Who Do Men Say That I AM?

In Judea at the time of Christ, many people expressed varied opinions about an influential young preacher who went about performing miracles and healing the sick as he taught the scriptures on hillsides and in their Synagogues. Some said he was a charlatan, a worker of magic tricks and even possessed of the devil; others that he was one of the prophets reincarnated. Jesus’ disciples must have been suspicious that he was the Christ, but may have been hesitant to say as much. So Jesus brought up the subject of his identity himself.

Mat 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of manG444 am?
Mat 16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Hear what the Old and the New Testaments say about the Son of Man –

Old Testament Witnesses

Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,H7093 upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

“end” (H7093 qêts) BDB Definition:
1) end
1a) end, at the end of (of time)
1b) end (of space)

An interesting passage telling us that among others, Jesus will bear the title “everlasting Father.” Now, how can that be you may well ask? How can Jesus have the title “father” when he’s the Father’s son? That’s a great question, one I don’t have an answer for at present.

Dan 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
Dan 7:14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominionH7985 is an everlastingH5957 dominion, which shall not pass away,H5709 and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.H2255

Note that the Son of man (always refers to Jesus) was brought before the Ancient of Days (the Father), thus it would appear that Jesus and the Father are two separate entities. This verse states that Jesus will be given a dominion and a kingdom over all nations which will never pass away (‘remove, depart, be taken away’).

New Testament Witnesses

Joh 12:34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? (via crucifixion) who is this Son of man?G444

Joh 5:25 Verily, verily (truly, truly), I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 
Joh 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
Joh 5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

Mat 8:19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
Mat 8:20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

In this Matthew passage, Jesus calls himself the “Son of man.” The term “Son of Man” was a Messianic title assigned to Jesus Christ –

Jesus uses it as a concealed Messianic title. Jesus in his early ministry, except at the very start in John 4, abstains from calling himself Messiah. This term suited his purpose exactly to get the people used to his special claim as Messiah when he is ready to make it openly. [Robertson’s Word Pictures]

Son of man – This means, evidently, Jesus himself. No title is more frequently given to the Saviour than this, and yet there is much difficulty in explaining it. The word “son” is used in a great variety of significations. See the notes at Mat 1:1. The name “Son of man” is given to Jesus only three times in the New Testament Act 7:56; Rev 1:13; Rev 14:14, except by himself. When he speaks of himself, this is the most common appellation by which he is known. The phrase “Son of God,” given to Christ, denotes a unique connection with God, Joh 10:36. The name “Son of man” probably denotes a corresponding unique connection with man. Perhaps the Saviour used it to signify the interest he felt in man; his special love and friendship for him; and his willingness to devote himself to the best interests of the race. It is sometimes, however, used as synonymous with “Messiah,” Mat 16:28; Joh 12:34. [Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible]

Of His Kingdom There Shall Be No End

Luk 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
Luk 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
Luk 1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

“no end” (G5056 telos) Thayer Definition:
1) end
1a) termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time)
1b) the end
1b1) the last in any succession or series
1b2) eternal
1c) that by which a thing is finished, its close, issue
1d) the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose
2) toll, custom (i.e. indirect tax on goods)

Mat 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS:G2424 for he shall save his people from their sins.

An aside: The name “Jesus” was not derived from the Greek god Zeus! Jesus is the English transliteration of the Greek (Iēsous) translation of the name Joshua, which means “Jehovah is salvation.” Joshua was the famous captain of the Israelites and Moses’ successor (Act 7:45, Heb 4:8).

Heb 1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
Heb 1:7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
Heb 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

Rev 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
Rev 14:14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

To all who have been told or taught that Jesus isn’t GOD – the Father calls him GOD, and permits angels to WORSHIP him! If Jesus wasn’t GOD, then the Father wouldn’t have said so. Many scriptures affirm that while Jesus was temporarily ‘made a little lower than the angels’ having been ‘clothed with a human body,’ He was raised in a glorified body, the same as all born again believers will get when Jesus returns. Jesus was only subordinate to his Father in heaven because he took on a human body (John 1:14) and dwelt upon the earth. Before Jesus’s human body was crucified and died, it was just a fleshly body like ours, unfit for Eternity. It had to be glorified or made ‘eternal’ which was accomplished when Jesus arose from the grave. At no time was Jesus anything less than fully GOD (Cols 2:9).

There are those teaching that since Jesus was ‘sent’ to earth by his Father, he wasn’t God because the one doing the sending is greater than the one being sent. One group who teaches this is the Jehovah’s Witnesses who appear to be Christian until you discover that they deny the Divinity of Jesus Christ; the very “test” of whether the spirit behind a religious organization or an individual is antichrist – 2 Jn 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.G4561 This is a deceiver and an antichrist.G500 To ‘come in the flesh’ means he became incarnated in a human body.

1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
1Jn 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1Jn 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

To be ‘sent’ has several meanings in the Greek, primarily ‘apostello’ (from which we get the word Apostle) and ‘pempō.’ (G649 apostello) From G575 and G4724; set apart, that is, (by implication) to send out (properly on a mission) literally or figuratively: – put in, send (away, forth, out), set [at liberty]. (G3992 pempō) Apparently a primary verb; to dispatch (from the subjective view or point of departure, whereas ἵημι hiēmi [as a stronger form of εἶμι eimi] refers rather to the objective point or terminus ad quem, and G4724 denotes properly the orderly motion involved), especially on a temporary errand; also to transmit, bestow, or wield: – send, thrust in.

Jesus was sent into the world to fulfill the scriptures regarding him, to redeem mankind from sin and death, and to fulfill all righteousness. You could say that he was ‘set apart’ for a special mission. However, his being sent didn’t at all detract from his Godhood. Look at it this way, a mail carrier is ‘dispatched’ to collect and deliver mail to a another locality. Is his nature altered by being sent on that mission? Jesus willingly chose to leave his glory in heaven to become a flesh and blood human being, and yes he was subordinate to his father, but that subordination didn’t change his nature. Jesus was, is, and will always be fully God.

The term ‘trinity’ isn’t in the Bible, but the term “Godhead” is.

Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

(G2305 theiotēs) From G2304; divinity (abstractly): – godhead.
(G2320 theotēs) From G2316; divinity (abstractly): – godhead.
(G2316 theos) Of uncertain affinity; a deity, especially (with G3588) the supreme Divinity; figuratively a magistrate; by Hebraism very: – X exceeding, God, god [-ly, -ward].

In this Godhead, Jesus and the Father mutually indwell one another in perfect unity.

Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?

“in” (G1722 en) A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537);

I find G1537 to be quite interesting – A primary preposition denoting origin (*the point whence motion or action proceeds), from, out (of place, time or cause; literally or figuratively; direct or remote):

*Recall that a root G4724 of the Greek definition pempō (sent), had in it the idea of ‘orderly motion’ in the sending. It only seems to be saying that Jesus proceeded out from the Father.

Even the Jews who weren’t always correct in their interpretations, acknowledged that when Jesus called God his father, he was “making himself equal to God” –

Joh 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

“father” (G3962 patēr) Apparently a primary word; a “father” (literally or figuratively, near or more remote): – father, parent.

“Father; not in the sense the Jews so called him, and all good Christians are licensed to call him; but patera idion, his proper Father, or his own Father; by which (as they truly said) he made himself equal with God. Nor did he by that alone make himself equal with God, but he ascribed also to himself a cooperation with God, in works proper to God alone…”[Matthew Poole’s Commentary]

Another solid refutation of teachings that Jesus isn’t God, or that he wasn’t a divine being before he “came in the flesh.”

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word,G3056 and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh,G4561 and dweltG4637 among us, (and we beheld his glory,G1391 the glory as of the only begottenG3439 of the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Scriptures clearly state that Jesus, the Son of man and Son of God (these two titles denote the dual nature of Christ; fully God and fully man) was “with God in the beginning” of Creation – Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Joh 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Jesus existed before Abraham, who had died centuries earlier, was born. “I AM” means the ever-present, ever-existent God, who had no beginning and has no end. When Moses stood before the bush burning with God’s presence he asked him what his name was and God answered, “I AM THAT I AM” (Exo 3:13 & 14).

Joh 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

Joh 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Joh 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Joh 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me:

Jesus did nothing independently of his Father because he and his Father think and act as ONE. They’re so close they know each other’s thoughts and intentions at all times. The closest state of “oneness” humans can experience is in marriage where they become “one flesh”(Mt 19:5).  Strong’s Definition: “one”(G1519 eis) of one mind.

Joh 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

Whom do men say – He asked his disciples this question, not because he was ignorant what the people thought and spoke of him; but to have the opportunity, in getting an express declaration of their faith from themselves, to confirm and strengthen them in it: but see on Luk_9:20 (note). Some, John the Baptist, etc. By this and other passages we learn, that the Pharisaic doctrine of the Metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls, was pretty general; for it was upon this ground that they believed that the soul of the Baptist, or of Elijah, Jeremiah, or some of the prophets, had come to a new life in the body of Jesus. [Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible]

(ii) This passage teaches that our discovery of Jesus Christ must be a personal discovery. Jesus’ question is: “You–what do you think of me?” When Pilate asked him if he was the king of the Jews, his answer was: “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” (Jn 18:33-34).

Our knowledge of Jesus must never be at second hand. A man might know every verdict ever passed on Jesus; he might know every Christology that the mind of man had ever thought out; he might be able to give a competent summary of the teaching about Jesus of every great thinker and theologian–and still not be a Christian. Christianity never consists in knowing about Jesus; it always consists in knowing Jesus. Jesus Christ demands a personal verdict. He did not ask only Peter, he asks every man: “You–what do you think of me?” [William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible]

So, who do YOU say that the Son of Man is? May I suggest that you don’t wait too long to decide.

Debra R. Stout © August 15, 2015

Root Of Bitterness vs. the Grace Of God

The Bible talks about a “root of bitterness defiling many” – Heb 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

“defiled” is a Greek word (miainō) meaning to ‘sully, pollute, contaminate.’ Heb 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, ‘Profane’ in the Greek (bebēlos) means, heathenish, wicked, or ungodly.

‘fail of the grace of God,’ in the Greek (hustereō) means,
Thayer Definition:
1) behind
1a) to come late or too tardily
1a1) to be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal, to fall short of the end
1a2) metaphorically fail to become a partaker, fall back from
1b) to be inferior in power, influence and rank
1b1) of the person: to be inferior to
1c) to fail, be wanting
1d) to be in want of, lack
2) to suffer want, to be devoid of, to lack (be inferior) in excellence, worth

The word “profane” here refers to one who by word or conduct treats religion with contempt, or has no reverence for what is sacred. This may be shown by words; by the manner; by a sneer; by neglect of religion; – Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible.

While this verse is primarily referring to persons within the Body of Christ who become bitter at God when disciplined by Him (Heb 12:5-13), which could cause them to “fall away” from faith if not checked, it can also apply to any ungodly or profane individual. Bitterness is of such a nature that it spreads like a virus from one person to another, polluting and contaminating others. Having had some personal experience with this, I can say that what the Bible says about it is absolutely true. Bitterness not only defiles the person who has it, but others who come in contact with it.

Recently I met a man and wanted to know what his thoughts were of God and Faith. One day while we sat near a water fountain in the city square, I asked him if he had faith and if so, what relevance it had in his daily life. Talk about a loaded question! He began by saying that he was too busy every day, and didn’t have time for that. Then he added that he didn’t believe anything was ‘there’ and that he had learned to rely upon himself because of how his father had treated him. He was terribly abused as a child by his alcoholic father. He told me his father had ruined his life and he hated him so much he wanted to kill him, and would, if he could find a way! With empathy and compassion I said that thousands of others have had it just as bad, and that I too knew how being abused feels. I told him that God could help him forgive his father and mother, as He had done for me and many others. He retorted, “What good is God? “Where was he when I needed him?” Obviously, the man was very ‘bitter’ at God, blaming him for what happened.

