using patterns. God reuses natural patterns to convey hidden spiritual lessons. When you learn these things it changes how you study the Bible.
Did you notice how many animals that God has instructed Abram to use in this covenant? It just so happens that there is exactly 5 animals used in this covenant. Uh oh? Since we are not directly told that there are five you are going to have to count them for yourself and this is just a small effort on your part to help you to recognize the same familiar pattern found in Micah 7:6. How many family members did Jesus tell us were in the family in Luke 12:52? Was it not exactly five? Do you think that the use of 5 animals is just another strange coincidence? I certainly do not believe that. Now let me show you what else is revealed here in the Abrahamic covenant. Did you notice that 3 of the animals are divided? Do you think the number three is another coincidence? Did you also notice that these 3 animals are given specific ages as well as their specific sexual genders? One is specifically masculine and the other two are specifically feminine. A “Ram” is always a mature male sheep. A “Heifer” is a mature female cow. The “She Goat” is also a mature female goat. These are three very specific types of unique animals with great detail given to each of them. It clearly tells me that a ram is not a cow and a goat is not a ram and a cow is not a goat. We have three very different creatures even though they are all within the global animal kingdom. But, that makes three animals with specific genders being divided. Is that an accident? There is absolutely no way that this occurs by accident. What we are seeing is the Father, the Mother and the Mother-in-law in the family of God being divided and we will get to this in more depth very soon; one male and two females.
The specific genders of the two birds are not revealed within the text, but we now know from our understanding of Micah 7:6 that one bird is a male and the other bird has to be a female. But, since they are not divided we learn some very new information about how the family of God is being divided. It is essential that you notice that 3 of the animals are divided and 2 of the animals are not divided? Does any of this sound familiar to you? Isn’t this very similar to the patterned words of Jesus again from Luke 12:52 when He said the house would be divided 3 against 2 and 2 against 3? Is this not another reoccurrence of the pattern of the house of 5 divided 3 against 2 with a slight new variation? In every pattern given, God is revealing new details of the family division. I’m telling you God is so smart that He can write something in the Bible for thousands of years and no one understands it until He reveals it to us and then it is so obvious that I wonder, why I didn’t see it before? Let me give you a new picture diagram of the Abrahamic Covenant and show you how it fits the pattern of God’s family of 5:
This is the third time in Genesis that God has used something in direct association with Abraham to display a repetitive pattern of the 5 in one family divided 3 against 2. The first time I showed you this pattern, Abraham was a type of the son. The next time I showed you this pattern, Abraham was a type of the father. Now we have the covenant that God is making with Abraham with another new variation of 5 being divided 3 by 2. Keep in mind that this is God’s answer to prove that Abraham will inherit the world/land. God is saying to Abraham this is all of the proof that you need, but it was certainly spiritually encrypted or encoded evidence that was not understood by Abraham or anyone else since Abraham until now. I can clearly see the spiritual implications being revealed to us and I hope that you can also.
I need to address a subject here for the sake of argument. You might can look at my diagram of the family of 5 and can see how Satan has taken it to possess it for a symbol of himself. You see, I believe that Satan figured this truth out a long time ago and this is why there are so many satanic symbols today that are viewed as an upside down five pointed star with the head of a dead ram on it. Do you think this is also a coincidence? I believe there is absolutely no way that this is a coincidence. I believe Satan purposely selected this symbol to discredit the truth and to present himself as God. I do not believe that Satan is stupid. Satan is very intelligent and very tricky. However, I believe that God is smarter and He is definitely going to win this battle. What battle? You will have to read Revelation 12 to see the coming battle in heaven. Satan will take on God in heaven with all of his might and he will be thrown down to the earth. Let’s get back to the Abrahamic covenant.
The animals selected by God are not specifically revealing on the surface except for the Ram. The ram is a symbolic representation for God the Father and He is always the father of the Lamb. A lamb is of course a type of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. When Abraham took Isaac to be sacrificed, Isaac asked his father “where is the animal to be sacrificed”. Abraham’s answer was “God will provide himself as the sacrifice” (Gen 22:8). Now we see that a ram and not a lamb is caught by his horns nearby where Abraham was and Abraham goes and gets this animal and he becomes the sacrifice instead of Isaac. Therefore God as a Ram in my diagram is a very easy association for me to make. I personally believe that God chose these five animals to teach us some new truths while also using them to hide the pattern in more depth of surface complexity. I do not ever recall Jesus being called a bird, but a dove did descend from heaven upon him when He was baptized by John. So I can see an association of Jesus to a bird using this reference alone. I personally believe that God did not tell Abraham to use a lamb because this would have given it away and made it way too obvious for everyone to focus on the Lamb of God.
