False Doctrines & Religions

Content will be on false doctrines in the church, and false religions.

Sons of God vs. Sons of Satan

1Jn 3:8  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 might destroy the works of the devil. 

1Jn 3:10  In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. 
1Jn 3:12  Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 

Mat 13:38  The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one
Mat 13:39  The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 

Joh 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 

Jesus was speaking here to Jewish scribes and the sect of the Pharisees who were questioning Him about His teachings and claims of divinity. Some of those Jews believed on Jesus after hearing Him speak that day. Read John 8:1-30.

There’s a teaching that the “seed” spoken of in Genesis and elsewhere, is the physical offspring from sexual union between Eve and the Serpent in the Garden of Eden when he seduced her to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. [1] This teaching claims that Cain and his posterity were the physical offspring of Satan. This “serpent seed” doctrine also claims that the descendants of Cain are the Jews. Others who’ve studied this topic have arrived at different conclusions. Cain and his descendants may have been wiped out by the great Flood, pestilence, disease, beasts, famine, or war. Maybe Yahweh didn’t think Cain’s line worth mentioning after Cain became the first murderer? Maybe God didn’t mention him or his descendants because He had chosen a DIFFERENT bloodline to be the one through which Yeshua would be born into the world. Makes sense to me that Yahweh wouldn’t want the bloodline of a murderer to birth Yeshua (Jesus) Ha Mashiach (the Messiah).

Perhaps you did not notice that, besides Cain and Abel (who was murdered), Adam and Eve then had another son called Seth, and Noah’s line of descent came through Seth, not Cain. 1 Chronicles 1:1 states, “The descendants of Adam were Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah.” 

Have a read of Genesis 5:3-32. 

Cain’s descendants are mentioned in Genesis 4:17-26 and also that Seth was born later to Adam and Eve, who fathered Enosh and all the way down to Noah. Perhaps confusion comes with thinking the Lamech mentioned in chapter 4, having Cain as his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather.. is the same Lamech mentioned in chapter 5. However, THAT Lamech had Methusela as his father, whereas the Lamech of chapter 4 had Methushael as his father. 

I think that clears the misunderstanding up. There is no list of descendants from Cain after the flood. [2]

You can find the Serpent Seedline doctrine on the net, but always do your own investigation; search the Scriptures, comparing scripture with scripture. Pray and ask Yahweh to reveal the truth to you about everything.

The “children of the Devil” —

1) they commit sin; their works are evil

2) they’re liars who don’t abide in the truth; there’s no righteousness or light in them

3) they murder the righteous

The Sons of God —

1Jn 3:1  Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 
1Jn 3:2  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. 

1Jn 5:1  Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God:

Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name
Joh 1:13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 

Rom 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 

Gal 3:26  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 

Dear reader, are you seeing a pattern throughout these verses that the “sons of God” are those who have “received Christ as their Lord and Savior,” who “believe on His name,” “who believe that Jesus is the Christ,” and are “led by the Spirit?” Here are some marks of the sons of God —

1) they believe that Jesus is the Son of God, Savior of mankind

2) they receive Him as Lord and savior and are instantly “born of God” or “born from above”

3) they’re led by the Spirit of God

4) they “overcome” the world, the flesh, and the devil

Rev 21:7  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 

Rev 2:11  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. 

1Jn 5:4  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 
1Jn 5:5  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 

Speaking of the New Jerusalem —

Rev 21:27  And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. 
Rev 21:8  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: which is the second death. 

Conclusion —

It would appear that the Serpent Seedline teaching that Cain was the physical seed of Satan and Eve (Adam’s wife) is speculative or inconclusive if going by the books of the Bible that were accepted as inspired. The books not accepted as inspired, referred to as extra-biblical, contain some details on these topics not included in most of our bibles today, such as the Gospel of Phillip and the Zohar (the main source for the teachings of the Kabbalah) [1] which are Gnostic works not accepted by most Christians. 

At any rate, Nephilim (giants) are definitely mentioned in numerous scriptures as being the offspring of human females and fallen angels (often referred to as hybrids) although many refute it claiming that scripture was referring to the sons of Seth marrying daughters of the Canaanites, a teaching that doesn’t appear to be supported by scripture. It’s easier to concoct an explanation no matter how flimsy in order to avoid admission of the plain yet awful truth in some cases. Yes, it’s awful that fallen angels left their “first estate” (in heaven) relinquishing their immortality to mate with human females – but it’s in the Scriptures [Gen 6:2&4; Jude 1:6]. Movies have been made about angels who lost their powers to mate with some woman they found irresistible as in the Michael movie; what are they trying to get us to believe, and why? Maybe it has something to do with a plot to convince humans that if they mix their DNA with nonhuman DNA, like that of angels for example, they’ll be better, stronger, more intelligent – “enhanced” like they were in the days of Noah when hybrid human-angelic flesh roamed the earth, called Nephillim. [3 & 4]

A word of WARNING to those who think it’s cool to flirt with the idea of having sex with angels and demons, or to actually engage in sexual intercourse with them — you’re in extreme DANGER of loosing your souls for all eternity!!! DON’T DO IT!!! (Movies like “Michael” promote this nonsense).

If you happen to be one, stop and think of what you’re doing, seek help immediately, write to me, I’ll pray for and with you. You’ll need deliverance if you’ve already engaged in such activity. Please take this seriously for your soul is very precious to Almighty God, Yahweh, who strongly desires that you turn away from all such wickedness and run to Him who has the power to not only forgive you, but cleanse you of all unrighteousness so that you can live with Him forever, free from demonic bondage. If you don’t know already, the Devil is a cruel taskmaster, he’ll grind you into powder after he’s used you for his own pleasure. Serve Christ who’ll reward you with eternal life and a seat on His throne. Your only inheritance from the Devil will be pain, sickness, strife, loss, and destruction in the Lake of Fire – an eternal miserable fate from which there is NO escape!! Don’t believe the false ministers who say that you can continue in sin without consequence because Jesus paid your sin debt washing your sins away with His Blood. That’s only a half truth. Yes, Jesus paid our sin debt, BUT that does not mean that we can now sin it up. Such teaching is refuted by scripture and is of the Devil himself. Heb 10:26  For if we keep on sinning willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but only a terrifying expectation of judgment and a fury of fire about to devour the enemies of God. [TLV] There are MANY false teachers and ministers of the Gospel in the world who are deceived themselves or knowingly serve Satan. You’re shocked? Ever since the Church was born, Satan has infiltrated it with his antichrists disguised as ministers of the Gospel. Apostle Paul called them “wolves” Act 20:29  I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Even from among yourselves will arise men speaking perversions, to draw the disciples away after themselves. Jesus too in Mat 7:15  “Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves

The Devil loves to beguile (deceive) the unwary into his black web of LIES. Sure, he can help you gain riches and fame in this world, but this world will be dissolved, burned up with “fervent heat” as will the elements, so why put your hope in a world that’s falling to pieces and will soon pass away? 2Pe 3:10  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up

Dear reader, are you sure you’re ready for the end of days? This is no fantasy like the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “End of Days,” this is REALITY. Everyone will one day stand before the Son of God, Yeshua and give an answer for their every thought, word, and deed. Right now is the time in which you have an opportunity to choose between life and death – an eternity in Heaven with Yeshua or in Hell with Lucifer the Devil. Choose wisely, choose Life by asking Yeshua (Jesus) into your heart and serve only Him. Listen, soon I believe the door to Salvation will be SHUT and there’ll be no more time left to choose. Please don’t put this decision off, time is running out.

