Modern Examples of Deception to Avoid Part 5 – The Deception of Criticism in the Church!
(Ver 2.2) This is Part 5 in a Bible study series that is designed to help us to learn from examples of deception being used by Satan in the modern world that we as Christians should endeavor to avoid. Every Bible study in the series is intended to be helpful as an independent lesson. But if you would like to study the entire series of lessons from the beginning, you can go to “Part 1” first. This lesson series should help Christians to learn that there is more than one type of deception being used by Satan to deceive them. But, today’s lesson will focus only on how some Christians have been deceived into believing that they are the only Christians that are truly saved causing them to believe they are the only ones that are knowledgeable and right in all their doctrinal beliefs.
This type of deception tends to cause these people to denounce all other Christians of differing beliefs to be called names such as “false prophets”, “false teachers”, “heretics”, “ministers of heresy”, etc. Does that sound very Christian to you? This type of behavior sounds more like the devil’s modern-day plot called “the cancel culture agenda”. These people go so far with their mob mentality that if anyone does not agree with their beliefs, they are shouted down to silence them. These types of mobs are very intolerant of any words that conflict with their beliefs. They hate people that speak anything contrary and they call out their opponents with demeaning names for public shaming, like being called a “racist”. If this does not shut the opposition up, they move to the extreme of mob violence and eventually to the even highest extreme of murder to silence people that disagree with them. Wow, what a world we are experiencing.
This lesson is a complete rewrite of an older lesson from years ago. It has been completely updated and revised to hopefully be more kind and helpful. Let us get started in our lesson.
1Co 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
1Co 8:2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
The writer of 2/3 of the New Testament recorded a word of warning inspired by the Holy Spirit for the church. Please agree that Paul would qualify to have more knowledge of the truth than most other Christians both then and now. But Paul who knew so much warns us to not allow our presumed knowledge of the truth to get us into Satan’s trap of pride. The Holy Spirit instructs us clearly to walk in love when dealing with other Christians before we try to teach them what we think we know. I have heard it said this way, that people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Please notice what verse 2 said. God says, if we think we know anything about a subject, we must first realize that we could be significantly ignorant to understand that we do not know the entire truth of the subject. That was my paraphrase of the verse. But we can see that this was what the all-knowing God was trying to teach us limited humans. I believe these two verses describe the initial stages of the downfall of Lucifer. We can learn that it was this type of thinking that Lucifer was imagining in his heart reading in Isaiah 14. Lucifer obviously was self-deceived into believing he knew as much as God. This same pattern of self-deception can be repeated with humans and Christians also today.
This truth teaches us that deception can occur two ways. Christians can be deceived by others (1 Jn 3:7) or we can also deceive ourselves (1 Cor 3:18, James 1:26). A Christian that studies the Bible can fall into the same Lucifer type of self-deception and self-exaltation because of our pride in what we think that we know about God and His Word. You might recall that in 2 Corinthians 12:3, Paul informs us that God allowed a satanic thorn in his flesh to keep him from being self-exalted in pride from all of the revelation of the Word of God that was given to him. If Paul would have filled himself with pride for everything that he knew, he could have fallen to not fulfill what God’s plan was for His life. This is a great description of what happened to Lucifer, when he fell in pride. Remember what Proverbs 16:18 says “Pride goes before destruction…” Let us also recall what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:11-12:
1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
These verses teach us two truths about Paul’s knowledge of the Word of God. First, spiritual knowledge is a process of growing out of an unlearned childish state who lacks any understanding and speaks a lot of childish ma ma, da da, and goo goo words to finally becoming a mature Christian that puts away all of this kind of baby speaking. Then in verse 12 we can see how Paul who knew more than most of us about the Word of God declares he did not know it all. He admits that we (Paul and us) still only know a small part. Wow, that is the opposite of a prideful attitude of thinking that he had a complete knowledge of the entire truth. Newborn Christians have such a limited capacity of seeing spiritual truth. And when these types of Christians criticize others, their words can be used as weapons to offend other Christians to fall away.
If you are a Christian, you should know that this prideful pattern of self-deception occurred several times in the Bible with humans. For example, this is what the Pharisees did to Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior! Religious Pharisees believed they knew so much about truth that they killed their Author of truth on a cross. This type of deception is what is happening in the church and the world today.
We can see very clearly that there are still a lot of pride filled Pharisees types in the world. Where did they get this command to criticize others? Who has exalted them to be the anointed, appointed, and called instrument of God’s swift justice? Is it God? Where did these people obtain the gift of criticism? This must be a spiritual gift that we missed reading about in 1 Corinthians 12. Did you find this gift in your Bible? In 1 Corinthians 12:4 God does say there are many different Gifts but ONLY 1 GOD that gives them all. So, does it make sense to you, that if God has given some in the church gifts to build up the church, that there would also be other gifts that are designed to divide, destroy and tear it down? That sounds like the works of two different opposing Gods to me.
There are deceived Christian people that believe that God is a God who is intolerant of human ignorance. There are even Christians that seem to believe that God is swift to judge ignorant misguided Christians. Could it be that many of these types of Christians believe they know more about the Bible than they do? Could it be possible that these types of people are not pleased with other Christians who are not as perfect as they believe they are? Could it be this is because of a type of prideful attitude towards others that we learned Lucifer had towards God? Why do Christians judge other Christians just because there are differences in Bible knowledge and beliefs? Could it be our pride or prejudices that cause us to call some Bible teachers false just because we do not agree with them?
I believe that we are deceived if we believe that it is only us that have the mind of Christ and only we hear from God. I believe we are deceived if we believe that the Spirit of God only resides in us. I believe we are deceived if we believe the Spirit of God does not teach anyone else but us and our church leaders. I believe that we are deceived if we believe the Spirit of God does not use anyone else but us and our denomination. I believe that we are deceived if we believe the Spirit of God shows favoritism and has selected only a choice few in our own group to carry forth the truth.
Surely you have noticed people who openly criticize and condemn TV and internet preachers as being false prophets and false teachers? Do they do this to save others from going to hell? Could listening to something that is not true be the main reason for going to hell? If it is, we are all going to hell because no one is teaching 100% of the truth because no one but God knows 100% of the truth! I believe listening to these presumed false preachers and teachers is not a sin or going to send anyone to hell. This is why God wrote us an instruction how to deal with this in Acts 17:11. Here in this verse God said to be a more noble Berean type of Bible student and look up in your own Bible daily to prove if what was taught to you was the truth.
If you hear someone criticizing and condemning Bible teachers for what they teach, please ask them “What is the basis that makes someone false or true teacher?” If they say it is the Word of God, then that is the pathway to knowing the truth. Ask them next for the Bible verses for their beliefs that contradict what was taught. If they give you some, go and read them and study them yourself. See if this is what the Holy Spirit is saying to you about the truth. But, if they say that it is their opinion of what they think the Word of God says, that could be a reason for deception. Who says our opinion is right or complete enough to judge? Are we God?
We can see so many of these types of Pharisee types all around us. Especially on the internet. But there are some on TV that make similar claims. It is amazing how easy it is for Satan to deceive people to judge others that they do not know personally or have ever met in person. I believe these types of criticizing judges are not examples for real Christians to follow or try to emulate. In fact, Jesus warned us that we should do surgery to remove the large beam from our own eye before we do some minor surgery to try to remove the small speck from our brother’s eye (Luke 6:42).
In 1 Corinthians 14:1 God commands us to “Pursue LOVE, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that we may prophesy. In verse 3 Paul defines for us what it means to prophesy. He says to prophesy is for us to speak to the church for 3 reasons:
The Greek word translated as “edification” literally means to build a house. That is the opposite of tearing the church down with words of criticism. The Greek word translated as “exhortation” means to “call someone to be near” as in give them an invitation based upon love to come in. The Greek word translated as “comfort” is a word that implies that we need to “encourage” people. This would include telling someone about what they are doing right, good, and well. This means that Christians should bring an emphasis to what is positive in someone in the body of Christ and not negative. This would teach that we should be looking for what they are doing good and not spending all our time trying to tear them down. In other words we should not be examining their every word spoken or written to look for something to trap them or to use to twist against them. No, we should rather be focused to look for the good words that they say and let the others that we may not agree with right now, maybe either just let them go by or go and study the verses to see if they are a true and better choice for our beliefs. I heard one wise preacher teach this concept by saying “Any old cow is smart enough to eat the good straw while spitting out the bad tasting sticks”. So just because someone is not perfect and does not know everything perfectly as we view it, it is still not wise to reject everything that they teach.
SOME EFFECTS OF THIS DECEPTION
My primary concern about these types of deceived people that attack Christian ministers the most, is the fact that there are so many new Christians that can be easily influenced to stumble and fall away from moving forward to fulfill God’s plan for their lives. I believe that it is essential for new Christians to grow up to be spiritually mature and to learn to hear from God for themselves. But deceived Christians who share criticism of other Christians can change the direction of a new Christian’s life very easily. Ungodly criticism gives the impression to some that we are fighting between each other while we ignore our real enemy Satan. Why would God desire for Christians to fight against Christians? Are there not demonic spiritual enemies to war against (Eph 6:12)?
New Christians can be distracted by incomplete or unsupported words of condemnation given by people that claim to be believers. These people can sound so intelligent and can sound so sure and confident in their minds of their judgments. But confidence and intelligence does not make anything true. God may be attempting to lead a new Christian into learning something fresh that He desires them to learn. But Satan’s deception can keep new or even some mature Christians from searching in their own Bible to know if what is said is true or not (Acts 17:11). The ignorance of new believers to understanding advanced spiritual Bible truths makes them much simpler to deceive than someone who has studied the Bible for over 20+ years and was raised in a good church from a young age. This is exactly why Paul was incredibly careful at times to only bring milk subjects to certain new Christians. Paul knew that the deep meat subjects were potentially very highly offensive (1 Cor 3:12) to new babes in Christ. Notice what Paul warned the church in this verse:
Rom 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
Could it be this is what is happening when people judge without having sufficient experience and understanding of the Bible? I believe it is exactly what is happening in the modern church. There is nothing new under the sun.
FOUR MAIN REASONS
WHY THERE ARE DIFFERENCES
IN UNDERSTANDING SOME BIBLE TEACHINGS
When any Christian judges a Bible teacher that teaches something different than what they are accustomed to, this can demonstrate a person’s pride in their own knowledge of the Bible. Usually when someone hears some words that do not make sense they become easily offended at the message. This type of becoming offended can then be followed by their rapid poor choice for speaking opinionated judgements to others. When these rapid judgments are heard by others, they can cause them to become offended also. This can then result in the placement of a spiritual stumbling block that we just read about in the last section.
But we need to see and learn that there are several potential reasons for why someone does not agree with what is taught by others. Most rapid poor judgments are based upon a presumed belief that someone that is different is purposefully teaching something to deceive them. But in fact, there are other reasons that need to be considered to help eliminate our poor snap judgments.
Human disagreement of the Bible can come from one of four main areas of potential misunderstanding. The first possibility is that the teacher may be confused on the subject or ignorant of something else in the Bible that you know that needs to be known by them to better understand the subject. That is called ignorance on the part of the teacher and we are ALL ignorant about many things found in the Bible. Ignorance is not a sin, nor does it make anyone a false teacher. In fact, I have learned a lot of things from Bible teachers that I did not agree with 100%. These types of ministers were very sincere in studying and teaching the Bible but did not see certain things in the Bible that I had learned from my own study. I figured out that these teachers were not intentionally deceiving anyone, and their heart was full of good intentions to provide their message to others. But this is one of the primary reasons that disagreements of Bible truth can occur. It is very normal to find this happening in any church and with any teacher. We are all on differing levels of knowing the Bible. I understand that you could know something that I have not yet learned and vice versa you may not know something that I have learned. Also, some of us are on a first-grade level of learning the Bible and others of us are at the advanced doctorate level of learning the Bible and others of us are somewhere in between. Therefore, I have learned to give other Bible teachers a lot of grace and mercy and I pray that you will do the same for me and for other teachers.
The second possibility for a Bible disagreement is that the teacher could have just misspoken or written something in haste that was just an honest mistake or accident. I have seen many teachers and speakers do this that were both Christian and non-Christian teachers. If you have read all the Bible lessons on this website, no doubt you may have seen where I have made several unintentional errors, typing mistakes, misspellings, grammatical errors, etc. These types of unintentional errors are also normal and do not make anyone a false or even a bad teacher. This just proves that we are all still imperfect humans.
Once, I remember a man that pointed out that I attributed something to Luke in a lesson that he was reading that I should not have done. After I read it, I knew that I had done this in haste and that I should not have written it in the way that I did. I thanked him for his comment that pointed this out and I quickly made the correction. Even though this error occurred in typing a lesson too fast, was without intent, and was corrected, he informed me that he would not be reading any more of my Bible lessons. He was obviously looking for an extremely high standard of perfection that would only fit his level of acceptance in study material content and that was sad. Because of him being offended, there is no telling what he might have missed out on that God wanted to show him.
Imperfections in speech or in writing can cause someone to be offended and this keeps a lot of people from receiving and knowing a lot of truth. But as we learned previously, mistakes do not make anyone a false teacher, it only shows they are learning mortal humans. In fact, God purposefully uses the most foolish imperfect people in the world to confound the wise perfectionists (1Cor 1:27).
Now for reason number 3 that causes people to be easily offended at the teachings of some ministers. We must understand a simple basic truth that not everyone listens perfectly to hear what is really being said. We can see an example of this in John 12:28-29. Here Jesus was praying to the Father and the Father answers Him from heaven with an audible voice. Some that were standing around said it was just thunder and others claimed they heard a voice of an angel. We can clearly learn that not everyone heard the same words, the same way.
There are many words that sound like other words. There are literally many ways for some words to be used that do not mean what someone is hearing them to say. Slang words are one simple way for messages to be easily misunderstood. Figures of speech are another way to misunderstand the teacher. Other words just have multiple definitions and that is a great challenge. Unless everyone is on the same level of every word’s meaning and application there are just a lot of potential ways for a message to be misunderstood. Therefore, we all need to stop and think before we get offended at something that we think that someone said.
Finally, for possibility number 4. Some differences in agreement concerning the Bible subject being taught is possibly some bad news for many Christians. From my experience in studying and teaching the Bible over the last almost 30 years, “I have found that the more I learn, the more I discover that I yet do not know”. This fourth possible conflict situation occurs when a teacher teaches something that someone may consider heresy, but it is only a revelation found in the Bible that they have never seen before. I have found that baby Christians that know the least about the Bible are usually the most vocal critics of things they have never seen in the Bible. Therefore, this type of Bible teacher is not even close to being a false teacher. We learn that the root problem occurs because of the ignorance and improper attitude of the listener who was offended.
We find this type of conflict occurs with more than just the Bible. I have observed this where doctors that are general practitioners are wise enough to not go into brain surgery without having been trained in that specialist field. No, the general practitioner is smart enough to refer the patient to a trained specialist and there are almost never any conflicts between these two types of educated professionals.
I have seen the medial conflict normally occurs between the ignorant unschooled patient that has only read one opinionated article on the internet and their doctor who is more knowledgeable. It is the doctor that has spent years of education and practice and has studied the subject constantly that is opposed by the ignorant patient. Most doctors are only trying to help them. However, the doctor is usually never offended at the ignorance of the patient, it is almost always the patient that is offended at the trained and educated doctor. Maybe the patient searched the internet and found an article that said to do something new and crazy to cure their problem. But when they approach the doctor with their proposed answer, the patient becomes easily offended because they believed a potential false internet article that was overruled by the doctor’s advanced training. Do you see how this analogy of the doctor and patient could apply to Bible teachers and students?
Ok, I will admit that there is a possible fifth explanation for differences in Bible teachings and Bible understanding agreement that causes someone to be offended. It is possible that Satan has deceived a minister to accept a lie and they are teaching it like it was a true revelation from the LORD. These types of ministers come in two types. The first is the one that is deceived and does not know it and the second is one that is just intentionally lying to be used as Satan’s tool for the deception of others. I believe type two is a rare occurrence. Most preachers and teachers desire to know and teach the truth in a loving and kind way, but they just do not know the entire truth.
We can find examples of these types of preachers that preach and teach in the subject of the rapture. Some believe there is no-rapture, others believe pre-trib, others mid-trib and others post-trib. There is absolutely no way that all four types of ministers are teaching the truth. At least three of the four must be teaching something that they believe is the truth but is not in actuality the truth. This type of conflict does not make anyone of these ministers a false teacher, it should however teach us to go into our Bible and find out what the LORD is saying to us. Do not follow people, follow the Holy Spirit and the Bible. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into the truth in His Word. Then open your Bible and begin your search. Jesus promised us that if we ask and seek, He will answer, and we will find (Luke 11:10).
I knew a minister that fell into deception once. He started a church and it grew into an exceptionally large group of over 5000 people. He was an excellent anointed Bible teacher, and this was why the church increased. However, deception began to creep into the teachings many years later. This was probably from the people that he began to associate with. Within a short time, he was divorced, and the church went from over 5000 members to ZERO and does not exist anymore. What do we learn from this example? It did not take Christian criticism to topple his ministry. The ministry collapsed on its own weight of deception. Please do not misunderstand me. There was Christian criticism. There was worldly news media criticism. There were government investigations into the church. But it was mostly people who knew the Bible that walked away from the church that caused it to go down. Please read what this wise man said about some real God teachers in Acts:
Act 5:38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
Act 5:39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
Can we understand the wisdom being taught to us here? These were the religious men of the day that believed in their heart that they were right, and they knew more than these unlearned men that were preaching Jesus. But who was right? Was it the Pharisees or these called of God preachers? Obviously, it was these called of God preachers named Peter and the other apostles that were with him that were teaching the truth. What did this wise man say to do to them? Notice that he recommended that everyone ignore them and see if it was the work of man or the work of God. If it were the work of God, he said that they would be the ones that were guilty of fighting against God. And if it were the work of only men, it would fail under its own weight and come to nothing. That is an amazing revelation to learn.
What is revelation? The Greek word G602 means “to reveal” or “to disclose”, or “to uncover”. This implies something was previously hidden for it to be made available to be revealed. G602 comes from the Greek word G601 that means “to uncover”. Again, this implies something that was previously covered to not be seen or recognized because of a shield that hid it. Proverbs 25:2 claims “It is the Glory of God to conceal a thing, and the honor of kings to search out a matter”. It appears after studying verses like this that God has purposely hidden things for saved Christian people to search and find.
What we have learned is that God has concealed a lot of information in the Bible in order that He could take the cover off it at the appropriate time. He does this for two main reasons. The first is for us to search His Word to learn, know, understand, and apply it to our lives. The second is to keep the information from His enemies.
The Greek words G601 or G602 occur in 44 verses of the New Testament. I believe God is trying to teach us that there are many secrets that were hidden in the Bible to be found. God calls these “mysteries”. God’s mysteries are the source for God’s revelations. The Greek word G3466 translated as “mystery” means “secrets” as in to shut the mouth and not tell anyone. This is the concept of keeping a silent. But God’s design was not to eternally lock these secrets of His message up permanently by not speaking to us, but rather He designed His Word in a coded fashion to allow Him to uncover them in succession, to be known in His timing. This Greek word occurs in 27 New Testament verses and occurs first in Matthew:
Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Jesus speaking to the foundation of His church builders tells them the secrets of the kingdom of heaven were given to them to know, but to others it was not been given. Wow, this teaches us even more about the subject of how there exists some people that can see selected truths while others are unable to perceive them simultaneously. What we are learning is the fact that two people can be reading or hearing the exact same words being taught from the Bible and both could be understanding an opposed meaning or interpretation of the exact same words. How can this be? Aren’t the word definitions and meanings the same for both? However, we learn that the entire issue of understanding pivots upon the point of view of the reader or listener. God teaches us this here:
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Here we discover the main factor for argumentative Bible conflicts. God describes factor for understanding truth to be dependent upon the human condition of being saved or being unsaved and potentially the issue of the duration of how long someone has been saved. Unsaved people are completely natural minded with five senses dominating their thinking. However, saved people are in varying levels and stages of spiritual growth, development, and maturity. Therefore, a newborn baby Christian that needs to be fed only milk subjects may not be able to swallow (understand) very much of the deep meat (spiritual) type subjects that are hidden in the Bible. God called this process a renewal of the Christian mind to be a process of transformation from thinking naturally to thinking spiritually (Rom 12:2, Eph 4:23).
When a new Bible student begins to read the Bible in complete spiritual ignorance there is a never ending supply of revelation and uncovering available from the hidden spiritual words and meaning that God can make available if they desire to know the truth, learn how to look for them and ask God to reveal them. The Holy Spirit on the inside of a Christian desires to lead every Christian into a deep and intimate personal understanding of the Word of God (Luke 12:2).
This is one reason why many carnal thinking Christians can be easily offended at hearing something that the Holy Spirit has taught others on a higher level of spiritual understanding. The main source of conflict and challenge is that this new Christian has not yet encountered, discovered, or seen the subject in their Bible yet. Are we all together on this concept of why some people are offended at some teachers and why they may call them a false teacher, but they really are not?
There is this major problem with teaching new revelation from the Bible on the internet and on TV. There is no filter on an advanced spiritual teaching to keep a natural thinking Christian from being offended by it. Therefore, many will reject and come against it like they did the message of Peter in Acts 5. Christians do this based upon prejudices and a much too rapid rush to judgment before they can test the message using a deep study in their Bible. I know I have said this several times in this lesson but this is a main take away for reading and studying this lesson.
There is almost always resistance to change or any new addition to traditional Bible teachings by human nature. This resistance is like me trying to show my 2-year-old son how to tie his shoes and he says to me “No, I do it”. Can you see how unlearned Christians can act the same way today? This is an incredibly significant deception taking place in the church.
Please go back and read the Gospels again. Notice how many times Jesus was teaching and giving people a message that was essential for them to know who He really was and the listeners’ reaction was to pick up stones to try to kill Him or to throw Him off a cliff to kill Him. Was Jesus telling the Truth? Of course, He was! He was the author of the entire Bible and it was impossible for Him to lie. Jesus proves that truth is not always seen or accepted, and it can even move people to commit murder.
This was a common pattern that occurred in all of church history. Paul came out and taught things that offended many Jewish believers. These early Jewish believers thought these new Gentile believers had to be physically circumcised. But Paul opposed this by teaching a new revelation saying “He is not a Jew that is one outwardly circumcised in the flesh, but he is a Jew that is one circumcised inwardly in his heart” (Rom 2:28-29). Can you see the two natures in conflict in this example? Paul was thinking on a higher level of spirituality than the natural Jewish believers that were focused on some outward visible flesh priorities. Paul won this argument because it was the truth.
Then there were other church history examples. When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door, because he had found things in the Bible that were not agreeable with the church’s practices of selling indulgences, he sparked a nerve in deceived church leaders. The deceived leaders excommunicated him from their church. But, most of Martin Luther’s sound teachings are still being taught today in protestant denominations. He experienced the same type of religious opposition as Jesus and Paul.
Well I have had the same issues. I have had people leave me comments informing me I am of Satan. They are so kind to tell me that I am teaching heresy. They even claim to be praying to God to shut down my website because of the deception that I am teaching. I have learned to ignore them and pray for them. I know what God says in Numbers about Balaam speaking to King Balak who wanted him to curse natural Israel. Balaam said “I have received a commandment to bless, and He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it” (Num 23:20). People cannot curse what God has blessed. Thank you, Jesus.
I am not someone who claims to know everything in the Bible. But like most other Christians, I have learned a few things in my life. One truth that I have learned is that there is no one human on the earth that knows and understands the entire Bible perfectly. I do not know anyone on the earth today that understands even a majority of the truth of the Bible. There have been many people that have written exhaustive commentaries on the Bible with a lot of good information that we can learn from. However, none of these represent the complete truth or understanding of the Bible. Many of these commentaries can even contradict each other in certain subjects and verses. Also, there are usually a vast number of scriptures that have no explanation because the writer did not understand it enough to comment on it.
No one knows 100% of the truth and you should have the same realization. We must begin every day of our life understanding that only God knows everything! This attitude gives us a more complete perspective of our humanity limitations for us to become humbler to accept and learn something new from God every day. With this type of adjustment in attitude we might just discover something new in the Bible that we have never seen before.
I have discovered through guidance by the Holy Spirit and deep study that the Bible is much more complex than many humans think. Humans are incapable of understanding everything that the Bible says without God’s tremendous assistance. Some do not believe this, but it is still true. I recently heard of one gentleman who said, “there is nothing hidden in the Bible”. He was implying everything could just be read and understood automatically in the surface text. I wonder if this ease of understanding that he believes in, is why there are thousands of Christian denominations in our world?
Here is a basic fact of truth that we must agree upon. God’s intelligence is so far beyond our intelligence that there is no comparison to be made between us and Him. Therefore, any human that claims that they are the only teacher of all truth is an instrument of the devil sent to confuse and deceive us. Jesus in speaking to the Pharisees said this:
Mat 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
Wow, these are very blunt and direct words, aren’t they? I see Pharisees in our world at work today everywhere. They sit in their arrogant churches, mosques and synagogues and seek converts to become a more diligent police force for the spread of their version of the truth. These are the self-appointed thought police of their religions. Instead of being like Jesus they want to ram their religion down our throats and if we do not submit, they will eventually try to kill the unbelievers who resist them. Their philosophy is either you change to our beliefs or we will silence you. That is a demonic attitude and does not resemble the true nature and character of God in any way.
Unfortunately, there are deceived people who try to control others. But I do not recall where God ever says for anyone to go into all the world and attack every teacher, prophet or religion that disagrees with your belief. That is not LOVE! After Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead, He asked Peter three times “Do you Love Me?” Peter said, “Yes Lord” every time. Then Jesus said, “Go and FEED my SHEEP!”. Notice, that in John 21, Jesus never told Peter to confront the false feedings of false shepherds. No Jesus just implied for Peter to become a type of good shepherd and go “feed” His sheep with good healthy “food” of truth. Jesus confirmed this before He left this world.
I believe we have learned that one problem with most people who attack others is based upon the fact that they just do not know much of the truth to teach. It is very much like modern politics. If someone on the right makes a point of truth that cannot be countered with a higher or greater truth by the left, then that person on the left just begins to hurl accusations of racism to silence the speaker on the right. So, these types of people like to tear down others around them using biased charges to distract from their own ignorance. So, going forward Christians should only concentrate on doing this command of Jesus:
Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
This is another selection of the last words spoken by Jesus to His followers. Jesus said very clearly to “GO and PREACH”. In other words, He did not command anyone to go and confront, or go and criticize, or go and persecute, or go and hate, or go and force feed, or go and teach against any perceived evil doers to their face. Jesus never mentioned that Christians should go and try to silence the false teachers. Jesus only said for us to go into all the world and spread the good news food of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That means teach the GOOD TRUTH as we know it and understand it. This is the opposite of condemning others. The good message was that of reconciliation and salvation and not attacking those who are different. By Christians attacking others we become the same as the unsaved world. How does acting the same as evil people convince them to change to become Christians? It does not and that is the problem.