I do not believe at this level of the discussion that the identities of the female animals, the heifer or the she goat are important for today’s lesson. I could have flipped them and the result would still be the same for what I want to say about them. The same is technically true of the given two birds; one is described to be a turtledove and the other a young pigeon. However there is an interesting part of the Hebrew definition of the “young pigeon” that I will mention briefly. This Hebrew word means “nestling” and it is referring to a very young bird without feathers. In other words a newly hatched baby bird that just came into the world! I do not see how this type of bird fits with a type of the Son of God, but the newborn/reborn church I can make that fit very logically. What I want to teach you about briefly is what God uses in the Old Testament as a type of Jesus and the church. This may be too much information in this lesson, but I’m going to try to show it to you anyway so that you can see the usage by God of these two birds as a type for Jesus and the church more clearly. We are going to the book of Leviticus and we will read in the fourteenth chapter:
Lev 14:2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:
Lev 14:3 And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;
Lev 14:4 Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
Lev 14:5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:
Lev 14:6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:
Lev 14:7 And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.
I read these verses and come near to tears when I thought of them. If you do not see what they are saying then perhaps you should get saved. God uses the law of the leper cleansing to reflect the redemptive works of Jesus Christ on the cross. Practically everything mentioned in these verses are symbolic representations of something much greater in power and spiritual authority. Two birds are used and that is not a coincidence, especially knowing who the two birds are in the Abrahamic Covenant? One bird sheds his blood in order to free the other bird after the living bird is dipped into the blood and the water of the dead bird. There is a direct mention of an earthen vessel, cedar wood, scarlet thread and hyssop and each of these are very significant to the story of Jesus. Jesus came to the earth in an earthen vessel to shed His blood for us. Jesus was hung on a cross of wood. The Roman soldiers gave Jesus a drink of vinegar and hyssop on the cross. When Jesus’ side was pierced by the soldier’s spear, water and blood poured out onto the ground. The scarlet thread represented the blood line of the savior from Abraham to David to Jesus.
I personally believe that leprosy is a hidden type of sin in the Bible. Leprosy is a physical state of uncleanness that reveals to us a greater truth about a spiritual state of uncleanness. Did you notice what the priest was instructed to do with the two birds? One bird is killed and his blood is collected in a pot with running water. The living bird is dipped into the pot and then is set free to fly away after being symbolically cleansed. I of course can see Jesus as being the type of the bird that has shed His blood to cleanse the church that is represented by the living bird. In other words we in the church, do not have to shed our blood to be made clean from our sins. It was only Jesus’ blood that causes our spiritual cleansing from our sins (1 Jo 1:9). Two birds are definitely a hidden pattern for Christ and the church so these 5 animals are beginning to fall into place very nicely.
The ages of the three animals that are divided are specifically given and they are said to each be 3 years old. That of course makes life more difficult for me to try to explain. God the Father is an eternal ageless spiritual being and has no age. The Heavenly Jerusalem was the elder woman first created in covenant with God as the type of Sarah. So the Heavenly Jerusalem has a birth or a start creation date, even though I do not know when this occurred. The Earthly Jerusalem was a much younger woman and she was a type of Hagar. We do technically know when this approximately occurred from reading in the Bible and calculating the dates. The covenant of Abraham was made approximately 2000 years after Adam and 2000 years before Christ. So we generally know the age of one woman in human terms she is technically near 4000 years old earth time. However here in this verse God calls them all three years old. I personally believe this is symbolic and certainly not literal ages. It also emphasizes the number 3 to us to help us to see that this is an important number to recognize in this verse. I do however believe that this number teaches us that all three animals were called mature and not newborns. A three year old cow, ram or goat is old enough to have children and that is in stark contrast to the young pigeon that is not yet old enough or mature enough to have children. I believe personally that the number 3 signifies a triune characteristic of each. God was God the Father, God the Word and God the Holy Spirit at this time in the covenant. The nation of Israel was mankind made in the image and likeness of God and they were spirit, soul and body. Ok, here is where I get to speculate a bit. I believe the angels in heaven were also triune beings made in the image of God. The number 3 given to each animal could be representative of other things as well, but I do not have time to explore them today.