When a person is in the clutches of bitterness towards God, he or she can’t receive His grace. The choice is either, hold onto bitterness and forsake God’s grace, or forsake bitterness and partake of His grace. We need God’s grace in order to forgive some men their offenses against us. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that we have to forget what they’ve done, or that we have to allow them access to our lives! In many cases, doing so would be foolish and harmful to our wellbeing. Forgiving someone simply means that we leave their judgment and punishment up to God, and that we let go of ‘demanding payment’ from him or her –

Mat 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Mat 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Mat 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
Mat 18:24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
Mat 18:25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
Mat 18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 18:27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
Mat 18:28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
Mat 18:29 And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 18:30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
Mat 18:31 So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
Mat 18:32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
Mat 18:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?
Mat 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
Mat 18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

We often forget how many sins we’ve committed against our fellows, but God has his way of helping us to remember when we’re having difficulty forgiving someone. Remembering how sinful we are helps us to have mercy on others, or it should.

There was no judgement or criticism in my heart or words for this man, who was obviously in great emotional pain and turmoil. I understood where he was coming from since I had hated my own father for many years before I was able to take hold of the “grace of God” which enabled me to completely forgive him, which set my soul free from the heavy weight of hatred and bitterness. I told the man that he could pray to God and find answers for his problems, that God helped me get through many tough times, and that I had to depend upon Him because there was often no one else around. I told him God helped me to forgive my father for committing acts which no child should have to see.

“Well, he’s never done anything for me,” he smirked. “That’s not true” I said, “Jesus paid for all your sins and the sins of the whole world when He died on the Cross.” “What sins?” the man indignantly asked me, “I didn’t sin, what my father did wasn’t my fault!” I said, “I know it wasn’t, all I’m saying is that we have all sinned at one time or another and were born with a nature proned to sin.” I asked him, “Have you ever told a lie?” As if he didn’t hear me he retorted, “God didn’t suffer as much as I did!” “All He did was hide in a cave…” [Not sure what the man was referring to.] I told him that forgiveness for his sins was available and that all he had to do was accept and receive it. I said, “All God wants is a relationship with everyone and we were designed to have that with Him.” He said that he didn’t believe it, and that the Bible was just a bunch of stories, “Who knows whether they’re true or not?” I told him that I knew. He asked me how I knew and I said, “Because I have tried it and found it to be true” – Tit 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, “faithful” means “true, trustworthy, sure.”

The man went on to say that he believed his father would go to hell when he dies (he said at the outset he didn’t believe in God or the Bible)! “That’s a possibility” I told him, “but you’re making your own hell here now.” Looking surprised, he asked, “How so?” “By holding onto hate and revenge which is eating you up inside and holding you back from going forward in life,” “You can’t go forward with baggage hanging onto you like that,” I answered. He objected saying, “But he hasn’t changed over the years, he’s still the same so how can I forgive him?” My answer was simply, “You forgive him in your heart in order to set yourself free.” Sadly, the man refused to listen, preferring to wallow in self-pity over the terrible things his father had done to him. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel empathy for this man, but I knew that holding onto past wrongs and nursing your wounds, keeps you in bondage. Freedom comes when we forgive those who have wronged us, regardless of the nature and depth of the offense. I knew that for anyone, healing of inner wounds is just about impossible while holding onto offenses. We also keep others in bondage by our unforgiveness, not just ourselves. That’s why Jesus made forgiving others their offenses a requirement for our receiving His forgiveness, Mar 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mar 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. Luk 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: (See also Mt 18:21-35.)

Though full of anger, hatred, revenge and self-pity, I give the man credit for being honest. Most people try to cover up how they truly feel about God and life.

After leaving him at the fountain, I walked home feeling a bit defeated that I wasn’t able to help him. While it may have seemed that my efforts to steer him in the right direction, failed, I believe he’ll think on my words later, and maybe the Lord will use them to soften his heart. No judgment, ‘But for the grace of God go I.’ I hope he gets the help he needs, from someone, somewhere. Carrying around so much hate and bitterness is a heavy burden on anyone’s soul.

While it’s easy to accept in theory that God allows terrible things to happen because of man’s free will, it’s not easy to accept when it ‘hits home.’ Sometimes people are innocent victims of someone else’s sinful act and end up paying for it, suffering various consequences which can last a lifetime. When we’ve been victimized, we tend to blame not only the culprit, but God too, because we feel He shouldn’t have allowed it and can’t understand why He did. Why?” is a natural and good question, because there IS a reason for everything, and we often need to know ‘why’ something is happening to us, so that we can change our course if we’re going the wrong way. However, it’s a question that we might not get an answer to and one that God isn’t obligated to answer, nor can we make him answer. Another question we could ask is “What?” What is God (or life) trying to tell me? What is the lesson in this trial? What can I learn from it? There’s ALWAYS a lesson or a nugget of truth hidden in every trial awaiting our discovery! – Isa 45:3  and I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places…. 

While this may not satisfy everyone, God allows bad things to happen to good people because He can’t interfere with the exercise of man’s free will. If God were to remove or override man’s free will, man would loose the ability to make choices, reducing him to an animal which can’t reason but merely follows its instinct. Man would loose part of the “image of God,” if his free will was removed or interferred with, and that would be tragic. The reason God gave man free will was so he could choose between right and wrong, and whether or not to love, worship, and serve Him. One of the most difficult obstacles in life to overcome, is the temptation and tendency to become bitter. Life affords some, many more opportunities than others on that score, but the Bible tells us that rewards for over comers will be far greater than anything they can imagine – Rev 2:7, To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Rev 2:11, He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. Rev 2:17, To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. Rev 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: Rev 2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; Rev 2:28 And I will give him the morning star.

“Therefore, let us not fail to become a partaker of the grace of God whereby we are saved.” (Ephs 2:5; Rms 3:24)

Debra R. Stout © July 29, 2015

“Message of Christ Crucified Not Allowed; Our Religious Freedom Wanes”

Jes.carry.cross“Picture of Christ Crucified Not Allowed”

In this dream I saw a very large glass window covering most of the outside wall of a building. On it I had taped up many sheets of paper with a message typed or written on them. In the middle, I had taped up a picture I had drawn of Christ crucified. When done I left all of it and went to another place; home or work I’m not sure.

