THE SILENT, BUT DEADLY PULPIT
This paper is written not to offend, but to inform you, especially those in pastoral ministry. The apostle Peter, who Jesus charged to take care of His sheep Jn21:17, said ‘Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind’ 1Pe5:2.
If you disagree with this paper, there is a problem here; but if you agree, then you would realize the sad state many Christian churches are now in, and their lack of readiness before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus warned ‘..Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?’ Lk18:8. Jesus also said ‘..except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven’ Mt5:20.
The prophet Isaiah said ‘His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark.. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter’ Is56:10,11. The LORD said ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee..’ Hos4:6.
Being a pastor, a minister, or watchman is not an easy job, and has tremendous responsibilities and even personal consequences. As a voice of God, they must preach the right things, ‘never compromising the Word’, and to declare the heart of God. If not, they along with their members will suffer and may even perish for not knowing or disobeying God’s will which is only revealed in His Word, the Holy Bible. It contains numerous warnings for people to get ready, to repent, to believe the Gospel, to turn to and to return to God. It is the pastor’s foremost responsibility to warn the flock of any impending danger coming their way, but many are not aware of them and are not doing so.
Many pulpits in churches today are silent and negligent in preparing their members for the Endtimes. The pastors do not speak against sin, the need for repentance and holiness; the soon return of Jesus Christ, severe judgment coming upon the earth, the Rapture; the rise of the AntiChrist system, the New World Order, the Great Tribulation, the Mark of the Beast, and of the end of the world. There is a general silence behind the pulpits to warn people to be watchful and to pray always to escape the coming trials and tribulation before Jesus’ return Lk21:36.
While Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of his days warning them ‘..to discern the signs of the times’, calling them hypocrites, wicked, and adulterous (unfaithful) Mt16:1-4, this also seems descriptive of many pastors today. Our pulpits have become not only silent regarding these matters and compromised by Satan, but also very deadly to the souls of the churchgoers. This paper is about the silent, but deadly pulpit!
Watchmen On The Wall- Warnings to Pastors
Essentially, a watchman in ancient times is like a pastor or shepherd today. Both are called to watch for danger, to sound the alarm, and to protect their flock. On Nov 20, 2005 while ministering in Cubao, Manila, the Lord gave this prophecy to my wife who scripted it on a note paper. This prophecy was regarding the Rapture, the return of Jesus Christ, and the responsibility of all pastors to broadcast this message:
‘God is calling a people unto Himself who are pure and holy to embark upon the most important event they were created for. It is the ‘come up hither event’, referring to the Rapture Re11:12, 1Th4:16,17. That is the message that Jesus’ coming is imminent, and we, who are called as watchmen must sound the message loudly. Many watchmen today are sleeping and no longer attentive to their jobs. They must be aroused. Many are tired and must be charged up again. Many watchmen have left their posts and must be persuaded to return.
But alas, Many Watchmen Will Be Cast Off Because God Cannot Use Them; they have gone back into the world where sin, Satan and their flesh will consume them. The worms have already begun to eat away at them Mk9:44,46,48 and the fires of hell will destroy them. The message is to ‘wake up, look at the signs around you’; the enemy is advancing, prepare for battle and watch the salvation of the Lord..’.
In churches, the pulpit is the perch whereby pastors should sound the warning loudly of the wiles of the devil and the dangers of secular humanism. If you are a pastor, then it behooves you to obey God and do His work correctly, not to be men pleasers Ep6:6, tickling ears, but to warn them of impending dangers and of deadly consequences. The apostle Paul wrote ‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears’ 2Ti4:3. It is not an easy job, but if you fail, many will perish in hell and God will hold you responsible. Sadly today, apostasy is growing in many churches as people are not being duly warned.
The 3 R’s in the book of Ezekiel– Repent, Return, and Remain
God used the prophet Ezekiel to prophesy and warn the watchmen or pastors to do their jobs. The 3 R’s in the book of Ezekiel are to Repent, Return, and Remain true to the LORD. In Ezekiel chapter 3, God harsh warnings were directed to 3 groups of people- the Wicked, the Backslider, and the Righteous Ez3:17-21; similar to the 3 groups Jesus mentioned in the Laodicean church– to the Cold, the Lukewarm, and the Hot Christians Re3:16. The LORD said ‘When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; BUT HIS BLOOD WILL I REQUIRE AT THINE HAND’ Ez3:18; also to the Backslider v20.
In the 1st and 2nd groups, the Wicked and the Backslider, both needed to REPENT or they would die in their sins. Also to the Backslider, unless he REPENTS, God will not remember any of his past righteousness. This goes against the incorrect belief ‘once saved, always saved’. In the 3rd group, Ezekiel said the Righteous shall surely live, only if he remained Righteous. The implication here is that only the Righteous who Repents, Returns, and Remains true to the LORD will be saved. Also, only after proper warnings by the watchman, the LORD said ‘..thou hast delivered thy soul’ Ez3:21.
Here, we see the importance of repentance in our lives, and for pastors to preach the Gospel of repentance along with salvation. Pastors should not compromise God’s Word. Pastors today must warn their flock against sinning and to always Repent. If not, people will perish in hell, but their blood will be upon their hands, meaning God will hold the pastors accountable. If pastors are weak, timid, carnal, compromising, reluctant, self-serving, sinful, backslidden, or negligent to warn the people, they too will be in danger of hell fire Lk13:3,5. Jesus said ‘As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and Repent’ Re3:19.
Jesus Preached the Gospel of Repentance and Salvation
When Jesus began his ministry, his first and most important message was ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: Repent ye, and Believe the Gospel’ Mk1:15. This message is still pertinent today. What is the Gospel? In the Bible, the Gospel means the good news of the coming kingdom of God, and of salvation. Repentance is important in order to enter into God’s kingdom. What is Repentance? It means to turn away from our sins, and to turn to God in our lives. To repent means to be sorry for our sins and to seek God’s forgiveness.
Jesus said ‘..except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish’ Lk13:3,5. Without repentance, there is no salvation. Without repentance, one cannot be ‘born again’. Jesus said ‘.. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ and ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God’ Jn3:3,5. Pastors should do likewise: preach against sin, and preach the Gospel of repentance and salvation.
Jesus warned of false prophets and pastors: ‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?.. then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity’ Mt7:15,21-23.
Paul’s Warnings to Pastors
The apostle Paul warned pastors regarding what they should be preaching. Paul said ‘I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ.. PREACH THE WORD; be instant in season, out of season; Reprove, Rebuke, Exhort With All Longsuffering and Doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things.. do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry’ 2Ti4:1-5.
Paul spoke of a time coming when pastors would be slack in their preaching, not enduring the truth, but preaching only soft and positive things. This very thing is happening today. Church pulpits have become silent regarding sound doctrine and sin, and very deadly to the souls of its members. Paul said ‘For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation..’ 2Co7:10.
If Jesus Was Walking The Streets Today
If Jesus was walking the streets today, he would hardly be welcomed in the churches. As in time past, His messages would be too radical, provocative, unpleasant, and condemning for churchgoers today. Not only would he not be allowed to speak, but many would want to throw him out, or even seek to attack or kill him. The 4 Gospels are replete with all the hate and vilification Jesus experienced when he taught in the synagogues, and in the Temple. Many religious leaders hated him, and feared that Jesus would displace them. Jesus was in their way to power, money, and influence, and they sought to kill him.
Consider this: Would you be in the group that accepted Jesus as a prophet, or the group that shouted to ‘Crucify him’ Mk15:13,14, Lk23:21? Similarly, as Jesus was not readily accepted then, so will He not be accepted today. Things are very convoluted in these last days. Jesus prophesied ‘..when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?’ Lk18:8; ‘And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved’ Mt24:12-14.
Jesus also said ‘..ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake’ Mt24:9. Jesus said as in the days of Noah, so shall it be before his 2nd coming Mt24:37. America today has become a hedonistic, immoral, corrupt, and backslidden nation, and Biblical Christianity is fading fast.
Today’s Apostate Churches
Over the past 30 years, a new paradigm had emerged within the churches. It is the Seeker-Friendly (aka Emergent Church) movement, to have more people come to church, and also to enrich their coffers. Their focus is on the unchurched, rather than on the unsaved; how to have more people attending church by becoming more contemporary, entertaining with performances, plays, dances, and sermons being more palatable, and people-friendly. The Seeker-Friendly Church movement has caused an explosion in mega-churches with some memberships in the tens of thousands, and pastors becoming very wealthy.
Emphasis is placed on the individual’s personal needs rather than their spiritual needs; on self-edification than on personal salvation. These churches are often soft on sin, on fornication, on shacking up, on abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and on SSMs. Some even have homosexual pastors preaching, or creative gay people leading worship; using programs, dramas, sophisticated lighting and special sound effects, high-tech/multi-media support in their services, but often not preaching repentance, holiness, and the Gospel of Christ.
Sin and judgment are not being preached; holy living not advocated. Hell Is Never A Nice Topic To Talk About! There is more talk on fun and fellowship, surfing and sports, dating and marriage, raising children, support groups, health and weight loss, dieting, jokes, and Christian entertainment, rather than on the Gospel of Jesus Christ– on sin, judgment, repentance, God’s wrath, endtimes, what God is doing today, the lateness of the hour; how to be saved, how to pray, how to prepare for His coming; how to study the Bible, etc.
Humor and positive messages are used to make people feel good and entertained so that they will return each Sunday. While some programs are good, many attending may not be saved and ‘born again’ because the Gospel of Salvation was not preached! Today’s soft TV messages by wealthy televangelists are a very good example of the decadency and apostasy in today’s mega-churches, preaching prosperity and personal empowerment rather than personal repentance!
Why the Pulpits Are Silent, But Very Deadly
Like many businesses today, churches depend upon their membership base for financial support, survival and prosperity. While it is not fair to lump all churches and pastors into one big category, there appears to be a commonality in their approach in ‘doing church’. Most churches won’t speak against sin, against abortion, against premarital sex, immorality, homosexuality and SSM, about hell and damnation, the need for repentance and to be born again, and about holiness in order to remain saved, and to be taken in the Rapture.
They don’t want to offend their churchgoers with the truth. They avoid warnings about Satan, false prophets and false teachers, about the coming apostate One World Church, God’s impeding judgment, and the Endtimes.
Here are some reasons why the pulpits have become silent in preaching the Gospel, but very deadly to the souls of the church members:
- Many pastors don’t believe wholly in the Word of God; in repentance for the remission of sins Lk12:47, Ro1:18,28, 1Ti4:1, 2Th2:10.
- Many pastors don’t believe the end is near and that Jesus is returning soon. They don’t preach the need to prepare for the Endtimes Mt24:21.
- Many pastors don’t believe in Jesus’ warnings to be watchful and to be ready for the Rapture Mt24:13,42,25:13, Jn14:3, 1Th4:16-18.
- Many pastors don’t believe Satan is a real enemy who seeks to destroy us 1Pe5:8,9. They also don’t know about spiritual warfare Ep6:10-13.
- Many pastors don’t teach the importance of the Holy Spirit to lead, teach, guide, protect, and to perfect us in the Lord Ep4:13, Php3:15.
- Many pastors cherry pick their messages to soothe their listeners 1Ti4:1. They ‘having a form of godliness’, but lack God’s power 2Ti3:5.
- Many pastors fear loss of membership, income, and even gov’t intervention, so they compromise the Word of God.
- Many pastors are fulfilling the Endtime prophecy spoken by Paul of an apostate church- a great falling away 2Th2:3.
Finally, the watchmen are not watching, the pastors are not preaching repentance and salvation, and Satan has made great inroads into the churches. Jesus said ‘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: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves’ Mt7:13-15.
Paul warned of preaching another gospel- one of compromise, convenience, and political correctness. He said if ‘we or an angel preached any other gospel than what we had preached.. let him be accursed’ Ga1:8. Paul warned in the last day many will have ‘a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof’ 2Ti3:5. Paul said ‘For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..’ Ro1:16. He said ‘it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe’ 1Co1:21.