By doing the sayings of Jesus, we can all become a better Christian. Jesus said if we do His Word, we will be like a wise man that built his house on the rock and when the storms of life come upon us, we will withstand them and be unshaken and will not fall (Luke 6:38). Therefore, Christians should primarily focus on bringing the “Good News” to people. The Truth of the Good News of Salvation is what is needed to help others change their beliefs. If we are NOT speaking truth in love, then we are no different than a radical mobster hurling a brick. The only difference is that we would be a deceived person attempting to hurl mean words.
Let us pray a prayer and ask God to help us not fall into Satan’s trap of condemning other people by calling them a false teacher just because they do not say or teach everything that we believe in 100% agreement.
Heavenly Father forgive me for any words that I have spoken against any of your servants. You said in Romans 14:4 that we should not judge your servants, because you are able to make them stand or fall. Lord God help me to be humble enough to admit that I could be wrong in my beliefs and give me the grace to go and study your Word to see if there are things that I need to change in my personal beliefs. Help my beliefs in your Word to conform and grow into the knowledge of your higher level of Spiritual Truth. Oh, God do not let me be deceived. Help me to discern between truths and lies quickly and accurately. Help me to only accept your Truth and to reject any false teachings of deception. But, also help me not to be critical of anyone that is not teaching what is 100% truth as you have shown me. Help me to pray for any Bible teacher that is not 100% accurate in every area and I will pray that the God of my Lord Jesus Christ, the father of glory may give them the Spirit of wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of Jesus Christ to know your truth (Eph 1:17).
Dearest God help the body of Christ to unite in one accord in these last days as your Son prayed in John 17:20-21. Allow the Spirit of truth, love, peace, and harmony to become the dominate common bond of unity between every believer. Help us all to be faithful laborers within your harvest field to spread the Good News to anyone that you place across our path. Grant unto us the boldness to speak and declare the Gospel at every opportunity. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!
If you would like to continue in the Deception series please go to “Part 6“.
Understanding the Parable of the Sower Part 3 – The Seed
(Ver 1.1) This is now Part 3 in the Bible lesson series focused on the subject of Understanding the Parable of the Sower. We have already covered the basic introduction and one of the essential positive elements called the Sower. Today we will be continuing to increase in learning concerning the second very positive parable element named the Seed. I certainly believe that this “seed” element can easily be called the greatest and most important element in the parable. Without it none of the other symbolic elements would have any purpose. However, it is difficult to determine the greatest element of importance in this parable because of God’s design of how many of the symbolic elements work together in unison to produce His desired end positive product called “fruit”. For example, the vital symbolic seed is ineffective without the existence and the participation of both the sower and the right soil. The sower is completely unproductive without the correct and proper applied seed to be sown in the correct timing and type of soil. Of course the soil is completely worthless (dead) unless it is prepared to be good ground without all of the enemy elements (birds, stones & weeds) that work diligently to fight the awesome seed from producing the positive fruit. We will primarily be focused upon the seed in this lesson. But, like the last lesson we will still need to cross into other subject boundaries in order to understand the overall concepts given. If you have not read the entire series from the beginning I would highly recommend that you go back and begin the series with “Part 1” first.
This is an amazing Bible subject. We could spend a lot oftime writing books and books on it. However, that is not reasonable for a blog Bible study. There are many people who want only a couple of paragraphs on any subject and if it is too long they just won’t read it. There are also those like me that enjoy reading and studying the Bible and can’t get enough to read. Whichever one you are I pray you will at least give it your best effort. I will try not to write too much or too little on the subject of the seed. I pray that I will cover what the Holy Spirit desires me to teach. Let’s begin.
In the last lesson I asked some good basic fundamental questions about any Bible study subject. Answering the basics of who, what, when, where and why found in the subject will help us to gain understanding of the fundamentals found in the topic. Today we will be again looking into finding the answers to these questions concerning the symbolic “seed” element. I may keep referring to this element “seed” as being symbolic but nothing could be further from the truth. I have discovered that this “seed” element is actually a naturally created substance of truth that reveals a far greater spiritual reality. This spiritual seed that I am referring to is by far superior to the natural seed type but both truths contain many of the exact same parallel characteristics. Here are just a few basic natural seed sowing truths that are exactly analogous with the spiritual process being described in the Parable of the Sower:
- Selecting the Right Seed is one basic requirement for a good desired outcome
- Selecting the Right Environment (location, weather, timing, etc.) for the seed to be productive is absolutely imperative for the good outcome
- Planting the correct seed at the exact and correct time in good prepared ground is required to be successful
- Managing the growth process and protecting the seed to keep out the crop enemies that destroy the process is also a requirement for a productive good outcome
Hopefully we will begin to see how these truths run parallel in the natural and the spiritual processes. We already addressed the “who” question concerning the sowing of the Good Seed in the last lesson. It should be easy to logically reason that it’s totally up to this sower “what seed’ is planted. We should have learned in the first lesson, that the sower was originally Jesus. However, when Jesus was here He still worked with the Holy Spirit’s leading to know what to plant, where to plant and when to plant. That took Jesus through steps 1, 2 and 3 of the natural parallel truths between the natural and the spiritual. But, Jesus also actually tried to perform step 4 to manage the growth process for those that would permit him. For example, Jesus saw how Satan had demanded to sift Peter like wheat (Luke 22:31) and then warned Peter and informed him that he had prayed that his faith would not fail (Luke 22:32). This was Jesus attempting to manage the seed that was already sown into the heart of Peter. Perhaps we will talk more about this part of the subject later in another lesson.
After Jesus, the seed sowing spreading process was transferred to those that God used to originally spread the gospel in the book of Acts and this process has now produced a growing church that includes us now that are called to be believers, disciples and Christ followers. It is truly an amazing process of multiplication through one seed. Do not ever underestimate the power of planting one successful seed! One seed can produce a tree that produces a whole lot of fruit for many years. Each piece of fruit contains many more seeds that can be further planted in other soils to produce more trees to produce more fruit to produce more seed and on and on the process grows. It is actually impossible for humans to number or measure the end process outcome of one successful seed. This is exactly why God promised Abraham this:
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 (ONE) seed be.
This is a mind boggling statement. God promised Abraham a production level of fruit that is uncountable from just the planting of one successful seed and this One Seed was revealed to be Jesus Christ in Gal 3:16. In this verse and chapter Paul writes that the statement was not naming seeds as many but only one seed that was given to us to be the promised Son to come. This incredible promise that God made to Abraham was concerning one future spiritual seed crop of fruit. I believe with all of my heart that this promise was describing the process given to us in the Parable of the Sower. Jesus the Seed/Word of God incarnate came to the earth as a man to speak/plant God’s Words in human hearts to cause them to become trees of righteousness that produce fruit that permit the continued spread of seeds from their fruit to produce more trees of righteousness that produce more fruit that spread more seeds and on and on we could go. Let’s review a few quick verses that teach us about this coming concept:
Psa 92:12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Pro 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
Isa 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Did you notice the theme of these three witnesses in the Bible? They are all about “righteous” trees. These all had to come from the planted Word of God seed. These all produce fruit trees that produce fruit and more seeds to spread. I really love Proverbs 11:30 because this literally teaches us that the spreading of seed is contained within a soul winning process that produces life. We will be talking about this more very soon.
We should have been introduced to the answer of “what is the Good seed” question in our last lesson. We should remember that the Good Seed was a natural symbolic representation of a far greater parallel spiritual reality of the Word of God. We learned that the Good Seed sown by the Sower to produce “fruit” was specifically said to be the God’s spoken Word. That knowledge will be expanded today to better understand new questions like “What was and still is the main purpose for sowing God’s Good Seed?” “When is the Good seed effective or productive?” “When is the Good seed ineffective or unproductive?” “Why is this seed even important or necessary to the process of producing fruit?” “Why does the Good seed work sometimes and at other times it does not produce any lasting fruit.” “Why does the Good seed produce varying levels or amounts of fruitfulness in good soil?” We may not be able to cover every answer in detail in this lesson but we will attempt to cover these answers in more detail later as we dig deeper into the subject of “soil types”.
Before we dive deeper into the subject of the seed, I would like for us to review some of the basic fundamentals of the subject of Bible faith. I believe that understanding the subject of Bible faith is essential to understanding the Parable of the sower. Without an understanding of Bible faith and how it comes and how it works, a complete understanding of Seed Sowing is difficult. I believe that we will better understand this statement as we continue through the lesson series.
A FAITH FUNDAMENTALS REVIEW
I would like to begin this lesson with a short review of just a couple of the fundamental truths concerning the subject of “Bible Faith”. I believe this review will help us to see some of the key parallels of subject of faith found in the “Parable of the Sower”. The intimate knowledge of faith will especially help us as we study the subjects of the seed and the fruit. If you have read the Bible series on “Understanding Bible Faith” you should have learned that real Bible Faith is a spiritual substance that God describes is observable, quantifiable and measurable (Part 3). Jesus observed some people with a level of zero also known as “no” faith (Mk 4:40) and then commented on others with “little” also known as weak, tiny or small faith amounts (Mat 16:8). Jesus also observed others with increasing levels of faith (Mt 9:28) to even a couple with stated “great” also known as big or large faith amounts (Mt 8:10, Mt 15:28). Stephen mentioned in Acts 6:5 was declared to be “full” also known as packed or covered over or complete with faith. Therefore, the implication to these revealed truths is that a human must possess some type of unseen faith container that permits God to be able to measure and quantify their faith levels from it being an empty bucket all the way to it being a full or overflowing container.
What is this quality that God can see and measure and how can we cooperate with Him to allow it to become filled? Or do we even have a choice in the amount of faith that we can have at any time? Of course, I believe with all of my heart that we do have the very clear choice, responsibility and a very significant role in the determination that helps God define the amount of faith contained in our spiritual heart container. We will hopefully learn more about this as we continue in the lesson.
Please keep these facts concerning the variable nature of the amount of faith a person possesses in the forefront of your mind as we move later into the subject of fruit. Remember that we were introduced already in lesson 1 that the amount of fruit produced in the life of a human is also variable, quantifiable and measureable as either a). 0% level b). 30 % return, c). 60% return d). all the way to 100 times production in 4 different types of soil. I believe these two faith and fruit variable factors are important parallels of truth. This knowledge will help us to better understand why some have no fruit and others in variations of increasing levels.
The next key Bible Faith verse that is infinitely important to learn for us understanding the “Parable of the Sower” is found in the book of Romans. This verse very clearly reveals to us how our faith container (heart/spirit) can either be empty or full or somewhere in between based upon the amount that we choose to hear the Word of God. Let’s read the verse and see what God says about how faith comes:
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
We should be able to learn from this verse how the Bible Faith spiritual filling up process begins, continues or can even end by a human choice of hearing or not hearing the Word of God being spoken audibly. This truth represents a very significant and powerful perspective describing how the God designed faith process for human salvation begins, continues or also potentially ends. I know that this verse alone does not plainly mention that it is a hearing process for salvation but, it is certainly an implied application based upon the verse context and the application of other Faith subject verses.
Consider the truth that if Bible faith can come to a human then it certainly must have an implied beginning. In other words, if a human has never heard the Word of God preached they would not have any faith for salvation!
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
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?
These two verses are found in the context of Romans 10:17 and we can clearly see how God defines and applies the process of word of God planting to be a requirement for salvation to occur. The progression is clearly stated for a human requirement to hear from a preacher. We learned in the last lesson on the “sower” that a preacher of God’s Word is simply a word seed sower. Thus we have an emerging direct connection to the Parable of the Sower already. These verses in this chapter are amazing parallels to our subject study. This salvation process describes a sower that is sowing seed into a human heart soil by the sower speaking and the soil people hearing. Then this planted seed produces an implied plant that grows to produce levels of faith for salvation that bears and this corresponds to having spiritual fruit. I just gave away a lot of what we will be talking about in this lesson series.
Based upon this knowledge it must be the freewill choice of a human to participate in this process of salvation through their cooperation to hear and listen to God’s spoken Word that will cause faith to even begin to accumulate in their hearts. Furthermore, if faith can “come” (begin) or be in a “filling up” state by our right choices the implication is given to us by reverse antithesis truths that faith can also “leave” or be “emptied” by our own wrong choices. It further implies that it is even possible for “faith” to not exist at all in our heart if the Word of God was NOT HEARD or NOT VALUED or NOT LISTENDED TO, or NOT UNDERSTOOD. It is evident to me that if faith has a beginning (an empty 0% state) that it must also have an implied ending (full state) along with an implied middle time period of increasing or decreasing filling. I pray that you can see this and agree.
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
I also believe completely that the amount faith in a person’s “Bible Faith” container will only grow or increase to be filled by continuing to hear the Word of God over and over. The fact that Romans 10:17 includes the Greek Word G189 translated as “hearing” twice together joined with the Greek word G1161 translated as the word “and” implies a required repetition or continuation of hearing and not just a one-time experience of having heard. The Greek Particle G1161 translated as “and” is a connecting word in this verse that further embraces the concept that the hearing of the Word of God is not a “One Time” action of an isolated choice. We will hopefully soon see other verses in this lesson later that help confirm the fact that hearing God’s Word represents a lifetime commitment.
I take away from this verse in Romans that it means that we must be hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing and I could type forever and not get the point across strongly enough. I believe viewing Bible faith in this way alone defines it to be a repeated step process for filling us up with “faith”. I also view the filling process of faith to be like an automobile gas tank that when filled provides power for the engine to move it forward. But, just because the gas tank was filled to capacity once does not mean that it will still be full in a week or more time of going forward. You see even in the book of Acts the disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost in Acts 2 and this filling process occurred again in Acts 4. Why would it be necessary for God to keep filling the same vessels again and again? I believe part of the answer is because we are imperfect vessels. We can hear something great today and totally forget about it tomorrow.
Why did some people in the Bible have so little faith and what caused some others to have up to very significant levels of faith, when they all potentially had the same opportunity to hear Jesus speak the same Word? If everyone can hear the exact same Word of God to get filled with faith, it is a bit challenging to think why faith levels can be missing in some completely or at dissimilar levels in some others or even be increased to being at great or the full level in still others. I mean think about what that is teaching us. If it was God’s fault that some don’t have faith and others do, then that would make God a respecter of persons and we should know this cannot be (Rom 2:11). I just refuse to believe that God causes diverse faith amounts by His sovereign choice in humans based upon my knowledge of scriptures that teaches otherwise.
It is exactly the same in the natural. The Ford Motor Company builds automobiles but they are not responsible for filling up the gas tank to cause the power to be released. This is the driver’s responsibility. God created humans but is He now totally responsible for filling you with His Spirit, His Word or His power? I don’t believe that is true. Therefore, the responsibility for the level of faith must be placed on the human side of the God created Faith project and process. There must be some human factor after hearing God’s Word that determines how much of a level of faith a human can receive or possess in our spiritual container. I think Jesus gives us one important clue to answering this question about “how faith levels can vary so much” in this verse:
Mar 4:9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
I believe sincerely that one major determining factor for us having Bible faith is definitely based upon how we choose to listen to and hear the Word of God. What are we focused upon or thinking about when the Word of God is being spoken or taught to us? What levels of importance and priority do we give to hearing God’s Word? Are there any distractions that easily take us away from giving our full attention while hearing the Word of God and on and on we could go asking other similar questions.
It is really not difficult to sit in a church service and observe people and see how they listen. Many are paying close attention, reading along in their Bibles and taking notes to not let it be forgotten. These people place great value in what is being said. That must be a major contributing factor in the amount of growth in their faith level. Others are listening halfhearted and are easily distracted by any noise of commotion that someone makes around them. These types of listeners are clearly placing a greatly diminished level f importance on what was said and the Words spoken are easily lost. Others are not listening at all and are reading messages on their cell phones or even playing games or flirting with their neighbor. This attitude towards the Word of God makes sitting in the service under the sound of the Word of God entirely worthless. The spoken Word of God can be a chosen priority or be just a background noise. We can all choose how we value the Word of God. We can all choose the ranking position and precedence that we give the Word of God. What we focus on and how we focus will be one of the most significant determining factors to learn what level of faith we will obtain from hearing God’s Word and His Seed spoken.
This Bible lesson series will hopefully help us to see a potential different perspective on answering these questions on how faith applies to understanding the “Parable of the Sower”. I believe that the LORD wants to teach us that having faith is not a one sided formula or God only responsibility but rather more like a divinely designed project and process requiring our freewill choice to become a devoted person in cooperation to participate in the planting and growing development. Let’s move on and grow in the “seed” study.
UNDERSTANDING THE SEED POSITIVE ELEMENT
There is literally so very much that I can teach on this one element alone that it is impossible to cover it all in a single lesson. We will begin the study of the seed by reconfirming what the symbolic seed in the parable represents. We were introduced to this element in the last lesson and even learned that the seed represented speaking God’s Word which we said was Good Seed. The Good seed was then compared to the evil seed as words coming from Satan. Let’s read our basic seed verse from Mark:
Mar 4:14 The sower soweth the word.
Let’s get past the preliminary subject introduction and setup to now direct our full attention on the extremely consistent & positive element that Jesus called the “Seed”. Technically speaking the word “seed” was not found in the verses of the sower written in Mark 4. But the word “seed” (G4703) is clearly used in the Luke 8 parable explanation more than once. Also, Jesus’ selection of the word “sower” in Mark 4:3 clearly implies the participation of “seed” even though it is not specifically stated. We should already clearly understand that this symbolic seed sowing represents a preacher speaking audible words. We can see this truth in the definition again in the above Mark 4:14. However, we will dig deeper into this confirmation to relieve any doubts.
In Matthew 13:19 the soil hearer is stated to be listening to the “word of the kingdom”. This general reference could be words spoken from any kingdom being earthly, heavenly, natural or spiritual but we can comprehend logically that it is meant to be referring to the Kingdom of God based upon these are the recorded words of the speaker Jesus. Jesus of course should be viewed to represent God’s Spiritual Kingdom. In John 18:36 Jesus again speaking to someone asking him about his kingdom said clearly “My kingdom is not of this world”. We gain from this statement three profoundly essential facts. First, Jesus has a Kingdom, second it is not of this natural world and third therefore it must be a spiritual kingdom. Keep these truths in your mind as we continue to study the subject of words/seeds and their origins. This knowledge will certainly help answer the “where” the seeds came from further.
Luk 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
Recall that in Mark 4:14 we saw another general/generic reference that the seed is stated to just represent “the word”. This vague type of reference implies any spoken words can be viewed as seeds as we learned in our last lesson. But, in Luke 8:11 Jesus clearly states that the seed represents “God’s Word”. The Greek word translated as “God” in this statement is G2315 and is transliterated as “theos”. This Greek word is found in over 1100 verses and less than 1% of the time do they refer to any being other than our Omnipotent Creator. It appears self-revealing that Jesus was referring to God’s spoken word is the seed sown in this verse in Luke’s explanation of the Parable of the Sower.
This information helps us to understand and confirm “who” MUST be speaking words in the attempt to plant Good seeds in human hearts to produce fruit. I know that I keep calling God’s Word Good Seed but that is backed up scripturally and is not just my opinion. For example, Hebrews 6:5 informs us very clearly that God’s word is good and this was a written warning to Christian people not to turn away from it. I also believe that we should take note again of the Greek word G2098 which was translated as “the gospel” because it literally means “good news”. There are so many verses with this Greek word in it which refers to God’s Word that it is impossible to deny that God’s Word and Good News are very synonymous terms. Therefore, we can easily conclude that God’s Word is equivalent to Good Seed and I pray that you can agree.
We should remember the difference between “good seed words” and “evil seed words” in the last lesson in the series. And we should know that the God seed words spoken are always revealed to be a God designed plan to produce ONLY HIS GOOD FRUIT. In other words, the spoken Word of God seed can never produce weeds (evil fruit) just from learning the information found in the parable of the sower descriptions or explanations. God’s Seed can truly only be GOOD seed that produces GOOD fruit and the evil seed can only produce evil fruit which potentially causes the Good Seed to fail. This is in fact the true created nature of every seed. For example, an apple seed can only produce an apple tree. An orange seed can only produce an orange tree. On and on we go. This is the stated law of Genesis 1. God informed us that every seed type of any create entity can only produce another one of the same kind. God said this clearly 5 times in Genesis 1. Please go read it if you don’t remember.
What we have just established is a basic truth of seeds. Except for perverted seeds through controlled manipulation every pure naturally create seed type that has existed will always produce another variety of the exact same type of being. Therefore we learn that God is good (Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19) and whatever that He produces from His good seed/word must also be good of His same type and nature. We learn this again from Genesis 1 very clearly. At least 6 times once in every day of creation God said (spoke seed) and then observed the outcome and said it was either “good” or “very good”. Wow that speaks literal volumes of key information to understanding the Good Seed in the parable of the sower. Furthermore, this exact same good truth is also true in the antithesis speaking of God’s enemy Satan. Satan is evil (1 Jn 2:13-14, 1 Jn 3:12, 1 Jn 5:18) and whatever he produces from his spoken seed/word must also be evil and of the same exact same type, kind and nature.
It is certainly possible for both types of spoken word seed to be sown into any single human heart and even co-exist as we will explore when we study the subject of soils. We will be primarily focused upon God’s “Good Seed” in this lesson. But, I may still briefly address the antithesis evil seed type that produces weeds also. Let’s now explore further what this Good God Seed actually represents in the Bible and we will do this by starting to understand the original Greek words related to the Parable message of sowing.
Mark 4:14 stated very clearly that the symbolic seed type found in the Parable of the Sower represents the “word”. This Greek word translated as “word” is G3056. This Greek word is included in every explanation of the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:19, Mark 4:14 and Luke 8:11. Also G3056 occurs in around 313 other verses of the New Testament. This makes it a very popular and important N.T. word. The transliteration of this Greek word is “logos”. I have already referred to the transliteration “theos” before, but if you do not understand what a transliteration is I will attempt to explain it quickly.
A transliteration simply occurs when someone changes a word from one language into a new language using only the corresponding alphabet letters in an attempt to produce as similar of pronunciation sound as possible. In a transliteration there is no concern for conveying the original word meaning of the original language’s name or word. If we cared about this we would translate the word from one language into a word with the closest meaning and definition in the new language without any regard to the sounds of the two words. Language transliterations emphasize sound alike words and language translations emphasize identical meaning. Normally speaking and thinking, I believe transliterations have limited usefulness. However, that does not mean they are not used in our Bible translations.
For example, transliterations are a very common technique used in many Bible translations especially with the names of people or places referenced in the Bible. For instance, the name Jesus in the N.T. is a Greek to English transliteration originating from the name “Iesous” in the Greek language which was also transliterated from the original Hebrew name Jeshohua (Joshua). I just gave you an example of two transliterations that occurred from three different languages to get us to the name “Jesus” that many English speaking people use today to name our LORD and SAVIOR. This process of transliteration does not make any of the names wrong nor does it make one name superior, more important or more relevant than the others. They are all the same name just written and pronounced in different languages using letters from the language’s alphabet being spoken and God understands them all and answers to them all when called by or spoken to using that name. Let’s get back to the Greek to English transliteration word “logos”.
Logos is one of the most popular New Testament words used in reference to God’s written and spoken Word. It is used more than once in reference to God’s Old Testament Word written by the prophets. It is clearly used to describe the Words of Jesus like those found in this Parable and others. Even angels were said to speak “logos” words to several people with messages from God. However, logos can also be used for other human spoken words. Logos words can even be someone speaking words not of a divine nature and therefore logos spoken words can either be good or evil words. This just further verifies that a spoken seed type can be of either good or evil. If you search your Bible for H3056 to find all of the occurrences of this word’s usage you will discover that what I just said is easily confirmed. I’ll give you a couple of scriptures that can verify this truth and to help prove the point:
Mat 12:37 For by thy words (logos) thou shalt be justified, and by thy words (logos) thou shalt be condemned.
In this verse Jesus is speaking to you and me. He is warning us all that every human will either be justified or condemned by our own personal spoken “logos”. It is infinitely clear to me from reading this verse that this means humans can choose to say right words (logos) or wrong words (logos), good words (logos) or evil words (logos). Jesus clearly states that human beings speak one of these types of logos by their own personal choice and freewill. Let’s explore that “logos” represents two types of seed in the Bible. We will look at another example verse to confirm that “logos” spoken words can also be negative and fear based:
Mar 5:36 As soon as Jesus heard the word (logos) that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
This is one verse in a longer narrative. In this story a ruler in the synagogue came to Jesus for help with his daughter who was on her death bed very sick. Jesus was delayed in going to his house to heal her by another woman with an issue of blood that also came by faith to get healed. Faith always gets God’s attention. This is actually one of the primary qualities that He is looking for in every human. We should all remember that in Hebrew 11:6 God states that it is impossible to please Him without having faith. This is how we know that the ruler of the synagogue pleased Him or he would not have set out to go to his house. We’ll get into this more very soon. However, notice what this verse says. The Greek word G3056 “logos” is used here for a negative report that came from the ruler’s house. These men with the negative message said “Don’t bother the master any further for your daughter is dead”. God calls these spoken words a “logos” message. What was the designed purpose of the negative seed message? Jesus addresses it very clearly by asking the ruler to “fear NOT” but rather continue in faith and believe.
Wow, this is some amazing information about “logos” seeds that are found in spoken words. Jesus countered the negative logos seed with a positive instruction to continue the ruler’s believing. Jesus did not allow the bad news seed to overrule the previously spoken faith word seeds. The ruler clearly had a choice to make in who he would believe. He was wise and kept quiet and his daughter was raised from the dead. We will be looking into this factor of believing good seeds and ignoring the negative bad seeds later. This is such an important connecting concept to understanding the Parable of the Sower and how seeds work.
I am not going to teach the entire story about the ruler that came to Jesus with faith. But, I do want you to understand that this ruler had to have heard someone telling him about Jesus and His ability to heal people that caused him to seek Him. Someone sowed a seed into the ruler’s heart and this caused an action/reaction to take place. Satan killed the girl before the answer fully came and then he sent human messengers that brought the negative seeds designed to overrule the positive message that was previously sown into his heart but Jesus helped him to keep in faith and to shut his mouth not to agree with the bad news seed and circumstances. Can you imagine the battle of thoughts that were racing through the ruler’s mind after hearing the bad seed sown? Jesus was clearly not fazed by the negative seeds. This is a major factor for understanding how spoken words work and what type of spiritual battle we have every day.