The next time I looked at the window, the picture of Christ had been removed and in it’s place was a Notice that stated: “You may not put up pictures of Christ crucified, without permission.” I was at work or some place where I couldn’t leave immediately, but felt quite anxious to leave so I could go talk with whomever to get the required permission.

Then I saw my picture of Christ lying in the street in front of the bldg. somewhat crumpled up. I felt shocked and alarmed at the same time and thought, “How could they just take it down like that?” Right away I called a Christian woman and told her what happened. She asked me what I thought we should do. I answered that we should fight for our religious rights, and that we couldn’t just let those people do that to us.

Later when I went inside the bldg. where I had posted my message & picture, I saw a room filled with school age children sitting at a long table. The children were writing on sheets of paper, and one had drawn a picture of Christ, I believe in response to my message. I thought: “Isn’t it odd they’ll allow these children to put up pictures of Christ, but not me?” (My sense was that they were opposed to my message.)

Then I went to speak to a man in authority inside the building, but don’t recall what we spoke about, or if I actually spoke with him or not.

I feel the dream indicates that a time of intensified religious persecution and opposition to the Gospel message has begun. ‘Christ Crucified’, is removed from public spaces and trampled in the streets – ‘streets’ symbolize major public arena’s like business, educational systems, courts & legal systems, and news media. The public school system is teaching children to oppose Christ and the Gospel. Freedom to speak or write about Christ and the Gospel is not allowed now, without ‘permission.’ Even among some Christians the message of the Cross, which is to live a life of self-denial, has become abhorrent! Together, we need to confront the forces and systems arrayed against us and the Gospel without delay, and fight for our right to practice our faith freely, or else it will be taken away from us.

*After the dream a scripture verse came to mind, Col 1:24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and do fill up the things lacking of the tribulations of the Christ in my flesh for his body, which is the assembly, (Young’s Literal Translation)

Debra R. Stout © December 26, 2011

Add to this the fact that thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters are being routinely murdered and tortured all across the globe, but especially in well armed terrorists nations of the Middle East like Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan. Without a sitting president and congress who cares what happens to Christians, our brethren have no support but the prayers of those of us who are yet free (and that may not be much longer the way the Jihadists are going) and any money we can send to aid them in their time of tribulation. Christians in America and Europe have yet to suffer the horrific torture, persecution, and mass murder our brethren have suffered for centuries and are NOW suffering by the hands of militant, cruel, hateful, terrorists who believe in Jihad. Jihad is the doctrine which Muslims believe gives them the right to slaughter all who don’t believe in Alah and the writings of the Koran. It is also a movement to set up a Calliphate and Shariah Law to rule the world. 

In light of 911 and every hateful, deranged terrorist killing of innocent people since 911 around the world, why are our leaders nearly silent on this issue? Why doesn’t the yet free Church speak out loud and strong in defense of their persecuted brethren? Who has muzzled their mouths? I think it’s a spirit of FEAR; fear someone might accuse them of being bigots, arrest them for speaking out against terrorists, and/or fear that they might end up tortured or even dead if they do. 

While some or all of those things may indeed happen, should that stop us from speaking up for our brethren and for our religious freedoms? If we claim that we ‘follow’ Christ, shouldn’t we be willing and ready to suffer persecution for His sake and for the sake of the Gospel, as others have done? 

If we don’t begin to speak up for our religious rights and freedoms, and those of our brothers and sisters, we’ll loose them. Muslims in America have been loudly protesting the practice of the Christian faith wherever they find it. The time may come when the universal Body of Christ will have to go ‘underground’ due to extensive persecution and dissolution of religious rights and freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution, but unenforced. The stark reality which can no longer be ignored, for it’s on our very doorstep, is that Jihad has already come to America, disguised and for the most part hidden, yet very real and very dangerous. Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in this century. “The expected growth of Islam around the world is perhaps the most striking finding in the recent Pew Research Center report projecting the future of religious groups. Indeed, Muslims will grow more than twice as fast as the overall world population between 2010 and 2050 and, in the second half of this century, will likely surpass Christians as the world’s largest religious group.” [http://www. pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/23/why-muslims-are-the-worlds-fastest-growing-religious-group/]

Many Americans seem oblivious, and or have a cavalier attitude towards real threats to its survival. America and it’s former glory has all but become a distant memory. Those of you too young to recall the slaying of President John F. Kennedy, his brother Bobby, and everyone who has stood for open and honest government since; probably doesn’t relate to much of this, but the history is available online at least. Go search the Internet for news reports of the past and present slaying of Christians around the world, there are plenty available. Then DO something about it, don’t just blithely say, “How sad” then forget what you saw and read! All of us can pray for the nations and for persecuted Christians. Here’s a website that has a lot of resources to make it easy for anyone to pray for the nations —http://www.operationworld.org/join-prayer-movement 

All of us will be held accountable by God for what we do and leave undone —

Mat 25:31 But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory:
Mat 25:32 and before him shall be gathered all the nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats;
Mat 25:33 and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Mat 25:35 for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in;
Mat 25:36 naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Mat 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink?
Mat 25:38 And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Mat 25:39 And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.
Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels:
Mat 25:42 for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink;
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Mat 25:44 Then shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Mat 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me.
Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.

Selah.

Debra R. Stout © August 2015

 

 

THE WHITE HORSE DREAM

white horse w cresent moonUpon awakening this morning I recalled dreaming that I had seen a pure white horse in the night sky. It had no saddle, stirrups, or rider. It turned its head and torso one way then another, with mane flying, as it pranced across the sky. Some tree tops obscured my sight of the horse for a moment, but I saw it again in a clear area of sky once it passed them. It was the most splendid, magnificent horse I’d ever seen, having a noble, regal air about it. I was transfixed by it’s graceful, majestic movements which almost resembled a dance. It seemed like it was trying to get my attention with its grand display, or tell me something.