The pastor’s first and last order of business should be to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ Jn3:16-17, and to save them from hell. Anything short of this is a total failure! Only Jesus Saves!
Maranatha- the Lord Cometh!
Please also see Dear Pastors, Feed My Sheep
Life in the Spirit- The Important Ministry of the Holy Spirit
This paper is about Life in the Spirit, the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Having the indwelling Spirit of Jesus in us is of utmost importance in our walk with God. Jesus said ‘For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be Baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence’ Ac1:5; ‘..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’ Ac1:8. The main purpose for the indwelling Spirit is to fulfill the Great Commission and also to perfect us in Christ.
God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ to die for our sins. After His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus returned to heaven so He could send the Holy Spirit to finish His work. Jesus said ‘..He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father’ Jn14:12. Only by leaving could Jesus then send the Holy Spirit to be everywhere in the world to empower, to lead, guide, teach, protect, to intercede for us, and to perfect us, and to finish His work. This is the greater works ministry of Jesus. By sending His Spirit to be in us, people everywhere could be reached with the Gospel of Salvation. Please note that the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Jesus Christ Php1:19 are synonymous. These titles all refer to the same Spirit of God as Ep4:4 states ‘There is ..one Spirit’.
The three chapters in the Gospel of John chapters 14,15,16 outline the important ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives as they detail our Life in the Spirit. We are complete in God only if we have His Spirit to lead us, teach us, guide us into all truth, and to reveal things to us. The Holy Spirit will only speak what Jesus tells Him, and He will only testify of and glorify Jesus Christ. Thus, the Holy Spirit is the representative or surrogate of Jesus on earth today, to live in us and to direct our lives.
But there is another reason also for having the Holy Spirit residing in us. The Holy Spirit’s job is bring us unto perfection and glorification- unto Sonship, to be like Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul wrote ‘For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have.. received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the Glory which shall be revealed in us’ Ro8:14-18. This is what Life in the Spirit is all about- a future glory coming for all those who are led by the Holy Spirit.
Life in the Spirit- the Promise of the Holy Spirit
Before his crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples what would happen after He departed as found in John’s Gospel chapters 14,15,16. Jesus said He would send another COMFORTER like Himself, as He would not longer be with them: ‘ and I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another COMFORTER, that he may abide with you for ever’ Jn14:16; ‘But the COMFORTER, WHICH IS THE HOLY GHOST, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you’ Jn14:26; ‘I will not leave you comfortless: I WILL COME TO YOU’ Jn14:18. Jesus said ‘But when the COMFORTER is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me’ Jn15:26.
Jesus continued ‘..It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the COMFORTER will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you’ Jn16:7. Then before His ascension to heaven, Jesus told his disciples ‘..behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high’ Lk24:49,51. This promise of the Spirit was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. This promise is the same promise of the Father, of the Comforter, and of the Holy Spirit written in the New Testament for us today.
The Holy Spirit is the Power of God
The Holy Spirit is the Power of God to do the works of God. Zech4:6 states ‘Not by might, nor by Power, but by my Spirit..’ . Jesus said ‘..ye shall receive Power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon us’ Ac1:8. God has given us ‘the Spirit of Power..’ 2Ti1:7. Jesus said ‘ He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father’ Jn14:12.
Jesus began His ministry and did miracles only after He was baptized with the Holy Ghost. Lk3:22 tells ‘..the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him’. Jesus declared ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised..’ Lk4:18,19. Jesus said ‘All Power is given unto me in heaven and in earth’ Mt28:18. Paul wrote ‘and my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of Power’ 1Co2:4. Our power comes with the Holy Spirit Baptism given to us by Jesus.
The Baptism With the Holy Ghost- the Power of God Upon Us
The baptism with the Holy Ghost (BWHG) is the Power of God given to believers to witness Jesus Christ Ac1:8. When we are spirit-filled, we become the temple of God as the Spirit of God dwells in us 1Co3:16; ‘your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost’ 1Co6:19. The power of God then resides in us to do His will, to bring forth deliverance and healing. Jesus said ‘..these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover’ Mk16:17,18.
Paul wrote ‘Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the Power that worketh in us’ Ep3:20. Paul told Timothy‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of Power, and of love, and of a sound mind’ 2Ti1:7. Later in this paper, we will see the importance of the Holy Spirit power needed for the coming Rapture.
The Acts of the Apostles detailed the importance of the BWHG in continuing the works of Jesus Christ. Altogether there were 8 accounts in the book of Acts of the Holy Spirit Baptism– of people receiving the Holy Spirit, praising, magnifying God, and speaking with other tongues. On that day of Pentecost, there were 120 disciples praying and tarrying to be filled with the Spirit Ac1:15. Jesus then sent the Comforter and they ‘were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance’ Ac2:4.
Later Peter and John ministered the BWHG to the Samaritans who had accepted Jesus Christ Ac8:17. Then Ananias prayed for the apostle Paul and he was filled with the Holy Ghost Ac9:17. While Peter told the Roman centurion Cornelius, his kinsmen and friends how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, the Holy Ghost fell upon them Ac10:38,44. Peter also spoke of many Gentiles being filled with the Holy Ghost Ac15:8. Aquilla and Priscilla ministered the BWHG to the mighty disciple Apollos Ac18:24-26, and Paul ministered the BWHG to 12 disciples previously ignorant of the Spirit Baptism Ac19:1-7. These accounts are examples of the importance of the Holy Spirit Baptism in our walk with the Lord, to empower us and to do His works. They all spoke with tongues, prophesied, and magnified God Ac10:46,19:6.
Life in the Spirit- A Personal Testimony
It is one thing to read something that happened in the Bible 2000 years ago, but another to experience the same thing. In 1972 when I was 33 year old, I had placed myself in a tough business situation where I owed a dozen people a lot of money in a deal that went awry. My goal in life then was to get rich. But Jesus said ‘For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ Mk8:36. God used this incident to arrest me, and to turn me around to seeking Him and His kingdom first Mt6:33. He led me to a Full Gospel Businessmen International Fellowship convention held at a big hotel in Waikiki. There I heard many testimonies of once troubled businessmen finding Jesus Christ, also being filled with the Holy Spirit and serving God.
From my youth I always believed in God and prayed, but for the first time in my life, I knew that God was real and that He would help me. I wanted to be ‘saved’ Jn3:16 and to experience the Baptism with the Holy Ghost like the early disciples. So for three nights beginning on a Friday, alone during my work breaks, I prayed asking the Lord to help me in my problem, and to fill me with His Spirit. I was very persistent, and on Sunday night at around 10 pm, the Holy Spirit suddenly fell upon me. I felt a tremendous warmth enveloping me, and I too began to ‘speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance’ Ac2:4. Then I heard God’s audible voice from heaven calling me three times and said ‘Wyman, I have not forsaken you’.
Thus began my personal Life in the Spirit over 44 years ago, and I still cherish this spiritual encounter with God. Suffice to say that Jesus helped me in my financial dilemma and I have been serving Him ever since, preaching and teaching the Word of God. Ro8:1 states ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’. I have since met numerous people all over the world who have received the BWHG and who are now led by the Spirit of God Ro8:14. The Bible states ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever’ Heb13:8. Jesus filled me with the Holy Spirit that day as He did many others before me, and even today.
Life in the Spirit- the Gifts of the Spirit and the Fruit of the Spirit
In our new Life in the Spirit, with the Holy Spirit Baptism comes certain gifts of the Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit which should then be manifested in our lives. Upon the baptism with the Holy Spirit, we receive spiritual power to testify of Jesus Christ. In 1Corinthians12, Paul wrote of the 9 Gifts of the Spirit. They can be categorized in three groups: The Vocal Gifts 1. Prophecy, 2. Tongues, 3. Interpretation of Tongues; The Intuitive Gifts 1. Word of Wisdom, 2. Word of Knowledge, 3. Discerning of Spirits; The Power Gifts 1. Faith, 2. Healing, 3. Miracles. Paul said the diversity of the gifts of the Spirit is manifested for the body of Christ to benefit by them. 1Co12:7 states ‘But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal’ . Throughout my Life in the Spirit, I have witnessed these gifts of the Spirit manifested whereby many believers have been blessed by them.
As believers, we should also manifest the fruit of the God’s Spirit to bless others. Here is a description of the 9-part Fruit of the Spirit which is basically only One Fruit Ga5:22. For ease of remembering, I have categorized them accordingly: the Sweet Fruit– Love, Joy, and Peace; the Pleasant Fruit– Gentleness, Goodness, Faith; the Sour Fruit- Meekness, Temperance, Long-suffering. To live and to walk in the Spirit, we need to possess the Fruit of the Spirit in all of its 9 aspects. Lacking any part of the fruit, such as meekness, temperance, or long-suffering makes us unbalanced and incomplete in our walk and Life in the Spirit. The Fruit of the Spirit is God’s blessings to us and to others. When we exhibit the fruit of love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, and long-suffering, we are blessed and we bless others spiritually. The world will then know we are Christians by our love and by our fruit!
Life in the Spirit- Sealed With the Holy Spirit of Promise
Paul spoke of a special sealing by the Holy Spirit to prepare us for the coming Rapture. He wrote ‘That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, Ye were SEALED WITH THAT HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE’ Ep1:12,13. First trust in Christ, then believe in Him, then be sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. What is this special sealing and important promise by the Holy Spirit? Being sealed generally denotes approval, called, destined, favored, important, special, and/or protected. Heb9:15 states ‘they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance’. This promise here speaks of a future Redemption for those sealed with the Holy Spirit; a personal deliverance, and even our eternal inheritance. Again, this promise speaks of the coming Rapture.
Paul continued ‘..grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are SEALED UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION’ Ep4:30. Paul warned not to grieve the Holy Spirit who has personally sealed us for Redemption. What is this day of Redemption? It is the day of the Rapture when Jesus will return to deliver us out of this world. Paul said ‘Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord’ 1Th4:17. Only the sealing of Holy Spirit will make it possible for us to be Raptured and to escape out of this world that is falling apart.
Jesus said ‘And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your REDEMPTION draweth nigh’ Lk21:28; and ‘Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man’ Lk21:36.
Life in the Spirit and the Coming Rapture
Finally, only the Holy Spirit can change us from corruptible to incorruptible and from being mortal to immortal to take us to heaven. Paul stated ‘that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality’ 1Co15:50-53.
Here we clearly see that our natural bodies in its present corruptible state cannot be taken in the Rapture because ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God’ 1Co15:50. It would take the Holy Spirit to supernaturally change our body into a glorified body like Jesus’ to be translated into heaven.
As Jesus is incorruptible and immortal, so shall we be. 2Co3:18 states ‘But we all.. beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord’. At the Rapture, we will experience a supernatural change in us. Php3:21 states ‘(Jesus) shall change our vile body, that it may be FASHIONED LIKE UNTO HIS GLORIOUS BODY..’.
Here are scriptures that relate to the miracle and our supernatural change at the Rapture. As Jesus was raised from the dead and taken into heaven, so shall the Holy Spirit do the same to us. Paul said ‘But if the Spirit of (God) that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, (God) that raised up Christ from the dead shall also QUICKEN YOUR MORTAL BODIES BY HIS SPIRIT THAT DWELLETH IN YOU’ Ro8:11. By the power of the Holy Spirit, our mortal bodies will be changed and quickened for the Rapture. 1Co6:14 states ‘..God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power’. 2Co4:14 tells ‘Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you’.
This is our Life in the Spirit where the Holy Spirit will finally prepare us for the Rapture. Thus, we need the Holy Spirit in our lives to bring us unto perfection to be like Jesus Christ. Now here is the big question ‘How do you get the Holy Spirit?’ Jesus said ‘If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? ’ Lk11:13. Just ask God to give you His Spirit and He will do so! Life in the Spirit is all about having the Holy Spirit in our lives to change and to perfect us! 1Jn3:2 states ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; for we shall see him as he is’. At the Rapture, we shall all then be perfected in Christ Jesus, as we shall be like Him when we finally see him coming for us!