We should hopefully be able to see that logos words can be used to produce either faith (believing positively) or for fear (believing negatively). Both of these types of “logos” represent seeds that will produce a type of fruit outcome. Only the good faith based logos will be a good resulting fruit. The negative seed type of logos will only produce the opposite of faith type of the force called “fear”. This is exactly why I believe the Parable of the Sower is a representation of a spiritual battle of words between two opposing spiritual forces. Jesus immediately countered the negative seed planting attempt designed to remove every faith life producing seed from the ruler’s heart with His encouraging seed of redirection back to faith. We could probably spend a lot of time on this subject but we are getting into soils and types of human reactions to the words that are being spoken to them by the enemies. Let’s keep researching the word “logos”.
The literal definition of this Greek word H3056 “logos” from Strong’s Concordance is “something spoken”. This definition appears to state that any human with a brain, mouth and working vocal cords is capable of emitting a “logos” (word spoken) to anyone. This Greek word was translated as some of the following English words: utterance, speech, word, mouth, preaching, question, communication and account (not to list them all). However, they all appear to mean the same general action of spoken words coming from a mouth.
In the previous lesson in the series which was focused upon “the sower” there were verses given that stated how others besides Jesus were sowers of seed. But, I like to have a lot of witnesses to affirm the truth. Let’s look at another scripture that relates to future sown seed and sowers as well as the key purpose for God using people for sowing His Word in human hearts:
Joh 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word (logos);
Here in this verse is a part of the prayer that the LORD Jesus was praying for both the church saved believers and for those that were unsaved non-believers. This verse represents further confirmation that seed sowing was meant to continue indefinitely even after Jesus was taken up and back into heaven. Notice that Jesus very clearly states that people after him will be sharing “logos” seeds with people and He very clearly says it is for the purpose to get them to believe in Him. There are three main facts that can be derived from this single verse that are relevant to our Parable of the Sower lesson:
- Christian disciples following Jesus can still speak the LOGOS seed (Word of God) into the hearts of other people.
- The main purpose for speaking the LOGOS seed (Word of God) is to produce a belief (faith) in Jesus Christ.
- It is because of someone choosing to hear the spoken LOGOS seed (Word of God) that Faith can be produced internally for salvation to begin the process of making fruit.
I pray that you will agree that the primary purpose of sowing God’s word/seed is to produce faith for salvation. I believe that “salvation” is definitely the principal definition for what the successful “fruit” represents in this parable. No fruit simply means no lasting salvation occurred.
So far we have been focused on the “logos” seed type. But, there is another Greek word that needs to be made known in this seed subject discussion. This Greek word “for spoken words” is the Greek word G4487. The Greek word G4487 also means something spoken but we need to begin to grasp the difference and the similarities between rhema and logos seed types in order to understand why some soil types produce fruit and others do not. I certainly believe that both Greek Words H3056 (logos) and H4487 (rhema) are “SEED” types and represent God’s Word Spoken as we will soon discover. Let’s reread a verse that we covered in the Faith Fundamentals review section of the lesson:
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
This verse defines the basis of how Bible faith comes to enter into a human heart and this is where we begin to make an important connection to understanding the Parable of the Sower. You see, both the Parable of the Sower and this verse in Romans are clearly stated to be about the spoken Word of God. Therefore, they must both be directly related to our study topic based upon God’s design of an identical direct subject matter.
We will very soon discover that Romans chapter 10 was written to describe another very important view into the basic process of human salvation through faith by hearing the spoken Word of God. The Parable of the Sower is stated to be about the subject of speaking the Words of God to humans in order to produce “fruit”. Based upon mathematical laws of truth created by God almighty if “Spoken God Words planted in human hearts can produce faith for salvation” found in Romans 10 and “Spoken God Words planted in human hearts can produce fruit” in the Parable of the Sower then “the resulting fruit” must correspond or be equal with “the resulting faith for salvation”. This is based upon basic laws of physics also. These are called “Cause and Effect” principles. Because the Word of God can cause both results of fruit and faith for salvation they can be viewed to be very much alike or akin to each other.
I pray that you are getting into what this is teaching us. We are using basic rules of interpretation that are very important and sound. These are commonly used techniques in practically every Bible lesson that has been taught on this blog. They are based upon laws and logic that were created by God, not me. I believe that when we discover the fundamental laws of right interpretation it reduces or eliminates human opinions of interpretation.
But, you might question that each of these two scripture references use a different Greek word, doesn’t that change the direct relationship? It could, but I believe the answer in this case is no. I have discovered that God sometimes uses synonymous terms to increase our subject knowledge. God uses synonyms very consistently to connect subjects together. I believe that He does this in an intentional technique to cause us to search for the truth in a deeper way. For example, why wouldn’t God want the whole Bible written in the same language? It sure would be simpler if He had not changed languages from Hebrew in the Old Testament to Greek in the New Testament. God automatically caused a challenge to be created by this language change. Now we have subjects written in Hebrew that must be connected correctly to subjects written in the Greek. Are any of these subjects meant to be joined? I believe firmly that they are.
I believe that God changing one word in two verses can provide a different perspective that opens an entirely new aspect of a subject. I believe God’s usage of “rhema” does not mean that Romans 10:17 is a completely different or new subject; but rather I believe that “rhema” only means that Romans is a narrowed more specific application or revelation of the broader “logos” subject. It could be very analogous to the general subject of screws. There are a wide variety of “screws” manufactured and sold in a hardware store. If I asked you to go to the store and buy us some screws to fix a project that we were working on, you would probably get us the wrong kind simply because I was not very specific in the type of screw to buy. I should be much more specific and say please go to the store and get us some inch and quarter stainless steel flat Phillip head wood screws. Now you know exactly what we need for the project and all the other screw types have been eliminated.
In other words I believe the Parable of the Sower is God stating that FRUIT is potentially found in “any” human heart by the entrance of the general Word (logos) of God. But, in Romans 10:17 God is specifically stating that a specific man’s “FAITH for salvation” is produced by the entrance of the very narrow specific and personal RHEMA application of God’s Word into their human heart. I believe the Rhema seed is a more in-depth and personal revelation of a specific type of the Word of God seed. This was very much like my example of the specific and personal “screw” type for our fix it project. Any screw might work but only one type would truly do the personal and specific job correctly. Let’s get into researching the differences between these two Greek words for “spoken words” also known as “spoken seed”.
I believe that there is a direct connection from the “logos” found in the parable to Romans 10:17 “so then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. Both are definitely teaching the exact same concept concerning God’s Word being spoken audibly and then being heard by humans. Perhaps you have already done a deep study on these two Greek words before. I believe that they both are essential to understanding the New Testament, faith, salvation and the Parable of the Sower. You are welcome to share what you have discovered about these Greek Words with me and with other readers if you would like in a comment.
I would love to go into every element about the differences between “rhema” and “logos” but that would take an entire book. I will try to summarize what I believe is important for this lesson in a few short paragraphs. I believe the Logos Word of God is more of a general seed type that can be spoken to all humans. Thus “logos” (seed) can appear in book form or sermon/spoken form which can be made available to anyone who chooses to read it or hear and listen to it. But, it appears to me from several scriptures that the “rhema” Word of God represents more of a personal seed type that can actually even activate “faith” for spiritual life.
For example, Luke 4:4 when Jesus was tempted by Satan to change “stones” into “bread”, Jesus said “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word/rhema seed of God”. God connects a human having spiritual “life” to receiving a special specific seed type called the “rhema” Word of God. This Word type (rhema) is compared to be like a natural food/bread and it is also implied to be very direct and personal only given to a specific individual or specified group. In other words someone feeding on God’s Word by hearing it personally does not cause any benefit to anyone else. Only the eater’s personal hunger can be satisfied while everyone else not feeding or hearing remains empty and therefore gains no benefit to cause life to be produced in them. Rhema appears to be a personal message spoken for a very special intentional designed purpose of producing or sustaining personal and individual life. I’ll give some more examples to help clarify this belief:
Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words (rhema) that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Joh 6:68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words (rhema) of eternal life.
Act 5:20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words (rhema) of this life.”
Here are three verses that contain the Greek word “rhema” used in conjunction with the Greek word G2222 (zoe) that is translated as “life”. The Greek word “zoe” represents a very specific type of spiritual life associated with God Almighty. All three verses convey the same basic truth that the “rhema” seed can produce life eternal in human hearts. First, John 6:63 is Jesus claiming that His spoken “rhema” words are a personal “life” (zoe) producing force. This appears to be related to the Parable of the Sower since His Seed Words (logos) planted in hearts potentially produce new life called “fruit” in some people. What makes it work in some and in others it does not produce? Could it be some did not take the logos seeds and make it personal rhema seed words? I believe that is true and we will find other confirmations as we continue.
Next, in John 6 verse 68 after Jesus asks the disciples if they wish to leave him also, they reply “Only you have the “rhema” of life. They appear in this wise answer to be making His Word (logos) seeds personal rhema to them. They spoke this while others in the hearing audience disregarded the spoken words, the disciples exemplify a much different attitude towards what was being spoken. This is so very important in understanding why some people produce “fruit” and others do not.
Finally, in Acts 5:20 an angel releases Peter and other disciples from prison and then commands them to go speak to the people the rhema of this life. Wow, this is really good stuff if you can begin to put it together with the Parable of the Sower. You see the rhema seed that causes this spiritual type of “zoe” life comes from the logos seed that was originally spoken in the parable. Something has occurred that we will get into more later that I believe changes the seed type from only being general “logos” seed to a specific personal life producing “rhema” seed. I’ll introduce one additional verse that will begin to confirm our understanding of this seed transformation process.
Joh 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word (logos) and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life (zoe), and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life (zoe).
According to Jesus believing in God through hearing the spoken logos seed appears to be a major part of allowing God’s connecting force that produces successful eternal life (zoe). You see in this verse it references the same logos seed G3056 that begins the process of sowing seeds. But, then Jesus connects the logos spoken to a requirement of human belief in God in order to be transformed out of the status of “everlasting death” into a new greater state of “everlasting life (zoe)” . Wow, this is great news for some and really bad news for some others. It places the entire responsibility of producing spiritual life on a human choice to believe and in the right attitude. To believe or not to believe, that is my choice and your choice.
We are going to go into this more when we begin to focus on the soil types in this series. But, I wanted us to begin to make the connections. The “fruit” in the Parable of the sower from one viewpoint represents people obtaining new spiritual “eternal life” that they did not possess before they received the “seed” and “believed”. Without “logos” seed being placed in the soil people were a dormant spirit and a spiritually dead piece of property that belonged to Satan. But God the Seed producer sowed logos seed into human hearts and these spiritually dead people have the ability to receive it and believe it to begin the process of beginning a new life of being saved out of Satan’s kingdom. Of course the fruit can also represent other additional spiritual truths simultaneously but this is certainly one that is essential to be understood. We will continue to dig deeper into this subject with a verse from Matthew spoken by Jesus:
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word (Rhema) that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Jesus makes an amazing statement in this verse. He is quoting a verse from Deuteronomy 8:3. I found this fascinating. Think with me if you will. Jesus is speaking the Word of God, yes? This is clearly the words that were written by the Prophet Moses in the Book of the Law. Therefore, Jesus must be quoting God’s “logos” written words. But, there is a major change taking place by His word selection to teach that this was also a reference to “Rhema” words.
In this statement Jesus takes literal natural bread which is very important for natural survival in this life and compares it to a far greater and superior substance inferring it to be like spiritual bread that produces spiritual life. This spiritual bread is called the Rhema Word of God spoken to us personally and received individually. This concept is very similar to the Old Testament type of manna (Exo 16:15) that came down to the children of Israel in the wilderness. The children of Israel were commanded daily to go out and take enough mana home to eat for that day and they then were required to go back tomorrow and repeat the same steps. This is an amazing natural pattern for Christians to follow in the spiritual realm today. Reading and studying God’s Word logos daily is us feeding our spirits on a force of power that brings to us spirit life (zoe).
This is actually an amazing truth to apply to the entire Parable of the Sower. Those that will produce new spiritual life/fruit will be those that continue in the Word of God daily. Those that do not produce any fruit will be those that hear the Word once or twice and forget it. We will get into this more later when we talk about the subjects of soils and the fruit. But, let’s continue to examine a few more verses that reveal the importance of transforming a logos seed word written or spoken to everyone into a rhema seed word that is personal.
Luk 1:38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (rhema). And the angel departed from her.
Again here is a quick confirmation that Words can be received as a special personal revelation. In verse 31 that I did not give you the angel tells Mary that she will conceive a son and this was also a logos prophecy written by God’s prophet in Isaiah 7:14. But, notice how this general and basic logos word written to everyone is being transformed into a personal rehma unveiling of truth to just one woman and then notice what occurs from it.
Do you understand the concept of what a “revelation” represents? A revelation in simple terms is basically the unveiling of a previously hidden message that was unable to be seen or understood clearly before it was revealed. The virgin birth of the Messiah was long before written down in a general logos form for every reader to receive, but no one really got it and it was completely unproductive to fulfill its purpose. It took this hidden God breathed logos word being spoken/planted at the right time to the right person in the right way in order for it to bring forth the right fruit.
Mary is receiving a God revelation spoken from an angel of an intense personal nature. Notice that the seed message is not to anyone else but to her alone. This makes it extremely individual and special. The message is also being brought to her in the symbolic form of a seed from God that will produce a new life on the inside of her “IF” she chooses to cooperate, believe and receive it. If we read the context we should discover a very important reason why this “seed” message from God represented a personal revelation that was successfully received to produce fruit. I do not have the time today to explain that last statement. But, it is true. We will hopefully dig into this part in the lesson on “fruit” to come.
After the angel told Mary that she would have a son, she asked him a very important question about how this would be possible seeing that she has never known a man. Obviously Mary understood how babies were made. The term “known” is a nice way of saying I am a virgin and virgins don’t have children. The angel of course explains how this will be possible and Mary says “Be it unto me according to your “Rhema”. Wow, this is so awesome. She obviously believed the God seed spoken to her and received this rhema seed into her spirit and the rest is history. These are very important concepts being spoken of about why some seed bring fruit success and others bring only fruit failure. Believing is one major factor for fruit success and understanding what was spoken is another.
Let’s take a look at a different opposing view of some people in the Bible that choose not to believe and not to understand a spoken Rhema Word from God that was delivered to them. Notice in these verses how the clear role of their lack of understanding caused the seed failure to occur:
Mar 9:31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
Mar 9:32 But they understood not that saying (Rhema), and were afraid to ask him.
Ok, in these two verses Jesus is speaking directly to his disciples and giving them a chance to understand a revelation of what is about to happen to him on the cross and his subsequent resurrection after 3 days. Verse 31 is clearly Jesus giving them some LOGOS seed even if it is not plainly stated that this is what it represents. But, notice in verse 32 God clearly states that the disciples did not understand the Rhema words that were being spoken (revealed) to them. Jesus is again uncovering a great hidden mystery to them personally. He has just taken the lid off of the most significant reason why He (GOD) had entered into this natural world in the likeness of human flesh. Yet these 12 men had no clue what was just opened to them personally because they did not choose to understand the Rhema word’s meaning. Instead they allowed a spirit of fear (from Satan) to take the seed away from their hearts. I have just crossed again into the introduction of the subject of the “wayside ground” element found in the parable and why this “tread on firmly packed soil” type did not produce any fruit. We can begin to see that it was Satan that came immediately as symbolic birds to eat the seed to cause it to be ineffective.
The disciples in these two verses are an amazing parallel example of how easy it is for Satan to steal away the Good God Seed that is being planted from a human. But, this time the crop failure occurred because they failed to ask Jesus to explain how this could be. They acted unlike a much wiser woman named Mary when she asked the angel how. I believe that a human must possess the passionate desire to understand God’s words spoken to them more than to remember or memorize words that have no personal meaning or application.
Understanding a personal spoken “Rhema” revelation from God appears to me to be a very important factor for obtaining faith and for producing fruit. It also appears to me that God is teaching us a very significant difference between general logos and the specific personal rhema Word seed types. Logos words are for everyone and anyone that choose to hear and ask to understand them and rhema words are specifically personal spoken words for one or only a few to also ask right wise questions. Logos words are generally given to produce faith for any listener that will take hold of the Seed and chooses to make it a rhema for them personally. And sometimes rhema words are targeted at specific individuals for a specific purpose at a very specific time. Always remember that no faith or no fruit occurs when the hearer did not fully understand what was spoken to them. Let’s look quickly at Matthew’s explanation of the parable of the sower describing “way side” soil that I just taught about for further confirmation to this truth:
Mat 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
Here in this verse of Matthew Jesus explains a very significant part of the “way side” soil type’s failure to produce “fruit”. It appears to me by the facts given that when a person hears the “logos” Word of God it is the easiest for Satan to steal it away from their heart and mind because of their choice to not “understand” what was spoken. We just learned that asking the right question can help overcome this lack of understanding. This same concept is true for any learning experience. A child in school can hear the teacher tell them about the subject but cannot make them understand it. For example, I struggled with algebra at first when I was in school. But, I chose to keep at it until it clicked on like a light bulb and this is when I really learned how to apply it.
Wow, this is really important to know. I believe that if a person hears the Word of God Logos or Rhema and does not understand them, then they better start asking God, the Bible teacher or someone with wisdom to help them and make the choice not to give up until the light bulb comes on. I further believe that when they do this they begin a process of making the Word Logos Seed spoken to them a personal Rhema word and not just a general statement of unimportance.
UNDERSTANDING BASIC SPIRITUAL SEED QUALITIES
I have gone a long time on this subject of the seed but I believe we should continue into a different point of view of it using a new Greek Word. The Greek word that is often translated as “seed” in the Bible is G4690. The transliteration of this Greek word is “sperma”. Yes, we get the English word sperm from this Greek word. The male sperm is a natural seed that is planted in a sexual union in the body of the wife to produce new natural human life. One perspective in the Bible describes this process as the two (male and female) becoming one flesh. I hope you can agree with this because the one male sperm cell (seed) joins with the one female egg cell (soil) and this union becomes an entirely new living person.
Another perspective in the Bible calls this sexual reproductive process as having “knowledge” of that person. I just spoke of this in the previous section when describing Mary having not “known” a man. Both of these realities of natural truth apply to the Parable of the Sower. Both descriptions are direct parallels to the spiritual concepts found in the Parable of the Sower. The same principles in the natural and the spiritual process came about by God’s design. Let’s move into reading the first verse in this section. This verse will begin to help us to understand why some seeds produce fruit and others do not:
1Jn 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed (G4690) remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
I am going to begin this section of the lesson on “seed” with this strange verse for us to read and study and then connect to the Parable of the Sower. This verse unveils some basic vital secrets that teach us why some seed work and produce new life in the symbolic soil and why some seed do not work to produce new life. I do want to emphasize repeatedly that the end result of the seed is to produce new life. A new life production is the goal either in the sexual union or the Parable of the Sower. If there is no “new life” then the spreading of the seed does not achieve God’s designed purpose.
Notice the terminology being revealed to us in this verse in 1st John. According to what we can clearly read God’s Seed potentially causes births the same as a human male’s seed can cause births. However, the “God kind of birth” is now a spiritual birth process for salvation. We certainly learned that God sent His word/seed to Mary through an angel and she became physically pregnant with the baby Jesus. We know that Jesus was born from this natural woman as a natural human male child even though his Father was the Holy God. Therefore we know that God’s word can produce a natural child if He desires. However, John chapter 3 describes a greater birth process that the Word of God can also produce. Jesus speaking to a man named Nicodemus and tells him “Except a man be born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God”. Jesus provides a spiritual law for the human entrance into God’s kingdom. Let’s quickly explore another verse concerning the Word of God:
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word (logos) of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Here is another confirmation of God’s primary goal of His Seed (Word). According to Peter through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we are born again not of corruptible seed (the human male sperm) but by the incorruptible (everlasting, ever living, immortal) seed called the Word (logos) of God. This is an amazing statement. The Greek word in this verse for seed is G4701 that literally means “a sowing”. The implied meaning of this word is an action that initiates “parentage”, “fatherhood”, “paternity”, “maternity”, “motherhood” or “parenthood”. Wow, did you get that? In natural terms this is a sexual relationship between husband and wife that produces children. Likewise, in spiritual terms it is the implied receiving of the Word of God that also produce a spiritual birth and a new child of God. I pray that you are receiving this. God is describing the intended purpose for giving us the knowledge of His Word (logos).
It is interesting to note that this Greek word G4701 used in 1 Peter 1:23 is only used one time in the entire Bible, but this word is derived from the Greek word G4687 that was directly used in the Parable of the Sower to describe the sowing seed process. No doubt we are on the right track to understand what Seed represents and its designed sovereign purpose. All of this may sound pretty tough to understand for some but Jesus explains how this is possible.
Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Joh 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Joh
3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Joh
3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Starting in John 3:3, Jesus begins to uncover the mystery of how a naturally born human can be born again without reentering their natural mother’s womb. He says “Unless a man is born of water (the natural mother birth process) and then be born of the Spirit (a spiritual mother birth process) he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God”. Jesus just described a dual birth requirement for being saved. The first was completely natural and the second is totally spiritual. One is a natural male sperm and natural female egg union and the other is the word (seed) of God being united with the human heart (soil).
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (zoe).
Continuing to read in John 3:16, Jesus says “ For God so loved the world that He gave his ONLY begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. The Greek word translated as “only begotten” simply means there was only one natural birth that occurred or will occur to be called “His Son”. According to the Bible no other naturally born children are coming from God. However, this does not mean there are no spiritual children resulting from the hearing and believing of His Word.
This is very significant information. Believing in God and His Son sent gives us a pathway to the never ending “zoe” life. This again is confirmation for the reason that every human born on this planet must choose to receive His Seed into their heart (soil) to allow it to produce a new spiritual birth and a new spiritual life. I just love the Word of God.
I am going to end this lesson here. We could continue on the subject of the seed for a very long time. There is just so much to learn about it. I truly have only scratched the surface. I hope you have learned something new to help you in your understanding of the Parable of the Sower and the purpose of us telling others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to plant God’s Seed into their hearts. This seed is designed by God to create new spiritual children of His kind. This spiritual seed planting activity has enemies and is not successful every time. But, this does not mean we stop trying.
If the Lord is willing, I may continue this series with a study of the fruit next. I believe this is the lasting goal of the seed and we have already seen that it points us to the Saving Grace of God. The fruit is the last potential positive element found in the parable. As I stated before the soil can be either good or evil making it changeable and variable. I love you all and appreciate your participation in this website. Please share it with a friend and help spread the Seeds of the Kingdom. God Bless you.
If you would like to continue studying in this series, please click “Part 4” now.
Is the Rapture of the Church Really Found in the Bible? Introduction to the Basics – Part 1
(Ver 1.4) This is Part 1 of a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”. I honestly do not understand why this is such a majorly controversial subject but I can only think that Satan does not want anyone to know the truth. There are generally speaking two categories of belief types on this subject. These two groups can be divided as those that believe in a rapture event and those that do not believe in a rapture event. Why anyone would not want to believe in rapture, I do not know. I think it would be like someone not believing in salvation. But, we have a very significant number of people in the world who call themselves Christians that do not believe in a rapture event. Then we have other people that believe in a rapture event but with contradictory predicted timings for the event. Therefore the believers of the rapture can be further divided into three sub-category group types. That leaves us with Christian rapture beliefs generally falling into 4 differing realms of categories. First, there are many Christians that believe in a pre-tribulation rapture event. Second, there are definitely some that believe in a mid-tribulation rapture event. Third, there are some that believe in a post-tribulation rapture event. Finally, the fourth group is those that simply state that there is no rapture event ever revealed in the Bible. Based upon these wide ranges of opposing beliefs we can easily conclude that many Christians are obviously deceived in the church today. I mean using only basic logic and probability outcome reasoning we can easily understand that the existence of 4 such diverse positions cannot all be the truth. Technically speaking all four position groups could potentially be in error and God’s truth could remain in still another category option 5 labeled as unknown, undiscovered or unrevealed. We must always be open to the reality that God’s truth needs to be discovered or we will potentially miss it while we stagnate in our current belief. Hopefully you can understand that the greatest enemy to knowing the truth is the belief that you have already discovered it. Here again are the four major belief categories concerning current known rapture beliefs:
- Pre-Tribulation Rapture – The belief that the church will be taken up prior to the initiation of the 7 year period of time called the great tribulation.
- Mid-Tribulation Rapture – The belief that the church will be taken up in the middle of the 7 year period of time called the great tribulation. The Tribulation period will last for 84 total months and somewhere around 42 months the church will be taken up from the earth.
- Post-Tribulation Rapture – The belief that the church will be taken up immediately following the end of the 7 year period of time called the great tribulation.
- No Rapture – The belief that the church will remain on the earth during the tribulation. Under this belief there are also several contradictory beliefs to what will occur to the church during the 7 year period known as the great tribulation. But I left them all in one group category for now.
As you should be able to see from the list of group types, they can be divided into two basic opposing antithesis beliefs of those that believe in a rapture event versus those that do not. Then as stated earlier those that believe in a rapture event can be further sub-divided based upon the expected occurrence of the event all surrounding the timing of the great tribulation revealed in the book of Revelation. We may also discuss in this series of lessons that the no rapture believers can be sub-divided into various details of what they believe will occur while they are here on the earth. There are probably at least 3 variations of beliefs in the no-rapture belief camp. In this series of Bible lessons we will attempt to explore every known belief and give reasons why each can either be confirmed or rejected as the truth. You see every sound Christian belief should not have any major contradictions in the scriptures when all verses on the subject are rightly divided and interpreted. God is the central author of the entire Bible and we should be smart enough to understand that God does not ever contradict Himself. If we believe that we have found a contradiction then we do not understand what is being stated.
Each side in this argumentative debate claims that the other sides are the ones deceived. Each side can also further claim that from their perspective if we could only clearly see the accuracy of what they are teaching from the Bible that we would be transformed to know the truth. Everyone can use the same argument to defend their points and this is the way that God designed the Bible to allow men the right to be wrong. Do you see the problem here? What is truth? Why can’t everyone see it?
WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DIFFERENT CHURCH BELIEFS ON RAPTURE?
Did you ever ask yourself why there are so many diverse interpretations of the Bible being taught by Christian churches on not just rapture but every subject found in the Bible? Atheists have a field day with that one bit of controversial information alone claiming this proves that Christianity is a foolish approach in life to take. Why are the Christians so divided lacking any harmony or unity in their beliefs? We really need to seek the truth and resolve why it appears that God has instigated a system of confusion in the modern church age. The early church did not start out in confusion but they also began in a much smaller number of 120 believers in the upper room being all in one accord (Acts 2:1). Since the Bible tells us that God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33) there must be another explanation for why there are over 3000 different church denominations existing in the world today. What caused the early church to drift from one body into a divided body?