Then as suddenly as it appeared, it disappeared from my sight. I excitedly went to ask some people whom I seemed to know and were spiritual, if they had seen “the white horse” and if they had, would they raise their hands. I think some of them raised their hands. In the dream I recall debating whether I should ask them if they had seen “a” white horse, or “the” white horse, but I decided it was “the” white horse, not “a” white horse. The use of “the” instead of “a” seemed important, like it made a difference in the meaning. While I was dreaming I thought, “Then He (Jesus) must be returning soon!” I associated the vision of the all-white horse with Jesus and His coming to take His own out of this world, or His coming in the fullness of His Presence to His own (Rev. 19:11). There is also a white horse with a rider having a bow in his hand which represents the Antichrist, or spirit of Antichrist (Revelation 6:2). The advent of the last Antichrist, the “son of perdition,” is also a sign of the soon return of the true Christ (Mt 24:5,15, 24, 33; John 17:12, 6:70-71 & 13:18; 2 Thess 2:3 &8). However, I would find it hard to believe the white horse in my dream symbolized the false Christ because of its regal, noble character, and because of a dream I had about a week earlier….

One day last week as I awoke, I heard this Rhema (the Logos spoken from the mouth of God as a living Word in the present moment for a specific purpose, applicable to a specific situation), “I am coming SOON, Be sober, be vigilant, for the devil like a roaring lion, prowls about seeking who he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Symbology for a white horse is primarily positive, indicating a period of success, ease, comfort, overcoming obstacles, good relations, illumination, self-discovery and control over one’s powerful emotions and drives. Seeing a white horse in a dream may symbolize imminent death of the dreamer or someone else, according to some interpreters. People have reported seeing a vision of a white horse shortly before dying.

In the Bible riderless horses and chariots were used to transport people from Earth to Heaven (2 Kings 2:1, 11, 12, & 6:17; Ps 68:17; Zech 6:1-8).

Was the white horse vision a sign of Jesus’s soon return for His saints? You decide. Whatever it signified, it was the most ethereal, beautiful creature I had ever seen.

Heaven is full of beautiful creatures and things beyond the scope of our imagination, things we can see only with the aid of God’s spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10; Isa 64:4; Dan 7:9; Ezek 1:16-28; Rev 21:10-27).

Debra R. Stout © August 8, 2015
All Rights Reserved

TIME IN THE MILLENNIUM

Double Conjunction

There will be a counting of time in the Millennium period. Let’s take a look at the following passages (underlining is mine).

Zec 14:16 And it hath come to pass, Every one who hath been left of all the nations, Who are coming in against Jerusalem, They have also gone up from year to year, To bow themselves to the King, Jehovah of Hosts, And to celebrate the feast of the booths. (YLT)

Thus, there will be years in the Millennium. We know the feast of booths is also called the feast of tabernacles, or Sukkoth. This Zech passage most scholars say is referring to the “nations that are left” (out of those which were destroyed in the Gr Trib)….

In Rev 22:2 “in the midst of the street thereof. And on this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruits, yielding its fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” (ASV)

Thus, there will be “months” in the Millennium.

Thought: when Yeshua said that “not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law until all be fulfilled”, didn’t He mean all prophecies and all of His will? If yes, then the law cannot pass away until all prophecies are fulfilled, and all of His will is done on Earth. His will certainly isn’t fully done on Earth as it is in Heaven, and only some prophecies, not all, have been fulfilled. One among many which hasn’t, is the casting of the Devil Satan and the wicked into the Lake of Fire, which comes at the end of the Millennium. This means that the law and the prophets are valid, now and during the Millennium, until all has been fulfilled. Of course we must “use the law lawfully,” 1 Timothy 1:8-10.

Isa 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith Jehovah. (ASV)

And it shall be that from New Moon to New Moon, and from Shabbath to Shabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before Me, declares YHWH. (HS)

“new moon” – chodesh H2320; by implication a month: – month (-ly), new moon.

Here we have month again. We know that this verse pertains to the Millennium because the one right before it mentions the “new heavens and new earth”. Also in this verse is “Sabbath to Sabbath” which is a weekly observance. Well, it follows that if we have days, then there will be weeks, months, and years too.

Rev 14:11 and the smoke of their torment goeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, they that worship the beast and his image, and whoso receiveth the mark of his name. (ASV)

And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. And they have no rest day or night, those worshipping the beast….. (HS)

In the ‘new city’ (new Jerusalem)…..

Rev 21:23 And the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine upon it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb.

How then will there be months and feasts, if there’ll be no moon? This verse seems to suggest there won’t be a sun or a moon in the new city (Jerusalem), and yet in….

Rev 22:2 in the midst of the street thereof. And on this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruits, yielding its fruit every month:

….we can see there will be months.

Maybe there will be a moon and a sun, but just that they won’t be needed for light, because Yehoshua will be their light? Maybe Rev 21:23 is just making a comparison between the light of the sun and moon to the brighter glory of YHWH? This is my guess.

Isa 30:26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of the seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the bruise of His people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.

Q – Does this mean literally or figuratively?

If literally, the moon and sun would be way brighter than they are now. Maybe this is part of the renewal of the entire cosmos – the plants grow abundantly, the animals cease to eat one another for food, men live in peace with one another, and so forth; in the Millennium.

Isa 65:20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days; for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed.

“No more is an infant from there going to live but a few days, nor an old man who does not complete his days, for the youth dies one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be lightly esteemed.” (HS)

This passage suggests that all people living in the Millennium period, will live much longer than they do now. It’s saying that a person 100 years old there, will be considered to be but a youth, a youngster!

This means a full grown man could live to be a thousand years perhaps, like they did before the Flood? If so, the world’s population will increase vastly in a century. Think Yahweh planned it this way, so that the world can be repopulated after the Great Tribulation, when the world’s population is drastically reduced from war, famine, disasters, and pestilences.

So what does the bible really say about time during and after the Millennium? Does time ever completely cease to exist? What exactly is meant by the term ”eternal life”?

2Pe 3:8 But forget not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Psa 90:4 For a thousand years in thy sight Are but as yesterday when it is past, And as a watch in the night.

We can see then, that His experience of time is much different from ours.

Luk 12:38 And if he shall come in the second watch, and if in the third,……
Luk 12:40 Be ye also ready: for in an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh.

A ‘watch’ in biblical times occurred throughout the night. First watch was from six until nine in the evening. The second watch was anywhere from nine in the evening until twelve midnight. The third watch was from twelve midnight until three in the morning. And the fourth watch from three until six in the morning.