Debra R. Stout © October 7, 2017

FOOTNOTES:

[1] http://parablesblog.blogspot.com/2014/03/foundations-serpent-seed-doctrine.html
[2] https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AwrBT7R9VdlZ.VoAaW5XNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyOTAxbDliBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwM4BHZ0aWQDQjQ3MDdfMQRzZWMDc3I-?qid=20160120025000AAjnzLb&p=were%20the%20descendants%20of%20Cain%20wiped%20out%20in%20the%20great%20flood%3F
[3] http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/details-about-the-angelic-human-dna-template-dna-activation-and-ascension
[4] http://www.defendproclaimthefaith.org/DaysNoah.htm

ARE YOU SURE YOU’RE SAVED?

Image result for pictures of a sick seagullOn this bright but breezy Sunday afternoon I was out walking when I saw a woman sitting on a granite block (of which there are many in New England) beneath some trees in a park. At first I walked on by but then I heard a ‘still small voice’ tell me to go back and hand her a tract. So I went back to where she sat and asked if I could give her something as I reached out to hand her a tract. She thanked me and asked if I was Born Again, to which I answered “Yes.” Are you? I asked. She answered in the affirmative adding that she was kind of in a bad place right now and didn’t like getting close to people. I didn’t ask why, maybe because I was in high spirits and didn’t care to hear anything negative. For some reason however, I listened to her pour out her story for the next forty minutes or so. She began by telling that she didn’t attend church anymore, and had a strict religious upbringing by an abusive father whom she more or less, despised. She further expressed she was tired of Christians who say that God ‘allows’ suffering and we just have to accept it without questioning. Then she said she had given up questioning God about things as she felt she hadn’t gotten any answers.

After dropping those bombshells on me, she asserted that we couldn’t really know or understand God, or make any sense out of our experiences, so it was useless to try. I’m pretty sure that line of reasoning didn’t originate with her but came from someplace else, perhaps from an ancient belief system called Deism. [1] Deism is the belief that God is distant, unknowable, and impersonal; a god who doesn’t get involved in or intervene in human affairs. It means we’re basically on our own, left to fend for, and figure things out for ourselves. Could one call it Abandonment Theology? Another belief system that’s been around awhile is Existentialism, which basically asserts that man exists for his own sake, unencumbered by the restraints of religious dogma and demands of a righteous God because there is NO God. [2] In other words, ‘do- your- own- thing’ because there’s no purpose to life outside of pleasing yourself and fulfilling your desires. 

Make no mistake about it, these belief systems were inspired by ancient demonic SPIRITS who still roam the earth, seeking whom they may devour! [1 Pet 5:8] They’ll devour the lukewarm, the misinformed, the deceived, and those who love their lives in this world more than they love God. [Jn 12:25] They might be influencing your thoughts even though you don’t realize it. 

Further into our conversation the woman said that although she was ‘open to God,’ she wasn’t convinced that the New Testament scriptures were inspired of God since men wrote them fifty years after Christ’s death and resurrection. She reasoned that since she can’t remember what she said only yesterday, how could the disciples recall with any accuracy, what they’d heard and seen fifty, a hundred, or two-hundred years after the resurrection of Christ? This is a perfect example of how human intellect can get in the way of knowing God. So I asked her, “What would convince you that they’re inspired?” She replied, “Nothing on this earth!” Have to admit, I stood there in stunned disbelief at this supposed believer’s unbelief. There’s nothing quite as disturbing as a believer’s unbelief. Near the end of our brief encounter, I felt there wasn’t much more I could say to her because she really was not open to the Truth. Her final remark to me was, “You’re entitled to your opinion.” Wow that felt like an insult, since I had spent a good chunk of time listening to her and speaking God’s truth to her. I didn’t take offense realizing that she was just trying to defend her unbelief by labeling God’s Word as merely men’s opinions! To reinforce her stance, she added that everything we hear from anyone is just their opinion which you either believe or you don’t. She was wrong as the Holy Spirit still speaks through God’s servants [3]. People having her mindset can’t truly believe in ANYTHING, as it leaves them with NOTHING but a joyless, meaningless existence. How can one have joy who believes that life has no meaning and God is strict, distant, and uncaring, which she alluded to by saying how God allows suffering but does nothing about it. Truth is, God HAS done something about it. He sent His only begotten Son to die for men’s sins, bearing their griefs and sorrows [Isaiah 53]. But the truth can’t set you free if you don’t believe it.

Despite claims of being ‘open to God,’ her doubts about the reliability of His Word told a different story. It’s questionable how one so FULL OF DOUBT could be Born Again, but if true, she was definitely having difficulty in her relationship with the Lord. Believers have dry periods where they find it hard to sense God’s presence, pray, and worship. There are also times when doubts assail them but those moments should be short-lived. Persistent doubt and unbelief can lead to spiritual barrenness, drought, and spiritual death. When you have a vital personal relationship with God, you’re FULL OF THE JOY OF THE LORD. This woman had NO joy; her face was sullen and her eyes were dull. Believer’s faces SHINE from reflecting God’s glory [Exo 34:29]. The more I thought about these things, I began wondering if she had just pretended to be a believer in order to engage me in a debate. One tactic of the devil is to place people in your path who’ll speak disparaging words to try to discourage you in your faith, and or, plant doubts in your heart about God’s goodness. Isn’t that how the Devil tricked Eve into eating the Forbidden fruit?

The woman I met in the park certainly sounded more like a spokesman for the devil than for the Lord. The truth about God is that he’s NOT distant or uncaring. The fact is Jesus Christ HAS done something about all the evil and suffering in the world. He died for sinners so that “whosoever will” may come to Him in faith, and have eternal life [Jn 3:16]. The key is to be willing; God isn’t going to force or make anyone come to Him. We’re each given a choice as to whom we will serve, “Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, But you’re gonna have to serve somebody…” [Bob Dylan lyrics to song, “Gotta Serve Somebody” 1979] Funny, I should think of Bob Dylan, who at the time he wrote that song, claimed to be a Born Again Christian, but later on defected from the faith! [4]

This encounter reminded me that not all who say they’re Born Again really are. Many sincerely think they are, but their words and actions don’t line up with the Truth. The proof is in the fruit, and we’re told to “try the spirits” as well [1 Jn 4:1]. A truly Born Again (born from above by the Spirit of God) person will bear the “fruit of the Spirit” in their lives which is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Meekness (humility) and Self-Control [Gals 5:22-23]. The woman I met in the park, displayed a good deal of intellectual pride (instead of trust), and stubborn resistance to all my efforts to share biblical truth with her. It’s also possible for one who has been Born Again, to FALL AWAY. This is where the woman could be headed in my estimation. “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, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance…” [Heb 6:4-6] In the end of days the Bible prophesies there will be a “great falling away” [2 Thes 2:3]. Doubting God’s Word and His goodness, is a treacherous, slippery slope that can lead you into Apostasy and spiritual death. As the woman and I walked out of the park together, she stopped to look at the river and spotted a seagull laying motionless in the mud at the river’s edge about twenty feet from us. Its wings were only half open, and it moved just its head. The woman commented that the gull was “dying.” She also pointed out some little fish that were swimming around in the water, but I saw none. At the moment I didn’t think much about it, but later the thought occurred to me that maybe the gull and absence of wildlife around it, could be prophetic signs of the woman’s spiritual condition. I had sensed a substantial amount of heaviness and gloominess about her which could be a sign of spiritual oppression. What’s certain is that her mixing of philosophy with Christian faith, and her over-intellectualizing is dangerous to the health of her faith and soul. Dear reader, WATCH your words and thoughts to be sure you’re not mixing your faith with the vain philosophies of men which can DESTROY your faith in God and the Bible! Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 