(Note: Every believer in Christ, esp. those who are living in their ‘golden years’ should pay special attention to this message from the Bible. The Rapture is our Blessed Hope! Tit2:13 states ‘Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ’.)
The Rapture- Breaking the Adamic Curse of Death
The Legacy of Death
What is the legacy of death? It is the curse of death which Adam passed on to all living beings. But as we approach the last days of mankind, the legacy of death will accelerate signifying that many people, young and old, will experience catastrophic and premature death regardless of age. When asked regarding the end of the world Mt24:3, Jesus said ‘For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places’ Mt24:6. All these terrible events will bring a significant increase of horrible, widespread and sudden Death never experienced before in the history of mankind.
This is how the 4th Horseman of the Apocalypse is described: ‘And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with Death, and with the beasts of the earth’ Re6:8. Suffice to say that Death by cataclysmic destruction- by wars, famines, natural disasters, and diseases, is a major theme found in the book of Revelation. But God has also made an Escape from Death for us through Jesus Christ called the Rapture, which is explained in this paper.
Death- the Adamic Curse
Because of Adam’s original sin in disobeying God, Satan placed a curse upon Adam and on all mankind. This curse is the death penalty for every living person, not unlike any criminal who is sentenced to death for a heinous crime that he had committed. Everyone that ever lived is under this death penalty and will eventually die. The apostle Paul wrote ‘For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’ Ro3:23, and ‘..the wages of sin is Death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ Ro6:23. Paul explained ‘Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and Death by sin; and so Death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned’ Ro5:12.
When Adam broke God’s only law in the Garden of Eden, the death penalty was placed upon Adam and on all of us. We will also see below that Death is the work of Satan, the devil, and how God in the person of Jesus Christ came to ‘..destroy the works of the devil’ 1Jn3:8. Paul wrote ‘..as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, also (Jesus) himself likewise took part of the same; that through (his) Death he might destroy him that had the power of Death, that is, the devil’ Heb2:14.
Death is an inevitability for everyone! There is no escaping physical and eventual spiritual death except through Jesus Christ. Heb9:27 states ‘..as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment’. This means after death, there is a final judgment in the so called after-life.
The Adamic Curse- Physical and Spiritual Death
The Bible speaks of two types of death. It is one thing to experience physical death, but the Bible also speaks of a spiritual death– eternal damnation Mk3:29. Jesus said ‘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’ Jn3:16. Jesus continued ‘For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God’ Jn3:17,18.
Jesus said anyone not believing on Him and what He did for us on the cross is condemned already to eternal damnation. To be saved means our soul would have everlasting life one day in heaven. To perish means to be condemned to eternal punishment and torment in hell forever. Jesus asked ‘For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ Mt16:26. All the riches and glory of the entire world cannot compare with losing one’s soul in hell. Spiritual death is eternal damnation! But Paul wrote ‘..Christ died for our sins’ 1Co15:3, to save us from spiritual death.
The Garden Scene/the Garden Sin and the Tree of Death
Ge1:1 states God is the creator of all things. God put all the trees and animals, then Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Every tree the LORD God planted was pleasant to sight and good for food Ge2:9. There were two very significant trees in the Garden- the tree of Life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
In the the Garden 6000 years ago, the LORD God had only ONE LAW. He commanded Adam ‘..Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die’ Ge2:16,17. Since God only planted the good trees, how did this beautiful but deadly tree get into the Garden Ge3:6?
Did God allow Satan the serpent, the Devil to plant this evil tree of Death? Re12:9 states ‘the old serpent is the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world’. Mt13:25,39 state ‘the enemy, the devil is the sower of tares, or the planter of the bad seed’. Like God’s good trees, Satan’s evil tree was also beautiful, but deadly for food Ge3:6. Satan deceptively used the evil tree to introduce Death into the world.
A&E lived in the Garden for a while before one day succumbing to the serpent’s temptation. They were carefree, asexual with no children, and in daily communion with God. They had no hunger, no sweat, no sorrow, no pain, no lack, no strife, no bondage, no problems, no violence, no sickness, no disease, no sin, no evil and no death! They ate only fruits until they partook of the Tree of Death. They were healthy and would have lived forever. They were also beautifully clothed with glory, but became naked and cursed upon sinning Ge3:7,17.
Satan, the Author of Death- the Destroyer and Murderer
The Bible states that the serpent (the devil) was very subtil and wise Ge3:1, and perhaps very attractive. The serpent stood upright and could talk like a man. The serpent may have encountered A&E many times. One day, he laid a trap for them, even as he does for all of us. Paul warned us to beware ‘of the snare of the devil’ 2Ti2:26. Jesus said ‘the devil was a murderer from the beginning and is the father of lies’ Jn8:44. The devil, the liar, seeks ‘to steal, and to kill and to destroy us’ Jn10:10.
A&E believed the serpent’s lie about becoming wise as gods; disobeyed and broke God’s only law. A&E became wise, knowing good and evil, and also very perverted and corrupt. Their eyes were opened; they lost their glory clothing, became naked and corrupt Ge3:5-7.
Thus by Adam, sin and death entered into the world and were passed on to every man ever since. The apostle John wrote ‘He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he (Jesus) might destroy the works of the devil’ 1Jn3:8. By dying on the cross ‘Jesus might destroy the devil that had the power of death Heb2:14. Satan, the devil, is the author of death and has the power of death. Satan is a killer, ‘a murderer from the beginning’.
The Adamic Curse of Death- A Lifetime Bondage
David wrote ‘What man is he that liveth, and shall not see Death? shall (God) deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?’ Ps89:48. Paul stated ‘Through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage’ Heb2:15. Whether a person lives to 80, 90, 100 or more, Death is often a fearful preoccupation. A common saying is ‘Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die’. But if a person knows his Bible, he should have a better outlook in this matter. Curiously, the Bible speaks of a second death. Re20:14 states ‘And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the SECOND DEATH’.
The Bible also speaks of a coming generation of people living that will not experience physical death. It speaks of an Escape from this cursed lifetime bondage, when Jesus will return, to bodily translate His own alive back into heaven Jn14:3, 1Th4:17. This Escape is known as the Rapture of the Saints, much like how Enoch and Elijah were taken bodily alive into heaven.
Enoch and Elijah- Two Who Broke the Adamic Curse
The Bible states Enoch and Elijah were the only two living that escaped physical Death. Enoch, ‘the seventh from Adam’ Jude14, ‘..walked with God: and he was not; for God took him’ Ge5:24. ‘By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see Death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he PLEASED God’ Heb11:5. Enoch was 365 years old when God took him bodily into heaven.
Likewise, God also took Elijah, the prophet, directly to heaven in a chariot of fire. 2Ki2:11 states ‘And it came to pass.. behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven’. Both Enoch and Elijah were the only two people living before that never died, but were translated or Raptured into heaven.
By His Death, Jesus Defeated Death for Us
Jesus is the only person in history who said He would die and come back alive. Neither Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed, or anyone else made this claim, and did return from the dead except for Jesus Christ! The first instance of Jesus telling his disciples of his impending death and resurrection was in Mt16:21: ‘From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day’.
Throughout the four Gospels, Jesus repeatedly spoke of his death and resurrection, though no one believed Him. (See Mt17:22-23,20:17-19, Mk8:31,9:31,10:34, Lk9:22,18:33,24:7,46, Jn2:19). Jesus made this claim, and came back alive for 40 days after his brutal death on the cross Ac1:3. Jesus was seen alive by over 500 people at once, by many of his disciples, adversaries, and contemporaries of his days 1Co15:6, and He was then physically taken up alive into heaven Ac1:9.
Jesus came to earth to defeat death. Heb2:9 states ‘But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man’. By one man Adam, sin and death entered into this world, and by one man Jesus Christ, tasted death for all of us. John the Baptist said ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’; ‘He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him’ Jn1:29,3:36.
The Acts of the Apostles is replete with accounts of the apostles preaching the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! The apostle Paul went all over Asia Minor, Greece, Rome, and Spain Ro15:24, proclaiming the incredible story of Jesus’ crucifixion by the Romans and of His Resurrection; that Jesus was alive, and that everyone must believe in Him in order to be saved from sin, Satan, and Hell, for He died for our sins!
Jesus Christ Declared Himself as the Resurrection and the Life
The Resurrection is not only a historical event, but also a person- Jesus Christ. The Bible revealed that Jesus Christ is God Himself. In his own words Jesus said ‘I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: AND WHOSOEVER LIVETH AND BELIEVETH IN ME SHALL NEVER DIE. Believest thou this?’ Jn11:25-26. Jesus declared himself as the Resurrection and the Life. Jesus claimed to have power over Death and over Life. Jn1:4 states ‘In him (Jesus, the Word of God) was Life; and the Life was the light of men’.
Jesus said ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him’ Jn14:6,7. Know Jesus, know the Father! See Jesus, see the Father! Jesus said ‘I and my Father are One’ Jn10:30! Jesus is the only way to God the Father, and to Heaven!
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ From the Dead- 1 Corinthians Chapter 15
Paul declared the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in his first letter to the Corinthians. Paul said ‘For I delivered unto you first of all.. how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once..’ 1Co15:3-6.
Paul said ‘And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.. And if Christ be not raised, your Faith Is Vain; ye are yet in your sins’ 1Co15:14,17. Paul continued, ‘For since by man came death, by man came also the Resurrection of the Dead. For as in Adam all die, even so IN CHRIST shall all be made alive’ 1Co15:21,22.
Here the apostle Paul spoke of a future Resurrection of the Dead and then of the Living, when Jesus will return to take us back to heaven. Paul desiring to attain to this Resurrection wrote ‘That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the Resurrection of the Dead’ Php3:10,11. But we look forward to the Resurrection of the Living, our escape from death via the Rapture.
The Coming Rapture- Our Only Escape From the Adamic Curse
Jesus told us how to escape Death one day: ‘And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your Redemption draweth nigh’ Lk21:28. Jesus said ‘Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to Escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man’ Lk21:36.
Then Paul added ‘How shall we Escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord..’ Heb2:3. Here both Jesus and Paul warned of a need to Escape the terrible things coming to pass upon the earth. The Rapture is our only Escape from physical Death. The Rapture represents ‘the Redemption of our Body’ as spoken of in Ro8:23.
Jesus promised that one day He will return to take us bodily into heaven in the Rapture. Jesus told his disciples ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also’ Jn14:1-3.
Paul then confirmed what Jesus said: ‘For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the Dead IN CHRIST shall rise first: Then we which are Alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words’ 1Th4:15-18. Paul wanted us to remember this promise of Jesus, and to comfort us with these words of the coming Rapture!
The Rapture- the Adamic Curse of Death Finally Broken
Death is an enemy of mankind. Death is our enemy. Paul said ‘THE LAST ENEMY THAT SHALL BE DESTROYED IS DEATH’ 1Co15:26. David wrote ‘This shall be written for the generation to come’; God will ‘..loose those that are appointed to death’ Ps102:18,20. Jesus holds ‘the keys of hell and of Death’ Re1:18. The Bible speaks of a generation of people who will not experience physical death because Jesus will loose them that were appointed to die. Jesus promised ‘AND WHOSOEVER LIVETH AND BELIEVETH IN ME SHALL NEVER DIE..’ Jn11:26.
Here Jesus was referring to a future RAPTURE, where a generation of believers living would be loosed from physical death. As Enoch and Elijah who pleased God were taken bodily alive into heaven, ‘.. so shall we ever be with the Lord’ 1Th4:17. But we must be IN CHRIST to be taken in the Rapture of the Saints 1Th4:16,17. John the beloved wrote ‘And now, little children, ABIDE IN HIM; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming’ 1Jn2:28. If not, many will be left behind like the 5 foolish virgins Mt25:11,12.
Paul spoke of the Rapture again stating ‘Behold, I shew you a mystery; WE SHALL NOT ALL SLEEP (Die), but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, Where Is Thy Sting? O Grave, Where Is Thy Victory? ..But Thanks Be To God, Which Giveth Us The Victory Through Our Lord Jesus Christ’ 1Co15:51-57.