Q – Could a “watch” also refer to something else?

These “watches” were divided into three-hour periods; the number 3 has prophetic overtones. In the “third day” Yehoshua will raise us up – Hos 6:2 After two days will he revive us: on the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live before him. The third day begins after the second day ends. And since in YHWH’s estimation, one day is as a “thousand years” – could this prophetic third day begin when the two- thousand-year period ends? What correlates with that day, and what event started this prophetic three thousand year period? Where are we now?

Let us take a closer look at these ‘two days’ and particularly at the ‘third day’ that Hosea spoke of. The identification of these “two days” as two millennia is given further credence by Hosea’s reference to the “third day” when His people “live in His sight”. The phrase “we shall live in His sight” sounds distinctly millennial. 2,000 years ago Jesus ascended into heaven. He is now with the Father. He will return to this cosmos and this earth. Surely this “third day,” when “we shall live in His sight” speaks of the 1000 year Millennium of Messiah. http://endtimepilgrim.org/twodays.htm about half way down the page.

“And the THIRD DAY there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there” (John 2:1).

This is prophetic meaning of the marriage feast of the Lamb and His Bride. It will take place on earth on the “THIRD DAY,” which will begin when the “TWO DAYS” (2,000 YEARS) since His first Advent have ended.

I agree with the third day prophetic significance of the Lamb’s wedding with the marriage in Cana in Jn 2:1. However, even if our Gregorian calendars are a few years off, shouldn’t the 3rd day or Millennium have begun already, since we’re now in the year 2015, two-thousand and fifteen years since Yehoshua’s birth? Could our calendars be as much as fifteen or more years ahead of YHWH’s calendar? Are we really in the 2015th, or 1999th or 2000th year after Yehoshua’s birth? If this is actually the year 1999 or 2000, then Yehoshua’s return could easily be this year or next!

The encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan woman is described in the fourth chapter of John. After spending “TWO DAYS” with the Samaritans, Jesus returned to the Jews and raised the nobleman’s son from the point of death. This is prophetic of the “TWO DAYS” or 2,000 yrs. between the first and second Advents of our Lord Jesus Christ to Israel. The Bible says: “So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there “TWO DAYS” (John 4:40).

“Now after “TWO DAYS” he departed thence, and went into Galilee” (John 4:43).

After “TWO DAYS” Christ Jesus will again return to the Jews and raise them up from their spiritual death as typified by the nobleman’s son and they will live in His sight on earth in the “THIRD DAY.”

We now know that our Gregorian calendar used in the U.S. and the West is not exactly in sync with the birth of Christ. Our Gregorian timepiece is a few years fast. However, it is close because in the 20th century since Christ’s birth, Israel became a political state again in the Promised Land on May 14, 1948. This was very necessary in order for Israel to make “a covenant with many.” Also, the old city of Jerusalem was recaptured from Jordan in 1967. Control of old Jerusalem is necessary for Israel to rebuild the tribulation-temple there. Indeed, God has been setting the stage as the end of “TWO DAYS” or 2,000 yrs. is very nigh at hand!!

Debra R. Stout © 2015

The Different Kinds of Time & False Doctrine Based upon Faulty Understanding of Them

time-travel-headerDebra Stout, July 13, 2013

In the Greek language, there are several words denoting different kinds of ‘time’ —

‘kairos’ G2540; Of uncertain affinity; an occasion, that is, set or proper time: – X always, opportunity, (convenient, due) season, (due, short, while) time, a while. Compare G5550.
‘chronos’ G5550; Of uncertain derivation; a space of time (in genitive case, and thus properly distinguished from G2540, which designates a fixed or special occasion; and from G165, which denotes a particular period) or interval; by extension an individual opportunity; by implication delay: – + years old, season, space, (X often-) time (-s), (a) while.
‘aionios’ G166; From G165; perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well): – eternal, for ever, everlasting, world (began).

There’s a doctrine that has roots in ancient Universalism, which in short states that all people, regardless of their state at death, will eventually be ‘saved.’ Some believe this includes even Satan and the fallen angels. The doctrine teaches that everlasting and eternal don’t mean life without end, thus those in Christ will live long but not forever. This is based upon the meaning of the word ‘aionios’ which is claimed means ‘of limited duration’ but there’s nothing in it’s definitions to suggest this. However, it’s root ‘aion’ can mean a time of limited duration, but not always, and only where the CONTEXT of the passage supports it. From the same as G104; properly an age; by extension perpetuity (also past); by implication the world; specifically (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future): – age, course, eternal, (for) ever (-more), [n-]ever, (beginning of the, while the) world (began, without end). As you can see, only the first definition, ‘an age’ may suggest a time of limited duration. The others; ‘perpetuity’ ‘eternal’ ‘forever’ and ‘world without end’ suggest the opposite. Let’s look at one other word ‘aei’ from which ‘aion’ is derived – ‘aei’ (G104) From an obsolete primary noun (apparently meaning continued duration); “ever”; by qualification regularly; by implication earnestly: – always, ever. Thus ‘aei’, the root of ‘aion’ which is the root of ‘aionios, doesn’t have even a hint of temporary or limited, in it’s definition. The claim that ALL men, whether they repent or not, will eventually be “reconciled” back to God is based upon a handful of Scriptures, in particular Col 1:20 – “And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

If ‘all things’ means unrepentant sinners, Satan, and devils, then how do you explain the following?