When you’re born anew you begin a new life that’s joined to the spirit of God who’ll never leave you, and will guide you constantly if you let him. So, who’s it going to be? Who are you going to serve; yourself, the Devil, or God? It’s the most important decision you’ll ever make in your life so give it lots of thought, counting the cost. Yes, there IS a cost to being one of Christ’s disciples, so make no frivolous or shallow commitment to Him for He hates ‘lukewarmness.’ [Rev 3:16] He wants fully surrendered, zealous believers who’ll lavish their love and worship on Him, and are willing to lose their lives for His sake. [Mk 8:35] Despite the costs of following Jesus, the benefits FAR outweigh them! In the Bible are thousands of wonderful promises for those who faithfully love and serve Him. How do I know that God cares about human suffering? I know because I’ve spent lots of time getting to know Him through studying His Word and by praying and listening to Him. How do I know that His Word is trustworthy and reliable? I know because I have TESTED it. I have STOOD on God’s Word many times when I was all alone raising a severely disabled child, and it was ALL I HAD to get me through long, anxious nights. Plus, it is written, 2Ti 3:16 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, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 

I’ve PROVEN God’s Word true by applying it over and over in various circumstances, and found it to be as SOLID as granite! Looking back, I can see how not always having human help available CAUSED me to lean hard on God and His Word, which made my faith STRONG. It wasn’t easy, but learning to trust His Word paid huge dividends for me in the short, and long run. Not that I never make mistakes, but they’re way less often and not catastrophic ones like they once were, due to having stored up so much of His Word in my heart. [Ps 119:11] You can do likewise and get the same good results, if you’re willing to trust and not give in to fear and doubt.

Just remember, not deciding to serve Jesus Christ IS a decision to serve yourself and the Devil. At the moment of physical death your eternal future is sealed, there’ll be no second chances. If you choose to serve Satan, you’ll eat the bitter fruit of death in hell with him and other unrepentant sinners. Why not serve Christ, while you still can, and live with Him forever?

Debra Stout © August 27, 2017

Footnotes:

[1] https://www.gotquestions.org/deism.html Deists deny the Trinity, the inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Christ, miracles, and any supernatural act of redemption or salvation. Deism pictures God as uncaring and uninvolved. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism  Deism (/ˈdiː.ɪzəm/ DEE-iz-əm  or /ˈdeɪ.ɪzəm/DAY-iz-əm; derived from Latin “deus” meaning “god“) is a philosophical position which posits that a god does not interfere directly with the world. It also rejects revelation as a source of religious knowledge and asserts that reasonand observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a single creator of the universe.

[2] www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=existentialism  Existentialism in its purest form is any philosophy which states that existence precedes essence; that is to say, that there is no inherent purpose in life (though … http://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_existentialism.html Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice. It is the view that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe. It focuses on the question of human existence, and the feeling that there is no purpose or explanation at the core of existence. It holds that, as there is no God or any other transcendent force, the only way to counter this nothingness (and hence to find meaning in life) is by embracing existence.

[3] It’s disheartening so many believers are misinformed about the gifts of the Spirit which are just as valid and available to believers today as they were in the early Church period. The super-natural gifts given at Pentecost have NOT ceased, Cessationism is a lie, and a doctrine of Demons.

[4] http://www.openculture.com/2014/08/the-religions-of-bob-dylan.html

Any questions re this or any other post, you can email at the address provided under “Contact Me” on my Home Page. Also, if you’re sure you’ve been Born Again yet you really struggle with feeling God’s presence, can’t worship or pray, and have little or no joy or peace in your heart, maybe it’s time to seek counsel. I have no counseling degree, but I have the Holy Spirit. So if you want to contact me via email, I’ll consult with you to see if there’s something I can do to help you. I’ll make myself available to the extent that I can, short-term. May Yahweh bless you.

Zombie or Dragon Slayer

Related imageWhich one are you; a zombie or a dragon slayer? Right now you’re probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about. I’m using this rather stark contrast to illustrate the difference between what the average Christian’s reality is, to what it could be. From what I’ve seen, many church goers look a little bit like ‘zombies’ as they sit motionless, blankly staring at the minister as he preaches, never uttering a peep except for an occasional ‘Amen’ when prompted.

Not all churches are so restrained but many are, for reasons which may be similar to those which caused the Jewish high priests in Jesus’s day to do all they could to stop the message of the Cross from being preached, the dead from being raised, the sick from being healed and delivered of demons. Why weren’t they glad to see men set free from Satan’s dark domain, instead of opposing those good works? What motivated them to do so; was it envy, something else? For starters, they wanted to be the ones who people looked to for spiritual guidance, not some itinerant minister who just appeared on the scene one day – enter Jesus of Nazareth.

Mat 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

Mat 26:3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,

Mat 26:59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;

Mat 27:1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:

Mat 27:20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

Mar 11:18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. *In other words, they feared losing their influence over the people by whose tithes and offerings they lived. They felt Jesus was usurping their authority which they felt rightly belonged to them, their being ‘children of Abraham,’ which they weren’t! [John 8:39-44]

Luk 19:39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.

Luk 19:40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Luk 20:1 And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders,

Luk 22:2 And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. *Perhaps they feared mob violence, or at least a loss of esteem in the people’s eyes if they didn’t find a good excuse for killing Him, as the people believed Jesus to be a prophet sent from God [Matthew 21:46].

Luk 22:66 And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying,

Jhn 11:47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.

Jhn 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place (power and position) and nation.

This last verse is very telling. The Roman authorities were comfortable allowing the Jews to have their RELIGION, so long as they bowed to the will of the ROMAN EMPEROR AND HIS LAWS! To the Romans, there was but one god, and that was the Emperor. State powers are no different today from those in the past; they still demand obeisance from their subjects! They believe that we exist to serve them, not they us. Corruption of power has infected every governing body since Babylon arose as the very first empire on earth.

How does this apply to the Church today? Whenever a Pastor ‘fears’ the authorities of the state more than God, he’ll do the State’s bidding, not God’s. In such a case, the pastor will severely limit what can take place in his church. He’ll restrain the Holy Spirit and forbid miracles, healing, and especially deliverance from demons. He’ll suppress God’s authority causing men to come under the State’s authority instead of God’s. You ask, “How could that happen?” It can happen when a church becomes 501c3 status —-

When a church accepts the 501c3 status, that church:

  • Waives its freedom of speech.
  • Waives its freedom of religion.
  • Waives its right to influence legislators and the legislation they craft.
  • Waives its constitutionally guaranteed rights.
  • Is no longer free to speak to the vital issues of the day.
  • Becomes controlled by a spirit of fear that if it doesn’t toe the line with the IRS it will lose its tax-exempt status.
  • Becomes a State-Church.