Our natural body will then be changed into a supernatural, spiritual, and glorious body like Jesus Christ 1Jn3:1-3. The Rapture will be our Reward, our Redemption, our Salvation and Resurrection. Finally, the Rapture will be our only Escape from the Adamic Curse of Death which will finally be broken; we shall never die, but live forever! Praise The Lord! Amen!
Hell- A Most Terrible Place of Endless Torment
Jesus asked ‘For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ Mt16:26. It is horrible when one loses his soul and perishes in Hell. HELL IS FOR REAL AND SADLY, MANY ARE HEADING THERE! Jesus said ‘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’ Mt7:13. Jesus came to earth, to die for our sins and to save us from Hell! Hell is a place where souls are damned forever. Hell is where people who died in their sins will spend eternity, in anguish, torment, fear, pain, regret, remorse, without hope and they will never be able to leave there.
The subject of Hell can be found in many ancient civilizations throughout the world. There is a commonality in many cultures regarding Hell. Most agree that Hell is a place of extreme suffering where bad and evil people go- a place of anguish, punishment, gloom and doom, despair, and no escape! Whether in China, India, Egypt, Europe, or in the Americas, people have captured similar concepts of Hell in their art expressions, in their ancient writings, and legends.
China, the oldest standing civilization, has much written about Hell and its depiction in artwork. The Chinese believed in 10 kingdoms ruled by 10 kings, in charge of the torments therein. Their temples are filled with fearsome looking and grotesque idols, and depicting devils and gargoyles on their rooftops. In Dante’s Inferno, Hell is described as 9 circles of progressive sufferings located within the deep bowels of the earth.
What does the Bible say about Hell? Who was Hell created for and who will be going there? All of us have a unique soul that makes us different from the rest of the billions people that ever lived. The soul is the ‘real you’ consisting of our personality, our likes and dislikes, our hopes and fears, and our greed, lust, and vanity that makes us who we are. Our soul never dies! What will happen to our soul that lives only temporarily in our physical body? Where will our soul spend eternity, like for the next 100, 1000, or 1,000,000 years- in Heaven or in Hell? Our final destination depends upon our spiritual state upon death, whether we receive Jesus Christ as our Saviour or not. Heaven or Hell, one or the other, will be our final destiny. We will examine the subject of Hell and what the Word of God says about Hell and eternal damnation!
Characteristics of Hell- According to the Bible
Hell is a place of everlasting suffering and torment; of great pain and of sorrow; of punishment, of great regrets, and of weeping and gnashing of teeth Mt24:31,25:30. Hell is for real. It is place somewhere ‘in the nether parts of the earth’ Ez31:16; in the lower parts of the earth Ps63:9, the heart of the earth Mt12:40, the abyss, the bottomless pit, where there is a king, the Beast resides Re9:11,11:7. Hell is a place of unquenchable fire, where the soul, the spirit, and the body are in full consciousness, where people recognize and converse with each other; where fallen angels aka devils or demons 2Pe2:4 are doing the tormenting, and delight in the demise of people. The smell of sulfur aka brimstone Lk17:9, Re14:10, 19:20, and the stench pervades Hell, wretched and stifling Ps16:10; where their worm (maggots) does not die and the fire not quenched Mk9:43,46,48.
Hell also has different levels; ‘lowest hell’ Ps86:13; ‘greater damnation’ Mt23:14. Hell is described as a place of outer darkness Mt22:13, a holding place for the chained fallen angels reserved for judgment one day 2Pe2:4, Jude6. Hell is also the abode of the wicked, unregenerated people, those not ‘BORN AGAIN’ spiritually Jn3:3,5, not cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ Heb9:22.
Luke, the Gospel writer, tells the story of the rich man in Hell, and what it is like to be there, in torment, in flame, hot, and thirsty Lk16:19-31. It was so terrible there that the rich man begged Abraham to send someone to warn his five living brothers not to come to ‘this place of torment’ v28. Those in Hell desperately seek another chance, but it is too late! Jesus’ express purpose for coming to earth was to save us from Hell; that by dying on the cross for us and believing in Him, we should not perish but have everlasting life Jn3:16,17. Hell is a temporary place, for one day both Death and Hell will be ‘cast into the Lake of Fire’ Re20:14, where the beast, the false prophet, Satan, and all unbelievers will go. They ‘shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever’ Re20:10,15. The Bible also speaks of hands, feet, teeth, eyes, and tongues of people in Hell, and worms devouring them.
God Originally Created Hell For the Fallen Angels
The Bible states Hell was originally created for the fallen angels led by Satan aka Lucifer Is14:12,16 who rebelled against Almighty God in heaven and were ‘cast out into the earth’ Re12:9. It states ‘For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment. And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly..’ 2Pe2:4-5. Jude 6 is similar: ‘And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day’. It is interesting to note that not all fallen angels, aka demons/devils, are in Hell. In his ministry Jesus ‘cast out devils’ from many people Mt10:8, Mk1:34, Lk9:49. Thus, many are still roaming the earth working with Satan. The apostle Peter wrote ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour’ 1Pe5:8.
God created Hell for the devil, the fallen angels, and then for sinners Ez18:4! We see that sin first originated in heaven Is14:12, before Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden; that the angels were cast out into the earth down to Hell in chains of darkness awaiting a worst fate in the final day of judgment; that the millions also perished during the great flood are still there. As they did not heed Noah’s warning, God is warning us today that terrible judgment is also coming upon the earth. Jesus told his disciples ‘.. fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell’ Mt20:28. When Jesus returns, He will say to the unrighteous ‘Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels’ Mt25:41.
Jesus Came to Save Us From Hell- One Must Be BORN AGAIN Spiritually
Only those who are BORN AGAIN spiritually will go to heaven. If not, they will perish in Hell. Ro5:8 tells ‘.. God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’. Ro5:12 states that sin and death came to the world by Adam and they were passed on to all of mankind. Jesus Christ paid the price by dying for our sins to save us from Hell which is the consequence of our sins. The Bible states ‘.. Hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure..’ Is5:14. Jesus told Nicodemus about the BORN AGAIN experience. He said ‘Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the kingdom of God.. Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be BORN AGAIN’ Jn3:3,5,7.
We must be BORN AGAIN in order to see and to enter into the kingdom of God, and to escape eternal damnation. Jesus said ‘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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved’ Jn3:16,17. God does not want anyone to PERISH IN HELL, but all to be with Him in heaven. Jesus said ‘I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE: NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER, BUT BY ME’ Jn14:6. Thus, the only way to escape Hell is by believing in Jesus Christ. This is what the Great Commission is all about- to warn others about Hell. Jesus said ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned’ Mk16:16.
The Holy Bible Lists Who Will End Up in Hell
The existence of Hell today is either denied, trivialized, or transformed into a fun event. Many youth, having feelings of invincibility and immortality, often ignore or deny the subject of Hell. Every October 31, Halloween day revelers spend big money to buy hideous masks and costumes of devils and demons, do tricks or treats, to celebrate and glorify Satan. In America, it is all a big joke and a big event rivaling even Christmas. Many rock concerts serve to worship the devil. Many churches have also avoided speaking about Satan and of Hell, and thus, offer no salvation to their members. But the Bible states Hell is real and many are heading there Is5:14, Mt7:13!
The Bible describes who will not inherit the kingdom of God, and therefore end up in Hell and into the Lake of Fire. The apostle Paul wrote ‘Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.. they which do such things SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD’ Ga5:19,21. Paul repeated ‘Know ye not that the unrighteous SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD’? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God’ 1Co6:9,10. The Bible states un-forgiveness will also doom one to Hell! Jesus said ‘..if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses’ Mt6:12, Mk11:26.
The apostle John added ‘But the fearful, and UNBELIEVING, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the LAKE which burneth with fire and brimstone..’ Re21:8. Also, anyone taking the Mark of the Beast during the Great Tribulation shall be cast into Hell. Re14:10,11 state ‘..The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name’. Sadly, many will be deceived to take the Mark of the Beast.
High on the list of sins for those heading for Hell are sexual sins and immorality that are now sweeping the world. This includes same-sex marriages that the US Supreme Court recently declared as legal. Paul wrote expressly against the sin of Homosexuality calling it vile affections.. without natural affection. He said ‘For this cause GOD gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly.. without natural affection..’ Ro1:26,27,31. Other sins not specifically mentioned but under uncleanness and lasciviousness are sodomy, pedophilia, pornography, and bestiality; and under murders, abortion.
However, if one REPENTS of his sins, seeks forgiveness from God, turns from his wicked ways, and accepts Jesus Christ as his Saviour, he shall be saved. REPENTANCE is necessary for SALVATION. 2Co7:10 states ‘For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation..’. Ro10:13 states ‘For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’.
Purgatory- a False Doctrine Not Found in the Holy Bible
Purgatory is a fabricated doctrine- a place where people are purged and cleansed before they can go to Heaven. According to the Bible, there are only two places for departed souls, either Heaven or Hell. Purgatory is not found anywhere in the Bible. It is a false doctrine created by the medieval Roman church in Europe to subjugate the ignorant masses in fear, and to enrich themselves through the sale of Indulgences– the paying of a priest to pray for the departed dead. The spin is that since no one is ever holy and good enough to go to heaven directly, one can obtain Indulgences from the church, who will pray for the departed souls in Purgatory undergoing purification, to lessen their time of punishment there. The priest through some mystical powers would make intercession for the departed soul, and thereby lessen one’s time in Purgatory.
Because many don’t know what the Bible says about salvation and Hell, and believe that they are never good enough to go directly to Heaven, they accept the false doctrines of Purgatory and Indulgences as gospel truth. But how can any priest forgive sins when he himself is a sinner? For many years now, the media has been rife with news of widespread pedophilia, homosexuality, and pornography among ministers, priests, and pastors. A case in point, the Catholic Church in America alone has paid out over $2.5 billion in child sex abuse settlements over the past decades. There are other false doctrines regarding Hell as being a temporary place, or a belief in reincarnation of a departed person into another form, or that Hell does not even exist.
Enter Pastor Rob Bell-‘Love Wins’; What the Hell?
In 2011, Rob Bell, a popular pastor wrote a bestseller called ‘Love Wins: A Book About Heaven and Hell’. Bell, the former pastor of the mega 10,000 member Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan stated there is no Hell, or at least that Hell is just a temporary place, until everyone is fully redeemed and is reunited with God in heaven. Though Bell believes in the redemptive work of Jesus at Calvary, for those outside of the church, those who never accepted Christ would eventually be saved because God is love and would never allow anyone to remain in Hell. Bell believes in ‘universalism’, stating God’s love is universal and never fails. Bell contends that the prospect of a place of eternal torment seems irreconcilable with the nature of God’s love. What Pastor Rob Bell teaches is false, and grossly contrary to the Word of God. If Bell is correct, then Jesus died in vain for our sins. The world would not need a saviour and all would eventually go to Heaven anyway, because no sin could ever keep us out of Heaven.
Bell’s message is a very popular one for those who do not know or believe in the Bible. His message gives people justification to live any way they want; that there is no consequence for sin since there is no Hell. As the sign of His coming, Jesus warned that in the last days, there shall be many false prophets and false teachers Mt24:4,5,11,24. Except Bell repents, he and all those who believe in his teachings will likewise perish Lk13:3,5. But Bell will take many souls to Hell with him, for his is the ‘doctrine of devils’ 1Ti4:1. The only way to God and to heaven is through a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour Jn14:6, Ac2:21,16:31, Ro10:13, Php3:20.
Only By Preaching the Cross Are Men Saved From Hell and Eternal Damnation
Paul said that it is only by the preaching of the cross are men saved 1Co1:18. When was the last time that you heard a message on how to be saved from Hell? When was the last time you heard a pastor tell the people they need to repent of their sins, and give an invitation to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour? Have you personally accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour? Are you BORN AGAIN and have the assurance of going to Heaven? Do you believe that salvation is a very important matter? Do you know how to be saved? Are you also praying for your lost loved ones that they may be saved? Are you actively witnessing Jesus Christ to others, thereby obeying the Great Commission Mk16:15?