Heb 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
Heb 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
Heb 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

If those who “fall away” (apostacize) from the Faith CANNOT be restored, then how can the Devil, Satan, and the fallen angels, and unrepentant sinners be ‘reconciled’ back to God? Scripture is clear that Satan, the False Prophet, and the Beast, along with all the unrepentant who worshiped them, will be “cast into the Lake of Fire” which Scripture calls the “second death.” The first death is dying physically – “It is appointed unto man to die once, and then the JUDGMENT.” (Heb 9:27) Note that the word “judgment” (Gk ‘krisis’ from which the word ‘crisis’ came) means ‘separating, sundering, selection, decision, accusation, condemnation, damnation, and punishment.’ I would indeed call damnation a crisis! Notice that the “lake of fire” is not hell or hades, the place where souls go to wait for the Judgment. Hell or Hades, is not a place of punishment and torment. However, the “lake of fire” IS, and is the place where all those not found written in the BOOK OF LIFE will go. We know this because Rev 20:15, says so. (See Rev. 19:20, 20:10, 20:14 & 15) 

Rev 20:10 states that they will be “tormented” there, “day and night, for ever and ever.”
“forever and ever” G165 “aion-aion”
Thayer Definition:
1) for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity
2) the worlds, universe
3) period of time, age

Perpetuity, unbroken age, eternity – all mean basically the same thing; time without end. How clever Satan is, to try and wipe out the clear message of Scripture by causing confusion about the meaning of ‘aion’ and ‘aionios’ thereby reducing the PROMISE of life unending for believers, and of unending PUNISHMENT for the Wicked. The Devil and fallen angels would like for us to believe that they aren’t so bad after all, and that Satan was really a VICTIM of injustice on God’s part, so God MUST pardon him and all the wicked, or else He’s UNJUST right? Sounds like a “doctrine of devils” as they continually accuse God of injustice, unfairness, cruelty, etc. Satan and his angels know very well that their DAMNATION is coming and that it is JUST. They beheld God in Heaven with their own eyes – what excuse have they for ‘falling away?’

Here’s something else to think about. How does believing that God will reconcile the wicked back to Him in the end, give sinners incentive to turn to Christ and live in self-denial, when they can “live it up” now and still get saved later? Is it fair to those who love and serve God with all their hearts, purifying themselves, and denying themselves if those who live careless, selfish, and sinful lives, end up in God’s Kingdom just the same? And what of witnessing to the LOST if they’re not really lost after all? If all get saved in the end, why witness at all? Jesus said that He came to “seek and to save the lost.” If the LOST aren’t really lost, then why did Jesus have to seek for and save them? Save them from what?

Who will be ‘saved’ or reconciled back to God, and be allowed to enter into His Kingdom?

Mat 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Is Satan doing the will of the Father? Are sinners?

Mat 10:32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,
Mat 10:33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Do wicked sinners acknowledge God? Hardly. At best, they rarely give Him a thought, and most oppose Him at every opportunity.

Mat 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
Mat 25:32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
Mat 25:33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Mat 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
Mat 25:36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Mat 25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
Mat 25:38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
Mat 25:39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
Mat 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Mat 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed (G2675 ‘doomed’), into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Mat 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
Mat 25:44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’
Mat 25:45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’
Mat 25:46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

A Concise Look at the Nature and Duration of Hell
Many Christians and non-Christians alike downplay the biblical presentation of God’s wrath for the unregenerate and their final abode in hell—namely, “everlasting punishment.” The Universalists or Inclusivists, and groups like the Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses boldly reject the “biblical doctrine” of hell. While this doctrine can be quite difficult to comprehend and thus, accept, biblical doctrine is not determined by emotion or philosophy, but rather by the exegesis of the text. God’s Word is true regardless whether one accepts or rejects it (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16).

The Nature of Hell
The biblical authors used many terms to describe the final abode of unregenerate, e.g., “hell,” “Hades,” “the lake of fire,” “black darkness,” “eternal punishment,” “eternal flame/fire,” “eternal destruction” (cf. Matt. 18:8; 25:46; 2 Thess. 1:9; Jude 7, 13; etc.). Mt 25:46 reads, “And these will go away into eternal [aio-nion] punishment, but the righteous into eternal [aio-nion] life.” The term “punishment” is from the Greek word, kolasin, which *recognized* lexicographers define (in first cent. Koine-Greek) as “punishment” /”chastisement” (e.g., Thayer, BDAG, et al).  Revelation 20:10 reads, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” The word “tormented” is from the Greek word basanizo, which is defined by Thayer as “being vexed with grievous pains.” Basanizo is also used in Luke 16:23 and, as discussed below, Revelation 14:11 and 20:10. In contrast to the doctrine of Annihilationism, logically one must be awake or conscious to actually experience or (as these texts above plainly indicate) receive “punishment” and “torment” (i.e., being “vexed with grievous pains”). Annihilationism teaches that when the wicked die they are totally destroyed ceasing to exist—however, a person that does not exist cannot be punished or feel anything such as torment.

The Duration of Hell: Aio-n, Aio-nios
Eternal fire for the unregenerate is a biblical reality. Jesus said it was. It was for this reason that Jesus died (cf. Rom. 5:8-10). Those who are not imputed with the righteousness of Christ through faith in Him, will be cast out into hell where they will endure eternal punishment: “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:46). Here the word “eternal” (aio-nion) is used BOTH to describe the DURATION of life that believers will have and the “punishment” (kolasin) that the unregenerate will undergo—thus, the punishment is endless just as the “eternal life” is endless for believers. Commenting on this passage (viz. on the phrase, kolasin aio-nion, “eternal punishment”), renowned Greek scholar A. T. Robertson states: “[aionios] comes as near to the idea of eternal as the Greek can put it in one word.”[1]

Those that deny the never-ending duration of God’s wrath (hell) do so primarily on emotional grounds (e.g., distorting the love of God) and a faulty understanding of the Greek terms aio-n (“age”) and aio-nios [2] (“eternal”/“everlasting”). The Greek word aio-nios is from the root word aio-n meaning “age.” The Universalists and others who deny the never-ending duration of hell point out that the term aio-nios does not always mean “eternal,” but can refer to a temporary or finite period of time. However, note the following details –

CONTEXT determines meaning. Words are defined by their context. It is a great error in hermeneutics to limit words to one meaning when they may have multiple meanings as with the majority of Greeks words—it always depends on the context. It is true that the term aio-nios can be used to indicate a temporary non-eternal state (as in Rom. 16:25). However, just because the root (aio-n) of the term aio-nios means “age” it does not mean that every time the term is used it indicates temporality. For example, Paul uses aio-nios to describe God’s eternal nature: “who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal [aio-nion] dominion! Amen” (1 Tim. 6:16). It would be heresy to translate aio-nion here in a temporal sense making God’s dominion temporary—for His sovereignty is everlasting.