The church in America today is, by and large, not speaking to the vital issues of the day. The church has been effectively silenced. There has been a chilling effect upon the church’s freedom of speech for fear of IRS retribution should the church get out of line. The inevitable result is a moral downward spiral in the culture as the church stands mute. [1]

In a church I attended some years back, during worship I started praying for my disabled son standing near me. Suddenly, I felt my arms waving in and out around him, but it wasn’t ME moving them! I knew God himself was moving my arms so I went with it. It felt like a ‘force field’ or ‘energy field’ was being created through the movements that grew stronger and stronger. I heard one of the pastors say to the head pastor: “Look over there, see what she’s doing, you had better put a stop to it.” Sure enough, the head pastor abruptly stopped the music and worship leaders right in the middle of what GOD was doing in the Spirit! His abrupt interruption brought the whole beautiful experience to a halt and what God was trying to do was left unfinished. That pastor (so called) not only robbed my son of a healing and me of the joy of being God’s partner in a miracle, he robbed that whole congregation of a chance to see God’s miracle working power in action! And that wasn’t the first time. Some weeks later, this same pastor told the congregation that it wasn’t ready for miracles of healing, as too many people would come because of the miracles, and they weren’t ready to handle it! The moment he said that, I saw a picture of a large pitcher or bucket filled with ice water and a hand pouring it over the members, putting out the fire of their FAITH for healing! Immediately, I felt the Spirit within me “grieve.” I had known beforehand through the Spirit (a Word of Knowledge) that the congregants had FAITH for healing, and there were several people there with disabilities whom I felt God wanted to heal, but that pastor put it out with his faith-robbing words! Consequently, no one ever got healed in that church. 

Men naturally seek to be led by someone, having sought for kings to rule over them since the dawn of time. The Israelite’s begged God to give them a man to rule over them, which God agreed to do, even though He desired to rule over them Himself. They wanted to be “like the other nations” who had kings! [1 Samuel 8:1-22] So, God gave them Solomon, which means ‘peace.’ In the beginning of king Solomon’s reign, the nation did have peace and prosperity for as long as Solomon followed God. In time Solomon abandoned the true God for a slew of pagan deities, an action which caused him to fall away from God, and lose his kingdom to another [1 Kings 11:1-11]. Though the Israelite’s didn’t need an earthly king to rule over them, as Yahweh was their God, Solomon was allowed to be their king that they might learn to 1) not desire to be like the world around them, and 2) not put their trust or hope in anyone but God alone. Man is fallible but God is perfect in all His ways.

Jesus Christ is the rightful Head of His Church, not any man, be he a pastor, prophet, apostle, or king [Eph 5:23, Col 1:18]. Seems there are pastors who “fear the people” more than they fear almighty God! They fear the disapproval of those who would object to having ‘miracles’ happen in the Church, and seeing demons cast out. Yet Jesus performed miracles of healing and deliverance, setting Satan’s captives free wherever He found them. Should Christ’s Body be doing less? Didn’t Jesus commission His Church to “heal the sick, raise the dead, and to cast out demons?” [Mt 10:8]

So, what’s stopping the Church from doing these works? I believe there are several major hindrances – Unbelief due to wrong teachings about spiritual gifts such as the erroneous doctrine of ‘Cessationism’ [2] which teaches that the gifts ceased when Christ’s ministry was over, Passivism: [3] members of His Body are conditioned to be ‘passive’ in their faith by being expected to quietly listen in church and not be active participants which only the pastor and musicians are allowed to be, contrary to the teaching of Scripture [4], Fear of Man: worrying more about what man thinks than what God thinks, and worrying about looking foolish in the eyes of the world. Allowing men’s opinions to sway our beliefs and weaken our resolve to do the works which Jesus commissioned us to do. One other major hindrance is Religious Tradition: beliefs passed down from generation to generation; the pastor is the boss, don’t question what he says/does, keep quiet and do what you’re told. The pastors and priests know the bible because they studied many years (not always the case), lay persons don’t know it, and aren’t expected to know it (wrong!), so just trust whatever the minister says. If you question his words or actions, you might get told that you have a “rebellious spirit,” “Jezebel spirit,” “critical spirit,” or some other “demon!”

Religious spirits and Legalistic spirits flock to churches steeped in tradition, binding both priest and layperson from flowing in the Holy Spirit; no tongues, prophecies, healing, etc. will be seen in them. These demon spirits bind the minds of believers so they can’t perceive that there’s more than liturgy. They try to induce (false) guilt in those walking by the Spirit and not by their man-made rules. These demons can cause a great deal of havoc in the Church for they often attack believers who are filled with and led by the Holy Spirit. I know because I’ve been in their cross hairs many times. So as to avoid confusion, obeying God’s word is not Legalism! Legalists MAKE UP THEIR OWN RULES which they claim come straight out of the Bible but a close examination proves that they’ve misinterpreted what’s there. Sometimes well-meaning believers teach their PRIVATE CONVICTIONS as God’s commands, but they’re wrong. You need not come under their condemnation, another thing they try to put you under – don’t let them! I’ve come across many Religious and Legalistic demon spirits in churches, as that’s where they hang out. 

Jesus called His Church to do the works which He did when He walked among us —

Act 5:12  And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 

Act 5:13  And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. 

Act 5:14  And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 

Act 5:15  Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 

Act 5:16  There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. 

The Apostles Arrested and Freed

Act 5:17  Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, 

Act 5:18  And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. 

Act 5:19  But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 

Act 5:20  Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. 

Act 5:21  And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 

Act 5:22  But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, 

Act 5:23  Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. 

Act 5:24  Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. 

Act 5:25  Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. 

Act 5:26  Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. 

Act 5:27  And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 

Act 5:28  Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. 

Act 5:29  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. 

Did you hear that Church of Christ? Who then will you obey, God or man? Will you work the works which Jesus did, or will you prefer staying in your comfort zone, taking no risks while hoping someone else will do them? Do you fear what others will think? Fear you might get thrown in prison for preaching the truth, like the first apostles? Well the fact is, you might, but are we to just sit back and wait for the Rapture while the world around us perishes? What does Jesus our Lord expect of us?

Luk 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 

Luk 9:24  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 

Luk 9:25  For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 

Luk 9:26  For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. 

Part of picking up your cross daily and dying to your self-life, is worrying more what people think of Jesus, than what they think about you. Dying to self is obeying Christ, no matter what it costs. It’s forsaking everything to follow Him and do the works He did. It’s being willing to look foolish in the world’s eyes.

1Co 4:9  For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake…..

Let us therefore be fools for His sake and work the works of Christ. If we suffer for it, may we do so manfully, knowing that to this we’ve also been called, and faithfully take up the full armor of God as we march into battle with the banner of His Grace going before us!

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Luk 10:19  Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

We’ve been empowered to be Dragon Slayers! 

Debra R. Stout © July 14, 2017

 

FOOTNOTES:

[1] https://hushmoney.org/501c3-problems.htm

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cessationism

[3] a passive attitude, behavior, or way of life https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/passivism

[4] Co 14:26  How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. When kept silent in the service, believers are conditioned to be ‘passive,’ which affects their ability to witness and minister outside the confines of the church walls. Thus, they become “hearers only” instead of active doers, Jas 1:22  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. If members never get a chance to use their gifts and callings inside the Church, how are they going to receive correction and direction regarding them?