Do you know how to lead someone to Jesus Christ in a sinner’s prayer? Many churchgoers WRONGFULLY believe that by going to church, it will save them, or because they are in church they are saved. This is very far from the truth of the Bible! It is also conceivable that many people attending church today MAY NOT BE SAVED. They may have never heard the Gospel of Salvation in church, repented and accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour, or they may have fallen back into sin. Paul said ‘For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto Salvation to every one that BELIEVETH..’ Ro1:16. Paul wrote ‘For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord SHALL BE SAVED.. and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?’ Ro10:13,14.
The Bible states that Satan, the devil, was a murderer from the beginning, and the father of lies Jn8:44. His job is ‘to steal, and to kill, and to destroy’ Jn10:10. Satan wants to take as many people he can to Hell, to steal their salvation, to kill their bodies, and to destroy their souls. But Jesus already made a way for us to go to heaven by dying on the cross for our sins. The Bible clearly states how one can be forgiven and be cleansed of all unrighteousness: ‘If we confess our sins, (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ 1Jn1:9.
The Sinner’s Prayer of Repentance- Repent or Perish
HELL IS FOR REAL AND SADLY, MANY ARE HEADING THERE! But it is not necessary for anyone to perish in Hell and be cast into the Lake of Fire. If you believe that Jesus died for your sins and accept Him as your personal Saviour, YOU CAN BE SAVED and go to Heaven one day to your eternal blessing. Here is a simple prayer of REPENTANCE to SALVATION which you can humbly pray to accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour, or to recommit your life to Him again:
I AM A LOST SINNER AND I REPENT OF MY SINS. I’M SORRY FOR MY SINS AND ASK FOR YOUR FORGIVENESS. I ASK THAT YOU COME INTO MY HEART RIGHT NOW AND CLEANSE ME IN YOUR PRECIOUS BLOOD. I ACCEPT YOU AS MY LORD AND MY SAVIOUR. THANK YOU FOR DYING ON THE CROSS FOR ME AND THANK YOU FOR SAVING MY SOUL!
IN JESUS NAME I PRAY, AMEN!
SEE: PARIS HEAVY METAL WORSHIP TO THE DEVIL, then death and destruction!!! http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/paris-concert-crowd-was-singing-kiss-the-devil-the-moment-terror-attacks-began/
THE PASTOR’S MANDATE- ‘FEED MY SHEEP’
After Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, He gave Simon Peter this mandate- ‘FEED MY SHEEP’ Jn21:16,17. A pastor in the Greek means a shepherd– one who tends to a flock. To be a pastor of a church, one must have a calling from God. It is not just a job, but a spiritual calling with great responsibilities to serve God by teaching and protecting His people. Thus, the mandate Jesus gave to ‘FEED MY SHEEP’ applies to all pastors, even as Jesus is ‘THE CHIEF SHEPHERD’ 1Pe5:4. Jesus said ‘I am the GOOD SHEPHERD: the GOOD SHEPHERD GIVETH HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP’ Jn10:11.
David the psalmist wrote ‘The LORD is my SHEPHERD; I SHALL NOT WANT’ Ps23:1. David said ‘Know ye that THE LORD HE IS GOD: it is HE THAT HATH MADE US, AND NOT WE OURSELVES; WE ARE HIS PEOPLE, AND THE SHEEP OF HIS PASTURE’ Ps100:3. The word PASTORS is found only once in the New Testament Ep4:11, and SHEPHERDS 17 times. They are synonymous and the same. Jesus did not mean for PASTORS to literally take care of sheep, but to take care of God’s people as surrogate shepherds.
WHAT DID JESUS MEAN BY ‘FEED MY SHEEP’?
In this mandate,Jesus meant for Peter and ALL PASTORS to NURTURE, CARE, STRENGTHEN, PROTECT, TEACH, GUIDE, HELP, ENCOURAGE, CORRECT, WARN AND SAVE all those who belong to Him or who want to come to Him. Pastors need to protect the sheep from predators (false teachers and false prophets) Mt24:11,24, from false teachings and false doctrines. Pastors need to teach the unadulterated Word of God, about His standards, love, justice, judgment, and wrath.
Pastors need to warn people about Satan, whose job is ‘to steal, and to kill, and to destroy’ Jn10:10; of sin, to be holy and righteous, to be ready for the soon return of Jesus Christ and for the Rapture. People need to be warned of God’s forthcoming severe judgment and wrath, the Endtimes, and the coming Great Tribulation and about HELL! To neglect this mandate that Jesus gave to ‘FEED MY SHEEP’, would put both the Pastor and the Flock in danger of hellfire and of losing their salvation!
The pastors’ first and last order of business should be to SAVE SOULS, to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Anything short of this is a total failure! If one goes to church but loses his soul, he will PERISH IN HELL; the church has failed him, but the PASTOR WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE! The LORD said ‘When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and THOU GIVEST HIM NOT WARNING, NOR SPEAKEST TO WARN THE WICKED FROM HIS WICKED WAY, TO SAVE HIS LIFE; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; BUT HIS BLOOD WILL I REQUIRE AT THINE HAND’ Ez3:18.
God said ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I WILL ALSO REJECT THEE..’ Hos4:6. In church, we are supposed to learn about God, the need for REPENTANCE and to be ‘BORN AGAIN’ Jn3:3,5, the Christ-life, and eternal life; to be filled with the Spirit, how to be saved, and how we should live our lives! Invitations and prayers during altar calls should be made for people to repent, to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour, or to recommit their lives to Him!
AN OPEN ‘DEAR PASTOR LETTER’- By Watchman73
The following is a polite but powerful Open Letter by a writer with a pen name of Watchman73 to an unnamed Pastor. His excellent blog can be found at https://bythebloodofthelamb.wordpress.com Here is Watchman73’s insightful, inquiring, incisive, and indicting open Dear Pastor Letter written straight from the heart of God that is sadly applicable to many thousands of apostate Christian churches and pastors in America and in the world today:
“I’m writing not to offend, but rather to respectfully inquire. Please don’t take offense to my questions, for I am a humble servant of God with no formal education in religion. You see sir, I have not been to seminary, nor have I been trained to read and love C.S. Lewis, as this seems to be a prerequisite for modern day preachers. I am a common man with a career and a family, reading my Bible daily, and praying for the Holy Spirit to give me discernment and lead me in the paths of righteousness.
While I do find your personality to be charming and your sermons to be quite entertaining, I do have a few burning questions. I say burning because week after week these questions arise during the course of Sunday worship service and completely distract me from worshipping in your congregation. I’ve tried to relax and ignore the angst that rises up in me every Sunday, focusing on the good parts of worship and the biblical excerpts that are sprinkled in your messages, but the questions remain.
WHEN WILL YOU CALL US TO REPENTANCE?
When will you speak of repentance and how I can be saved? When will you show me my brokenness and my need for a Savior? Can you please continue to speak of God’s unending love for me, but remind me of God’s sovereignty? Is a mention of hell and the eternal consequences of our sin and rejection of our one and only Savior Jesus Christ not in order? When will you teach us that wisdom comes from the fear of God?
WHEN WILL YOU STRENGTHEN THE BELIEVER?
Would it be possible to teach us of the spiritual realm that we cannot see, but that nevertheless surrounds us? Maybe you could focus a few minutes on enlightening us on the spiritual warfare that is taking place around us daily and the battle for our very souls? Maybe a mention that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places? If you don’t mind me saying, in my humble opinion, ignoring evil and pretending the devil is not like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour is foolishness.
I, for one sir, pray that you would encourage your flock to put on the whole armor of God, that they may be strengthened and encouraged to stand against evil, fearing nothing but God Almighty. Remind us what the armor of God consists of so that we can even begin to put it on. You know the verse…having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all taking the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, right?
WHEN WILL YOU TEACH THE WHOLE WORD OF GOD?
When I listen to your sermons or the teachings that take place in your Sunday morning classes, it seems that only certain parts of the Bible are ever taught. I find it odd that there is never a mention of prophecy. I am quite sure that in your seminary classes you have studied much more of the Bible than I have, and you’re quite aware that a little more than 25% of God’s Word is prophecy, right? So my question to you is, why do you teach only 75% of the Bible? Is it not God’s Word? Is it not your responsibility to teach the full counsel of God?
Do you not think that those scriptures that were written thousands of years ago and preserved in their entirety throughout the ages are the living Word of God? As God’s Word declares ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works’, right (2Ti3:16,17)?
WHEN WILL YOU WARN THE FLOCK?
I know that you are an intelligent man, and that you watch the news and see the state of our nation and the world. I have the feeling that you probably don’t want to frighten the congregation or waste time on anything other that preaching the Word of God. Am I right? Let me ask you another question. Do you think that the EARLY CHURCH that was so violently persecuted sat around having snacks and speaking only of the goodness of God and his enduring love while their brothers and sisters were being tortured and murdered in the public square, or ripped apart by lions in the colosseum? Of course not. But that couldn’t happen in America right, so why bother?
If you don’t know that our government is corrupt and evil, and totally hijacked by globalists bent on creating a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT, then I suggest you do some research. If you are aware of this information and are withholding it from your flock, then shame on you sir! It would be better that you never went into ministry, for there is a greater responsibility on your head as a preacher and teacher of the Word of God.
So I ask you, when will you tell your people of the mounting danger that lies just outside of your sanctuary doors? When will the persecution of Christians be important enough to mention on Sunday? Will it be when the government forces you to perform gay weddings in your church or face losing your 501c3 tax exempt status, or worse yet, be arrested? It’s about to happen in America.
WHEN WILL YOU MAKE READY THE BRIDE?
Jesus made it clear throughout the Gospels, and the New Testament that the believer is to watch and be ready for Jesus’ return at any time. I have yet to hear any of those verses taught in your church yet. Forgive me if I missed that Sunday service. Has it occurred to you that there is a theme throughout the scriptures to watch for our Lord’s return? Or that if we are found not watching when he suddenly comes, we will be surprised, shamed, and shut out of His presence? Is that not the way you read your Bible?
The parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25 needs to be taught at some point doesn’t it? The prospective brides were all virgins (Christians) but half of them were foolish, not having oil for their lamps (the Holy Spirit) and the other half were wise, with oil for their lamps and ready to go out to meet the bridegroom. So half were prepared and looking for the return of their bridegroom and the other half were not. What happened to the foolish virgins? Does that not apply to the Lord’s church? Is it not worthy of mentioning some Sunday? Do you truly know what our BLESSED HOPE is as believers (Tit2:13)? Will you, yourself be READY at that moment when our Lord returns unannounced? Are you watching for all the signs of His return, given to us in the Bible?
These questions burn in my heart. The angst I feel every Sunday, I feel throughout every day of the week; for I pity the lost and the foolish that turn away from the truth. I pray that you, as a Christian leader would do the same. I pray that theses questions would create a spark and light a fire in your heart. If you’re offended by this, then I pray you might examine yourself and your teaching. I pray everyday for you to make mention of these things and that the people that fill your congregation would not only be prepared, but would truly be saved. THERE IS A GREAT APOSTASY that is happening now, and I pray that you sir, would not be a part of it. The clock is ticking…it’s almost midnight…one more question Sir… ARE YOU READY?”
JESUS ‘DEAR PASTOR LETTERS’ TO THE 7 CHURCHES
Unlike Watchman73 polite letter, Jesus wrote scathing ‘DEAR PASTOR LETTERS’ to the 7 Churches in Asia Minor found in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. He strongly decried their failings, disregard and disdain for the Gospel message nearly 2000 years ago. And so the apostasy in the churches continues even today!