The answer to those questions rests in us understanding the existence of Satan to deceive people and man’s carnally dominated mind that is easily deceived to believe in anything. Wrong beliefs are proportionally tied to the carnal nature of the human mind. The more carnally minded one is the greater number of wrong beliefs that are found to be present. The more spiritually minded one is the greater number of right beliefs are found to be present. Which type of Christian are you? Are you a very carnal Christian or a very spiritual Christian? Usually people are somewhere in the middle of those two ranges in a state of transition, hopefully growing more spiritual. Everyone that is a Christian begins as a carnal spiritual baby. As they grow and increase in the Spirit of God and the knowledge of the Written Holy Word of God they progressively achieve a level of greater spiritual maturity. I can usually look at your Facebook wall and tell very quickly where you fall in this range on the spiritual Christian growth chart. The more you post or are focused on the natural things of this world the more carnal minded you are. The more you focus on God the Father, the Holy Spirit, Jesus and the Bible the more spiritually minded you become. Where is your focus? It will determine what you can see and understand in the Bible whether you believe that or not.
In this lesson to begin we need to better understand the source for such diverse beliefs. Why are there so many contradictions where one person can see something totally opposite in the Bible than the other person can say is so very clear for them to see? I have observed this over and over in my experiences. One believer sees the rapture event so clearly and another believer cannot see it from the same verses. Why is that and how can we explain this phenomenon? Can you explain that? I’m not sure if I can explain it more clearly where you will easily understand it, but I will try. Many people believe that there is a contributing factor of deception that is at the root of the problem. I tend to agree with that belief. But what is deception, why does it occur, who causes it and who can be deceived? For example, the believers in the fourth category teach adamantly against the rapture beliefs found in the other categories calling them the false doctrine of “escapism” given to us from demons and Satan. However, every other group proclaims that they are the only ones that are completely correct and all of the other groups are the ones that are deceived. Every group has a basic set of scripture verses found in the Bible to help justify their positions. However, it is very easy to take several verses out of context and explain others away as something that is irrelevant to their stated belief position.
Deception is a very complex subject. No one that has ever been deceived knows or understands that they are deceived at any time. If they knew that they were deceived by their enemy they would more than likely abandon that false teaching very quickly. Many times hidden deception causes Christians to believe sincerely in their hearts that they are correct even while being sincerely wrong in their heads for what they believe. Do you understand heart beliefs are based upon your current level of Bible knowledge? Do you understand that you don’t know everything? In order to be 100% accurate in your beliefs you have to have 100% correct knowledge of the Bible and no one that I know qualifies for that except my God. Therefore, do you understand how wrong knowledge causes wrong beliefs? We could also say that the lack of correct knowledge causes people many wrong beliefs. The lack of correct knowledge is the main reason for what people ultimately say is the truth but actually is not. Most people teaching untruths or partial truths are teaching them believing that they are not falsehoods. This is why Christians need to confirm everything that anyone teaches by using what the Bible says with great precision and attention to every detail (Acts 17:11). Never believe me or anyone else without you seeing it in the Bible to confirm what is said. If you don’t see it then throw it away and keep moving forward with what you do see.
What I have just introduced you to in this section is the basic realities of the carnal nature versus spiritual nature of man. Every human is born as a carnal person naturally into the world and Jesus taught us that it was a necessary requirement for every carnal human being to be “born again” (John 3:3) spiritually in order to enter into the kingdom of God. The natural process of physical growth and maturity is given to us to teach us about the unseen spiritual process. These repeated patterns of how the natural works can uncover how things in the spiritual realm work. Spiritual growth is a very necessary requirement (1 Peter 2:2) according to God. This spiritual growth process helps us to explain why there are so many different beliefs existing in the church. Those that have grown in spiritual maturity can see things from a new mature perspective that a baby Christian cannot see or comprehend. As it is in the natural it is also the same in the spiritual. A 3 year old natural child cannot be found mature enough to make wise decisions on what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Well the spiritual food of God’s word is the exact same type of menu choices for baby Christians. Many baby Christians will fail to desire to eat their spiritual broccoli and steak in the Word of God. Baby Christians will stick with a diet of macaroni and cheese, cake and cookie scriptures and unless they learn to eat other verses that will help them to grow up spiritually strong. This is just how everything in the Bible works.
HOW TO CORRECTLY STUDY THE BIBLE ON RAPTURE
So which group of rapture/no rapture believer types do I choose to place myself? I think I have already given several clues to where I stand and I’ll say “I stand with God”. But, we will get into what the Bible actually says very soon. I also want to say that I never start studying the Bible by choosing a position first beforehand and then searching the Bible to prove that position is true. That is a very foolish approach to any correct Bible study. You can actually prove anything that you desire to find from the Bible because of God’s intentional design of the verses to provide man the right to be wrong in their beliefs. The Bible teaches us that the “carnal mind is an enemy of God” (Rom 8:7). Since every human starts out as a naturally dominated person we were all once called the enemies of God before we were saved (Col 1:21). God reveals to us in these two verses that man can have either of two opposing types of mindsets. One mind type is called the flesh, carnal or natural mind (Rom 1:28, Rom 8:5, Col 2:18) and the other opposing mind type we can call the spiritual or supernatural mind (Rom 8:27, 1 Cor 2:16, Eph 4:23). I seriously believe that these two opposing mind types are the root causes for why there are so many differing opinions on what the Bible means. We can also read about these two mind types in this verse in Romans:
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Ok, here is a secret from God being revealed. Why is it necessary for the human mind to be transformed and renewed? Did you understand my question and do you know what the answer is? I’ll tell you, mind transformation allows you to see the truth in His Word. Take the Greek word translated as “transformed” (G3339) and look up the definition in the Strong’s. It literally means “to change”, “to transfigure” or “to transform”. Then think of the story in the Gospels of the transfiguration of Jesus on the mount with Moses and Elijah. That story is an exact representation of what the Bible is teaching here. You see the Greek word G3339 is only used in those two scriptures in the N.T. We can find it being used for Jesus being changed into a supernatural being and you will find it here in Romans being referenced to Christian minds becoming the same type of spiritual being. Go and read the story of the transfiguration, it is actually a great lesson to learn from especially on the subject of the rapture. We will no doubt get there in this series at some time but probably not today. Just understand the link between transformation and transfiguration and keep that in your mind that this is what is happening as you learn the Bible.
There is an implied requirement for the supernatural to be present and applied in order to cause this transformation event to occur, but I won’t go there today. The Greek word G3339 definition also carries an association with a natural known process called “metamorphose”. Do you know what that means? Metamorphosis is a divinely created quality that is displayed in certain natural creatures like an ugly caterpillar being “transformed” into a glorious beautiful butterfly. Wow, that metamorphosis is the process that God is describing to us that needs to occur in our minds. God is saying “Take your old ugly carnal mind out of your natural gutter and renew it into the new beautiful spiritual way to think and learn to see what I have said to you in my Word”. This renewal process is not an instantaneous one-time event. You do not get zapped in your mind when you are saved and suddenly your mind can see everything in the Bible clearly. The lack of the completed mind renewal process is the primary reason that a Christian does not see the truth in the Bible like another Christian sees.
God chose to write the Bible in a way to give His children the blessed truth, but He also chose to keep these important truths from all of His enemies. How do you give one group the information that they need to know while keeping the information from another group using the same exact words on the page? I mean that concept fascinated me for a long time before God showed me what He was doing and how that He accomplished this task. I discovered that God uses a divine ingenious system of hiding information in the Bible. How does any government today keep a message secret from all of their enemies while allowing their friends to read it? They always write the message using a code. But, that is not exactly what God is doing here. You see the Bible is written in plain text words that are not encrypted to make them unreadable to God’s enemies. Any enemy of God can read the Bible and try to figure out what it says. I have alluded to this fact in many of my Bible lessons. Even though the Bible is not physically encrypted the information in it is spiritually encrypted using natural plain text words with clever plain text methods of information concealment. I call this God “Hiding the Truth in Plain Sight” and you can go and read some of these methods in that series. But, what God has done is extremely intelligent and what He has spiritually hidden from our natural minds in His Word can only be revealed in our spirits after we are saved by His indwelling Spirit living inside of us. This was a very clever method that God designed to keep the truth from His enemies and it is a very wise way to control access to important spiritual information. God comes inside of us to help us to understand His own word. Having the author of the Book on the inside is the clear advantage that we have over the unsaved world that will never know or understand what the Bible says unless they turn and repent.
Therefore, we must understand when we read and study the Bible that God intentionally designed it to prohibit the carnally minded human from observing what was intended to be revealed to only mature Christians. I know that this statement is not going to go over well with everyone that reads it. But, hopefully some will understand this explanation to why there are so many observable rapture theories in existence in the church? I have such a wide range of readers from the carnal, the very novice new Christians all the way to the advanced mature spiritual Christian, so I try to explain things so that everyone can understand what God is doing. At least I try to say things that can potentially help every group if they are open to receive it. God gives everyone freewill to find whatever truth that they want to seek in His word, whether it is right or wrong. For example, if you want to believe in abortion or homosexuality God permits you to find scriptures that justify in your mind the error of your beliefs, but He will eventually judge you for your foolishness.
If you do not understand spiritual maturity and spiritual growth then you will probably not understand why there are so many different variations of the rapture doctrine. We are all born-again as infant baby Christians when we accept Jesus as the Lord of our life. However, spiritual growth is not guaranteed. A born-again baby Christian is usually one that is very sense realm, fleshy or carnally dominated in their thoughts, emotions and actions. The opposite of a baby Christian is one that has grown to maturity and they are usually spirit and Word of God dominated and controlled ignoring their senses. How do you grow up spiritually from one to the other?
1Pe 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
We must drink the milk of God’s Word. The milk represents the basic subjects in the Bible as revealed in 1 Corinthians 3:2 where Paul told the church I fed you milk and not meat because you were unable to handle it. Paul was telling the church they needed to grow up spiritually and become meat eaters. Just as a natural new-born child cannot eat any solid food, a new born spiritual baby Christian is unable to comprehend the deep complex subjects of God. Meat subjects represent the complex Bible lessons like I try to teach. God is informing us of the existence of many different levels of knowledge in His Word. The rapture of the church is one of those meat subjects in the Bible and those that are milk drinkers cannot eat it or they will choke. Now are you seeing why there are so many different teachings on the subject of the rapture?
PRESUMPTIVE ASSUMPTIONS USUALLY RESULT IN ERROR!
Presumption is one of the greatest errors found in modern Bible study. Entering into a Bible study with any pre-established beliefs and predefined expectations of the truth will almost always cause all of the other perspectives in the Bible to be blocked from your spiritual view. I call this type of Bible Study, “Tunnel Vision Bible Study” or “Bible Study Wearing Blinders”. Do you understand what blinders are? Blinders are placed on a horse or an animal to keep them narrowly focused. It restricts the vision while forcing the attention on what is desired. Well this is what is occurring in many Christians today. Think of it like this; when a crime detective enters a crime scene they usually try to come into the situation without any prejudices or pre-conceived assumptions of the truth. They should always let the evidence found on the scene point them to the truth and not the other way around. Wow, do you understand why this is an important concept to apply to our Bible study? Take a bloody crime scene with a dead body lying on the floor found with a gun their hand. If an investigator came into the scene already looking for a specific cause for example assuming a suicide this approach would automatically skew or narrow their viewpoint with suicide blinders to ignore all the other possible murder facts. If they came into the same crime scene with murder blinders on, they would automatically miss or omit any suicide truths staring them in the face. These same principles apply to Bible study, if you come into the Bible wearing a set of “no rapture” blinders you will just automatically miss all of the relevant truths that might be presented on a rapture event and vice versa.
These are all very important statements of truth that I have just taught you, so do not ignore them. A truth seeking student of the Bible must lose all of their prejudice and every pre-conceived thought of human knowledge and reasoning in order to be open to be shown the actual spiritual truth by the Spirit of God. God says in His word “Your thoughts are not my thoughts and your ways are not my ways” (Isa 55:8). Therefore entering into correct Bible study is us choosing to leave our old thoughts and our old ways behind us so that we can remove our blinders to see God’s superior ways clearly. Too many times learning the real spiritual truth involves us unlearning some old carnal things that we only thought was the truth. The human mind is very analogous to an empty pitcher for water concept at birth. When we are born physically into the world we enter with zero knowledge of any truth. Thus the baby human is void of all knowledge needing to be filled with correct information. As we grow in knowledge the human mind pitcher fills with information both good and bad. Take this analogy back to the “renewing” or “transformation” mind process described to us by God that we looked at earlier. A major part of this renewal process is us taking out the old bad information to replace it with the new good spiritual information of God. This would be like a person emptying a pitcher of the old stale substance in order to refill it with something new and fresh that is tastier. What you once thought was tasty truth, is potentially blocking the Spirit of God from speaking to you to open the new truth to get it into your mind pitcher. Quit trying to mix the new spiritual word of God with the old concepts of the natural. Just empty your mind of what you thought of this subject before and then continue to read and study this subject going forward. When I started the study, I chose to empty my mind to what I thought about the truth and I simply prayed and asked God to show me His truth, no matter what it was. Having this attitude allows the Holy Spirit to guide us into what we need to know. As you continue to read this lesson I would recommend that you do the same. Ask God to help open your mind to see what it is that you need to change or eliminate in order to see His spiritual truth.
IS THERE A RAPTURE FOUND IN THE BIBLE?
So since I have already done this Bible study and now I am simply writing it down for you to read, I can tell you that I am a firm believer in the pre-tribulation rapture event based upon many clear scriptures that I will use to teach how God revealed this to me. This lesson will be what the Spirit of God showed me that the Bible says on the subject of “Does the Bible say anything about a rapture event”. If you are open to His Spirit with a cleared mind He should confirm what I will teach you about this subject of the soon coming of Jesus Christ for the removal of the church.
I will begin this Bible lesson by agreeing “strongly” with the fourth group of “no rapture” believers that the word “rapture” is technically not found anywhere in the Bible. However, the absence of a modern theological term in the Bible does not eliminate the underlying foundations of the ideas, the concepts, the principles, the patterns and the message behind the modern term. Do you understand what I just said? Let me try to rephrase it in case you missed it. The non-inclusion of the word “rapture” in the Bible does not prove that the ideas behind the rapture are not clearly taught to us using other synonymous words, symbolism, types or any of the other methods of God’s authorship to encrypt or hide His spiritual information from obvious view in the Bible. In fact now that I have studied this subject, I believe that you can find the concepts of the rapture hiding in the book of Genesis and proceeding all the way through the book of Revelation.
Why do modern theological terms and titles exist today like the word “rapture” if it is not found in the Bible? Modern theological titles are simply given to complex spiritual subjects to assist the Bible teacher in teaching them. By assigning a single name or a label to a subject it makes the subject more quickly understandable, more concisely communicable and infinitely clearer to what you are speaking when you teach. Therefore, assigning a simple label is not a foreign concept but a technique that is found today in every wise teacher’s toolbox. You can go into almost any advanced math classes and see them speaking of many terms that have been invented in modern times to help the student understand the complex subject being taught. Take for instance the term “Analytic Geometry”, this terms specifies a specific type of the whole knowledge and restricts the course to only this information necessary to understand this subject. This is not rocket science people. That is all that the word “rapture” is doing by helping the teacher to restrict the subject discussion to a very specific branch of knowledge found in the Bible. Don’t get distracted by the absense of the word “rapture” in the Bible to miss the most important concepts behind the word.
Take the concept of math again and find it in the Bible. The Bible certainly contains math and mathematical concepts throughout the text. However the word “math” is never found anywhere in the Bible. Uh oh? What are we to do here? Are we to conclude that math is a false teaching originating from demons? That is basically what people are doing with the rapture. The absence of a modern theological word from the Bible does not prove that the doctrine behind the label is not an absolute truth. If that was the case then the existence of the “trinity” would be another false church doctrine. The existence of “demons” would clearly need to be eliminated from modern church teaching. Any church teaching against “abortion” or “homosexuality” would also have to be removed from our church doctrines. Finally, other eschatological concepts like the “millennium” and the “2nd Advent” would also need to be eliminated from all church teaching. None of these modern theological words that I have just mentioned occur in the Bible anywhere, however God says a lot about every one of them in the scriptures using many illustrative and creative descriptions.
I’ve heard “no rapture” preachers teach several different variations to what they believe will occur. Some say that Christians will be protected from the coming destruction on the earth during the seven year time of great tribulation like Noah was protected when God destroyed the world using a flood. Others teach that Christians will be treated the same as all of the other people on the earth and endure the great hardship equally with the unrighteous people on the earth. Some others teach that it is the evil unrighteous people that will be taken off of the earth and they call this the true rapture. I find that that teaching very bizarre that God would rapture non-believers and leave the believers to kill them. That teaching sounds satanic to me and I’ll bet Satan uses that one to help describe where all the righteous people have gone. These teachers attempt to equate Satan’s persecution of the church to be corresponding to God’s judgment during the tribulation. They try to say if the early church was put in prison, beaten and killed in the book of Acts then why, would we think that we are better than them now to not have to endure the exact same thing during the end of the church age. However, I cannot find any verse in the Bible where God judges a righteous man. I only see God as the deliverer of the righteous, our savior and our redeemer. Then inversely I only see God as being the judge of the unrighteous in the Bible. You do understand the difference between the righteous and the unrighteous, don’t you? The primary problem with this logic is that the persecution of the early church was not the work of God. Persecution in the early church was the work of Satan trying to keep the work of God from spreading. There is a major difference in who is attempting to bring death upon a man. If it is Satan you can fight that and win, but if it is God, you are done for. During the great tribulation it will be God judging the unrighteous and not the righteous and we will learn this as we continue to go through the scriptures.
RAPTURE DEFINED FROM THE DICTIONARY
Let’s begin by just searching for a basic definition of the word rapture and use that information to enlighten us for the remainder of this lesson. Since the word rapture can be found in the modern dictionary the concepts behind the word must have originated from someone somewhere. We need to understand what the word means in order to know what the possible synonyms might be that we need to search for in our Bible. I went to the internet and found these definitions of the word rapture:
Rapture: The transporting of a person from one place to another, especially to heaven.
Rapture: The English derivative of the Greek word RAPTURO, which means “to be removed quickly.”
Rapture: The act of carrying, or fact of being carried, onwards; force of movement
These were three definitions that caught my attention. I have found these concepts and definitions very interesting and informative. It sounds like the old Star Trek show principle of being “transported” from one location like the surface of a planet up to the ship Enterprise orbiting above. In this old TV show this process was being referred to as a type of “Beam Up” procedure or process. I believe that this is the message being revealed and the concepts being observed in the definition of the word “rapture”. If you have never seen the Star Trek shows that is really not a problem; however, just learn how the devil took a God concept to use it to make the Bible concept seem less spectacular, divine and more natural. Let’s review quickly the Star Trek concepts of being transported up. Here was a fictitious human machine that would take a person’s existence, life and body and instantly change their current location to a new 3-dimensional location. However if you ever watched the TV show you will understand that the people being transported were never involved in making it happen. The power of the machine that would transport a person was external and outside of the realm of influence of the human being moved. In other words no human power was involved in making it happen. In the Star Trek show the person that controlled the power of the machine in the star ship was the only one that could transport anyone from the surface of the planet. This also means that this person in control of the machine could take out anyone, even if they were not expecting to go yet. Why am I comparing a fictional TV show to the Bible event called the rapture? I believe that whatever God has created or will do that Satan will try to pervert it, disguise it, and duplicate it to make it seem absurd. Let’s look at another online reference found in Wikipedia to the rapture:
The Rapture is a term in Christian eschatology which refers to the “being caught up” discussed in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, when the “dead in Christ” and “we who are alive and remain” will be “caught up in the clouds” to meet “the Lord”.
Here we have found a reference to at least one scripture verse and we have another synonymous term to consider and place in our vocabulary. So far we have “transport” and “caught up” and both of those are similar to the Star Trek concept of being beamed up to the ship. There is a definitive implication found in the information in the definitions of the word “rapture” that it means a “taking of people by force or power” to relocate them physically. Let me give you a list of possible synonymous terms that could apply to this basic foundational concept found in the word rapture.
- Transport Up/Out/Away
- Caught Up/Out/Away
- Taken Up/Out/Away
- Catch Away
- Gathered Up/Out/Away
- Seize Up/Out/Away
- Pluck Up/Out/Away
- Pull Up/Out/Away
- Extract Up/Out
- Convey Away
- Remove Up/Out
- Snatch Up/Out/Away
- Depart Up/Out/Away
- Ascend Up/Away
I believe these are all valid phrasings for synonymous terms of the word “rapture”. I could use any of these phrases in place of the word “rapture” and the message would be interchangeable. Why is it important to understand that there are so many ways to say the exact same thing? It is primarily because God does this frequently in the Bible. Using several different synonymous words is a great way to hide information for you to find. You see many of the “rapture” critics believe it is a false teaching simply because they have not read any obvious scriptures to support it. They claim that it requires at least 2 or 3 confirming scriptures to establish a church doctrine of truth and I totally agree with that statement. However, two different witnesses in a court case can say the same thing using many different words and descriptions and both can be describing the exact same event from their perspective of view.
Let me give you a quick example of what I am saying. When I was a young man walking home from high school as I usually did, I noticed two very young boys up ahead of me on the same side of the road as I was walking. They appeared anxious and wanted to cross the street to get to the other side, but there were cars coming in both directions. Suddenly one boy thought the street was clear as the last car on his side of the road passed by and started running to cross to the other side. This child could not see what I could see. I could see the oncoming car that he could not observe because of the car that had just passed on his side was blocking his view. Well the oncoming car hit the boy and traffic immediately stopped. The boy lay in the road badly hurt. The driver that hit him never saw him run in front because he also was blocked from the children’s view by the cars in the oncoming lane. Well everyone had a different perspective of the same event and everyone could be a witness to it in court. But we would all be describing it from much different view points than the other witnesses. Do you understand what I am saying? God’s witnesses many times use different perspectives to the same events. Because they are worded slightly different does not prove that they are not all accurate and that they are not all true.
We are going to have to use a level of intelligence to see that each witness is describing the same event even though what was said was not exactly using the same words. I probably did not do justice to all of the possible synonyms for the word rapture. If you can think of others that are also valid please share them with me and I will add them to the list.
BIBLE RAPTURE BASIC CONCEPTS
Since we have two basic opposition positions for the existence of a rapture event we need to learn what the Bible actually says on the subject. Learning the very basic concepts of any subject always logically precedes learning any of the advanced information on the same subject. So that is where we are going next with the rapture Bible study to find the simple truth basics. Jesus taught us many of these basic truths in the Gospels, but we need to find them first, understand those second and then we need to learn how to apply them correctly to the subject of the rapture last. I taught you in other lessons that correct Bible study is like a complex puzzle solving process. Therefore, in order to view the correct big picture on the rapture subject we need to make sure that we have gathered, organized and put together all of the smaller detail type of puzzle pieces together correctly. We will transition into fact gathering mode and not jumping into any conclusions at this initial phase of the study. We are going to back up to view one of the very basic Bible themes taught by Jesus consistently first and then use that evidence to help our Bible interpretation of the existence of any coming detailed rapture information. We are going to let the Bible interpret itself, before we decide if the rapture is not found in the Bible or attempt to place the timing of the rapture correctly. What we will be looking for are hidden patterns in the statements of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you do not understand the concepts of patterns then that is probably one reason why you don’t believe in the rapture. A pattern is simply a description using words other than the direct mention of a subject but still conveying the general message of the subject. Let’s review some Bible basics taught by Jesus:
Mat 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Here for example, Jesus makes a strong recommendation to everyone. Jesus, speaking prophetically said that most of the world will choose to follow in a wide path to their own destruction and that only a few will find the narrow path that leads them to life. Therefore we can clearly see the existence of two possible outcomes based upon the determining factor of the personal human freewill choice being selected. These two eventual outcomes were either life or destruction and those that find life are not destroyed and those that are destroyed miss out on life. But, let’s take that statement into context with what Jesus was talking about. Jesus was making a clear separation between two antithesis groups of people/humanity. Does this concept sound familiar? Are you looking for rapture patterns? What exactly is rapture? From what I have learned studying the subject, rapture is the taking of a select group of people from a larger group of other people that are left. The raptured group’s results are much different than the group that are left. What Jesus was describing to us here in Matthew 7:13-14 is the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous people in the world using a pathway symbolic analogy. The righteous are therefore, following a path to obtain life and the other unrighteous are following a path to an end of destruction and death. Uh oh? What about that pattern? Take that very basic scriptural information and apply it to the two main stated positions on the rapture. The “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” group claims that the righteous will be taken out prior to all of the death and destruction about to occur in the 7 years of great tribulation. The other group of “No-Rapture” believers primarily teaches that the righteous will be found to be present during the death and destruction being poured out on the world during the 7 years of great tribulation. Which position or belief conforms more precisely to what Jesus was teaching us in the pathway illustration? Are the righteous Christians, going to go through the great tribulation to experience death and destruction or are the righteous removed from the coming death and destruction to obtain their life everlasting? Wow, I pray that you are awake!
Maybe we need to do a quick overview study on the book of Revelation first. You see the horror, terror and death described to us in this book during this 7 year time period from chapter 4 until chapter 19 is so strong that it can clearly be associated with only mass destruction. From how I read the book, I can see very few individuals during this time that will obtain this salvation or life. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying; there is the mention of 144,000 witnesses and others that will be martyred in Revelation. But I believe that these people that are mentioned are those that thought they were Christians but have been left behind and suddenly realized too late that that they were wrong. Jesus actually teaches us another very important parable to consider, reflect upon and to relate into our study:
Mat 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Mat 25:2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
Mat 25:3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
Mat 25:4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
Mat 25:5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
Mat 25:6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Mat 25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
Mat 25:8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
Mat 25:9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
Mat 25:10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Mat 25:11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
Mat 25:12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Mat 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
This is such a great passage to study. It has so many deep things from God hidden in it that it will amaze you when you can see them. Reading the Bible is never studying the Bible, but studying the Bible does involve some reading. One of the keys to understanding any verse is to look up the original language definitions of the words given. This is a tremendous mistake to assume that you understand what a word means and then walk away with the incorrect meaning believing you are correct. That is one of the easiest ways that deception can occur. I actually want to talk about the last verse first. This verse gives us a very basic truth. Jesus said I’m coming but you will not know when I come. Using this information we know that Jesus will return at a time that we do not fully comprehend. Ok, using that information how can anyone say that Jesus will return for us at the end of the tribulation or at the middle of the tribulation? Both of these belief positions are at pre-determined set times. We understand that the total length of the tribulation is a 7 year set period of time. This was called the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy. If the rapture occurs 3.5 years or 42 months after the beginning everyone would know when the rapture would occur and be ready for it. That does not fit the parable does it? The same is true for the post tribulation belief. After 7 years or 84 months of tribulation everyone still alive would instantly know when the rapture would occur. Both of these belief positions are very weak when compared with scriptures like the foolish/wise virgins.