(Woman on horse is a depiction of Joan of Arc)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE WILES OF THE DEVIL

Do you sometimes find yourself distracted to the point that you’re neglecting prayer and bible study? I know I do.

God has been showing me this month some ways the Devil keeps his children from spending time with Him. One of his tricks is distracting them by whatever means he can. Scripture tells us not to be fooled by his wiles (cunning arts, deceit, craft, trickery) – Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 

For example, you’re about to read your bible and pray, when the phone rings and it’s a fellow believer whom you desire to speak with so you put your bible down and take the call. It’s so subtle you can easily miss it. By the time you’re done talking an hour or so later, you have chores which need doing. So, you don’t read your bible that day and the devil wins because he robbed you of spiritual, life-giving food!

Joh 6:51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Joh 6:47  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
Joh 6:48  I am that bread of life.
Joh 6:49  Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
Joh 6:50  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
Joh 6:52  The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
Joh 6:53  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Joh 6:54  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Joh 6:55  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
Joh 6:56  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Joh 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

The Jews were offended by Jesus’s words because they didn’t understand that they need to be understood in the spiritual sense and not literally. As Jesus said, the words He was speaking were spirit, and can only be understood by those having spiritual ears with which to hear. Jesus Christ gives spiritual ears to whomever He chooses. When some Pharisees were questioning Him about where He came from and by what authority He did miracles, etc. Jesus answered by asking them some questions….

Joh 8:43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:47  He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
Deu 29:4  Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.
Mat 13:9  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 13:10  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Luk 24:44  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Luk 24:45  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures….

What Jesus meant by “eating His flesh” was that we feed on Him in the spiritual sense by being in His presence, praying, worshiping Him, and meditating on His words [1]. Jesus never meant for anyone to eat his actual flesh! Jesus often spoke in parables to hide the mysteries of the Kingdom from the impious while revealing them to whom they were “given.” The mysteries of the kingdom aren’t given to everyone but only to those whom God chooses. When you come to Jesus, receiving Him by faith as your Savior and Lord, you’re given spiritual understanding. Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God… “received” = to receive a person, give him access to one’s self [Thayer’s Greek Definitions]

The Bible states that the Temple of God is not a structure made by human hands. 1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? In the spirit of a believer is where Christ via the Holy Spirit dwells. It’s from there that believers can (and should) hear God’s “still, small voice” [1 Kings 19:12; Acts 2:37]. If they don’t or can’t, there’s a problem somewhere. It could be that the Spirit of Christ hasn’t taken up residence in them (because they’ve not really received Christ or his words). Those who haven’t a love of the truth (God’s word) will be given a “strong delusion” to believe a lie – 2Th 2:11  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2Th 2:12  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. Other causes may include demonic interference of one form or another, or unrepentant sin. Some are afflicted with a ‘spirit of deafness’ which causes an inability to hear spiritual truth. Then there’s emotional and mental turmoil which can cause enormous distraction in a person. Abuse and a wounded spirit, which only the gentle, loving Spirit of Christ can reach and heal, can be a hindrance to hearing God’s voice clearly. Whatever the case may be, Jesus came to ”set the captives free” [Isa 42:7]. Isa 57:15  For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones

Another means of distraction are daily chores and errands which obviously have to be done. We all have them, but our first priority ought to be Related imagespending time alone with our Lord in communion – not the sacrament of Communion, but communion with His Spirit. SACRAMENTS can be an alluring and subtle means of distracting men from Christ by placing a non-scriptural emphasis on PHYSICAL elements. The Devil has tricked millions into believing the lie that merely partaking of physical bread and wine gives them spiritual life. Catholics believe that when a priest blesses the communion wafer and wine, they become the actual body and Blood of Christ. They call it Transubstantiation, but there’s nothing in the Bible to substantiate that doctrine! It’s a doctrine of men [Mark 7:7-13; Titus 1:14] not of God. Hear what the Scriptures have to say about it —

Col 2:20  Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances
Rom 6:9  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
Rom 6:10  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
1Pe 3:18  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins,
Heb 10:12  But this man (Jesus), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

That last verse alone disproves the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Since Christ now sits on the right hand of God the Father, He isn’t coming back to earth every Sunday to be crucified all over again and offered as a sacrifice! He died ONCE for our sins at the appointed time, and that was/is sufficient. End of argument. The biblical doctrine of Salvation is that we are saved by faith and not by works – Tit 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost….

Eating a wafer and drinking wine without having a personal relationship with Jesus, cannot and will not save you from your sin, nor can it impart life to you. Only God through Jesus Christ can impart spiritual and eternal life, and it’s in communion with Him that we receive that Life, not through observance of religious works. Burning candles for the departed, wearing Scapulars, keeping man-made holy days not found in the Bible, etc., do not and cannot impart life. Such observances often serve to distract people from God by replacing relationship with Him, with rituals and talismans. A scapular has no more power to keep you safe from evil than does the sprinkling of water. Burning a candle for a deceased love one, or praying to a statue does no good whatsoever. Putting your faith in such things will lead you away from the Truth. Praying for and to the dead, and bowing before statues, is strictly forbidden in Scripture, Lev 6:1  Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God. [See also Exo 20:3-5; Isa 46:7; Isa 44:9-20].

“Praying for the dead is not a biblical concept. Our prayers have no bearing on someone once he or she has died. The reality is that, at the point of death, one’s eternal destiny is confirmed. Either he is saved through faith in Christ and is in heaven where he is experiencing rest and joy in God’s presence, or he is in torment in hell. The story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar provides us with a vivid illustration of this truth. Jesus plainly used this story to teach that after death the unrighteous are eternally separated from God, that they remember their rejection of the gospel, that they are in torment, and that their condition cannot be remedied (Luke 16:19-31).” [2]

Distraction can take many forms. Martha, a disciple of Jesus, got distracted by her concerns —

'Christ in the House of Martha and Mary', Jan Vermeer van Delft, 1654Luk 10:38  Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
Luk 10:39  And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
Luk 10:40  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
Luk 10:41  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
Luk 10:42  But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

From this passage we can see that Jesus put a priority on spending time  listening to Him. He often spent hours, even whole nights in prayer, thereby setting us an example to follow Heb 5:7  Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared…

My prayer and hope is that believers become astute at hearing from God through spending time alone with Him, who like Mary, put devotion to God’s words first in their lives. May we lay aside our distractions and concerns awhile each day to hear the words of our Savior, for in doing so we’ll find shelter from the storms, as well as safety from the Tempter’s wiles.

Debra R. Stout © April 25, 2017

Footnotes:
[1] To meditate means to ponder, that is, (by implication) converse (with oneself, and hence aloud) or (transitively) utter: – commune, complain, declare, meditate, muse, pray, speak, talk (with) Psa 119:15.       [2] https://www.gotquestions.org/praying-for-the-dead.html

Apostate King Solomon’s Magic Ring

Image result for Free pictures of the Goat of MendesI was looking at this scene from a distance. I saw a Goat with two horns; similar to pictures I’ve seen of the Goat of Mendes or Baphomet. It wore a crown of some sort and sat on a seat resembling a throne. A man whose identity I couldn’t discern, approached the goat’s throne and knelt down before it. As he did, the goat stretched forth his hand and the man kissed the ring on the goat’s hand. The ring was round and red like a ruby. In the middle of it was a six-pointed star, sometimes called Star of David, other times Solomon’s Seal [1]. Interestingly, the name of a wealthy Jewish banker and Freemason, ‘Rothschild,’ means ‘red shield’ and the goat’s ring was red. The modern Israeli flag depicts a blue star but the original symbol was red.