Lexical Support. The lexical support for aio-nios as denoting the concept of eternal/everlasting life for the believer in passages such as John 3:16; 6:47; 10:28; etc. is unquestionable. Equally, the lexical support for aio-nios as denoting the concept of eternal/ everlasting damnation in passages such as Matthew 25:41, 46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 14:11; 21:10; etc. is indisputable. Aside from passages where aio-nios means “eternal” life (as seen above) and denoting God’s eternal nature (e.g., Rom. 16:26), Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words (1985) states: “Aio-nios is also used . . . of the judgment of God, from which there is no appeal, Heb. 6:2, and of the fire, which is one of its instruments, Matt. 18:8; 25:41; Jude 7, and which is elsewhere said to be ‘unquenchable,’ Mark 9:43. The use of aio-nios here shows that the punishment referred to in 2 Thes. 1:9, is not temporary, but final. . . .”

Below are brief excerpts taken from one of the most utilized and scholarly lexicons, Walter Bauer’s, A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament (BDAG), which provides a most comprehensive analysis of aio-nios regarding the “everlasting” duration of both life and damnation (hell): “aio-n formulaically= eternal [Rev.] 14:11; 19:3; 20:10; 22:5. . . . aio-nios “without beginning or end; of God (Gen 21:33; Is 26:4). . . . Very often of God’s judgment [Jer 23:40; Da 12:2; Ps 76:6; Mt 18:8; 25:46; Mk 3:29; 2 Co 6:7; 2 Th 1:9; Jd 7]. . . . pert. to a period of unending duration, without end. . . .” (32-33). Therefore, besides the passages that clearly (from the context) denote a temporary significance (e.g., Rom. 16:25), the lexical support (e.g., Thayer; Louw and Nida; Liddell and Scott; BDAG, et al) for aio-nios as denoting eternal, endless duration is conclusive.

The New Testament Usage of the Aio-nion
Note the following examples of where aio-nios is used to denote the everlasting duration of life with the Lord for the believer –

John 6:47 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal [aio-nion] life”; 10:28: “and I give eternal [aio-nion] life to them, and they shall never perish. . . .” (see also Acts 13:48; Rom. 2:7; 5:21; 16:26; Gal. 6:8; 1 Tim. 6:16; etc.). Now observe the following examples of where aio-nions is used to denote the everlasting punishment for the unregenerate – Matthew 18:8 “And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal [aio-nion] fire”; 25:46: “And these will go away into eternal [aio-nion] punishment, but the righteous into eternal [aio-nion] life”; 2 Thessalonians 1:9: “And these will pay the penalty of eternal [aio-nion] destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (see also Matt. 25:41; Mark 3:29; Luke 18:30; Jude 7; Rev. 14:11; 20:10 [as discussed below] where aio-nios represents eternal damnation).

Does the phrase “forever and ever” mean endless?
The phrase “forever and ever” (aio-nas to-n aio-no-n, lit., “ages of the ages”) is used to express God’s eternal significance and the everlasting “torment” for the unregenerate.

   1 Timothy 1:17: “Now to the King eternal [aio-no-n], immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever [aio-nas to-n aio-no-n]. Amen.”
   Revelation 5:13: “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever [aio-nas to-n aio-no-n].”
   Revelation 14:11 “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever [aio-nas to-n aio-no-n, lit., “ages of the ages”]; and they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” The double usage of the pluralized aio-nios (“ages”) is used by the author to accentuate the never-ending torment.
   Revelation 20:10: “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever [eis tous aio-nas to-n aio-no-n].”The Greek phrase eis tous aio-nas to-n aio-no-n (lit., “unto the ages of the ages”) is the strongest way to express unending duration. The fact that the words are plural in number (as with 14:11) and the double use of the article (“the”) further emphasizes the concept of never-ending duration: The Greek takes its greatest term for time, the eon, pluralizes this, and then multiplies it by its own plural, even using articles [“the”] which make these eons the definite ones.”[3] Also, as with 14:11, the phrase “day and night” is juxtaposed with “forever and ever” stressing the fact that the “torment” is perpetual, never-ending for the objects of God wrath.

“Unquenchable Fire”
  To distinctly express the everlasting suffering for the unregenerate, the biblical authors used the phrase “unquenchable fire” (Matt. 3:12; Luke 3:17; and Mark 9:43). The word translated “unquenchable” is from the Greek word asbestos. According to recognized lexicons, the term carries the meaning of “unquenchable, the eternal hell fire to punish the damned” (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon); “inextinguishable” (BDAG); “pertaining to a fire that cannot be put out” (Louw and Nida); “unquenchable, inextinguishable” (Liddell and Scott)
   The evidence for the never-ending nature of hell is undeniable. Admittedly, this doctrine is difficult to discuss. However, the totality (all parts) of biblical truth must be preached. The Gospel[4] is the proclamation of the Son’s cross-work—the very basis of our justification. The Gospel is, indeed, good news, but only because of the bad news: God’s wrath continues to remain[5] on him who denies the Son. Hence, the Son was sent was to save His people from God’s wrath: “having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath of God through Him” (Rom. 5:9; cf. 1 John 2:2).
   God being perfect and holy does not merely wink at open defiance against His infinite majesty and holiness. It was the cross-work of the Son that provided sinners a way of escape from the divine wrath due for sin. [http://www.christiandefense.org/Articles.For.htm]

NOTES
[1] Robertson, Word Pictures, vol. 1.
[2] Aio-nion is the direct object (accusative case) of the adjective aio-nios (although, there is no difference in meaning).
[3] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Revelation, 438. Also note, the same “emphatic construction” is found in Revelation 1:6; 4:9; and 5:3, where it refers to the everlasting worship of God.
[4] The “Gospel” is from the Greek term euaggelion (eu = “good” and angelion = “announcement”) from which we get our word evangelist/evangelism. Thus, an “evangelist” is one who proclaims the good news.
[5] In John 3:36, the term “abides” (NASB) is from the Greek word menei. The verb is active and in the present tense indicating that the wrath of God is a continuous reality for those who deny the Son (cf. 1 John 5:12).