My next point that I would like to make is God’s usage of one very specific Greek word that I found absolutely essential for us to see. The Greek word G1831 is used twice in this parable in verse 1 and verse 5. This word from the Strong’s definition has the following meaning:
From G1537 and G2064; to issue (literally or figuratively): – come-(forth, out), depart (out of), escape, get out, go (abroad, away, forth, out, thence), proceed (forth), spread abroad.
This is a very interesting Greek word originating from two other Greek words. The first Greek root word means origin as in the point where motion or actions proceeds (from or out). The second Greek root word means to “come” or “go”. Combining these two words together gives us the possible meanings in the Strong’s definition as “escape”, “get out”, “go forth”, “go out”, etc. Does any of this sound like the synonymous terms for rapture to you? Isn’t that what the “no rapture” group is criticizing the other rapture believers for buying into the doctrine of “escapism”? Any time you can escape from danger, peril, jeopardy, hazards, traps, evil, death or destruction you have been delivered from it. I am not going to teach you the entire parable of the 10 virgins today, because I do not have that much time. We are just going to look for keys and patterns to understanding the existence of the rapture in the Bible.
For the next point I would like to say that this teaching of the 10 Virgins by Jesus does not match with the previous teaching where Jesus said wide is the path and many there are that will go that way. Therefore we are either viewing two different events or two different perspectives of the same event. Here in this parable Jesus is again comparing two groups of contrasting people but here He divides them into two equal halves. Therefore we do not have a direct match to what Jesus was talking about in the path analogy. In the 10 Virgin Parable, both groups are called virgins and start out with the same identical oil and lamps, but 5 of them run out of oil and miss the coming of the Lord. There is still a division that takes place between two groups, but these cannot be the righteous and the unrighteous. I see this parable as speaking only about Christians and the saved church. Christians are called the light of the world by Jesus (Mat 5:14). If you read the book of Revelation chapter 2 when Jesus talks to the 7 churches He mentions candlesticks twice. One mention in verse 1 is a symbolic reference to the 7 churches with each being a candlestick light to the world. Then in Verse 5 Jesus warns one church at Ephesus to beware or their candlestick will be removed. Did you get the symbolism? The removal of a candlestick is symbolic of the removal of a light. What did Jesus say in Matthew? Jesus said you are the light of the world. Do you also see the symbolism being repeated in the 10 Virgin Parable? The running out of oil causes the lamp to go out. The parallels are very significant here and I pray that you see them.
According to what we read from Jesus, he said the righteous will find life, we should be able to conlclude logically that in the 10 Virgin parable these were all saved Christians at one time but that half of them made foolish choices to run out of oil and missed the coming of the Bridegroom to enter into the wedding feast! Consider the fact that all 10 virgins are waiting and looking for Christ to come. What does that teach us? Are we looking for Christ to come or for the anti-Christ to come? If the church was going through the tribulation then they would be looking for the coming anti-Christ and not the coming of the actual bridegroom Christ. This pattern found in the 10 virgin parable only fits with a pre-tribulation expection rapture event and no other belief works. Using this parable the pre-tribulation coming of the bridegroom is the only possible harmoneous belief that can be possible. Every other belief of a post-trib, mid-trib or even a no rapture belief will not fit with the parable pattern information given. Wow, these are such important patterns to decode. Spend time in researching them. Figure out what the oil represents symbolically. Let’s keep moving and continue to learn some more kingdom of heaven simple basics taught by Jesus:
Mat 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
Mat 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
Mat 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
Mat 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
Mat 13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
Mat 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Jesus repeatedly taught the concept of separation and division between two opposing groups. Here again in this parable is a lot of truth that contains many of the puzzle pieces but not the complete picture diagram of the whole subject. Jesus just said that the wheat will be “gathered” into His barn but that the tares will be burned (destroyed) with fire (Mat 13:25-30). I want you to notice the basic concept taught to us here in these verses. I also want you to ignore figuring out the timing for this for now. There is a definite subject of “gathering” that takes place by the reapers. “Gathered Up” is a synonymous term from our list for a type of rapture. The reapers gathering in their crops to harvest is the basic premise being communicated symbolically and it is mentioned twice here. Can we at least agree that the concept given sounds like a type of rapture? It does to me whether you choose to see it or not.
If you read the verses closely you will notice a very distinct problem emerging. These verses say that the tares will be gathered “first” before the wheat is gathered into the barn. Of course we will talk about this in more depth later because these verses are often used by the “no rapture” teachers to prove that the wicked tare people rapture (gathering) must occur first before the good righteous wheat people are gathered from the earth. However, that is simply one common misunderstood position or one erroneous interpretation of misapplied information but that is not the entire truth on the subject. We are required to balance all of the facts and not just try to take some limited information and make them more important than any other information on the subject. Just try to learn the concept basics right now and then we will try to figure out the details later.
Mat 13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
Mat 13:38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
Mat 13:39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
Mat 13:40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
Mat 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
Mat 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
If you read closely the explanation of the parable in Matthew 13:37-43 you will surely see more of the basic symbolism being defined. We can learn from the description that Jesus was the sower of the good wheat seed. We further learn that the enemy Satan was the sower of the tare seed. Jesus teaches us that the wheat represents one good group of people and that the tares represent a distinct separate evil group of people all growing together in the same field (the world). The group of wheat represents the saved righteous people in the church and the other tares that are destroyed in the fire are the wicked unrighteous people of the earth. Which group are you in? I’m wheat myself. Therefore, I’m not ever burned. Ok, the harvesters we are informed are the angels of God. Then in this discourse Jesus also says that this event being described occurs at the end of the world. Uh oh? When is that? I believe that this is referring to the end of the millennium also called the prophesied 1000 year long day of rest when the righteous rule the earth. Therefore, this description given by Jesus cannot be talking about a pre-tribulation rapture event. Did you know that is so very true and that I totally agree with that statement? This is exactly why many of the “no rapture” teachers teach that there can be no rapture until the end of the world comes and the wicked are removed from the earth first. However, that is where I depart from their erroneous theory.
You see they are neglecting to understand that there can be more than one rapture event in the Bible being described. Anything that God can do once, God can do as many times as He desires. If you study the Bible correctly you will find that there have been at least 4 or 5 rapture events that have already occurred and we will list them in detail later as we study. Then we must understand that there will be coming 2, 3 or more rapture events that must still come to pass and that these are all separate and distinct events occurring at different set times. Therefore, Jesus here in this lesson is speaking and describing one rapture event that cannot be mixed with any another rapture event but it does help us prove that they can occur for God’s purpose. You see if one “rapture” is possible at any time then more than one is also highly possible. Are you God? Some Bible teachers think they are God. They try to tell God what He can and cannot do and they sound like fools doing that. So understand this concept, there has been several rapture events that have already occurred and there are more yet to come. Do not get into a single threaded interpretation of all events being the same event. What we must do is to see all of the facts and not just take one truth attempting to make it the whole truth. What Jesus just described cannot be a description of the pre-tribulation rapture event, but that still does not mean that there is not one of those that can still occur. Did you hear what I just said? Is your brain engaged in this study and have you learned anything so far? We are still studying the basics of the subject and I just gave you some very important clues to learn from. Let’s continue with another set of basic information from Jesus:
Mat 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
Mat 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
Mat 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Here is a set of popular scripture verses describing another rapture type of event. The term being described here is again called a “gathering” of the nations. Remember that term and then understand that it is the exact same key word phrase (G4863) of “gathering” given to us in the parable of the wheat and tares. Here God is using a different type of symbolism to describe some very similar concepts. “Gathering” wheat or sheep is the same general act of power and force. Neither the sheep nor the goats make a request to be gathered or to be separated from each other and these acts occur outside of the realm of their influence or control. Do you understand how these very basic principles being described are similar to a rapture event? These are clear divinely originated plans from God not originating from any man. The act of separating the sheep from the goats is practically identical to the separation of the wheat from the tares. The concept parallels between these two descriptions are outstandingly similar and are linked together by God’s choice of the same Greek word translated as “gathered”. What we are observing is God’s usage of a synonymous word for rapture. It is described to be a gathering together as well as a separating from. Both of these acts occur simultaneously by God’s design. We have just reviewed some of the very basic information on rapture revealed and taught by Jesus in the Bible. I do not know why you would read these verses and not believe that rapture is possible even if you do not yet understand all of the timings of any of the rapture events.
Thank you for your time in reading this first lesson in the series about the rapture. We have really only touched on some very introductory basics but in doing this I believe that I have also introduced you to several new things to consider. I believe that we need to begin to understand that there is more than one possible rapture event that could occur. You see many read the Bible and only see one event and think that is the only event. Take for instance the flood of Noah. This is widely taught as a universal flood that wipes out all life except for those in the ark. However, reading in Genesis 1 we should be able to see that there was another universal flood that was also mentioned. What we learn is that God uses repeated patterns in the Bible. Patterns are a widely used concepts displayed throughout the Bible. What God has done before is typically what God will cause to happen again. We learn this concept from verses like Ecclesiastes 1:9. We need to fully learn how God operated in the past in order to understand how God could possibly operate in the future. Please come back and read the next lessons in this series. We will cover a lot more imformation that is critical to understand. God Bless you until then!
If you would like to continue the study of this subject you may go to “Part 2” now.
Understanding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues. Part 2
(Ver 1.2) Today’s lesson is Part 2 in an advanced Bible study series about one of the most potentially controversial subjects in the New Testament Bible of “Understanding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues”. If you read the first lesson then you already understand that these lessons will be very different types of Bible teachings than what you might have expected when you started reading. However, I believe that the first lesson was a really good introduction to the topics and that it was certainly firmly based upon what the Bible says on the subjects. If you did not get to read Part 1, I would highly recommend that you go back and start there because it contains the basic foundational information for everything else that comes after it. To ignore it, would be like someone attempting to take a very advanced math course in college without first sitting through the basic math course prerequisites. I guess you can tell that it has been a long time since I posted any Bible lessons. I would love to tell you that I was on vacation, but that would not be correct. Satan has been attacking my family for the past several months in many new creative ways. I guess Satan is just not happy with anyone sharing the Gospel truth for free to everyone on the internet. Some people think that ministers of the Gospel never have any problems but that is not Biblical. Paul was beaten five times with 40 – 1 lashes, three times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, was in ship wrecks 3 times and on and on I could go. A real minister’s life is not a life free from opposition. Satan is still alive and well in the world trying to kill us all. I would appreciate your prayers whenever the Lord places us upon your mind. I greatly appreciate your efforts in Bible study and the loyal time that you spend reading my website. Thank you for everything!
In the first lesson I introduced the subject by providing some very straightforward definitions for the Greek words “tongues” and “baptism” and introduced some brand new Bible study concepts and methods on how to approach the subject research. I have attempted to outline that the steps for correct Bible study is like solving a very complex jigsaw puzzle with a sequence of logical phases and processes to follow and I really hope that everyone fully grasped those concepts. I continued this Bible study by searching for every occurrence of the Greek word G1100 translated as the English word “tongues” and I believe that this is always an important first step to any Bible Study. Then I analyzed the information given in each of these verses within their context of the surrounding verses to learn what they say and how they apply. I know I did not include every one of those 47 verses in that first lesson, but that would have caused me to write an entire literal book in one Bible lesson and that lesson was already the longest lesson that I have ever done on this site. Fortunately 47 verses are not very many verses to read and to study and we will get to several more of these verses as we continue later in this series. Today’s lesson will be a more in-depth study of the subject verses found in the first two chapters of Acts along with several new verses on the subjects from other books of the Bible in the New Testament.
The key to understanding any subject in the Bible is always dependent upon us searching, finding, reading, assembling and studying every verse in the Bible that contains it, references it, describes it, defines it, or even implies it indirectly. I call this becoming a Sherlock Holmes type of Bible study Christian. This change in attitude to become a Bible detective causes us to look for every hidden clue in every verse that we can find. It causes us to have to assemble all of the facts and then to put them together correctly like the puzzle. It is a very complex and detailed oriented approach to try to see everything that God has revealed in His Word and this is why so many fail to understand the Bible. If we do not make this type of diligent search effort to perform these detailed study discovery steps, we will end up with a very limited scope of selective theological knowledge based more upon our human ignorance of the subject rather than on the full revealed truth of God’s Word. Limited knowledge of any subject in the Bible is a basic reality for every Bible student both novice or experienced. I heard this analogy of the Bible the other day and it warrants repeating in this lesson. The Bible is not a book of word trail mix that we can select from and eat only the words that we like and then ignore the words that we do not care for or do not want to believe in. This is why it is essential to learn to eat the entire package of God’s word. You still can only do this by taking one bite at a time.
We all begin to study the Bible because we desire to overcome our human ignorance. The primary problem with having limited knowledge is that this will always result in a discriminatory doctrinal teaching that lacks the important completeness and uniform scriptural balance of the subjects. If anyone of us knew everything in the Bible on a specific subject we would not need the Bible, Bible teachers or the Holy Spirit to help guide us into knowing His wonderful truth. Only after learning the whole truth can we eliminate our ignorance enough to understand a subject but until then we all still need to study to find some more clues to munch on. Do you desire to become a true Bible study detective? I hope that you do! Taste and see that the Lord is good. Let me go through one more analogy of Bible study before we get into the subjects of “tongues” and “baptism”.
Learning the truth is comparable to climbing a very tall mountain like Mt Everest. We all start out at the same bottom ground level of Truth Mountain in absolute ignorance not knowing anything about what waits ahead of us to learn or how difficult the climb might become. As the Holy Spirit guides us up the mountain side and we study to learn the subject, we are attempting to rise to the higher informed spiritual level of the information presented. This is what God calls “renewing your mind” (Eph 4:23) with a new spiritual perspective of how God understands the subjects. Mind renewal is nothing but a transformation from your old carnal way of thinking to see the spiritual point of view of God’s hidden information. We will all struggle during the climb and each will need to possess spiritual, mental and physical endurance in order to climb this complex truth mountain; taking it step by step learning every new fact that we can grasp. If we do not tire or give up and quit along the way simply because we think that we have arrived at all of the truth that we need to know, then we will all eventually rise to reach the summit peak of truth and thus for the first time achieve the same uniform complete view of the entire subject. Until we all reach this summit peak of complete knowledge and understanding, we each will have our own limited perspective view of the subject from the side of the mountain that we have chosen or were hopefully led to climb up on. This is exactly why there are currently thousands of Christian denominations today in the world with every one of them disagreeing with the others on the opposing sides of the mountain. Each denomination has climbed up only part of the way on their side of the mountain of truth leaving them in an incomplete viewing position and many have stopped moving forward and upward to see any other new perspectives on the subject. Still others like myself continue to climb and learn and we will become the ones that will know the truth and this knowledge of the truth will be what sets us free (John 8:32). I also believe that this is why we need to extend some love and mercy for those that do not see the same verses of truth exactly like we do. It could be that they just need to rise higher to see our viewpoint or it could be we need to rise higher to see their view point, so it does not do any good to criticize them or call them liars because that only reflects upon our own ignorance and our own lack of arriving at the summit peak. Many Christians are doing the best that they know how with their limited knowledge. I just wish we would all keep climbing.
During this Bible study I have been attempting to teach you my Bible study techniques while I am teaching the subjects. I call this my attempt at teaching you how to fish rather than just giving you a one-time fish dinner to eat. This makes my teaching job considerably more challenging but I believe it will be a worthwhile endeavor for both us. It is funny that this approach to teaching will eventually put me out of a job. If I give you all of my secrets, methods and techniques you will be able to do exactly what I do using the same approaches. However, God told me “freely you have received therefore freely give” (Mat 10:8) so that is what I am doing. I am withholding no secrets, no hidden techniques or any hidden methods. The only thing that I cannot teach you is what I have learned from over 20 years of experience. I can however teach you some of my mistakes and help you not to do likewise. After you learn how I study the Bible you should become a very similar clone Bible teacher applying your personality to it and together we can all reach the world with God’s Word.
CONTINUING THE STUDY OF BAPTISM AND TONGUES
The two primary keywords that initiated the study were “baptism” (G908) and “tongues” (G1100). From these two direct words, I showed you that there are other related words such as “baptize”, “baptized”, “baptizes”, “mouth”, “languages”, “lips”, “sounds” and some other variations of synonyms of the base form of these words that also need to be included in the complete search. I further said that baptism implies water, emersion and I linked in several other concepts like rivers that also should be included in the complete study. I believe that as we find these related verses containing these subjects we will observe still other related keywords that are also important to include in the study in order to understand their association to the primary subjects. For example, we talked about the subject of fire in the last lesson and we will definitely expand on that subject in more depth today in this lesson.
I want to re-emphasize that we cannot always depend upon the English translations of words to relate two verses together. When I search the Bible I many times start with the English words just to find a verse but then I usually switch and continue the search for related verses using the original Hebrew or Greek words. As I stated in the first lesson, some Greek and Hebrew words are translated into many different English words. Some different Greek and Hebrew words are translated into the same English word. God chose specific words for very specific reasons. Every word found in scripture is not placed into the verse by accident, chance or by human selection. We must view every scripture as the inspired Words from God given to man for a direct purpose. Then we need to find what the purpose was for that word to be placed into the verse. It sounds easy but it can get rather difficult.
This next part of the lesson might be a partial review of several points in the first lesson, but I believe they are essential to understand so I wanted to go through them with some new subject emphasis. As part of this review process I want to explore the main subject verses found in Acts 1 and 2 again to point out what else we need to know from them since this was the beginning of the church age and the first manifestation of a brand new type of Spiritual Baptism sent down from heaven and the first major spiritual experience poured out upon the entire church. The primary goal of this part of the study will be the accumulation of all of the important scriptural facts (clues) on the subjects of tongues and spiritual baptism. Let’s start with Acts 1:4:
Act 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Act 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Here we have Jesus directly speaking to us in the church, so this is very important information. Jesus begins by telling us that this is the “promise” of the Father that He has told us about. Right there we understand that this was a previously prophesied future event written from a long time ago based upon Amos 3:7. God says in Amos 3:7 that nothing will be done without Him first revealing it to His prophets. That would actually be a great study to do. Where, was this promised spiritual event prophesied and how did God state it so that it was not clearly presented or understood by the casual reader. Did you notice that Jesus had to tell them about it and describe it to them in order for it to be understood? Did you ever ask yourself how did John the Baptist know about this coming spiritual baptism and the disciple understudies of Jesus did not? Clearly John must have known based upon something that the Spirit of God had shown him that was written in the Old Testament. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus ever told John about this fire from heaven that was to come. You can however find verses that the Spirit of God filled the mother of John when he was still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15 & 41). Remember what I just said, because this is where we will be going later in this lesson.
This is a very good time to stop and ask why? Why, was it necessary for Jesus to tell us what was written? Why could it not be read by anyone directly in the O.T. and automatically understood by everyone? According to things like this found in the Bible, we can easily see that people really do not have much of an understanding about what the O.T. is about, do they? Jesus told the Jews to search their scriptures for in them they believed they had eternal life but then He said these are those that testify of me (John 5:39)! Why didn’t they already know this? Can’t they read? They had most of these O.T. books for 1500 years. What Jesus was saying to them, is that I’m found there but I’m hidden and you will not locate me unless you search for me diligently. Uh oh, here comes the stated need for us all to become the Sherlock Holmes type of Christian again. This concept pattern is repeated for every spiritual truth and subject in the O.T. None of them are self-evidently presented so that they can be understood by the unsaved reader, the casual reader or the natural mind unless God opens it up to them for them to see it and God does do this if their hearts are honest in their intentions to know Him like John the Baptist.
In verse 5 Jesus contrasts two different types of baptism truths using this one statement. I know I introduced you to this concept in lesson 1, but this is so critical that I’m going to say it again. Discovering spiritual things correctly in the Bible is the greatest stumbling block to carnal minds. Jesus just clearly stated that there are two revealed kinds or types of baptism found in the scriptures. Which one God is speaking of where is one of the greatest challenges to rightly dividing the Word of Truth? I’d like to say this as gently as possible. This is one of the greatest reasons why people do not understand things in the Bible correctly. God calls several different things by the same name and that makes them significantly difficult to separate. For example, if you have read my other lessons you already know that there are three separate distinct cities named “Jerusalem”. The name Jerusalem occurs in around 767 verses of the Bible. How do you know which Jerusalem that God is speaking of by reading any one verse? One Jerusalem is a natural earthly city in the Middle East. One Jerusalem is a heavenly spiritual city where the throne of God is located. Still another coming New Jerusalem is both of the other two cities combined into one new one. Multiple cities named Jerusalem makes it very complex to determine the correct city being spoken of when reading any isolated verse. I do not have the time to explain this, so if you want to learn about this concept more completely go and read the Bible lessons on “Hiding the Truth in Plain Sight” and the “Spiritual Family of God” to help get you started.
This information from Jesus in Acts is some of the most important that you can find on this subject of baptism because He is revealing the existence and the difference between two opposing realities of truth. One baptism truth was described as John’s natural water and the other baptism of truth being the promise of the Holy Spirit’s baptism where there is no natural physical water substance present. Clearly they are not the same and clearly what was coming is greater than what has already been in the past. Both are named types of “baptism” and that is the challenge that most face with their incorrect interpretations thinking only naturally ignoring the greater spiritual side of the truth. We cannot fail to understand the spiritual truth and continue to believe that the natural truth will save us. I know a lot of people that are heavily focused in on the natural truths and almost completely blind to the spiritual truths of the Bible. From these two verses we have the following basic facts given:
- This was a commandment directly from the mouth of God spoken to the church.
- This spiritual baptism was a hidden O.T. promise of God in Heaven for His N.T. people.
- The Spirit of God will be the one that baptizes us and not any human man.
- This Spiritual baptism is not a water baptism but it is still called by the same name.
- The Spiritual is clearly greater than the former water baptism experience and contains implied supersession.
- At the time of this spoken statement by Jesus no one being spoken to had yet experienced this type of baptism before since they were required to wait for it in Jerusalem.
Reading down in chapter 1 you will see some more important information about this coming event. Jesus stops to answer an unrelated question from his naturally thinking disciples in verses 6 and 7 but then He continues in verse 8 to tell them about the coming spiritual baptism that He needed to speak of:
Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Here is another key verse with very specific instructions. Jesus made four important points here and I’ll start with the third point first. Jesus said to them “after the Holy Spirit comes upon you”. This means that they had not already had this experience even though Jesus had already breathed on each of them and told them to receive the Holy Spirit in John 20:22. Therefore this is further confirmation that this is something brand new that had not ever been given to them before. Then notice the part of the phrase that says “come upon you”. That is directly and inversely not an entering into them. Do you understand the difference between drinking water and wearing water? That is exactly what is being stated here. I’ll talk about this a little more in a bit, but just take note of the stated detail fact here.
Let’s back up to the first significant point in this verse. Jesus begins the statement by saying “you will receive”. Receiving is the correct counter action response to someone giving you something good like a valuable gift. If there is no willing giver or good gift then there is no need for any receiving action. What if I handed you a rattle snake and said this is for you. If you do not like snakes then that is nothing that you will want to receive. Therefore Jesus has just implied that this gift from God is worth you receiving and thus a very good gift from God. Wow I believe that was worth you reading the entire lesson for if you have never received this experience.
What if the giver does not give you a choice but to receive? Can the gift given still be “you receiving it”? I do not see how this is possible, any gift must be freely given and freely received or it becomes an act of forced acceptance. Therefore God must be the one that is going to freely give us the gift and we must be the ones that freely receive this good gift. This statement from Jesus presents both a personalization for the gift and accountability to receive the gift. In other words this gift is for me personally if I choose to accept it. There are always at least three possible responses to every free good gift that is presented to you. 1). You can receive it gratefully, enjoy and use it, 2). you can receive it reluctantly, not being impressed and not use it, or 3). you can simply ignore it, walk away and not accept it all. The attitude of the precipitant will always matter in any gift exchange. The gifts from the Holy Spirit are also this way in your life today. Evaluate your attitude and check up on what you think about the gift that God is offering you before you walk away or receive it.
This statement “you will receive” is an example displaying God’s infinite loving character and divine nature. God does not ever force a man or a woman to take what He has freely given to them as a gift from His divine sovereign grace. Forced gifts are never actually true gifts. I think you understand that don’t you? Obamacare in the U.S. is nothing but the forced gift of health care whether you want it or not, can afford it or not and that is not a freewill choice of any American to receive it as a free good gift. Salvation is a free gift from God presented to all of humanity that can be freely rejected by anyone in that group. In order for a person to be saved, that gift of free salvation must be freely received to make it effective. If you have not received salvation the Bible way, then you are not saved. In other words, you have a major answerable part to play in order to possess the spiritual gifts of God. The gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is this exact same way. God’s Spiritual Baptism, if not received by the saved Christian will also be easily missed.
I would highly recommend that you go and read the Strong’s definition for the Greek word (G2983) translated as “receive”. The definition for this powerful word literally means “to take” or “to get hold of”. Both of these definitions denote personal actions that are required for possession to become effective. It would be like me placing a package on the table and saying this gift is for you. You are now required to come, take hold of it, open it and possess it. If you choose to walk away from it instead then the gift is not known to you and you will do without. Therefore the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not an automatic event that God is responsible for making happen in a Christian’s life. If you want this gift you have something to do to get it or take it.
Here is the time for the second point in Acts 1:8, which is also critical to understand. Jesus said after the Holy Ghost comes upon you and you receive (take hold of) Him, He will give you a new never before possessed power from on high. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit there is no significant power of God in a believer’s life to help change them or to help others. Without this power people are easily influenced, swayed, deceived, defeated and controlled by the devil. This power from God is critical to have as a Christian. Without the power of God, you are a natural human working in only your own ability and no match for Satan and his abilities. Let’s study the Greek word dunamis (G1411) that is translated as “power” in this verse. We get our English word “dynamite” from this Greek word. This Greek word has the meaning of “force”, “mighty work” and “ability”. It can also mean “miraculous power” which is always greater than natural power. It gives us the implied meaning that this is how miracles from God can occur. That makes perfect logical sense to me since this is a spiritual gift from God’s Holy Spirit who is all powerful and omnipotent. Are you lacking the power of God to help people? If you are you need this gift immediately.