Basically, while Watchman73 guardedly questioned his Pastor, Jesus strongly rebuked the church Pastors for what they neglected and failed to do. He said ‘THOU HAST LEFT THY FIRST LOVE. REMEMBER THEREFORE FROM WHENCE THOU ART FALLEN, AND REPENT, AND DO THE FIRST WORKS; OR ELSE I WILL COME UNTO THEE QUICKLY, AND WILL REMOVE THY CANDLESTICK OUT OF HIS PLACE, EXCEPT THOU REPENT’ Re2:4,5. Jesus used very strong words, even accusing the church for being the ‘SYNAGOGUE (meeting place) OF SATAN’ Re2:9,3:9.
Jesus said ‘I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because THOU ART LUKEWARM, and neither cold nor hot, I WILL SPUE THEE OUT OF MY MOUTH’ Re3:15,16. In chapters 2 and 3, Jesus repeatedly told the churches to REPENT OR THEY WILL NOT HAVE ANY PART IN HIM Re2:5,16,21,22, 3:3,19. Except the people and pastors seek REPENTANCE, they would not have eternal life, but perish in HELL!
PAUL’S CHARGE TO ALL PASTORS AND MINISTERS
The apostle Paul wrote ‘I CHARGE THEE THEREFORE BEFORE GOD, AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; PREACH THE WORD; BE INSTANT IN SEASON, OUT OF SEASON; REPROVE, REBUKE, EXHORT WITH ALL LONGSUFFERING AND DOCTRINE. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, MAKE FULL PROOF OF THY MINISTRY’ 2Ti4:2-5.
Being a Pastor is a very difficult job, especially today. People do not want to hear about sin and hellfire, about God’s judgment and wrath, but more likely want to be entertained. But pastors must obey God, and not compromise His Word. Paul wrote ‘For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I SHOULD NOT BE THE SERVANT OF CHRIST’ v10. Pastors should seek not to please man but God, by what they preach!
TODAY’S APOSTATE CHURCHES
Over the past 20 years, a new paradigm has emerged within the churches. It is the SEEKER-FRIENDLY (aka Emergent Church) movement, to have more people come to church, and to enrich their coffers. The focus is on the unchurched, rather than on the unsaved; how to make church more contemporary, palatable, and people-friendly. The SEEKER-FRIENDLY church movement has caused an explosion in mega-churches with some membership numbering in the tens of thousands, and the pastors having become very rich. Emphasis is placed on the individual’s personal needs rather than their spiritual needs. These churches are often soft on sin, on fornication and young people shacking up, on homosexuality, on same-sex marriages; allowing ‘creative gay people’ to do church worship, and using programs, dramas, sophisticated lighting and special sound effects, high-tech/multi-media support in their services, but often not preaching the Gospel of Christ.
Sin and God’s judgment are not being preached; holy living is not advocated. The soon return of Jesus is not heralded. Satan and the coming Antichrist system are not mentioned. People are not warned of God’s coming great wrath upon the earth and of the coming Great Tribulation. HELL IS NEVER A NICE TOPIC TO TALK ABOUT! There is more talk on fun and fellowship, surfing and sports, dating and marriage, raising children, support groups, health and weight loss, and Christian entertainment, rather than on the Gospel of Jesus Christ- on sin, judgment, repentance, God’s wrath, end-times, what God is doing today, the lateness of the hour; how to be saved, how to pray; how to learn the Bible, etc. Humor and positive messages to make people feel good are used to keep them entertained and returning every Sunday. While some of their programs are good, many attending may not be saved because the GOSPEL OF SALVATION is not being preached!
The Bible tells us that only by the ‘PREACHING OF THE CROSS’ are men saved 1Co1:18. Preaching anything else will NOT bring salvation to people. REPENTANCE, the turning away from sin and turning to Christ, must be preached Lk24:47. Paul said ‘FOR I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: FOR IT IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH’ Ro1:16. He said ‘it pleased God by the FOOLISHNESS OF PREACHING to save them that believe’ 1Co1:21. Paul said that if any man or even angel preached any gospel other than what he had preached, let him be accursed Ga1:8. Jesus said ‘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’ Jn3:16. ONLY JESUS SAVES; NOTHING ELSE!
SATAN’S ROLE IN TODAY’S CHURCHES- ANOTHER GOSPEL
Apostasy, deception, and errors have crept into churches that don’t follow the Word of God. Satan uses his ministers to destroy faith in Jesus Christ. Paul said ‘And no marvel; for SATAN HIMSELF IS TRANSFORMED INTO AN ANGEL OF LIGHT. Therefore it is no great thing if HIS MINISTERS also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works’ 2Co11:14,15. If Satan cannot stop people from going to church, he will give to them another gospel. Paul wrote ‘I marvel that ye are so soon removed from (God) that called you into the grace of Christ unto ANOTHER GOSPEL’ Ga1:6. A good feeling, non-threatening, no-salvation gospel is being preached today– a soft, warm, and fuzzy message! Because of that, the salvation of many pastors, ministers, and many of their members come into question.
JESUS’ WARNING TO ALL PASTORS AND MINISTERS
There are grave consequences in disobeying Jesus. Pastors and ministers must obey JESUS’ MANDATE, ‘FEED MY SHEEP’ or they will PERISH! Jesus said ‘NOT EVERY ONE THAT SAITH UNTO ME, LORD, LORD, SHALL ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN; BUT HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN. MANY will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? AND THEN WILL I PROFESS UNTO THEM, I NEVER KNEW YOU: DEPART FROM ME, YE THAT WORK INIQUITY’ Mt7:21-23. Jesus will disavow knowing these ministers that didn’t do God’s will, but did their own will. Their names were not written in the Lamb’s BOOK OF LIFE and thus they will perish and one day, be cast into the LAKE OF FIRE Re20:15!
A FINAL MESSAGE TO PASTORS
This blog is not meant as a personal dig or putdown on pastors, but to point out the seriousness and grave responsibilities given by Jesus to ‘‘FEED MY SHEEP’. If they do well, they will be rewarded Re22:12. But if they don’t, they will perish along with the people they were charged to minister to. However, many churches, denominations, and pastors today are going into apostasy, ‘even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction’ 2Pe2:1.
There are many other places in the Bible where God showed great disdain toward pastors. Pastors are mentioned only 8 times in the Old Testament, only in the book of Jeremiah, 7 of which were used negatively and in a derogatory sense. God voiced His anger and dismay toward them. They were brutish and abusive to the flock. The references are Je2:8, 10:21, 12:10, 17:16, 22:22. Je23:1,2 state ‘WOE BE UNTO THE PASTORS that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the PASTORS that FEED MY PEOPLE; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I WILL VISIT UPON YOU THE EVIL OF YOUR DOINGS, SAITH THE LORD’.
In Matthew 23, Jesus severely chastised the scribes and Pharisees, the pastors and ministers to the Jews in his days. Jesus called them HYPOCRITES 7 times v13,14,15,23,25,27,29 (they say, but do not Mt23:3). He accused them of religious pride, deception, fraud, covetousness, excesses, and even hindering the work of God. They would not only perish in hell Mt23:33, but would ‘..receive the greater damnation’ Mt23:14. Jesus said ‘FEED MY SHEEP’– take care of my people! It is not too late to REPENT. But Jesus also said ‘EXCEPT YE REPENT, YE SHALL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH’ Lk13:3,5.
America’s final judgment is nearly here as she continues in her pernicious and rebellious ways against God!
(Author’s note May 2015: This post was written nearly 2 years ago, and America continues in its steep spiritual, moral, and economic decline. Next month June 2015, the US Supreme Court will render a decision to make Same-Sex Marriage mandatory for the 13 of 50 holdout states that are still against it. If so, then America will become the new Sodom and Gomorrah, whom God utterly destroyedGe19:24,25.
The US National Debt is presently over $18 trillion, equivalent to $60,000 for every man, woman, and child. The debt continues to soar and Congress has no solution to mitigate it. Thus, America is heading for a sure bankruptcy. California’s exceptional drought is heading into its 4th year, with just one year supply of water for human consumption and for agricultural needs. Produce, poultry, and livestock prices will soar, perhaps even doubling!
There are 38 million people now living in California, over 10% of the entire nation! Where will they all go to when the water…
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The Gospel of John- When Divinity Became Humanity, When God Became Man
This is Part 4 and the final dissertation of the Gospel of John. In the first 11 chapters of John, we witnessed the many miracles Jesus did- changing water into wine, feeding the multitudes, healing the sick, lame, and blind, and then raising dead Lazarus. Then from chapters 12 to 17, we learned of Jesus’ passion- his triumphant return to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; the Last Supper, Foot Washing, the Promise of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus’ Special Prayer Requests to the Father for his disciples before his crucifixion and death on the feast of the Passover.
In the next two chapters 18 and 19, we will learn of Jesus’ betrayal, trial, humiliation, suffering, and death. We will see the ugly side of humanity, the killing of an innocent man, and the reason why God sent Jesus to earth- to save us from our sins; to suffer and die for us. And by believing in Him, we will have everlasting life Jn3:16. The final two chapters 20 and 21, speak of the drama and excitement of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, His appearances to His disciples, and His commissioning them to go into the world to continue the work that the Father had sent Him to do Jn20:21; to preach, teach, and nurture the people with the Gospel of Salvation Mk16:15, Mt28:19,20, Lk24:47, Jn21:15,16,17.
John Chapter 18- Jesus Betrayal and Trial Before the High Priests Annas and Caiaphas, and Pilate
Chapter 18 speaks of the betrayal, the arrest, and the trial of Jesus Christ, before the high priests Annas and Caiaphas, and then to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea. After Jesus prayed to the Father, he went with his disciples to a garden over the brook Cedron where Judas knew Jesus would resort. Earlier Judas left the last supper scene at night supposedly to buy something for the Passover feast Jn13:29. Judas returned with a band of men of the chief priests and Pharisees, with lanterns, torches and weapons v3. Jesus challenged them asking ‘whom seek ye?’ v4. They answered ‘Jesus of Nazareth’. When Jesus said ‘I AM HE’, all the men including Judas fell backward to the ground’ v6.
Here Jesus manifested his supernatural powers over the mob. Impulsive Peter ready to fight, drew his sword and smote the high priest’s servant, Malchus’ right ear, cutting it off v10. Jesus rebuked Peter telling him that this was already ordained by the Father, that he should drink this cup of suffering v11. Then Jesus performed an instant surgical miracle, healing and reattaching Malchus’ ear Lk22:51. Jesus was bound and taken first to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas v13 then later to Caiaphas v24 for questioning – all this happening illegally late at night, contrary to Jewish laws. In this chapter, we see the fulfillment of what Jesus foretold Jn13:38- that Peter would deny Jesus three times. And immediately the cock crew v27. Peter wept bitterly Mt26:75.
The next morning the Jews took Jesus to the hall of judgment before Pilate. They themselves did not enter in, lest they should be defiled; but they might eat the Passover v28. At first Pilate refused to judge Jesus. But the Jews said to Pilate ‘It is not lawful for us to put any man to death’ v31. Ordinarily, the Jews conducted execution by stoning; only the Romans practiced ‘death by crucifixion’ v32. In the judgment hall, Pilate asked Jesus if he was the King of the Jews. Jesus answered him, ‘Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?’ v34. Jesus told Pilate ‘My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence’ v36.
Jesus admitted that He was a King, and came to bear witness unto the truth. Pilate asked Jesus ‘What is truth?’ . At this point Pilate went out again to the Jews and said ‘I find in him no fault at all’ v38, and was about to release Jesus. It was a custom in those days that one convict would be released by the Romans at Passover. Pilate said ‘Will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews’ v39. The Jews clamored for another; ‘Not this man, but Barabbas.. a robber’ v40.
Here Jesus did no wrong to be executed, but the Jews delivered Jesus to the Romans to be killed! This is a fulfillment of Jn3:16, that God loved us so much that He gave Jesus to die and to save us from our sins! Lk 24:7 states ‘The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again’.