So why are there three animals split down the middle in this covenant while two were not divided at all? The birds could have very easily been divided with great ease compared to a much larger cow, ram or goat. I told you that this lesson today was going to get very controversial so here I go again. I’m going to start with the easier one first. If the woman Heavenly Jerusalem consists of every angelic being including Satan and his angels, I can logically see how this female in Heaven can be divided to eliminate all of the evil while preserving all of the good angles. Therefore I have concluded that to divide the she goat is God removing sin and evil while keeping the good. Now we get to the younger woman called the Earthly Jerusalem and things get a little more complicated because of the vast numbers of religious beliefs that are not based upon a complete spiritual view of the Bible. I believe the same division of good vs. evil is occurring in this woman also. You see the controversy come in when you find scriptures in the Bible that people take to say that God will come to the rescue of the entire natural nation of Israel to save them all. I know that this is not what the Bible actually teaches us. The Earthly Jerusalem is only the natural people of the descendants of Jacob that are under the law. She was a type of Hagar and I showed you in the last lesson that Hagar was cast out of the family of God by allegorical interpretation. Therefore none of natural Israel will be saved ever. But, that does not mean they cannot become spiritually born again in order to be saved. It does make the salvation of natural Israel conditional. According to what God says in the book of Romans we have to balance every scripture about Israel giving each equal priority. Here is God quoting from Isaiah:
Rom 9:27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved
A remnant is not many based upon the sands of the sea concept that it is being compared to. We must realize at this time that God is saying the natural house of Israel on the earth will be divided and a remnant will be saved and others will just miss out. We of course know very clearly how they can be saved. God says everyone that believes God raised Jesus from the dead and confesses Jesus as Lord they will be saved (Rom 10:9). Those that do not believe or do not confess Jesus as Lord will be damned. This is still not good news for a lot of people. That really saddens me tremendously but this is the way that God has established salvation to work. I guess I should change the subject off of natural Israel and get back to the rest of the family of God again before I make some new enemies.
We are getting progressively more complex as we continue up to the top of the spiritual food chain. The Ram being divided is clearly a type of God. This is going to make life and your understanding of the Bible infinitely more complex to try to comprehend. How can you divide God? Are you beginning to see my problem? I guess I should say God’s problem, and not mine. In every other family member I believe there was a division of the good from the evil and how do you make that fit with our understanding of a good God? Technically you cannot divide God. We know that the triune God is described to be “One” (Eph 4:6)! Yet even in mathematics you can divide the number one and get fractions. According to the Abrahamic Covenant God says He is divided here by association to a ram. I think I mentioned this in other lessons, but it needs to be readdressed for this discussion. If God the Father does not die on the cross and experience death for all mankind, we (the whole earth) are in serious trouble. This would mean God the Father is still in covenant with all of the angels. This means God is still in covenant with natural Israel. This would also mean God’s son does not have anything to inherit. You need to understand that God is not evil. However, the Bible informs us that God was in covenant with evil and this represents a major problem for God. The only legal way to end the covenant with evil is through experiencing death to separate Himself from His old wives. The N.T. talks a lot about us being the heirs of an inheritance. An inheritance only occurs after someone dies to leave their possessions to another. When Jesus was raised from the dead He makes this statement that is almost universally ignored:
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Why does God the Father have to transfer ALL power in both heaven and the earth to His risen Son Jesus? I think that is an excellent question. I also think since no one could answer it they ignored it. It is very clear to me from this statement that God has transferred all spiritual authority to the Son Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead. Why didn’t God do this before He died on the cross? The term “power” in this verse means “authority”. We know that God by definition is almighty and all powerful so it is impossible to transfer His power, but to transfer His authority to another member of the Godhead is a different concept entirely. Authority is the rule or the government of a nation. This transfer of authority tells us that whoever was running the Kingdom of Heaven is not the same one who now is running the Kingdom of Heaven in the eyes of God. I told you this was deep and controversial. But yet it is written in the Bible so do not ignore it. I could give you many other Bible verses that reveal the death of God but I really do not have the time today. I think I will end this Bible lesson here and perhaps continue it on another day in the future. If you have understood anything that I have taught tell me. If you have doubts and questions tell me. I do not know what needs more explanation and what does not until someone raises the issue. I know this was a long Bible lesson and I really could not cover everything that I wanted. I tried to shift your focus from natural things to spiritual things and this will help you if you can do it. I thought this was going to my last lesson, but I will probably need to do another to show you the other patterns found in the life of Abraham and his son Isaac. So until next time, may God continue to bless you and keep you in your study of His Word.