Now we get to point 4 from Jesus, the reason for God giving us this power and I already implied it in a preceding statement. Jesus said with this newly acquired power, you will become my witnesses in the whole earth. The antithesis truth would be “without this power you will not be able to witness to anyone”. Now do you see why I said you will not be able to fully help other people see the truth without first receiving this gift from God? You see this gift of spiritual baptism is a partnership arrangement where God’s Spirit works in us and through us to help the people in the world to see the truth. Every preacher of God needs this gift or they are going to fail. Every Bible teacher of God needs this gift or they will have nothing of value to say. Every evangelist of God needs this gift or they will not reach the world. I’ll go one further and say every believer in Christ needs this gift or they can fail to overcome the enemy. So let’s recap the major points from verse 8:
- The Holy Spirit’s Baptism must be received (taken) by the Christian or they will never possess it.
- The Holy Spirit Baptism is a separately received experience from the initial believer’s experience of being born again of the Spirit of God.
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a very good gift worth receiving.
- The Holy Spirit’s Baptism is an external coming upon of His Spirit as opposed to the entrance within the spirit of man experience at the New Birth.
- After being baptized with the Holy Spirit a Christian will receive “power” (ability to do miracles) from God.
- This power is not natural or physical power but rather God’s spiritual power.
- The primary reason for God giving us this gift was so that after receiving this power from God people could become God’s “witnesses” to every nation.
- Therefore the number one reason for the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for you to bring the light of the Gospel and God’s power to get people saved and delivered from this world of darkness.
All of this that Jesus prophesied in Acts 1 is exactly what occurs in the church age beginning in Acts 2 and continuing until today. After God poured out His Spirit on the church and they received power, this was the beginning of the global church outreach ministry. The Gospel was first preached in Jerusalem and then spread to the rest of the world. If you have not experienced this baptism in a similar Bible way that they did then you have failed to be obedient and follow in what Jesus commanded the church to do and receive. No I’m not saying that you have to go to Jerusalem and tarry or wait for the power of God to be poured out again. What God did for the church there at the first, is still available for everyone, everywhere in the church still to receive! God’s timing and your physical location are no longer relative factors for receiving the gift. Let’s quickly review a few important verses from Acts 2 to see the recorded facts in this gift that was given and their receiving again:
Act 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Acts 2:1 says that the church was all in place in one accord on the day of Pentecost. They were being obedient to God’s Word and this is always the beginning of receiving God’s promise. We should know by now that this was the prophesied Baptism that was sent down from heaven as Jesus had foretold to them in Acts 1 and before. This baptism came at first like the sound of a rushing mighty wind. That is actually very relevant information. A “rushing wind” is a synonymous term for a moving spirit in the Bible. In fact the Greek word G4151 (pneuma) translated as “Spirit” in the Bible has the definition in Strong’s as being a “current of air” or “a breeze”. Clearly God is using figurative language in verse 2 to describe a spiritual outpouring experience sent down from heaven. You might or might not hear the same sound today when you receive. More than likely you will not since the Spirit of God is here already on the earth in this gift capacity and He does not need to be poured out in this same manner again. However there are verses in the Bible that imply God will pour out a greater portion of His Spirit during the end of the Church age like He did during this beginning of the church age. These are verses that speak of the Spirit falling like rain from heaven on the early church as the former raim and upon the end of the church as the later rain (James 5:7). Therefore I believe that the Spirit of God was initially poured out to get the church started and that He will again be poured out in a greater measure to help the church go out victoriously.
I did not hear this rushing mighty wind when I received, so that is definitely not an important factor for you receiving today. I believe that God was simply announcing the entrance of the Spirit from Heaven into the church that day. Then notice again the key word in verse 3 of “tongues” G1100 being connected directly to the new keyword fire (G4442). As you may recall I showed you where John told Jesus that he needed to be baptized of the Lord and John claimed that this experience was to be done with God’s spiritual fire (G4442). I find it very fascinating that God’s spiritual baptism experience is described as spiritual fire which is a direct antithesis or contradiction to John’s natural baptism of water. Natural fire is always quenched, suppressed or extinguished with water. However, you must also realize that God has also called the outpouring of the Spirit rain. So we have another challenge to resolve. God is giving us a paradox of is it rain or is it fire or can it be both depending upon the perspective? The baptism of the Spirit of God must be a spiritual rain of God’s spiritual fire. Why is God sending spiritual fire? That is a really excellent question. When you study the Bible if you do not ask God andy questions, you will never learn the truth.
I think that this would be an excellent time to describe fire. Natural fire is a very hot substance and a major source for natural heat. Fire can be a consuming force that also eliminates all of the consumable substances. I guess I should rephrase that because fire is a transforming substance that converts solid wood fuel into various gases and ashes. This consumption is more of a transformation process from a solid substance into gases leaving only the loose reduced solid ash. God is described to be a “consuming fire” (Heb 12:29) in the Bible. The same Greek word G4442 is used in both Hebrews 12:29 and Acts 2:3, so they are directly connected together by God’s word selection. If God’s Spirit is a consuming fire and He was poured out upon the church as the spiritual form of fire, for what purpose would this have been done and what was accomplished by this work? What can be found in the natural human experience that needs to be burnt up, consumed, and eliminated with God’s baptismal fire experience? Wow, we could preach on that for a long time. The human life is weighed down with self-indulgent works of the flesh. Before being saved and baptized with the Spirit of God, people are entirely focused upon “what is in it for me”. I believe that you can begin to see that there are numerous old habits that need to be dropped from your life in order to fulfill what God wants you to be. That is the beginning of what I am talking about with God consuming and transforming you by His Spirit.
Peter as you may recall went from denying Jesus three times nearly 50 days earlier to standing up before thousands in Jerusalem after experiencing this spiritual baptism and receiving the witnessing power sent from God in heaven. What was consumed, burnt up, taken away from Peter that allowed this rapid transformation from coward to bold preacher? I believe that it was the removal of his fear mostly. Suddenly his spiritual eyes had been opened to see God, Jesus and the truth differently. Suddenly the Spiritual things of God became more real and of greater importance than his fear of death, the Jews, the Romans, etc. Peter would eventually be crucified upside down because he felt he was unworthy to die like Jesus did. That is firm confirmation that he was no longer afraid of death to deny his Lord in public again. That is pretty awesome stuff. I am getting ahead of myself in this chapter but you can read ahead in the chapter to see that it happened this way.
What I am attempting to do is to show you a simultaneous multiple work from one spiritual experience from God. This demonstrates that God is multi-talented and more than powerful enough to accomplish concurrent actions with one spiritual action. I learned this concept when studying the Bible quickly. If you only look at God as being single-threaded you will miss the majority of what is accomplished. Take the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for example. If you believe that Jesus died to only save us and that is all then you have just ignored the many other things that were accomplished in the same work. Let’s review a verse that I quoted to you in the first lesson but also now show the following verse in context to see how it fits with the subject of this fire sent from God:
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Mat 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
John as we know said God will baptize us with fire, but then does not stop talking. John continues the subject in the next verse and this is a very interesting new symbolic association to bring into the symbolic fire subject spiritual baptism discussion. God is being described now as the Supreme Judge. But, God is also the one that will purge or eliminate everything that is not desirable or righteous in His eyes from our lives. This symbolic representation is much different than the separation of the sheep from the goats given to us by Jesus in other parables. God is not speaking of the evil people being separated from the good people here in Matthew 3:12. You see a single wheat plant is a large stalk of various useable seed components called the wheat and unusable waste by-products called the chaff. The good parts of the plant need to be separated from the bad pieces of the plant and the bad parts were usually burnt up or consumed by a fire. Since no human is yet perfect, God is saying we are the wheat plants that need to have the chaff burnt away from the good fruit that will be gathered into God’s barn and saved. Do you understand the separation now and why the fire of God is being used symbolically? Now we need to go and find what these chaff parts are defined as in the Word of God to see what will not remain with us throughout eternity. If we search for the key term of fire (G4442) in the N.T. we should find the following descriptive text describing something being burnt up from a believers life:
1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
The central theme in this discourse is the subject of Christian works. That understanding eliminates the works of evil people or non-Christians from the equation or discussion. Thus God is discussing Christian works (good and bad from a single plant) like He was talking about two types of substances similar to chaff and wheat in Matthew. Works is one of those complex subjects found in the Bible that confuse many Christians. We are told that no Christian is saved by their works (Eph 2:8-9), however the Bible appears to say that we were saved by grace through faith so that we can do good works for God (Acts 9:36). According to these verses, these good works that we should be doing build upon the foundation of Christ’s works. Uh oh? That makes us (the Christians) co-laborers and the common builders of the same spiritual house of God established by the Lord Jesus Christ. God says our works will be placed into the fire (Spirit of God) and what remains will be what we are rewarded for. What we see being developed here is that the Holy Spirit was given to us in the church in Acts 2 to help us produce these good works that will last. This corresponds with our ability (power) to become witnesses for God from Acts 1:8. If you have never been baptized with the Holy Spirit since you have become a Christian, how can you expect to do any lasting good works without His direct guidance and assistance? That is one of the main problems with carnal Christians today. They are trying to do good works in their own human efforts apart from God and God says these will be consumed with fire leaving no eternal rewards. That is a major problem for some. Let’s see another verse statement from Jesus about works:
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.
According to this verse Jesus is expecting good works from the church. God says for us to let our light shine so that our good works may be seen before the nations and these works should bring glory to God (and not us). Here is still the problem, doing some good works is not necessarily doing God’s works. How would you define good works? It is a very relative term that can be viewed from many different perspectives. What is good to you may or may not be what is good to God. We must go to the Word of God in order to determine the definition for good works. Bill Gates gives large sums of money to help fight disease in world countries. Is that the good works of God? Or will those works be burned up and not remain? I do not know if Bill Gates is a Christian but I can observe who gets the praise and glory for his works and it is not the nations glorifying God that I can see. I think I have spent enough time in this lesson on the subject of God’s fire and your works. I tried to introduce you to something new to think about in this lesson and I believe that I opened the door for a lot more study on these subjects later. Let’s get back to Acts 2 and continue with verse 3.
Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Notice in verse 3 of Acts 2 that this Spirit of God sat upon them and did not enter into them. This is further confirmation that matches what Jesus said will happen to them in Acts 1. This is technically a new very complex subject since the Spirit that “sat upon them” is from a relative unstated perspective that can be adjusted depending upon application or definition of who “them” is describing. The Greek word translated as “sat” is very literal and it is used many times in the Bible when someone would sit on the ground or in a chair, seat or a throne. This act of sitting is of course symbolic for another greater spiritual truth. Jesus is described in the Bible as being seated on the throne in heaven. This denotes a position of rest and power. The Bible says God waits for His enemies to be made his footstool (Heb 10:13). The preceding verse in Hebrew 10:12 again states that Jesus is seated and uses the same Greek word (G2523) that was used in Acts 2:3. Therefore God is connecting the verses together to inform and teach you something new. If God sits upon you what is the symbolic message given? God is stating that we are now His kingdom where He reigns. Jesus is now seated in heaven, but His Spirit is now seated upon us. Do you understand that message?
Let’s do a quick review of the human triune make-up of a man/woman. A man was created as a spirit being that has a soul that lives in a physical body. We understand this concept from many verses in the Bible, but one is from Genesis 2:7 where God forms the body of the man Adam from the dust of the ground to be the physical container and then God breathes His Spirit into his nostrils to cause his body and soul to become alive. That single verse mentions all three human component parts of a created man. Now using that information if God sat upon a man, what part of the man did God sit down on? According to the Bible we know that God is a Spirit (John 4:24). Therefore, God is not flesh, even though God became flesh in the man Jesus Christ (John 1:1-14). However, flesh Jesus is now seated on the throne in heaven and is not physically present on the earth at this time. So Jesus is not physically sitting upon me today and has never sat upon anyone in the Gospels. That only leaves the Holy Spirit as a possible candidate for who sat upon me when I was baptized and that actually matches the scriptures that we have been studying precisely. This spiritual baptism is performed by the Holy Spirit in the unseen spiritual realm. Therefore the Spirit of God is the entity that sits upon us and we must define where this occurs more completely.
If the Spirit of God sits upon the triune designed human being, where exactly does He sit? Was it externally upon the flesh container, internally on the intermediate mind/soul layer, or deeper inside upon the core of the human spirit of the man/woman? I will tell you plainly that it was upon our spirit. The carnal flesh is a temporary dwelling place holder for the eternal spirit and soul and the current body will not be saved. It would make little sense to me for God to sit upon our flesh if your spirit does not gain any benefit being inside the flesh. Understand and apply the symbolism given, if God is sitting upon your flesh then God is now in control of your flesh and you should know from you own physical actions that this is not true. What you do in the flesh is still your personal responsibility. Do you understand that? I could give you a lot of Bible verses to confirm that statement but let’s move on for now. This is also why Christians can be entered and attacked by demons in their flesh.
The human mind/soul is an internal intermediate component placed between our external body and our internal spirit that we are commanded by God to renew (Rom 12:2). Therefore the mind is mostly a thought realm designed for human management. I do not see any logical reason for the Holy Spirit to sit upon our thoughts it would make God the ruler of our mind and that will conflict with Romans 12:2. God is not a mind, God is not a thought, God is still a Spirit and therefore the soul of man does not fit where God is ruling either. That only leaves the inner eternal spirit of man as the only other possible location for the Spirit of God to be sitting upon and ruling. I therefore have concluded that the Spirit of God now sits between the internal core spirit, soul and the external human flesh. In order to understand these spiritual concepts we are going to have to stop thinking naturally. Jesus stated something very important that should be included in this discussion of where God is located in a human.
Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Jesus reveals to us new spiritual information from a human perspective where the kingdom of God is now located. Jesus said if you are looking externally for God’s kingdom you are searching for Him in the wrong place. God is now inside of us living in our spirits seated upon our spirits if you have been baptized with the Spirit of God. Your spirit is the location for the eternal kingdom of God. I found another very important verse that is also very relevant to this discussion of where the Holy Spirit sits during the spiritual baptism and I want to introduce you to what it says right here:
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Keep in mind what water baptism is. Water baptism was the body putting on and wearing water externally. Therefore, this spiritual baptism of the Holy Spirit would be of the same type but internally within us by us “putting on” Christ. Wow, did you see what that verse says and how it fits precisely with our study at this point of the lesson? If you are putting on Christ in baptism as this verse states what does that literally mean? Let’s examine the definition of the Greek word translated as “put on”. This Greek word is the Strong’s number G1476 and it means to “invest in clothing” or “to sink into a garment”. Did you hear that? What happened to you when you were water baptized? When you were water baptized you sank into and under the water and put on the water externally as your clothing or covering. That is what is being described to us in this verse precisely. Keep in mind what the people in the Bible wore predominantly. They walked around in robes that went from the shoulders to the ground. These garments were slipped into and then worn externally as a covering. That is what is being described by this verse.
We have been baptized into the Spirit of Christ Jesus and now wear Him as our robe of righteousness. That is a very great profound truth presented to us in the Bible. To be baptized into Christ in this verse is clearly not a natural water experience. But, the natural water experience describes the unseen spiritual experience that we can now understand more clearly. Therefore water baptism further defines the spiritual experience to help us understand what is taking place internally in the unseen spiritual man. I really hope and pray that you are getting these concepts built into your spiritual understanding on what God is doing. Are you wearing Christ today? Have you been baptized into Christ today? If you haven’t ever spoken in tongues before, I can tell that you are not and have not and thus your spirit is walking around naked.
I hesitate to tell you about my personal experiences, but I believe that this will be a benefit to some. You should never base your faith on the experience of a man, but should only learn to believe what the Word of God says and expect that to be what you experience. My personal experience of the Holy Ghost baptism was based upon what we have just read about in all of these preceding verses. Therefore I have scriptures to back what I am about to tell you that happened to me. I spent my early Christian life powerless and I tried to do things in life in my own power. I quickly found out that life was getting out of my control and that I needed help from God. I had grown up with people speaking in tongues all of my life in church. God tried to get me to receive at a church camp one year and I was really close but resisted out of ignorance. When I finally came to the end of myself, I asked God to fill me with the Holy Spirit. I started listening to cassette tapes on the subject of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and how to receive the gift. I prayed and sought God for several days. One night going to bed with my wife I was laying in her arms with her hands on me and I felt the strangest new sensation. Something (God) new inside of me became like a river that was overflowing and it came out from my belly in the form of words that I had never learned or spoken before. You see I did not know that my wife had received this gift a short time before me. She did not tell me about it or say anything to me about it. The Spirit of God had been working to answer my prayer a long time before I even knew it. God had led my wife to two Christian ladies and they prayed for her and she received the gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.
After I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, the Spirit of God manifested inside of my body in the form of tangible perceptible heat, fire like a spiritual flame. In the center of my chest region I could sometimes feel this heat or flame of the Holy Ghost fire so strong that it was distracting to the extreme. At this time I can only conclude that I needed this natural experience to teach me about what was occurring spiritually since I hardly understood any of these scriptures at all. Before I was baptized in the Holy Ghost I understood barely anything of the entire Bible. After the Holy Spirit came upon me and I felt this internal spiritual flame inside of me I started seeing new things in the Bible that I had never seen before. This experience of God changed me more than anything else that I have ever experienced from God. Do not misunderstand what I just said. Being born again was the first most important factor for my eternal security, but without the second baptism experience of the Holy Spirit I would not have had the power or ability to teach you about either of them.
I cannot guarantee you that God will do for you exactly what and how He did it for and to me since I’m not God. I can guarantee you based upon His word that He will come upon you if you ask Him and that you will speak in tongues when He does this. I do not know if everyone feels the flame of fire like I did or if I was a unique case. If you would like to tell me about your experience, I would be glad to learn about it and how it was either similar or different than my experience that I just shared with you. I have felt this fire in my chest now for well over 20 years and still do on many occasions like right now as I type. I value the manifested presence of the Spirit of God inside of me and I know you will also if you ask Him to clothe your spirit with His Spirit.
We have been going through a lot of new spiritual information on these subjects using many of the verses that I have already touched on in the first lesson along with some new verses that were not found in the first lesson. I hope that you are following why I am doing this to teach what the Bible says. But, here now is one of the key verses that I was working up to for you to see today:
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The Bible says that “they” were “all” what? God says they were “filled” with the Holy Ghost and that is the brand new keyword phrasing that we will need to grasp, fully, understand and add to our search list of topics to study. Normally when we think of something being filled we think of the natural concept of an empty pitcher or a cup that we can pour water into until it overflows. When the formerly empty pitcher or cup overflows we know that it has been filled to capacity. It is the same principle when putting gas into your car. You do not technically know that it is actually full until it spills out and you cannot put any more into the tank. Here is where we begin to get into new complex aspect of the baptism subject using a brand new perspective and description of a fresh creative process of the Spirit of God. Keep in mind that this is just a new perspective to the same subject of external baptism that we have previously looked at. If water baptism is an outward immersion and not the internal filling how can we resolve that definition and balance it with what we are observing with this statement of being “filled” to overflowing. Can you see the potential conflict and paradox that is being presented? We need to ask God a really deep question right about now. How can the Spirit of God both sit upon us and fill us at the same time? Wow, I think this is going to be tough to explain and probably harder for some to understand.
I’m going to ask you to think again and try to visualize and answer this question, how can you fill something and sit on something simultaneously? The only way that this is logically possible is when what you are filling and what you sitting upon are two different things. Think of it this way. What if you had a pitcher container within another pitcher container? Could you fill one outer pitcher container while sitting upon the other inner pitcher container? Let me ask you to think of your body as being one outer container with your mind being another in between container and finally your spirit being the inner-most container. Earlier I described your body not being alive until the inner spirit container has been occupied by your spirit. But, using this analogy we must also consider your mind as an empty container which would be void of knowledge until information is placed in it either good or bad. I can also see where each container compartment can be filled separately and not effect the other. Ok, I warned you that this was going to get deep.
Using my analogy of multiple levels of containers within containers I can see where Satan can attack a human at potentially three levels of human existence. Physical attacks of Satan may occur with manifestations of sickness and disease and this will be the outer level of his oppressive attack realm. The mind is a secondary level and he can cause you mental illness here in this realm or simply cause people not to be able to see the truth using vain imaginations and contrary or opposing thoughts against the Word of God. Now spiritual possession would be the utmost control of an individual. This level of control is not possible for Christians since our spirits are the dwelling place for the Spirit of God. You see in the Bible God says “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 Jn 4:4). Did you notice that God says I’m in you here and that this is different than being upon you in Acts 2? Did you also notice that God says I’m not in those that are in the world and someone else is? This someone else is the devil. Let me try to clarify some of these statements using more verses in the Bible.
1Co 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
Here we have a statement of unity that occurs between the born again man and God as they become one spirit. If we are “one in spirit” with the Lord God then no devil can enter into our spirit to dwell also. Spiritual demon possession is not possible for a real born again Christian. This is also why I said that the in-dwelling of the Spirit of God is not the same thing as the “sitting upon” baptism of the Spirit of God that we are studying. It also helps us to understand why the sitting upon is necessary. We need the power of God to help us in both the soul and physical body arenas. This does not mean that we cannot be attacked in our mind or our body, but again greater is He that is in us that he that is in the world. We draw upon the God that is inside of us and rest in His ability to deliver us. Since we are now on the subject of being “filled” with the Spirit of God I want to tell you that this act of filling is nothing new just occuring in the church age. We have already observed where John the Baptist was filled from his mother’s womb with the Spirit of God. So being filled is not the new part for the church, the speaking in tongues is the only new part that was never given before and we will talk about that more as we go. Let’s go to the Old Testament and see more men filled with the Spirit of God and what occurred when this happened to them:
Exo 28:3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
These are types and shadows of what was coming to the church. These were said to be wise hearted men filled with the Spirit of God. What does that mean? It means that God gave them an ability that they did not previously possess. It means that God’s Spirit sitting within them was able to give their mind and their bodies’ supernatural power to accomplish the plan of God. Remember that none of these men are born again with the Spirit of God living in their spirits (one spirit) like the church. Wisdom is a form of knowledge application that produces great or positive results in the world. I am describing a mental process that allowed these people in the O.T. an ability that they could not have achieved without God’s direct help. We can see that the Spirit of God gave to them knowledge, understanding and wisdom to create things in this world with their hands in work and labor. Wow, I think we are tying up many of the loose ends that I have left hanging today in this lesson. We are beginning to see why the Spirit of God desires to baptize us. Can you see it? Let me give you another O.T. verse that helps to confirm my point:
Exo 31:3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
God again says this, but much more directly in this statement. God says they have been given knowledge, understanding and wisdom by the Spirit of God for all manner of work. Wow, again and double wow! God is saying it is my Spirit that will help you to do good works on the earth. Apply these Old Testament examples and extend the pattern into the New Testament church. Take these natural abilities and make them spiritual abilities. God is saying it is His provided knowledge that we require. It is His provided understanding that we must possess. Then God says it is His provided wisdom that will allow us to become the good workers, laborers and witnesses to every nation.
I have gone very long in this lesson and I believe I need to wrap it up here. I pray that you are grasping the concepts. I believe the Spirit of God gave me this message for you and that Satan is not very happy with me doing it. I think I will end with a synopsis of the Acts 2 concepts that I just went through.
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament was an event that had never taken place at anytime previously in Biblical or human history.
- As stated before this spiritual baptism was given to the church by God to be the fulfillment of the promise that He made to His new covenant people.
- The Baptism of the Spirit of God was sent down from heaven by Jesus after His ascension into heaven.
- The first recorded occurrence of divine Spiritual baptism in the church age was described in Acts chapter 2. But also this was not the last.
- This experience was described by God as cloven tongues of fire that sat upon each of them.
- God’s spiritual baptism is the outpouring of His supernatural spiritual rain called the fire from heaven.
- God’s fire was given to the church to help us to eliminate and overcome the works of the flesh and teach us how to do the good spiritual works of God.
- The experience was given to the entire church for the corporate benefit of the whole body of Christ to achieve a greater purpose of God’s plan.
- Being filled with the Spirit of God is the same as being baptized with the Spirit of God they are just two different names, perspectives and views of the same event.
I know I said more than those few points, but you can go back and reread it again to get more out of it. Thank you for reading and studying the Bible. We will explore more of God’s word in the future. Keep us in your prayers and be blessed in all the works of your hands as the Spirit of God fills you with the Spirit of Wisdom.
Understanding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues. Part 1
(Ver 1.5) Today’s lesson is Part 1 in a brand new Bible study series about “Understanding the Subjects of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues”. This will be a very different lesson today for I will change my approach in how I teach in this lesson to give you some new additional information that I have never gone into before in any depth. While teaching you this subject I will simultaneously teach you how I studied this subject in the Bible. You will learn about many of my basic Bible study methods and tools. I think this will really help some people to learn how they can improve what they are finding in the Bible. Have you ever thought or felt like you do not have enough power or ability to do what God has called you to do? Have you ever thought or felt like you lack the ability to be a witness for Jesus to lead people to the saving grace of Christ? Do you struggle with your Christian walk and feel frustrated when you read the Bible not understanding what the words are saying? If you ever have felt like any of those then it is very possible that what you lack is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I pray that you will read this lesson in its entirety before you write it off as a matter not from God. I will warn you up front that this will be a long lesson, simply because I need to cover a lot of information.
I often ask myself, do I want to be popular with everyone on the internet or do I want to tell people the truth no matter what it costs me? Today’s advanced spiritual lesson will either enlighten you or highly offend you. I am about to find out very fast how spiritual you are and how hungry you are to know more about God, His Spirit and His Truth. I could also learn how carnal you are to know more about Satan and his lies by you unsubscribing from my lessons. Nevertheless we will find out for sure one way or the other. I will either loose many carnal readers and subscribers today, or I could also help you to learn something new about the greatest single thing that has happened to me and helped me more than anything else since I was saved and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord many years ago. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the only reason that I am even able to do this Bible study website for you today. Without the awesome gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit I would be void of any of the knowledge of God, I would be lacking the teaching anointing of God to share His word and I would be completely unable to understand anything spiritual found in the Bible. Therefore, I am totally dependent upon God’s gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and His anointing for anything that I accomplish that brings a blessing to you on this website. I hope and pray that you can see my sincerity in giving the Spirit of God any and all of the credit and all of the glory for everything that I teach you, because it is not about ME!