In ancient times kings wore what were called Image result for free photos or pictures of a hexagram and star of david
Signet rings [2] with which they sealed letters so that anyone receiving them would know they came from the king when they saw his seal. Thus, the Signet ring was a symbol of a king’s authority. It may be that the six-pointed star is the Mark of the Beast and whoever receives it, declares Lucifer’s authority over Yahweh! Rev 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Rev 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 

“The Greek word for “mark” in these verses is charagma. Strong’s Concordance defines this word as a mark that is stamped, branded, imprinted or engraved on the individual’s forehead or hand, rather than implanted in the skin.” [3]

Solomon’s Seal, a Hexagram, was, and still is, used as a ‘talisman.’ Throughout history, talismans were used to protect the wearer from evil but God said that we must trust Him alone for protection, and to supply all of our needs. Many are putting their trust in their government to protect them from evil, especially in the wake of the threat of worldwide Terrorism. To trust in anything outside of Yahweh, is IDOLATRY, which God will neither endorse nor tolerate.

“The hexagram was brought to the Jewish people by Solomon when he turned to witchcraft and idolatry after his marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter in 922B.C. It became known as the Seal of Solomon in Egyptian magic and witchcraft. David had absolutely nothing to do with the hexagram and that star most certainly did not, in any way represent God’s people. Solomon gave himself up to satanic worship and built altars to Ashtoreth and Moloch (Saturn). Moloch, Chiun and Remphan are all names for the star god, Saturn, whose symbol is a six pointed star formed by two triangles. Saturn was the supreme god of the Chaldeans.” [4] ‘Remphan’ [5] 

Image result for pictures of the seven branched Jewish menorahWhile the six-pointed star became the modern symbol of the State of Israel established in 1949, the original, official symbol of Israel was the seven-branched Menorah.  Seven is a number used with reference to God and His attributes, like the Seven Spirits of God for example, while six is the number of man.“The six-pointed star symbolizes man’s ascent to divinity…. ” Link to full article in citation [3]. The Six-pointed star contains the number 666 (the Antichrist’s number) within its configuration. Apostate King Solomon adorned his temple with this symbol. While King Solomon started off right, later in his life he abandoned the God of Israel and began worshiping the many false gods his numerous wives brought into the temple. In essence, by promoting the worship of many false religions, apostate King Solomon became the very first MASON. Like Nimrod, who was the first world despot, there are many ‘firsts’ found in biblical history if we follow the trails to their origins. Satanists, Occultists and Freemasons venerate King Solomon, who owned a magic ring that was engraved with the Seal of Solomon, which gave him power over the invisible monarchy of demons. (The History And Practice Of Magic, Vol. 2) The end times False Messiah will no doubt be like a reincarnated Solomon, who unites the world together with his wisdom. [6] 

The six-pointed star is used today as a symbol in Masonic Lodges all over the world, which brings me to the point, or meaning of the dream. Though I may be wrong, the dream could be portraying that the end-time, one world religion will be Masonry, or a derivative of it. Since the one world church [7] will embrace multiple religions (as did Solomon of old), and Masons claim that they embrace ALL RELIGIONS (although they really worship Lucifer the Devil, and embrace his religion Satanism), it seems a logical conclusion. Masons are adept at fooling their lower level initiates into believing the LIE that they embrace all religions. Masonry is a vast organization with deep roots all over the world. It has operated undetected to a large extent due to its ability to keep its true allegiance and agenda hidden from the general populace. I believe the time is fast approaching when it won’t hide its true allegiance anymore, but will openly declare its worship of Satan and demand the same from the whole world. Might the mysterious man in the dream who kissed the goat’s ring, be the False Messiah, and or, every man and woman who worships the Beast, his number, his name, and his mark? 

Debra R. Stout © October 5, 2016

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The Seal of Solomon dates back to the Bronze Ages and is a powerful symbol with many mystical and magickal qualities…the Seal of Solomon is believed to offer protection against both enemies and the evil eye, control spirits, and bring good luck in all aspects of life. – Seal of Solomon, Amulet Power, Angelfire.com

In the middle Ages it was common to find amulets and talismans which reproduced the Seal of Solomon…It was believed that these magic drawings protected the wearer from the influence of demons and evil spirits, or just bad luck. It was also common to record the seal on a frame or lintel of the entrance door to homes…with the same protective character against the spirits or to potential fires. – The Hexagram, Star of David or Seal of Solomon, Looking4thetruth77.blogspot.com

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Wicca%20&%20Witchcraft/star_of_david.htm and https://humanityworldorder.wordpress.com/2016/07/13/star-challenge/

[2] Rather than signing their name on a document, people would use a signet ring to make their mark. The ring would be pressed into hot wax or soft clay, and would leave a distinctive impression that functioned as an official seal. Used by rulers and religious leaders, a signet ring could be used to mark a document, a doorway, or even to seal a tomb. When someone saw the mark of the king, it proved authenticity. The seal could not be opened without damaging the identifying mark, making it difficult to tamper with. The Bible also contains references to signet rings. The Old Testament tells the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. The king closed the mouth of the den, and then sealed it with his signet ring and those of his nobles, so that Daniel could not escape. (Daniel 6:17) Author: Jason Phillips, Posted@ http://www.history1700s.com/index.php/articles/14-guest-authors/703-modern-history-of-signet-ring-how-it-got-its-existence.html

[3] 5480 charagma 1) a stamp, an imprinted mark; stamped on the forehead or the right hand as the badge of the followers of the Antichrist; 1b) the mark branded upon horses; 2) thing carved, sculpture, graven work; 2a) of idolatrous images. http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Wicca%20&%20Witchcraft/star_of_david.htm

[4] http://www.moresureword.com/starof.htm

[5] Rhemphan By incorrect transliteration for a word of Hebrew origin [H3594]; Remphan (that is, Kijun), an Egyptian idol: – Remphan. Acts 7:43 – The tabernacle of Moloch (tēn skēnēn tou Moloch). Or tent of Moloch which they took up after each halt instead of the tabernacle of Jehovah. Moloch was the god of the Amorites to whom children were offered as live sacrifices, an ox-headed image with arms outstretched in which children were placed and hollow underneath so that fire could burn underneath.The star of the god Rephan (to astron tou theou Rompha). Spelled also Romphan and Remphan. Supposed to be Coptic for the star Saturn to which the Egyptians, Arabs, and Phoenicians gave worship. But some scholars take the Hebrew Kiyyoon to mean statues and not a proper name at all, “statues of your gods” carried in procession, making “figures” (tupous) with both “tabernacle” and “star” which they carried in procession.