John Chapter 19- The Humiliation of Jesus: His Crucifixion, Death and Burial
The day of the Passover had arrived. Pilate had Jesus scourged; the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and also put a purple robe on him. They mocked Jesus ‘Hail, King of Jews! and they smote him with their hands’ v3. Three times Pilate told the Jews ‘I find no fault in him’ Jn18:38,19:4,6, but the Jews insisted that Jesus be crucified, ‘because he made himself the Son of God’ v7. It was about noon when Pilate brought Jesus to the Pavement, and said unto the Jews ‘Behold your king!’ v14. The Jews said ‘Away with him, crucify him.. The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar’ v15. Then Jesus was delivered to be crucified between two thieves v18. Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross ‘JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS’ v19, written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
The soldiers stripped Jesus naked of his garment and made four parts to it, but the purple robe was seamless and not parted and lots were cast for who should get it v24. Jesus was then nailed to the cross, given vinegar and died about 3 pm. Three Marys were there: Mary, his mother, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene v25. From that time on, John took Jesus’ mother unto his own home to care v27. This is somewhat interesting because Jesus had 4 half-brothers and at least 2 half-sisters that were still living Mt13:55.
Joseph of Armathaea, a secret disciple of Jesus petitioned Pilate for Jesus’ body. Then he and Nicodemus, with a hundred pound mixture of myrrh and aloes, wound Jesus’ body with linen clothes to bury him in a nearby new garden tomb belonging to Joseph who was a rich man v38; a fulfillment of Is53:9 that Jesus would be buried among the rich.
John Chapter 20- RESURRECTION SUNDAY
Chapter 20 begins with great excitement. Early Sunday morning while still dark, Mary Magdelene went to the tomb to pay her respects for Jesus v1. She noticed the stone was removed from the tomb. She then ran to Peter and John, who were also walking toward the tomb, telling them someone took the body. They both began to run. John being younger, got there first, but did not enter the tomb v4,5. Peter went into the tomb and saw only the linen clothes, and the head napkin by itself. John then entered the tomb, saw and believed v8.. ‘For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead’ v9.
Peter and John then went away unto their own home v10, but Mary remained and wept before the tomb. She peered in and saw two angels in white sitting where the body should have laid v12. When asked, she told them why she was crying, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him’ v13. Then Mary saw a man standing and thought he was the gardener, but it was Jesus v14,15. (Jesus could change his looks and often was unrecogniz- able. See Jn21:4 and Mk16:12: ‘he appeared in another form’).
But when Jesus spoke, Mary recognized his voice and said ‘Rabboni’, meaning Master. Then Jesus said ‘TOUCH ME NOT; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God’ v17. Jesus told Mary not to touch him because He had not yet presented His resurrected body to the Father.
Later that Sunday evening when the disciples assembled together behind locked doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus miraculously appeared before them in their midst saying, ‘Peace be unto you’ v19. Jesus with His glorified body was able to pass through the walls. He then showed the disciples his wounds. ‘Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord’ v20. Jesus then said again ‘Peace be unto you: AS MY FATHER HATH SENT ME, EVEN SO SEND I YOU’ v22. This is the Great Commission also found in the other Gospels Mt28:19,20, Mk16:15,16, Lk24:47.
Thomas, not being present with them, was skeptical when the disciples said they saw Jesus. He said ‘Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe’ v25. Eight days later, though the door was locked, Jesus again appeared in the midst of the disciples and told doubting Thomas ‘REACH HITHER THY FINGER, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing’ v27. Thomas exclaimed ‘My Lord and my God’ v28. JESUS IS GOD!
Jesus then said to Thomas ‘because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed’ v29. Blessed are all of us who have not seen Him, and yet believe! Here we see that first Jesus told Mary not to touch Him v17, but then later told Thomas to do so v27, meaning He had ascended into heaven and had returned, and now could be touched!
Jesus Ascension Into Heaven
The Bible states that Jesus ascended bodily into heaven not just once, but twice. The 2nd incident is found in Ac1:9-11. It states ‘And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven’. Thus, Jesus ascended into heaven the 2nd time, and will one day likewise return back to earth. (One day with glorified bodies like Jesus 1Co15:49-53, we will do the same; go to heaven in the Rapture Jn14:3, and come back to earth with Jesus Jude14.)
John Chapter 21- The 2nd Part of the Great Commission. Jesus to Peter… ‘Feed My Sheep’
After all the related events in Jerusalem, Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James, and John, and two other disciples returned to their fishing livelihood about 50 miles away in the Sea of Tiberias in Galilee. They fished all night but caught nothing v3. By morning as they were returning, they saw a man standing on shore, ‘but.. knew not it was Jesus’ v4. ‘This is now the 3rd time Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead’ v14. Also Jn20:19,24.
When Jesus asked if they had caught anything they answered him ‘No’! He then said ‘Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.. they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes’ v5,6. The net was full with 153 great fishes, but did not break v11. This is the 2nd account of Jesus blessing his disciples with a ‘great multitude of fishes’ Lk5:5,6. This is also the last time recorded that the disciples went back fishing, for they then became ‘fishers of men’ Mt4:19.
In this chapter, though Jesus asked the disciples if they had any food v5, He had already prepared breakfast for them on shore with fish laid on a open fire, and bread v9. While they were still somewhat unsure that it was Jesus, He invited them to dine v12,13. After they had eaten, Jesus asked Simon Peter three times ‘lovest thou me more than these’. Peter being grieved responded three times ‘Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee’ v15. This is related to Peter earlier denying Jesus three times then the cock crew Jn18:27. Each time Jesus told Peter to ‘Feed My Sheep’ v15,16,17.
(In the Greek language, there are different kinds of love.. eros/sensual love, phileo/brotherly love, and agape/godly love.) Peter was asked if he loved Jesus with an agape love- above friendship. Each time Peter answered phileo love. Then Jesus told Peter ‘Follow Me’ v19. Peter’s phileo love for Jesus would later change into agape love when he received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost Ac2:4. Peter later died serving Jesus v19. (We also receive God’s agape love and power when we are baptized with the Holy Ghost Ac1:5,8. The apostle Paul wrote ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but (the Spirit) of Power, and of (agape) Love, and of a sound mind’ 2Ti1:7.)
John Chapter 21 ends with John making a hyperbolic remark regarding many other things that Jesus did but were not possible to write them all down stating, ‘I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen’ v25.
The Gospel of John- When Divinity Became Humanity, When God Became Man
We have concluded all 21 chapters of the Gospel of John. Most importantly is that we learned that JESUS IS GOD; how God revealed Himself through the life of Jesus Christ, unveiling His plan for our lives by becoming like one of us in order to save us. Through Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, his sinful nature passed on to all of us and all mankind fell under sin. Ro5:8 states ‘..God commendeth his (agape) love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’. Ro5:12 also states ‘Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned’. Everyone today is under a death penalty and will perish in hell forever separated from God, except they be BORN AGAIN Jn3:3,5, by believing and receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour Jn3:16.
God revealed Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ 2000 years ago when He came down to earth and paid the price for our sins by dying on the cross for us. Jesus revealed Himself as God by what He said and by the many miracles He did– changing water into wine, feeding the multitudes by multiplying the food, healing the sick, the lame, and the blind, walking on water and transporting Himself supernaturally, forgiving sins Jn8:11, raising dead Lazarus Jn11:43, and then paramountly, raising Himself from the dead Jn21:14, a feat no man has ever been able to do!
Over 20 times in the Gospel of John, it was said that we need to believe in or on Jesus Christ to be saved, and over 40 times Jesus said He was sent by God or spoke on behalf of God e.g. Jn3:17, Jn4:34, Jn12:49, Jn16:25. Jesus said ‘Before Abraham was, I AM’ Jn8:58; ‘making himself equal with God’ Jn5:18. Jesus said ‘I and my Father are one’ Jn10:30. In Jn14:1, Jesus said ‘Ye believe in God, believe also in Me’. Jesus said ‘If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also..’ Jn14:7, and ‘he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father’ Jn14:9. JESUS IS GOD!
The Gospel of John reveals that Jesus is ‘THE GREAT I AM’ . In John’s Gospel, 10 times Jesus declared that He was the ‘I AM’ Jn8:58, which refers to God Himself. When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush He said ‘I AM THAT I AM’ Ex3:14! Jesus said ‘I AM the Bread of Life’ Jn6:35; ‘I AM the Light of the World’ Jn8:12; ‘before Abraham was, I AM’ Jn8:58; ‘I AM the Door’ Jn10:9, ‘I AM the Good Shepherd’ Jn10:11, Ps23:1; ‘I AM the Son of God’ Jn10:36; ‘I AM the Resurrection and the Life’ Jn11:25; ‘I AM the Way, and the Truth, and the Life’ Jn14:6; ‘I AM in the Father, and the Father in Me’ Jn14:11; and ‘I AM the True Vine’ Jn15:1. JESUS IS GOD, ‘THE GREAT I AM’.
In John’s Gospel, John progressively revealed and declared Jesus’ divinity, that JESUS IS GOD. John began with ‘In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him (Jesus); and without him (Jesus) was not any thing made that was made. In him (Jesus) was life; and the life was the light of men’ Jn1:1-4, ‘And the Word (Jesus) was made flesh, and dwelt among us’ Jn1:14. While Jesus said worship belonged only to God Mt4:10,Jn4:23, Jesus allowed the blind man whom He had healed, and others to worship Him Jn9:38, Mt28:9, Mt14:33! Jesus said to know Him is to know the Father. To see Jesus is to see the Father Jn14:7. Jesus said ‘Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake’ Jn14:11.
In conclusion, God came to earth in the person Jesus. This is ‘WHEN DIVINITY BECAME HUMANITY, WHEN GOD BECAME MAN’. After His death and resurrection, before He returned to heaven, Jesus said to his disciples ‘ALL POWER IS GIVEN UNTO ME IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH’ Mt28:18. Thus, JESUS IS GOD ALMIGHTY, and now we know who God is. THANK YOU JESUS FOR COMING TO SAVE US! PRAISE GOD! AMEN!
WHEN DIVINITY BECAME HUMANITY, WHEN GOD BECAME MAN
John’s Gospel Part 3 continues the revelation that JESUS IS GOD; how in Chapter 11, JESUS declared ‘I am the RESURRECTION, and THE LIFE: he that BELIEVETH IN ME, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and BELIEVETH IN ME shall never die. Believest thou this?‘ v25,26. Jesus then raised Lazarus after he was dead for 4 days. Here Jesus showed He has the power over LIFE AND DEATH, something only God, and no man has. Not only did Jesus raise dead Lazarus, but He also promised then TO RAISE US UP ONE DAY IN THE RAPTURE, and He challenged us to believe in Him!
John Chapter 12- Passion Week Before Jesus’ Crucifixion
Jesus caused a great commotion after He raised Lazarus from the dead. Six days before the Passover, Jesus went back to Bethany to visit Lazarus and his sisters. While Martha served supper, Mary took a pound of very expensive and strong smelling perfume that filled the house with its odor, to anoint Jesus’ feet, wiping it with her own hair. Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 disciples, complained and said, it could have been sold and the money given to the poor, not that he really cared. Jesus said ‘the poor always ye have with you, but me ye have not me always’ v8. In truth, Judas, the keeper of the purse v6, wanted the money for himself. Mary worshipped Jesus by anointing him with the ointment for his soon burial. Many Jews came not only to see Jesus, but to see Lazarus whom He raised from the dead v9. But the chief priests sought to kill Lazarus v10 for ‘many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus’ v11.
The following day on Palm Sunday, the beginning of Passion Week, Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem on an ass v14. Many took palm branches to hail him for the miracle of raising dead Lazarus, shouting ‘Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord’ v13. This is a fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy Zec9:9 about Jesus. The Pharisees were greatly troubled because ‘the world is gone after him’ v19. Jews from Greece who came to celebrate the feast of the Passover also wanted to see Jesus.
Jesus told his disciples ‘The hour is come, that the Son of man should be GLORIFIED.. Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour’ v23-26. (JESUS CHRIST was GLORIFIED by God upon His crucifixion and death for our sins v32 below).