INTRODUCTION TO THE TONGUE
This subject today has divided many churches while creating many other new ones. I have never directly addressed this subject because I knew it was so controversial and offensive to so many people. I personally never want to offend anyone and I could have sent this Bible study to the one person that asked me a question on the subject in private. But, I know when one person asks me a question there are many others with the same question, but not the bravery to ask. Therefore, since I received the brave question directly on this subject, I will be bold and brave enough to attempt to answer it for anyone else that wants to learn about it from the Bible spiritual perspective. My reader sent me this question “where in the Bible does it say that tongues come from the Baptism of the Holy Spirit”. From this question we need to first ask “what is speaking in tongues”, “where does it come from” and then ask “what is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit”. Finally we need to determine if speaking in tongues is related to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. So in this lesson series I will attempt to answer these very difficult, complex and controversial questions to help you to understand that God has something greater for you if you have never been baptized in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. Let’s begin by looking up the word “tongues” and find the definition found in the Strong’s Concordance for this Greek word:
G1100 – γλῶσσα glōssa
Of uncertain affinity; the tongue; by implication a language (specifically one naturally unacquired): – tongue.
This Greek word that is translated in the N.T. as “tongue(s)” is defined literally as a “tongue”. It is very difficult to miss that from what was written in the definition. However, the definition is brave enough to extend the literal definition to also include a figurative meaning that is much deeper. The reference is given to us in this definition that a tongue refers to a spoken language and further goes into more depth to break it down into a naturally acquired language versus an implied antithesis supernatural gift of language. But, we are not ready to go there yet, just remember what Strong’s just said to you. Let’s get a dictionary definition of the literal definition of the word “tongue” to see what that reveals to us:
Anatomy. the usually movable organ in the floor of the mouth in humans and most vertebrates, functioning in eating, in tasting, and, in humans, in speaking
You can observe by the definition that this word “tongue” refers to the human organ found in the lower part of the mouth of humans and vertebrates. As you can also read, this mouth organ called a tongue is one of the central components necessary for human speech and thus providing the reason why it was figuratively used to imply a language spoken as we read from the Strong’s definition. Therefore either definition is a possible application depending upon the Greek word’s usage and the context found in the surrounding Bible verses. This Greek word G1100, occurs 50 times in the N.T. in 47 verses. Therefore, “tongues” is a definite subject found in the Bible. However, 47 verses is not a great number of occurrences for any dominant subject of the New Testament that includes 7959 verses. 47 verses is less than one percent of the New Testament and all this teaches me is that this is not a dominant subject of the New Testament. However, some of the least mentioned subjects in the Bible are the most important ones for you to know, like the virgin birth. You cannot find but a very small number of scriptures that describe this virgin birth, yet this single event is the foundation for the rest of your salvation. Without the virgin birth of Jesus you are not saved and Jesus was just a man like any other man. Take the Greek word translated as “resurrection”. This word only occurs 40 times in the New Testament, so “tongues” occurs more frequently than the word “resurrection”. Therefore, do not ever judge by the number of occurrences in the Bible of a subject to try to determine if it is a subject that is important or not. There are just too many Bible subject exceptions found to try to make the frequency of occurrence the factor for the dominance of a subject.
Let’s analyze the usage of the word G1100 in the New Testament. This Greek word G1100 is used in both the plural sense and the singular sense again based upon the context. In some verses this Greek word is clearly used as a reference to the literal human mouth organ (Mark 7:33, Luke 16:24) and in many other verses it is clearly used as a reference to a single spoken language (John 5:2, Acts 26:14). Finally the Greek word is also used to describe a group of languages that many people speak using this organ (Rev 10:11, Rev 17:15). I have just given you 3 examples of English word variance from a single Greek word and any of them are potential correct interpretations depending on the context and usage. Therefore, this means we need to use a certain level of deductive reasoning and logic to understand what is being communicated in each verse where this word is found. We of course must also use the guidance of the Holy Spirit every time we study the Bible (John 16:13). Never omit God from your Bible study and always allow Him to guide and direct you into all truth.
The exact English term “speaking in tongues” is not found in the Bible. However there are several variations of this phrase that are directly found in several scriptures (Mk 16:17, Acts 2:4, Acts 10:46, Acts 19:6). These verses also give us a fourth usage of the word “tongues” in the Bible. The implied meaning in these verses is that people can speak in many different languages and not just the dominant one that they were taught when they grew up as a child. As we can clearly see, “speaking in tongues” is definitely a subject found in the Bible. To attempt to preach that speaking in tongues is not found in the Bible would clearly be a fallacy or fantasy approach to the Bible based upon the scriptural evidence that I have just presented to you.
From our definitions found in the dictionary and the Strong’s Concordance we should be able to understand that the term “speaking in tongues” can also be transferred or interchanged with a synonymous phrase “speaking in languages”. A spoken language will be an important aspect to consider when studying this subject of tongues. If I ramble, stutter or stammer out sounds that are not recognizable words to anyone, there is no way that you can call my sounds a language. Any viable language must incorporate grammatical rules of structure and understandable recognition by a hearer. Do you understand what a language is? A spoken language always requires someone to listen and to understand or it cannot be defined as a language. It goes back to what an old proverbs says about “if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound if no one is present to hear it”. I know people can talk to themselves, but even in talking to yourself, you must understand the words that you just spoke for it to be a known and valid language. The reason I am introducing this concept to you is because the Bible presents us with a new concept when people speak known verses unknown languages. I guess that is not a rocket science statement that I just made. If I don’t know Spanish and you and your friend are speaking in Spanish, then I know that you two understand it, but I do not. Therefore Spanish might be just an unknown language to me, but not to you.
The Greek word translated as “tongues” is a noun and it can be and often is further qualified with restrictive or limiting adjectives such as “known” or “unknown” to describe a type of language that can either be understood or not understood respectively by the hearer. I hope that you understand the usage of adjectives in the grammatical syntax. An adjective is used to describe a noun and how it is related to a specific type of the noun. The net result of this adjective usage is the elimination of all other types of the noun that are not being included or mentioned in the statement. There are actually many verses that have adjective modifiers before the noun “tongues” and these are all very important to note because they convey descriptive qualities that limit the broad scoped definition. You will observe God’s use of adjectives in several verses of the Bible. For example, the known Hebrew tongue (language) is referenced directly in 6 different verses in the New Testament in John 5:2, Acts 21:40, Acts 22:2, Acts 26:14, Rev 9:11 and Rev 16:16. But, also note this fact in the Bible, that some adjective qualifiers were added by the translators and are not found in the original text and these should be considered more carefully before your acceptance. For example, the translators added the word “unknown” before the noun “tongues” in 1 Corinthians 14:2, 14:4, 14:13, 14:14 and 14:27, because they believed that this was the implied meaning of the Greek word context and I would have tended to agree with them if we were only viewing the statement from the human perspective. Clearly what is being stated in 1 Corinthians 14 is about people speaking in unknown human languages and we will learn this when we get to them later in this series. However just because someone speaks in a tongue that is unknown to men does not mean that it is unknown to God. This is exactly why God could not put the adjective word “unknown” in front of the word “tongues” in these 6 verses. We need to begin to learn to see the Bible from the author’s perspective and leave the human perspective as of secondary importance. I just went though some very basic information that will become the foundation to the rest of this lesson series. I hope you are grasping the basics, because this subject only gets more complex from here. For example, let me introduce another new concept to you in the next section.
GUARD THE GATE OF MY MOUTH
Psa 141:3 Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.
I once did a Bible lesson about spoken words and their relationship to human gates and spiritual guards. If you have not read this series of lessons about spoken words I would highly recommend it. You see, the human body was designed by God as a physically structured unit of limitations which keeps your spirit hidden on the inside while keeping other things on the outside. The body is like a walled barrier but it also has portal openings that I call gates that allow access into and out of this natural world. Without these God given gates we (our spirits) would not be able to survive or live on this physical planet. In this verse in Psalm 131:3, God refers to one of these gates as being your lips. If your lips are closed nothing exits and nothing enters. The Hebrew word in this verse translated as door literally means a swinging gate with hinges. Depending on how you count the human gates you will find that most bodies normally have between 6 and 10 gates. The number varies depending on how you count or combine the gates and if you are a male or a female. Females always have one gate that males do not possess. Where the variation of count comes from is how we count our ears as either being one sound receiving gate or as two separate gates that provides us with stereo reception. The eyes are also a stereo gate concept that produces a three dimensional image and could be counted as two eye gates, but both eyes could also be labeled as our vision and counted solely as one gate. The nose also has two openings but they merge internally into a single air passage and these two units could be called the human smell organ. Therefore the number of human gates will vary depending upon your perspective. Do you understand my introduction to human walls and gates? If you do, then you should be able to define what a gate is now.
A gate is an opening in a structure like a building, a wall, a fence, that allows something or someone entrance or exit depending on the type of gate and the design of the gate. For example, when I crossed the border into Mexico from San Diego, I passed through a one-way gate that would not allow me to re-enter back into the USA through the same opening. Therefore this gate was purely one way only and I could only pass from the USA to Mexico through this gate. That is exactly what I am teaching you about the gates in the human body. Some of the gates of the human body are entrance gates, some gates are exit gates and still other gates are both. The human body gates are either one way or two way openings by God’s designed pattern. This means certain human body gates allow entry only like the eyes and the ears, while other body gates allow exit only like the body parts that eliminate human waste and still other human gates permit two way accesses for the entrance of something and the exit of something else that is usually different. For example let’s take the mouth. The mouth is definitely one of these two-way types of gates found in the human body that some things enter in and other things exit out. We can breathe oxygen in through our mouths but, then exhale carbon dioxide out also from the same mouth gate. What entered in is not exactly what came out. We can also drink in water through the mouth as well as take in food to our stomachs through our mouth gate which is supposed to be a one way path to our stomach. However, there is one more very important thing that exits from the mouth and these are your words that you speak. Where do spoken words come from? That is something you may not understand fully and that is another part of this lesson that you need to grasp immediately. Let’s find out from Jesus where your spoken words come from:
Mat 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
I pray that you can receive what Jesus is teaching you. Your spoken words come from your inner being and Jesus called this your heart, but that is just another concealed term for your spirit. The Greek and Hebrew words translated as “spirit” can also be defined as “wind” or “breath”. Both wind and breath are moving air particles. How do we speak? We breathe air in and then this air moves out from our lungs to produce vocal sounds. Therefore, moving voiced air and spirits are clearly connected together. Keep that in mind as we continue our study. The heart cannot be a reference to your blood pump organ since words do not originate from there directly. Therefore, the term heart must be more a reference to the “center” or “core” of your being. It would be like me saying the heart of an apple, the heart of a tree or the heart of a watermelon. It is the spirit that makes you a human and very different than any animal on the planet. What am I trying to teach with this part of the lesson? My point is to tell you that your spoken words exiting out of your mouth gate are an external expression point for your internal unseen spirit. That is an extremely important concept found in this subject on speaking in tongues. Spoken words will always come from your spirit no matter what the words are. Where then do you think the words that are spoken came from if someone spoke in tongues right now and you could hear them? If you said their spirit, you would be exactly correct, but also don’t forget a person’s spirit is joined to God’s Spirit and He dwells in them if they are born again. Uh oh? Now where do you think these words could potentially come from if I speak in tongues? I think I’m shaking you up to change your perspective on things, if you can see what I am saying. We will eventually get to this in our study, but we must wait to learn a few more things first.
We should be able to see now that God created the human mouth as a multi-purpose gate. One of the primary purposes for the existence of our mouth is to allow what’s on the inside in our spirit to come to the outside in the natural realm. I just gave you the foundation for why speaking in tongues, is so important and why Satan does not want you to do this under any circumstance. This is why Satan fights speaking in tongues and even uses deceived Christians to do it. Let’ talk briefly how Satan fights against tongues in the church next.
INTRODUCTION TO FALSE TEACHINGS ON TONGUES
I’m not going to go into any great depth on the myriad numbers of false teachings surrounding this subject of “speaking in tongues”. There are just too many of them and their doctrinal backing in the scriptures is just too weak for me even to mention them as being legitimate. However I will briefly mention a couple of prominent erroneous teachings found today. There are a few modern carnal churches that teach an erroneous doctrine that speaking in tongues occurred in the Bible, but it has since ceased after the end of the initial church age. Therefore, in this doctrine of tongues no one today should be speaking in tongues for any reason. I honestly do not have a clue what they base their beliefs upon but that is what I heard them say. Of course there are other churches that teach speaking in tongues is a gift from God given to only a select few people to communicate with the people in other countries like a missionary traveling to Africa and they like to quote verses, out of context found in Acts 2 to help verify this doctrine. Therefore, in this group only certain Christians need this gift and this explains why they don’t have it or want it. Finally, there are other churches that take the whole subject of “speaking in tongues” to another extreme level and try to say that this only comes from the devil and only people full of the devil will ever speak in tongues. That is one of the stupidest beliefs that I have ever heard taught in a church. Clearly they do not know God nor understand their enemy the devil. To ignore parts of the Bible to believe something else entirely not found in the Bible is very foolish. You cannot find one scripture that says Satan causes people to speak in tongues. Therefore throw this belief away quickly.
In all of these false teaching the net result is the elimination of tongues from the believer. I personally do not care what these false teachers teach because I know differently from the Word of God and from my own personal experiences with my God that “speaking in tongues” is very real and it is for me today. You of course can do whatever you like and believe anything else you like. As I stated earlier I’m not going to go through any verses that these people try to take and explain them in this lesson. If you believe in one of these false doctrines and you want to tell me why, I probably will not even read your comment because I know the truth. When you know the truth, the lies are made extremely obvious.
I guess I will address one more false teaching that is prevalently taught in some churches today. Some churches that do not understand the Baptism of the Holy Spirit teach that when you are saved you receive the Spirit of God into your spirit and this is all of the Spirit of God that there is. Therefore they stop seeking for anything else from God after salvation. This is actually one of the greatest deceptions taught by a church. This teaching keeps people from the greatest event from God since their salvation and it will keep them in a state of Christian wilderness existence that does not allow them access into the Promised Land. Using the O.T. typology of the children of Israel coming out of Egypt as a pattern of our salvation of Jesus saving us from the world, we can observe many truths in this story. Just as Moses led the children of Israel out of natural slavery, Jesus saved us from the spiritual slavery of Satan. However, being saved from Egypt, Satan and the world did not end the story, did it? Unless you learn to fight to enter into the Promised Land you will be destined to die in your salvation wilderness not achieving the victory that God had already given to you. Where were the children of Israel for 40 years? They were in the wilderness lacking water. What is baptism? Does it not involve water? Do you see any connections here? Was there any lack of water in the Promised Land? Are you seeing what I am saying in making this comparison? This is exactly why the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the next step after your salvation from Egypt. Do you want to be victorious? If not, stop reading now, leave my website and go find some other Bible teachers to scratch your itching ears.
HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE AND THE SUBJECT OF TONGUES
People need to first realize that there is no single verse in the Bible that states any of God’s most important spiritual truths plainly, clearly and obviously. If you want one single Bible verse that says speaking in tongues is the baptism of the Spirit of God and this comes after your salvation you will be very disappointed that this is not in the Bible. However that does not mean that the truth is not found in the Bible in multiple verses and that is why many fail to find the truth because they do not search for all of the occurrences of a given subject being studied in the Bible. Reading the Bible is NOT studying the Bible, but studying the Bible does involve you reading. Spiritual truths are certainly found in the Bible, but they are all cleverly concealed from the natural viewpoint of the human mind by God’ design (1 Cor 2:14). If God and the Bible presented every spiritual truth in a plain self-evident text book format with bullet points and itemized lists of prioritized information, man would have no choice but to believe the truth of God. However, God created man to have freewill and since man was created with this predominant feature, no spiritual proof or written evidence in the Bible was clearly given about God’s existence or any other truth that would override this human right of choice. If you do not understand that God conceals things for us to find in the Bible I would recommend that you go and read Proverbs 25:2 to start with and then go find all the other verses that confirm this truth.
Every spiritual truth given to us by God is concealed in multiple layers of natural word verses and historical information in the Bible that must be searched, found, assembled together correctly and understood spiritually. I just described Bible study to be a known process with steps. Do you know what Bible study is like? Bible study is exactly like putting a complex natural jigsaw puzzle together. If you have ever put a complicated natural puzzle together, you should be able to transfer these skills, this basic knowledge and this puzzle experience to your personal spiritual experience of how you should be studying the Bible. If not, go and buy yourself a complex puzzle of at least 1000 pieces and see how long it takes you to solve. If you want the jigsaw puzzle to be more like the Bible, make the puzzle at least 5000 pieces with different front and back pictures. If you can learn to solve natural puzzles you can learn to study the Bible. The same concepts and challenges presented in puzzle solving are incorporated by God in a written word format puzzle. God gives us many spiritual facts randomly in some very isolated distributed verses in the Bible and these are the individual puzzle pieces needed in solving the bigger mysteries.
Did you solve the puzzle yet? If not why are you still reading my Bible lesson? I’m serious you need to stop and solve a natural puzzle before you continue reading my Bible study. To begin solving a natural puzzle you should usually lay out all of the pieces face up or picture side viewable. Of course if both sides are printed with different pictures then this further complicates the solution process. A double sided puzzle is more like the Bible since the Bible contains both natural truths and spiritual truths using the same words. I will liken this initial step of taking out the puzzle pieces and laying them on the table to be like you reading the Bible without studying it. Most new Christians only read the Bible and that is the entire effort that they extend with understanding it and that is why they are greatly confused and easily deceived. One of the next steps in puzzle solving could be to study the big picture on the box to learn it intimately the best that you can from memory. The more you can remember the more the Holy Spirit can bring certain verses up to you when you are reading other verses in the Bible to show you how they are related pieces of the puzzle. Only by understanding the big picture can you begin to try to understand the finer detailed pieces of the puzzle and where they fit. I believe seeing the big picture in puzzle solving is like the part of Bible study where you learn and list all of the known central basic themes of the Bible. For example, one of the greatest central themes of the entire Bible is God and Jesus and therefore the entire Bible must relay or convey this information in some way. Another central theme of the Bible is love and there are many reasons why I say that. Another central theme found in the Bible is faith and again there are many reasons why I say that. You see if you don’t even know all of the main themes in the Bible, how can you learn to solve the details like “speaking in tongues”? The next logical part of puzzle solving can be to begin to sort or organize all of the pieces. This is the beginning of the time consuming work part of Bible study. It is definitely a detailed oriented step and it is not always fun, but the benefits are very great when you understand why are you doing it.
As you then begin to sort through each of the 5000 pieces of the puzzle this is like you searching for related verses in the over 31,000 verses of the Bible that contain the subject that you are studying. In puzzle solving you might look for the shape of the piece to be a straight edge or not a straight edge piece as your first basic sort. After finding all of the straight edged pieces then you could look for non-straight edge pieces that have similar colors or patterns and begin to further organize these pieces into smaller groups of categories together. In Bible study sorting verses is a word based effort and not picture, shape or color based. You will discover related verses if God uses the same Greek or Hebrew word in both verses. Notice that I did not say the same English words. There are just too many translation problems for you to use the words of human translators to relate verses together. This is why we look up the Greek words and the original Hebrew Words to see where they are used by God. God selected and designed the original text, the translated text is man’s ideas of what they thought God said and many times they got it wrong.
You can also find related subject verses if God quotes the Old Testament verse in the New Testament. The repetition of the same words is one of the dominate ways that God links subject verses together. Also note that where the New Testament quotes an Old Testament verse, it many times will explain what the Old Testament meant and this is always very important information. Here is another secret that I will let you in on. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament was written in Greek. Why did God do this and how do we find related subjects that cross between the Old and New Testaments? This is where you must find a verse in the New that quotes a verse in the Old. Now using this quote you can legitimately tie Hebrew words directly to Greek words using a one for one correlation. We now can see everywhere a subject is repeated in both predominant sections of the Bible using this technique to link them.
But, God is also very tricky and He can use a totally different word to describe the same subject. For example, God uses approximately 6 different names for the sun in the Bible. The sun is a concealed reference to Jesus in the Bible and He is a well hidden subject using word titles like “day star”, “the greater light”, “dayspring”, “morning star”, “Sun of Righteousness” and “the true light”. This is how you must study the Bible and if you do not study the Bible this way you are probably very lost in what you know. Learn and understand that every piece of information given to us by God only fits correctly together in one way to give us the correct big picture solution. Many preachers have tried to take and force unrelated Bible facts and pieces of information together but their big picture doctrine will always fail the truth test. Preachers that try to make two unrelated topics fit together by forcing them are never going to produce the correct harmonious big God TRUTH picture of what God was attempting to say to us. I pray you are learning something about Bible study and God.
What I am doing today in this lesson is an attempt to help you by giving you some clear clues in how to study this subject in the Bible. I have been doing this from the beginning of the lesson without mentioning all of the steps, but now I am trying to teach you using a step by step approach to Bible study in order to tell you what we are doing so that you can learn to look for some of these new methods that might help you to see God’s Word more clearly in your personal studies. So I have two goals in this single Bible lesson. I want to first teach you how I study the Bible and learn a new subject and then I want to teach you what God reveals on this subject of tongues and baptism in the Bible. In other words I’m going to teach you how to fish first rather than doing all of your fishing for you and feeding you the fish that I have caught on the subject of what to look for in the Bible on “Speaking in Tongues” and the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”. Let me help you correlate the Bible to be a very complex puzzle by giving you some more known facts. Remember what I said earlier, that a very complex natural jigsaw puzzle will have at least 1000 pieces or more and one more like the Bible will have at least 5000 pieces. The more pieces the larger the puzzle and the more potentially complicated it will be to solve. I think if you own a Bible, you can understand that it is not a small book with limited information. But, let’s review some of the known facts about the KJV Bible that you need to consider in your future Bible studies:
BIBLE STATISTICS (King James Authorized):
- Number of books in the Bible: 66
- Chapters: 1,189
- Verses: 31,102
- Words: 783,137
- Letters: 3,116,480
- Different Hebrew Words: 8,674
- Different Greek Words: 5,624
- Different English Words: 12, 143
Reviewing the facts of the Bible reveals this is definitely way beyond the level of an extremely complex puzzle based upon the numbers alone. Searching in over 31,000 verses that contain over 700,000 words for related words and subjects is going to take you a lot of time. I believe that each verse is like one piece of a puzzle. But how do these 31,000 verses fit correctly together and what do they mean individually or by combining them correctly does that ever change the invidivual understanding of the single piece? Now we must also understand that there are more levels of complexity than the sheer numbers of words and verses involved in the search. These other complexity factors are also not as easily calculated or recognized. For example, there is God’s use of riddles, parables, symbolism, allegory, typology, shadows and I could go on and on. The complexity found in the Bible is by far over the heads of many readers and it can be as overwhelming as you trying to solve a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle without ever solving a puzzle before in your life.
CONTINUING OUR BIBLE STUDY
How would you begin to study this subject in the Bible? Has your approach changed since I introduced you to the puzzle solving approach? There are probably more approaches to Bible study than there are to anything else in the church and thus the main reason for the confusion that exists in the church with the existence of thousands of denominations. Rarely can you find people teaching this subject of how to study the Bible correctly; therefore everyone is forced into learning by a trial and error approach. This is actually a great mistake; it is like learning how to parent as your kids are growing up. Trial and error is never a great approach to doing anything and we all do it because we are forced to by our ignorance. The wiser approach to Bible study is to learn from someone that you can see has achieved a level of sound methodology from what they teach. By them being led by the Spirit of God and through many years of trial and error study they can quickly teach you the mistakes to avoid and the secret things that will help you not to repeat them and waste your time. If what I teach appeals to your spirit, then the way that I study my Bible might also appeal to you. You are the judge of what I teach and how I arrived at what I teach, if anything I say fits you then use it, if not no harm done.
When I do any Bible study now, I always do it using my computer exclusively. Before PC’s were invented and became cheap, I previously studied using my leather bound paper Bible book and a very large heavy book concordance, but now I have learned that computers are the most efficient study tool available to man. The digital power of the computer allows us to do things that were not possible using paper books only. A Bible program can contain 12 or more different translations and present them all to you for you to read and compare. Every good Bible software program uses a database format to store the information and every word is indexed and can be searched and referenced immediately. You can search the digital copies of the Bible using specific key words, phrases, Greek words, Hebrew words, definitions, synonyms and combinations of any of the above. If you don’t have a Bible program on your computer, get one now because many of them are FREE! I recommend one called eSword and you can find it easily if you Google it. Downloading it and installing it is not that difficult. Just do it!
Beginning any Bible study I always list the subject key words that I am attempting to study. The primary key words in this Bible lesson might be “tongue”, “tongues”, “speaking”, “speak”, “baptism” and “Holy Spirit” to name a few of the obvious words. Of course Bible study is way more complicated than this and beginning your study correctly only comes from repeated experience and being led by the Spirit of God. I have also learned from God that He uses multiple names, titles, descriptions, symbols and even many indirect references for the same subject in the Bible. This technique makes finding every reference considerably more difficult. For example, let’s analyze the subject of the human tongue. As we have already learned this literal word for the human tongue organ can also be used by God as an implied language or even multiple languages. So right there we need to expand our Bible search to include that additional subject and all the possible synonyms. Do you know what a synonym is? This is like God using 6 different names for the sun with them all being correct simultaneously. Synonyms are interchangeable words that have very similar meanings. Finding all of the possible synonyms for a subject is one of your greatest challenges.
There are also other parts of Bible study that make learning God’s truth an extended effort of deep research because of the hidden intelligence and complexity of our God. Depending upon God’s desire to hide the spiritual information the wording of certain subjects in the Bible can be easily missed reading the surface text only by the use of indirection. Indirection is the lack of specific straightforwardness when speaking words. I am describing to you that God wrote many indirect hidden references to many subjects found in the Bible. For example, what produces sound from the human body? You can come up with many names or descriptions for this sound producer and we could call it a mouth, a tongue, your lips, your voice, your speech, your vocal chords and probably several other terms that you have not even thought of yet. These would all be examples of direct references using synonymous terms. However, God can also hide information in the Bible using indirect or implied statements that do not have any of these direct keywords that you are searching for in the Bible about the mouth but the verse can still be about this subject. How do you search for scriptures on “tongues” when it does not mention tongues directly? That is just one more of the challenges presented to us in the Bible for us to overcome. Let me give you a quick example of a verse with indirection that you could read over and over and never see what God is saying and how it is related to the subject of “speaking in tongues”:
Joh 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Do you believe on Him? According to Jesus in this verse, you should be speaking in tongues if you are a believer. Oh, I know you don’t see it, but that is what this verse is about. This verse is simply a hidden indirect reference to the subject of speaking in tongues and because you do not understand what it says you miss it. Jesus said out of your belly or the inward part of your physical being, which is another hidden reference to your spirit, will flow rivers of living water. What exactly do you think that God is talking about in this verse? It is impossible to take this verse as being a literal statement from God. Therefore, it must be a symbolic statement from our God with concealed information presented in it. As a general rule of Bible interpretation you always take the Bible literally except when you cannot, like in this verse. Jesus was not saying that you are going to throw up your dinner or your beverage even though this is where those substances go after being swallowed. However, Jesus was definitely saying that something will come up and out from your mouth that will produce life. Words and air are the only two substantive things that can legally exit from the human mouth by God’s design. Anything else that exits or comes out of the mouth was not by God’s design. Therefore, these “rivers of life” that exit must be related to our spoken words. Since my mouth is connected to my belly this verse must be about my words that I speak, but not just any words will qualify, these words must produce life. I could try to explain this verse, but I really do not have the time in this lesson. Just try to understand for now that this verse is a hidden indirect reference about you speaking in tongues and when you finally receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit you will finally know by your own experience what God was saying to you in this verse. Until then you are not going to have a real clue about it and you will have to either reject what I just said or believe it by faith.