[6] http://christianitybeliefs.org/end-times-deceptions/the-star-of-david-deception/

[7] http://www.cuttingedge.org/news/n1243.cfm AND http://www.cuttingedge.org/news/n2223.cfm

 

 

 

 

 

Who the Restrainer Is, and the Timing of the Rapture

 

Image result for FREE pictures of the Rapture of the saints

THE RESTRAINER’S ROLE 

2Th 2:3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
2Th 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
2Th 2:5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
2Th 2:6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. [English Standard Version]

restrains (KJV ‘letteth’) katechō
Thayer Definition:
1) to hold back, detain, retain
1a) from going away
1b) to restrain, hinder (the course or progress of)
1b1) that which hinders Antichrist from making his appearance
1c) to hold fast, keep secure, keep firm possession of

Notice that it’s a “him,” not an it or a thing that the ‘restrainer’ is holding back. “out of” means, Thayer Definition: 1) out of, from, by, away from; “the way” means, mesos: 1) middle, the midst, in the midst of, amongst. This is why Pre-tribber’s say the “restrainer” must be the Holy Spirit, because they say the Holy Spirit is in the “midst” of believers; Lk 24:36, John 20:19, and Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. While that’s true, I don’t believe that the identity of ‘he who’s taken out of the way’ [KJV] is immediately clear, nor is the Holy Spirit the ONLY possible rendering. 

Many teach that the “restrainer” is the Holy Spirit who is “removed” from the Earth when believers are raptured out of the world right before the great tribulation begins. These teachers use a few verses from 1 Thessalonians  mainly, to support their Pre-Trib rapture theory, taken out of the context of the rest of Scripture, even the same book and chapter – 1Th 4:15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven… 

WATCH! When does the Lord Jesus descend from heaven?

Mat 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
Mat 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Mat 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

So you see, there’s already a problem with the Pre-Tribulation rapture and it’s that Matthew clearly places the coming of Jesus AND the ‘gathering together of his elect,’ AFTER the tribulation. And that’s not the only problem with it, these scriptures say something else – Mat 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Mat 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, Mat 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

Now, to address a few objections to a post-trib rapture. Some say ‘clouds’ refer to the ‘saints’ who’ve already been caught up in a secret rapture before Jesus returns, and so return with Him. However biblical evidence doesn’t support that notion. It seems that these are clouds of angels that are spoken of. It also appears that the angels escort Jesus from place to place: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.” (Psa 68:17) “Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:” (Psa 104:3) “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 7:13) The word “they” is referring to the angels who “came with the clouds” earlier in the verse. They brought the Son of Man to the Ancient of Days. 

As some are aware, there are two New Testament verses, Jude 1:14, and 1 Thess 3:13 which at first glance, appear to say that Christ comes with His “saints” but I’ll show you why that isn’t so. Let’s take the quote from Jude first – Jude 1:14 “And Enoch also the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying. Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.” 

“saints” here was chosen by the King James translators, as the meaning of the Greek G40 ‘hagios,’ which is often used to refer to redeemed human beings in the New Testament, but in this particular verse, it doesn’t. Why the King James translators chose “saints” over “holy ones” or “angels” I can’t say, but the English Standard Version chose to render it, “holy ones” (or angels) which lines up perfectly with the rest of what Scripture says, which is that Christ is coming with His ANGELS, not His saints – Jud 1:14  It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, [ESV] 

With ten thousand of his saintsOr, “of his holy ones.” The word “saints” we now apply commonly to “redeemed” saints, or to Christians. The original word is, however, applicable to all who are “holy,” angels as well as men. The common representation in the Scriptures is, that he would come attended by the angels Mat_25:31, and there is doubtless allusion here to such beings. It is a common representation in the Old Testament also that God, when he manifests himself, is accompanied by great numbers of heavenly beings. See Psa_68:17; Deu_33:2. [Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible]

With ten thousands of his saints (ἐν ἀγίαις μυριάσιν)
Lit., in or among holy myriads. Compare Deu_33:2; Zec_14:5. [Vincent Word Studies]

saints — Holy angels (compare Deu_33:2; Dan_7:10; Zec_14:5; Mat_25:31; Heb_12:22). [Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary]

If that isn’t enough, Jude was making reference to what Enoch had prophesied many centuries prior, a prophesy which is nearly identical to Deuteronomy 33:2And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints:

Deu 33:2  He said, “The LORD came from Sinai and dawned from Seir upon us; he shone forth from Mount Paran; he came from the ten thousands of holy ones, [ESV]  Deu 33:2  And he said, Jehovah came from Sinai, And rose from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, And he came from the ten thousands of holy ones: [ASV]

With ten thousands of saints – Render, from amidst ten thousands of holy ones: literally from myriads of holiness, i. e., holy Angels (compare Zec_14:5). God is represented as leaving heaven where He dwells amidst the host of the Angels 1Ki_22:19 and descending in majesty to earth Mic_1:3. [Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible]

As you can see, both the ESV and the ASV, render haggios, as “holy ones” while the King James version renders it as “saints.” Actually, either term fits, so long as it’s understood that haggios can also mean “holy ones” or “angels” as well as holy men! Throughout the Old Testament writings, there are several words used for angelic beings but a different word was used when human beings were meant. That Hebrew word is châsîyd H2623 חסיד  From H2616; properly kind, that is, (religiously) pious (a saint): – godly (man), good, holy (one), merciful, saint, [un-] godly. In my search I found that in every instance where a human being, or beings was meant, the word châsîyd is used, and where angelic beings are meant, the words qâdôsh or  qôdesh H6944 were used.

Thus, the term for “human saints” in the Old Testament, is châsîyd and the word indicating angelic beings” is qâdôsh or  qôdesh. Why is it important? Because false doctrine (the Pre-trib Rapture) has been built upon assuming the word “saints” ALWAYS means redeemed human beings but as is proven by comparing scripture with scripture and comparing the various terms used for “saints,” the truth is that the KJV doesn’t always discern the difference between the two terms châsîyd and qâdôsh; rendering them both in a few places as  simply “saints.” The English Standard Version renders qâdôsh accurately as “holy ones” (or angels), while the KJV rendered the same term inaccurately as “saints.”

Moving on now to the other N.T. verse which states the Christ is coming with his saints –

1Th 3:13  To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.G40 (In this case, the other bible versions also render haggios, as ‘saints.’)

So, what exactly is going on here? Why would Paul, who wrote first and second Thessalonians, say the opposite in 2Th 1:7  And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,G32

Well, this seems to present a conundrum, but I’m sure there’s an answer. While I don’t have it at the moment, in the mean time, I’m going to believe the 99% of Scripture which states that Christ is coming with his ANGELS – over the 1% of Scripture which states He’s coming with His SAINTS. And, when I find the answer to this puzzling, seeming contradiction, I’ll come back to this article, and insert it. Until then, I think we can safely conclude that since Jesus is coming back AFTER the Tribulation and sends His “angels” to gather his elect at that time, there can be NO PRE-TRIB RAPTURE OF THE SAINTS. Therefore, the doctrine of a Pre-trib rapture is false, false, false!!! Concocted by two Jesuit priests back in the 1800’s, for the purpose of diverting attention away from the Vatican as being the Great Harlot (apostate church) of Revelation. But please, don’t take my word for any of this. Do your own thorough study about the Jesuit priests and Margaret McDonald (who supposedly had a vision of the pre-trib rapture). [2-3] And remember Jude’s warning: Jud 1:8  Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. Now, I’m not saying that believers shouldn’t ‘have dreams’ as some dreams come from God and are one of the gifts of His Spirit – but not ALL dreams are from God. Dreams and visions must pass the same test with which we are to test all spirits and spiritual communications – 1Jn 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. *try/test 1) to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals 2) to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy

What I am saying is, if a prophet or anyone has a dream or vision that clearly goes against Scripture, then one should disregard it. This of course doesn’t apply to a Word of Knowledge [1], dream or vision that involves a particular person or place. God often gives supernatural knowledge to his regenerated ones for the purpose of praying for, encouraging and relieving those who are hurting, depressed, oppressed, etc. These types of messages aren’t usually found in the Bible, so are judged by the ‘witness of the Spirit’ within regenerated souls – 1Jn 5:7 And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth. [ASV] There are many biblical examples in the New Testament and Old, where men of God received supernatural messages from the Spirit of God, to pray about and/or to deliver to others. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not to be despised or rejected but embraced, albeit with discernment.