Jesus lamented about his forthcoming death and asked the Father to ‘GLORIFY thy name’ v28, meaning his own name. Then many heard a thundering voice from heaven saying ‘I have both GLORIFIED IT and will GLORIFY IT AGAIN’ v28. Jesus said ‘Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the PRINCE OF THIS WORLD be cast out. AND I, IF I BE LIFTED UP FROM THE EARTH, WILL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO ME’ v31,32.
The Jews who came to anoint Jesus king were very puzzled because Jesus was now speaking of his soon death by crucifixion v33. They were not looking for a suffering Messiah which spoke of Jesus in Isaiah 53. While many of the chief rulers believed on Jesus, they were afraid of the Pharisees, fearing expulsion from the synagogue v42. Jesus said ‘He that BELIEVETH ON ME, believeth not on me, but on HIM THAT SENT ME. And he that SEETH ME SEETH HIM THAT SENT ME’ v44,45. He said ‘I came not to judge the world, but to save the world’ v47. He that sees Jesus sees the Father. He that rejects Jesus rejects the Father v48. JESUS IS GOD!
John Chapter 13- The Last Supper; Foot Washing By Jesus
This is the scene of the Last Supper during the final week of Jesus’ ministry before the feast of the Passover, and his crucifixion. ‘And supper being ended, the devil put into Judas Iscariot’s heart to betray Jesus’ v2. Jesus proceeded to wash his disciples’ feet. Impetuous Peter said ‘Thou shalt never wash my feet’. Jesus said ‘If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me’ v8. Peter then said ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head’ v9. Jesus was teaching his disciples to serve others, not as ‘a master but as a servant’ v16. Jesus being saddened, began to speak of his betrayal by one of them v21, while the disciples wondered who among themselves v22. Shortly after, Satan entered into Judas as Jesus gave him the sop (a piece of bread soaked in liquid) to eat v26,27. King David prophesied 2000 years before of Judas: ‘He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me’ Ps41:9, and of Judas losing his place among the 12 apostles. Ps109:8 states ‘Let his days be few; and let another take his office’.
At the Last Supper, the apostle John leaning on Jesus’ bosom described himself as the disciple ‘whom Jesus loved’ v23; also Jn20:12,21:7,20. Jesus then spoke of His Glorification ‘Now is the SON OF MAN GLORIFIED, and God is GLORIFIED in him’ v31, and of his leaving his disciples and that they could not follow him v33. Jesus gave them a NEW COMMANDMENT ‘That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another’ v34. The scene turned very somber as the disciples sensed Jesus’ forthcoming death. Peter then told Jesus that he would lay down his life for him, but Jesus told him ‘The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice’ v38.
John Chapter 14- Jesus Relationship with the Father; the Promise of the Holy Spirit
Jesus continued his discourse with his disciples. He told them ‘Let not your heart be troubled: YE BELIEVE IN GOD, BELIEVE ALSO IN ME. In my father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I GO TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU AND IF I GO AND PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU, I WILL COME AGAIN, and RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF; THAT WHERE I AM, THERE YE MAY BE ALSO.. I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE: NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER, BUT BY ME’ v1-6. Again Jesus declared His divinity, that He is God, ‘YE BELIEVE IN GOD, BELIEVE ALSO IN ME’ – a very remarkable statement by such a young man. Jesus said He is leaving to prepare a place for us, and He will return to take us back to heaven signifying the coming RAPTURE OF THE SAINTS ONE day.
Jesus declared there is no other way, truth, and life to God the Father than by Him. Jesus declared His relationship with the Father: ‘If you have KNOWN ME, you should have KNOWN MY FATHER also: and henceforth, YOU KNOW THE HIM, and HAVE SEEN HIM’ v7. KNOW JESUS, KNOW THE FATHER; SEE JESUS, SEE THE FATHER; believe that JESUS is in the Father and believe the Father is in JESUS v10.
Jesus then stated ‘He that BELIEVETH ON ME, the works I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And WHATSOEVER YE SHALL ASK IN MY NAME, THAT WILL I DO, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything IN MY NAME, I WILL DO IT’ v12-14. Here we are given permission to pray and use the name of JESUS regarding His works, and He will do it! Jesus promised that we will do greater works when we believe on Him; when we receive POWER through the BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY GHOST, as on the day of Pentecost Ac1:5,8,2:4.
Jesus promised to send another Comforter, THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, to abide with us FOREVER v16. Jesus will come to us in the person of the Holy Spirit, who will dwell with us and be in us v17,18. If we love Jesus and keep His commandments, we shall be loved of the Father, Jesus will love us and manifest Himself to us v21. The Holy Spirit, also known as the Holy Ghost, ‘shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you’ v26.
Today the Holy Spirit is the representative of Jesus Christ and the power of God to accomplish His plan and purpose on earth. Jesus said ‘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 unto the uttermost part of the earth’ Ac1:8. The Holy Spirit will empower us to witness Jesus to the world by signs and wonders. Jesus said ‘Behold, I give unto you POWER to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you’ Lk10:19. Also see Mk16:15-19, Ro15:19.
John Chapter 15- Jesus the True Vine; God the Pruner
This chapter continues at the scene of the Last Supper in the large upper room prior to Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus continued to teach His disciples using the analogy of the main vine and its many branches. What Jesus instructed here applies to all His disciples and us today. Jesus said ‘I am the VINE, ye are the branches’ v5, and ‘my Father is the husbandman (the PRUNER)’ v1. Every branch that is not productive, thePRUNER cast them away and they are burned v6. The PRUNER purges every branch that is productive, so it will bring forth more fruit.
But in order to bear fruit, we need to ABIDE IN JESUS, ‘..for without me, ye can do nothing’ v5. God wants us to abide in Jesus, so we would be productive and bear much fruit; ‘Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples’ v8. Jesus said ‘IF YE ABIDE IN ME, AND MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you’ v7. Jesus said if we follow Him and obey His words, we can ask anything, and He would grant it to us. This is a very important principle. But the only way we can know Jesus and His words is to study the Bible.
Jesus gave us a NEW COMMANDMENT ‘That ye love one another, as I have loved you’ v12, just as in Jn13:34. We are to love others with a greater love; that which Jesus had for us. Greater love is defined as ‘a man lay down his life for his friends’ v13, which Jesus did for us. Jesus said ‘Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I HAVE CHOSEN YOU, and ORDAINED YOU, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you’ v14-16.
We have a calling on our lives to serve God, and to be fruitful. We were chosen out of this world to serve Jesus, and thus the world will hate us v19. Because Jesus came into the world to reveal sin, the world no longer can hide its sin, and therefore it hated Jesus v22-24. Jesus said of ‘the Comforter to come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of Me’ v26; promising to send the Holy Spirit (the baptism of the Holy Ghost Ac1:5,8,2:4,11:16).
John Chapter 16- The Work of the Holy Spirit; the Comforter; the Spirit of Truth
Still in the upper room, Jesus spoke of the suffering and hardship, even death to come for those serving Him. He continued His discourse from the previous chapters on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, which all His disciples should soon receive. Jesus told them unless He left, He could not send the Comforter to them v7. The job of the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, the Holy Ghost, or the Holy Spirit is to convince or convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they BELIEVE NOT ON JESUS v9; of righteousness, because ‘I go to my Father, and ye see me no more’ v10; of judgment, because Satan, ‘the prince of this world is judged’ v11. Jesus said ‘Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you’ v13,14.
The Holy Spirit’s job is to ‘glorify Jesus’. Jesus said all things that the Father has belongs to Him. The Holy Spirit will take of Jesus, and show it unto us v15. Here we see the relationship of the Godhead- the Father, the Jesus, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins, and by His death and resurrection, Jesus could then send the Holy Spirit to empower us to serve Him and to finish His work. By the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, Jesus would now then be with and in us v16. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ Php1:19, and also the proxy of Jesus Christ on earth. As the Father is God, so is Jesus God, and the Holy Spirit God. There is only ONE GOD revealed in three personalities. The Godhead is indeed a mystery of God.. WHEN DIVINITY BECAME HUMANITY, WHEN GOD BECAME MAN!
Jesus continued to speak of His forthcoming passion, of His dying, coming back alive, leaving us, but returning to us in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He said though they would sorrow now, they would be rejoice again, and so would we v16-22. Jesus reiterated His promise to us ‘Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he (Jesus) will give it you.. ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full’ v23,24, 26. Jesus said He came out from God, came forth from the Father into the world, and will return to the Father v27,28. Jesus said when he goes to the cross, his disciples will be scattered; only the Father will remain with me v32. ‘These things I have spoke to you, that in me ye might have peace. In this world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world’ v33.
John Chapter 17- Jesus Prayer to the Father; Nine Prayer Requests of Jesus
Jesus left the upper room for the garden of Gethsemane to pray alone. In his prayer, we learn of the glory and relationship Jesus had with the Father before the world was; the work He was sent to do and His relationship with us, whom the Father had given to Jesus v1-5. We learn what God had planned for us before the world began. We also learn what Jesus had prayed for: Himself, His disciples and all those that should believe on Him through His word v20. Knowing Jesus prayer requests to the Father are very important because all of His prayers will be answered, and they reveal what God has in mind for us in the eternity to come. Here are the 9 prayers requests of Jesus before He was crucified:
1. That He would be GLORIFIED AGAIN with the same GLORY He had with the Father before the world was v1-5.
2. That WE MAY BE ONE, as He and the Father are One v11,21,22,23.
3. That WE MIGHT HAVE HIS JOY FULFILLED IN US v13.
4. That WE WOULD BE KEPT FROM THE EVIL V15.
5. That WE WOULD BE SANCTIFIED BY HIS WORD, ‘THY WORD IS TRUTH’ v17.
6. That THE SAME GLORY THAT JESUS HAD WITH THE FATHER v5, HE HAS GIVEN US v22. Also Ro8:17, 2Co3:18, Heb2:10.
7. That WE MAY BE MADE PERFECT IN ONE AND THAT THE WORLD WOULD KNOW THAT THE FATHER LOVED BOTH HE AND US v23.
8. That WE WOULD ONE DAY BE WITH JESUS ‘WHERE I AM.. that they may behold his glory..’ v24. See Jn12:26,14:3 ‘where I am- the Rapture’.
9. That THE SAME LOVE THE FATHER HAD FOR JESUS MAY ALSO BE IN US, AND HE IN US v26. Also Jn13:34,15:12.
John Chapter 17- The Glory Jesus Wants to Give Us
What is the Glory that Jesus had with the Father that He wants to give to us? How did Jesus Glorify the Father? Heb1:2 declares Jesus is ‘the brightness of GOD’S GLORY and the express image of God’s Person’. Php2:6-9 state Jesus ‘being in the FORM OF GOD.. was EQUAL WITH GOD, but took upon him the form of a servant and was made in likeness of men.. He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Jesus, and given him a name which is above every name’.
Jesus glorified God by going to the cross, giving His life for our sins, being obedient unto death, and having the faith to be resurrected. Jesus asked the Father to return to Him the Glory He once shared with Him before the world was Jn17:5. What is important here is that the same Glory Jesus had with the Father He gave to us v22- to those that are one with Him; for those that have His joy fulfilled in them; for those that are kept from evil v15, and sanctified by His Word v17! Jesus prayed that we may be made perfect in one; that the world may know that the Father had sent and loved Him; that we would be with Him ‘where I am; that they may behold my Glory’ v24, signifying the coming Rapture.
Six times Jesus referred to those ‘THOU HAST GIVEN ME’ v6,9,11,12,24,18:9. Five times Jesus prayed that WE MAY BE ONE WITH HIM AND THE FATHER v11,21,21,22,23. Jesus was specifically praying for us. Ro8:17 states ‘if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also Glorified Together’. When we study this prayer of Jesus, we must believe what Jesus wants us to have, and that one day we will be Glorified Together With Him forever! What is the Glory that Jesus had with the Father that He wants to give to us? Jesus wants to share all of His Glory He has with us!
The Gospel of John Part 4 Chapters 18 through 21 will continue shortly. Please tune in again and thank you for reading!