WHAT IS BAPTISM?
Let’s shift the focus and subject from tongues, language and spoken words to the subject of baptism. What is baptism? If you are a Baptist you know at least partially what it is because they teach a part of the baptism truth very strongly. Baptism is a New Testament revealed concept. There are some hidden references to it in the Old Testament but they are usually cloaked in symbolism, typology or allegory. Baptism was introduced for the first obvious time by John the Baptist in the Gospels. John was of course the prophesied forerunner of Christ that led the way to Christ. John would go into the river Jordan and take people with him and there he would fully submerge them under the water raising them back up again for the remission of their sins (Luke 3:3). I find it very interesting that the Holy Spirit led me to end the last section talking about rivers coming out from our mouth to now John standing in a river to baptize someone. Do you think this was a accident? Do you see a potential connection? This water baptism of John was an act of outward repentance of the sinner participant that was being baptized. In fact this statement about repentance is found repeatedly in the Gospels and “repentance” and “remission” are two new words that we might need to add to our complete study of this subject. The act of repentance will always be a forerunner to salvation. The act of remitting our sins was an accomplished work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ok, here is where we again need to come up with all of the related subjects and synonymous words to search for in the Bible. If baptism is one of the main subjects, what other related words are also important to include in the study? We must include “baptizer”, “baptize”, “baptized”, “baptizing”, “Baptist” and probably several other related words like “water”, “bath” and “washing”. By searching our Bible for these words, we will learn how they are used, where they are used and why they are used; expanding our knowledge of the complete subject. By doing this type of research we will potentially find many related clues to learn from God’s word, helping us to solve the greater puzzle. Every verse containing any subject content is a possible puzzle piece that you need to research to learn how and where they fit in the big picture. Keep this in mind as we continue. Since I have already done this research I will skip this part of searching the many verses and give you a few of the important ones that I found. If you don’t believe me, you should do the steps that I omitted and verify them. Try to see what God says about the subject baptism here in this verse:
Act 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
When I searched for the 5 Greek words that are related to baptism, I found approximately 100 verses with this subject in it. How did I find the 5 Greek words? I searched the Bible dictionary for a partial word “bapti” and told it to give me all of the Greek words that contain this partial word in the definition anywhere. Perhaps you did not know that you could do that, but that is the power of computers at work. The 5 Greek words that have “bapti” in the definition are G907, G908, G909, G910 and G3067. This search of the dictionary covered many of the words that I was looking for about “baptism”. I then took these 5 specific Greek words and searched the entire N.T. and said give me any verse that has any of these 5 words in it. I’m not going to go through each word and discuss them here; you can do that for yourself.
Out of the 100 verses that were returned with one of these Greek words being present, I found that over 50 of them are found in the Gospels and this makes sense to me because John first introduces us to this subject there. The next most popular book with this subject content is the book of Acts with 23 verses and then the rest of the verses are spread out in the letters written to the church. It is important to read them all, but it is also important to see what other information is given in each of these verses to help you to learn the more complete subject. For example, here in Acts 11:16 is found one of the most critically important verses about the entire subject of baptism that I found. This verse is located in one of the most unlikely places in the N.T. Hidden here in the middle of the book of Acts, God reveals and compares two separate variations of one named noun truth called “baptism”. If you had not searched your Bible for all of the variations of the word “baptism”, you might have easily bypassed this verse and missed one of the most important new revelations from God on the subject.
Here in this verse God is revealing that there is more than one kind of “baptism”. Did you know that? If you did not know this then you just learned something that will change you forever. One was called “John’s Baptism” and one is called the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”. One baptism was done by the hands of human men and one is done only by the hands of almighty God. One is totally natural in water and the other is completely spiritual. This single truth alone changes almost every other place in the N.T. that speaks of “baptism” and forces us to rethink what we are seeing. Do you understand what I am saying? You see if there was only one kind of baptism in the whole Bible, then it is extremely simple for us to understand it. However, God just introduced us to a new type of baptism that is different, done differently, performed by different individuals and suddenly the complexity has more than doubled even if they are both called “baptism”. Are you learning anything yet? I am about to rock your Bible study world. God is revealing that there are two dimensions of truth. Wow, did you hear what I just said? Can you even wrap your mind around this concept? One truth realm is called the natural and this visible truth parallels but also reveals to us the other truth realm called the spiritual which is unseen by human eyes.
I had some people write me a comment a while back trying to tell me that people can’t be saved and go to heaven unless they are fully water baptized in the name of Jesus like the Bible clearly states. I told them NO that is not what the N.T. clearly teaches us and I based my statement upon my knowledge of verses like this one that they must be either unaware of or ignoring because it does not fit with their beliefs. I said the Bible says “We look not at the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen, for the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Cor 4:18). If you can see someone getting water baptized that is an external inferior temporary thing that God commands us NOT to even look at now. Why then do some Christians still want to look at this temporary external water baptism as being a requirement for their eternal salvation if it should not be viewed according to God? They love to look at the external things because they are carnal, naturally thinking individuals being people who are ignorant of God’s spiritual internal truths. God told the prophet Samuel “Look not on the outward appearance of the man, because the Lord does not see men as men see them, I look upon their heart” (1 Sam 16:7). I tried to argue with them and ask why are you looking at the outside to determine what is saved on the inside, are you God? Obviously they are not God, because God is only viewing the inside of the man to determine his salvation. But, I learned quickly that I was wasting my time arguing with an un-teachable brick wall type of Christian.
These temporary naturally seen things were created and given to us by God to teach us about the unseen eternal spiritual things, that we have never seen and can never prove exists. That is the absolute truth and there are no other hidden reasons for the natural to exist that are relative for this discussion. Therefore, quit looking at the natural realm and giving it your priority over God’s Spirit, what He does or has done and accomplished in the spiritual realm. Your natural water baptism is not ever going to save you and if you think it is you might be on your way to hell already. I know I just lost a bunch of readers with that blunt statement. But I would rather standalone telling you the truth than stand in your crowd on the way to hell with you. You see I know this because I have been baptized by the Spirit of God. Since my God did this for me and to me, I now completely understand that there is nothing that you can ever try to do with your natural water baptism that is greater than what He did for me with His Spirit. Again if you have not experienced this work of God you will not understand what I am saying and you can be happy with your natural water and miss the Spirit of God. Since the Bible commands us to establish every truth in the mouth of two or three witnesses, we technically need another verse that states there are two kinds of baptism that exist, so I’ll give you another verse found in the Bible spoken to us by the Lord Jesus Christ:
Act 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
I believe that you can read this verse and see that Jesus is again comparing what was coming in a few days to that which has already been in the past. Which one do you believe is greater? Which one do you believe is more important for your salvation? Why do you think Jesus did not tell them to wait to be baptized in water so that they could be saved after His resurrection? Which one did Jesus command them to wait for? I know probably all of the disciples were technically baptized before by John so they have already experienced the natural water type of baptism, but that still does not prove that the spiritual baptism of the Holy Spirit is dependent upon the natural occurring first. Since I have found no verses that reveal a dependent relationship between the two, it would be wrong to create a doctrine of baptism dependence without literally two or three verses stating this direct dependence. But, you can still believe whatever you like.
Also notice that what Jesus was describing in this verse to His disciples was a baptism that had not taken place for them or to them. Therefore I can legally call this a new baptism and that would be a completely truthful statement. Do you understand this point? The baptism that was about to happen in a few days later from this statement was not the baptism that had occurred in the past to them. However, since this new baptism is to be done by the Spirit of God, it is only understandable by us observing what was previously done externally in water. Being baptized by the Holy Spirit is clearly a spiritual experience and when Jesus spoke these words to His disciples it had never occurred before to them. These are very important points, and that is why I am repeating myself. I guess I should clarify that this spiritual baptism was one that Jesus had personally experienced before, but no one else in the Acts 1 and 2 had this experience that I have found. I know this truth from two facts found in the Gospels. First, when Jesus was water baptized by John in the river, immediately after coming up from the water, the Spirit of God descended from heaven upon Him in the form of a dove. Therefore, Jesus was baptized spiritually immediately after being baptized physically by water. Let me show you the verse:
Joh 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
This verse is describing an Old Testament form of one of the spiritual baptisms from the Holy Spirit as it was being experienced by the Lord Jesus who is the future stated head of the church. The Spirit of God is clearly observed by John to be descending out of heaven and in this experience the Spirit of God appeared as the form of a dove which rests “upon” Jesus. This is actually very important information to take notice of. This is describing a spiritual baptism from the Holy Spirit upon a natural man and this is exactly a pattern of what Jesus was describing that would be happening to the disciples in Acts 1:5. Therefore, the disciples had already technically witnessed a spiritual baptism even though they did not fully understand it before they experienced it in Acts 2. I want you to pay attention that when the Spirit of God came upon Jesus that Jesus was not yet risen from the dead and thus no new birth had yet taken place. I believe that this proves a form of spiritual baptism existed in the Old Testament prior to it being introduced to the church in the New Testament. I will discuss this further in future lessons in this series. I also said that there were two references in the Gospels to Jesus being baptized with the coming baptism and here is the other verse that you need to read carefully:
Mat 20:23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
Jesus told His disciples that they would soon be baptized with the same baptism that He had experienced. Wow, that is an awesome statement from God. This is one of those Bible references that can only be interpreted correctly using the new knowledge that there are two different kinds of baptism described in the Bible and Jesus had already experienced both of them, but no else could until Jesus was raised from the dead. In this verse I believe that Jesus was speaking about the coming spiritual baptism of the Holy Spirit, since everyone else present had already been water baptized at this point in time. Do you see it? Logically speaking, it is impossible for Jesus to be speaking about the natural water baptism, because it would not make any sense.
OK let’s recap again what we have just learned about baptism from all of these verses in Acts, Matthew and John. We have observed two references in the book of Acts where God describes two separate kinds of baptism. These are completely unique and distinct types of the same named action but being clearly a different kind of experience for each involvement or participation. The first baptism was one being entirely natural in water and the other coming baptism was one being totally spiritual done by God without getting physically wet. We just saw that Jesus experienced both of these, but no one else living in the church had this second experience until a few days after Acts chapter 1. This further reveals to us that what John did with water was not what God was going to do to the coming church even though they are both called baptism. The entrance of this information brings us knowledge about a new spiritual baptism that supersedes the old natural baptism. From the knowledge of these new facts, that means whenever we read a verse about baptism, baptizing, being baptized or any variations of these words we need to understand which experience God is describing. If God says it is “John’s baptism” then you will immediately understand it was the natural baptism done with water and the hands of men. If God says the baptism of the Holy Ghost, then we can also know with great confidence that this verse is about a spiritual experience done by our God. If the verse says only “baptism” without qualification, it could be either type of baptism being described or referenced especially if there is no mention of water. This part of the Bible study might have been some of the most important information that you have learned so far in this lesson, so hang on to it and don’t let it go. Let me show you one verse example that people like to quote proving we must be water baptized.
Act 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Do you see any problems with this verse now that you know that there are two kinds of baptism? If you back up in the chapter you will discover these men were previously baptized by John in water for the repentance of their sins. Why then would it be necessary for them to go back into the water again? Of course we can clearly see that it says that we need to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus and this is why many people have reasoned the need for another water baptism that is necessary for their salvation to become valid to be done in the name of Jesus. But notice that no natural water is mentioned here in Acts 19:5, there is no mention of getting wet, there is no human man called to be the baptizer in this verse, and there is no qualification given to us of this being a type of “John’s” baptism; therefore to try to make this verse say that they were water baptized again in Jesus’ name is ridiculously creative human reasoning. That would clearly be adding to the verse and making it say what it does not say. Reading the context in the very next verse it says that Paul laid his hands on them and they spoke in tongues. Could that possibly be the baptism that they were given in Jesus’ name? I don’t have time to prove every scripture. Just read them and then notice what they say and more specifically what they don’t say. Don’t add your own definitions or interpretations to them; just see if there is any direct mention of water being present and then ask if it could be a spiritual baptism that was done by God. If you immediately see that they are speaking in tongues it cannot be anything but the baptism of the Spirit of God. Change your perspective and quit being so single threaded and narrow minded that there is only one kind of baptism mentioned in the Bible. We have clearly learned that there is not one but at least two types of baptism mentioned in the Bible.
ARE YOU SPEAKING IN A NEW TONGUE?
Let’s go back to the subject of “tongues” again since that is where my discussion of baptism ended. Let’s do a search again for this Greek word G1100 in the N.T. I will tell you that there are at least 5 Greek words that have something to do with the word “tongue” in the definition, but I am for now not going to address any of these other words. If you do the search for G1100, you will remember that this word only appears in 47 verses in the N.T. and that is not that many. This makes it much easier to go and read every verse to see what they are saying. If the subject of tongues appeared in 500 verses, that would be too many to read them all and remember what they said. One of the key verses that might stand out to you in your search is this one found in the book of Mark. Let’s read it carefully and notice what Jesus said to the church:
Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Many have tried to take this verse and remove it from the Bible. However, I know for sure that it is an excellent statement from God and that it should be there. Jesus said we would speak with “new tongues” and this is definitely not us learning to speak a new language that we can understand as in going to language school. Therefore, we need to ask when does this occur and how does this occur? Before we go there, let’s examine two other Greek words found in this verse. The first Greek word is translated as “speak” and it means to utter words, talk, to preach or to say. This of course is the human mouth vocalization skill with articulated audible words. Speaking involves us producing sound waves that can be heard by those that are nearby. Therefore, the word “speak” introduces us to a new concept that involves producing sound and that is a whole new very important subject to put in your vocabulary. I believe that we need to include the keyword “sound” in our Bible study to see what clues are given to us by God on this subject. Does God link sound to our study anywhere? We could do a search and find out what God says or we can just remember that word and keep it in our mind as we go forward looking for links.
We have already looked up the noun “tongues” in this verse and it literally means “tongues” so I will not repeat that part of the introduction. But, notice the noun qualifier adjective that precedes this word “tongues” in this verse. This reference to spoken tongues in Mark 16:17 is restricted to or limited by the adjective “new”. “New” is the stated opposite or antithesis of something being “old”. This verse is not saying that we will get a physical tongue transplant; God is saying by the inclusion of the word “new” that we will begin to speak in new languages that we have not ever heard of or learned to speak before. The Greek word translated as “new” literally means a “fresh” language. This clearly distinguishes this language from any of the old languages that we might already know and speak right now. It would be like me saying I bought a new car today. A new car means it is not my old car that was sitting in my driveway yesterday. If you speak English today that means this new language that you will speak cannot be English. Do you understand what I am saying? Do you believe in Jesus? If you do, then Jesus said you should be speaking languages that you never spoke before, right now! So how do you do this? Are we supposed to go out and buy a new language course and start studying something new, learning to speak it? No that is not what God is saying at all. That would be the works of your flesh and not the works of the Spirit of God. But that is exactly how many carnal Christians try to interpret it. Let’s go find out how they did this in the early church and this should reveal how we do it today since we are in the same body and the church as they were. We can only find this information by continuing to search in the Bible for the keyword “tongues” or “G1100” and see where else it is mentioned in the N.T. and I found these verses almost immediately:
Act 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Act 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Let me recap quickly the context of these verses and why this is so important. In chapter 1 we already saw one verse where Jesus said the baptism of the Holy Spirit will be coming to you in a few days. Jesus actually commands His disciples in chapter 1 of Acts to wait in Jerusalem until they are endued with power from on high. This is actually more important than you know and probably why you do not have the power of God working in your life right now. After Jesus tells the disciples this, He ascends into heaven and there He remains until He comes to take His church out of this world. However, in chapter 2 of Acts this is the few days later that Jesus was describing. The early church was being obedient to Jesus and they had gathered together in an upper room in Jerusalem waiting for this supernatural spiritual baptism that was promised by God. We should now understand the context of these verses in Acts 2 and we should know that these people that were present in the upper room represent the entire church body at this period of time on the earth. Do you understand that? There were no other saved church members on the earth that were not present in Acts 2. Technically there are already saved church members in heaven during this event, but I do not have time to explain that. Just understand that everyone else in the world not present in the upper room represent the lost unbelievers that need to be added to the church and that would include you and me in future terms since we were not yet born during this event.
Reading these verses very carefully in Acts 2 you should be able to notice some things that I have already introduced you to. First,notice that this event was described as a “sound” that came from heaven in verse 2. This information gives us “sound” as a direct keyword link to what we learned about speaking audibly in tongues earlier in Mark 16:17. The location of heaven connects us to where this sound originated from and that is also very critical to understand the source as being from God. What we see is the mention of heaven just like the baptism of Jesus in Matthew that we read when the Spirit of God descended like a dove. So these verses have immediate relevance based upon our keyword association and our previous knowledge that God is in heaven. If a sound came from heaven what was the result of this sound after it entered into the earth’s atmosphere? What we begin to observe in these verses is another repeated pattern found in the Bible in more than one place. For example, in Genesis 1, you can see that God was speaking repeatedly and then something in the natural realm came into manifestation. For example, God saw darkness and said “Light Be” and then light was in the natural. This is exactly what is happening in Acts 2 whether you understand it or not.
God is revealing that being Baptized with the Spirit of God started with God sending a sound from heaven from the spiritual realm and this spiritual sound that was sent resulted in an external sound manifestation being heard in this natural realm. While this does not say that God spoke directly, I believe exactly that this is what occurred in Acts 2. Where do sounds from God come from? Perhaps it is time for a new Bible verse:
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Here we have a verse spoken by Jesus revealing that God has a mouth and that He speaks words audibly. These words according to Jesus produce life in us. What did I quote earlier that Jesus said? Remember I said “Out of your belly shall flow rivers of life”. Uh oh? I think we are finding more puzzle pieces that are falling together in harmony. This river that comes out of our mouth that produces life has to be the Words that were spoken by God. I mean what else is there that creates life? So does this mean we memorize the Bible and speak these words to produce this life? That is certainly one interpretation or possibility, but not the whole truth either. How else can we speak God’s words? We’ll that is where speaking in tongues comes in and we will get there eventually.
Did you understand what I just said? Do you know that this is practically how everything from God works? God is a Spirit and what He speaks in the spirit realm will cause things in the natural realm to vibrate. Uh, oh? I really do not want to get too technical here but sound waves are the root fundamental substance to everything that exists in our world. If you can see it, touch it, taste, hear it or smell it, it has the root of being a sound wave created by God’s words. Sorry that was another side trip; but I believe that it was an interesting point to consider. What we are observing here in Acts is that a sound came from heaven and then something happened in the natural realm that was externally evident!
Before I go to the next point, let’s notice that this sound sent from heaven filled the physical place where the entire early church was assembled and that it “sat” upon “each” and “everyone” of them in verse 3. Isn’t this exactly what the dove did to Jesus in the Gospels? Learning this fact alone proves that whatever happened to all of them should be what happens to everyone else that comes into the church later since God did not omit anyone or selectively give this gift only to a few of them. Do you see that and can you agree? Are you in the church? Do you speak in tongues? This is why I called the church teaching of selective tongues to only missionaries a very false doctrine. If you do not speak in tongues now then you are missing what God gave to the whole church in Acts 2. If the entire church was supposed to speak in tongues in Acts 2, then the entire church is still supposed to speak in tongues in Acts 29. Oh maybe you did not understand what I just said, there is no Acts chapter 29 in the Bible; we are the church writing Acts 29 right now. Nowhere in Acts is it stated that speaking in tongues ceased or was terminated, so do not believe that it has or you will miss it.
This is really not complicated, but it is an easily missed truth and one truth that is widely ignored by many Christians. Then notice that this sound that fell from heaven is also described to us using some new descriptive phrasing called “tongues of fire” in Acts 2:3. Why, is fire so important and why is this word even included in these verses or even mentioned at all with the same Greek word G1100 tongues? Here is another secret clue that God is trying to teach you. “Fire” is directly linked to “tongues” in this verse and that produces a new “keyword” to search for in our Bibles for us to learn a totally new subject and see some more puzzle pieces and how they fit together. Are you learning how to study the Bible? It is much more complicated than you thought isn’t it? When I searched the N.T. for “fire” I found something that is definitely important and completely related to our subject discussion. Here is the reason that “fire” is so important to see and why God included it here in this chapter of Acts:
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Here we have another hidden key to what is happening to the church in Acts 2. John the Baptist says “I baptize you with water, but He that comes after me, He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost fire”. Here again we have an additional confirmation to the existence of two different types of baptism. Since John is speaking in this verse we can clearly understand that one was his baptism that was done with water. The other future prophesied baptism was one that would be done by Jesus and this is not done with natural water but with spiritual fire from the Spirit of God. Fire and water are natural opposites but yet we can be baptized with either and they are called the same type of act. God directly connects the Holy Ghost baptism with the events that are happening to the early church in Acts 2 with the key word “fire”. Now we can see that was happening to the early church was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus told them to wait for in Jerusalem to receive. Since Jesus went back to heaven and sent this fire from heaven we can know that this was the prophesied baptism just spoken of by John the baptist. John was clearly pointing people to the coming baptism as being greater than what he was doing. This is exactly how you must study the Bible and every subject in the Bible looking for clues to connect together.
Why has God been comparing or contrasting between John’s water baptism and the spiritual baptism of fire that we just read about in Acts 2 that came from the Spirit of God? It is because the external water baptism teaches us what God was about to do in the internal part of us with His Spirit. We can only understand the internal by observing the external. Is this too complicated? Just understand that the fire being referred to in Acts 2:3-4 is the Baptism that was spoken of by John in this verse in Matthew 3:11. Now let’s go back to Acts and learn another confirmation for this truth by what God says to us.
Did you notice in Acts 2:3 that the Spirit of God sent from heaven as a sound and a fire did not enter into them, but rather “sat upon” each of them? This is actually a very relative distinction to observe. It is the stated difference as if I poured a cup of water on your head as opposed to giving you a cup of water for you to drink internally. Which cup of water experience is more representative of water baptism? Normally the water that you wash with is not the same water as what you drink? They both are clearly water, but one is for external use and one is for internal use. Both of these participations of water are two completely different experiences of the same substance. This is exactly what is being taught in this lesson about God’s Spirit. Being born of the Spirit of God internally is not the same event as being baptized with the Spirit of God and if you think it is you are deceived. This reference found in Acts 2:3 cannot be the New Birth when the Spirit of God entered into the man’s spirit to abide forever and I can prove that using the scriptures. Go back to the book of John and reread the events after the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus appeared to the disciples and He said and did this to them all:
Joh 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
You still have a lot to learn if you do not understand that what comes out of the mouth of God is from the Spirit of God. When Jesus breathed on these disciples He tells each of them to receive His Spirit into them. This is when they were born again and this occurs only a few days after the resurrection of Jesus and over 40 days before the day of Pentecost that occurs in Acts 2. Why if Jesus gave them the Spirit of God in John 20 do they still need to wait in Jerusalem for more of the Spirit of God in Acts 2? You really need to ask God some very specific questions when you read these little details in the Bible or you are going to miss out on the most important thing that could happen to you since being born again. What we are observing are two experiences of the same Spirit. One is a spiritual birth and the other is a spiritual baptism. Don’t confuse them and don’t mix them up in reverse order.
Acts 2:3-4 is clearly describing to us that the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues is the same event but it is also not the indwelling of the Holy Spirit internally because it was an external spiritual emersion poured out upon them from heaven. The Spirit upon you is not the same as the Spirit within you even though He is the exact same Spirit in both experiences. This is no different than us washing with water or drinking the water, both are different water experiences of the same substance. One is for our external benefits and the other is for our internal benefits. Technically we can survive wihtout the external, but we will not survive without the internal. However without the external expierence, we will be stinky and smelly Christians. Therefore, God left nothing out and gave us both. I’ll end my current Acts 2 part of the discussion pointing out this fact. Did you notice that in Acts 2:4 that God used the exact same two Greek words that we just looked at earlier when Jesus was speaking to us in Mark 16:17? These two words were “speak” and “tongues”. God’s usage of the same two exact Greek words again connects this event to the other verse in Mark 16 directly. God does this on purpose to provide you with more solid clues for you to see and learn the truth. In Mark 16 Jesus said you will speak with “NEW” tongues meaning this was not any of the previous “OLD” tongues that you already possessed, knew or even understood. The term “NEW” means something not in your previous possession or it would not be new to you. That is exactly what happened in Acts 2. Here in Acts 2 God uses the adjective “other” tongues and that makes them different than previous tongues using a different but similar word statment. Jesus said it would happen before it happened and then it happened. Sound like God doesn’t it?
I really think I have gone long enough in this lesson even though there is so much more that I could teach you on this subject. I covered a lot of new information in this lesson. We certainly learned that spiritual things and natural things exist in unison, but the natural always precedes the spiritual so that we will be able to understand the spiritual. I also changed my approach in this lesson to include more study methods for searching the Bible to find God’s distributed clues. If you can learn how God has written the Bible it will greatly help you in all of your future study efforts. I hope that you understood how I linked God’s spiritual baptism to speaking in tongues. This event was actually the first thing that God did for the church in Acts 2. This heavenly baptism is why everything else in the book of Acts occurs. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit and them speaking in tongues in chapter 2 no other chapters would have been written. I hope you understand how the Power of God was necessary for what is written. Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for this power and we are also required to receive this power from God to accomplish what He needs us to do. Peter went from denying Jesus 50 days before to preaching to 5000 to get them saved. That was the result of the power of God being received by Peter. This same power will still do that for you also.
I will do another lesson in this series eventually, but first I want to see what the reaction to this one is to find out if it was really worth all of my time and effort that I spent on it. If everyone has been offended by this lesson and leaves, I am not sure if it was worth me teaching it. I do hope that you at least benefited with the parts of the lesson that dealt with my Bible study techniques and methods. If you have any questions or comments you are welcome to leave them and I will attempt to respond either in public or in private. Thank you for your time in reading and studying the Bible today, God will richly reward you for your effort. God Bless!
If you would like to continue to read in this series on the Holy Spirit baptism please go to “Part 2“.