WHY THE HOLY SPIRIT CANNOT BE THE RESTRAINER

Since He lives in every true Believer, and as we just read, some believers will REMAIN – be alive when Jesus returns – He must therefore REMAIN on the earth until Jesus comes.

Joh 14:17 even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you.

Jesus sent us His Spirit to dwell in and remain with us to the “END.” Mat 28:20(b) And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t remain on Earth until the end of the Age, then God is a liar! “Let every man be a liar, but let God be TRUE.” (Rm 3:4)

The Holy spirit is the One who draws men unto Jesus and convicts a sinner of sin and of his need for salvation, John 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, John 16:14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

It’s the Holy Spirit by which a saved individual is “sealed” unto Salvation, Eph 1:13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, Eph 1:14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,

So you see, the Holy Spirit has to be present in order for a person to get saved! If the Holy Spirit is ‘removed’ before the tribulation starts, it would be impossible for anyone to get saved during the Tribulation. Scripture shows us that the Holy Spirit will remain with us to the end of the Age, and that Jesus returns AFTER the tribulation and gathers together his elect.

THE RESTRAINER’S IDENTITY

So, if the Holy Spirit is not the Restrainer, who or what is? The Restrainer is Michael the archangel, ‘protector of Israel.’

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (Dan 12:1) It is seen in Scripture more than once that God used his angels to bind up, cast down, and war against “fallen ones,” or Lucifer’s angels. One example, Rev 20:1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. Rev 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, Rev 20:3 and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years should be finished: after this he must be loosed for a little time. More references on Michael the Archangel and how God uses him; Dan 10:21, Jude 1:9, & Rev 12:7.

The ‘book’ in Dan 12:1, “every one that shall be found written in the book” could be referring to the Lamb’s Book of Life – Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. Rev 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Do you see that if your name isn’t found in the Book of Life, you won’t be found in heaven either?! You’re either a bonafide believer in Christ, or you’re not, there’s no in between. When a man was found at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb not wearing proper wedding attire, HE WAS THROWN OUT. No one can enter the wedding feast unless he wears the ROBE OF SALVATION given to him by Jesus Christ when one repents of his sins and receives Him as his Savior, Mat 22:11-13 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

which had not on a wedding garment — The language here is drawn from the following remarkable passage in Zep_1:7, Zep_1:8 : – “Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God; for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, He hath bid His guests. And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.” The custom in the East of presenting festival garments (see Gen_45:22; 2Ki_5:22), even though nor clearly proved, Is certainly presupposed here. It undoubtedly means something which they bring not of their own – for how could they have any such dress who were gathered in from the highways indiscriminately? – but which they receive as their appropriate dress. And what can that be but what is meant by “putting on the Lord Jesus,” as “The Lord Our Righteousness?” (See Psa_45:13, Psa_45:14). Nor could such language be strange to those in whose ears had so long resounded those words of prophetic joy: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isa_61:10). [Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary]

THOSE WHO BELIEVE ARE SAVED FROM GOD’S WRATH

Believers in Christ whether Jew or Gentile, are saved from God’s wrath, but not spared all tribulation, trials, tests, and persecution. All are called to suffer for His Name’s sake, as have God’s prophets, apostles, priests, and disciples down through the Ages. Why do believers in the twenty-first century think they should be exempt? 1Pet 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 1Pet 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

Some feel that the “wrath of God” refers to the entire Tribulation period, not just the time when God pours out His “vials of wrath” on the wicked as seen in Revelation 16:1-21 where ONLY the wicked and unrepentant upon earth receive God’s wrath. Rev 16:2 And the first went, and poured out his bowl into the earth; and it became a noisome and grievous sore upon the men that had the mark of the beast, and that worshipped his image. Rev 16:9 And men were scorched with great heat: and they blasphemed the name of God who hath the power over these plagues; and they repented not to give him glory. Rev 16:10 And the fifth poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom was darkened; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, Rev 16:11 and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they repented not of their works.

They who patiently wait for Jesus in purity and holiness, like a Bride adorned for her husband (Rev 21:2) will be protected from God’s judgments and wrath poured out during the Great Tribulation period, just like Noah and his family were protected in an ark during the great flood (Genesis 7:1-24). Christ is the Ark of believers, who likewise shall be protected from the flood of judgments poured out upon the wicked during the great tribulation. God kept the Israelites safe from the plagues sent upon the Egyptians. Their houses marked with sheep’s blood, symbolizing Christ’s future sacrificial death, was a ‘sign’ that kept the angel of Death from destroying them. Likewise, God’s Born Again children are ‘marked’ with the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ! When God (Yahweh) sees one of His dear children, He sees the Blood of His Son Jesus covering them, and no demon, devil, or destroying angel can snatch them out of His mighty hand!

Jesus prayed to His Father, “Father, I ask not that you take them (believers in Me) out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil.” John 17:15 ‘That thou shouldest take them out of the world – Though they were going into trials and persecutions, yet Jesus did not pray that they might be removed soon from them. It was better that they should endure them, and thus spread abroad the knowledge of his name. It would be easy for God to remove his people at once to heaven, but it is better for them to remain, and show the power of religion in supporting the soul in the midst of trial, and to spread his gospel among men. Shouldest keep them from the evil – This may mean either from the evil one that is, the devil, or from evil in general that is, from apostasy, from sinking in temptation. Preserve them from that evil, or give them such grace that they may endure all trials and be sustained amid them.’ [Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible]

‘Christ doth not pray that his Father would take up his saints out of this sinful and troublesome world into heaven, because he knew that they were to be of use to him for a time in the world; but he prays that the Lord would keep them from the evil one, (so some would have it translated), or from the evil thing; by which we must not understand what is penally and afflictively evil, but only what is sinfully evil: and by his example he hath directed us how we ought to pray; not for death, nor absolutely for a deliverance from the evils and miseries of this life; but that we may be delivered from those temptations to sin, to which a multitude of sharp trials and afflictions will expose even the best of men.’ [Matthew Poole’s Commentary]

PERSECUTION PURIFIES THE CHURCH

“Many shall be purified, and made white,and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. (Dan 12:10) This is a reference to end time persecution of the saints on earth. Both Daniel and Revelation speak to the end time, and what happens to the world and to believers. This has been taught in the majority of evangelistic and mainline protestant denominations. 

CONCLUSION: 

Unless evidence can be found to the contrary, I conclude that Jesus Christ is coming at the end of the Age with His angels, not His saints. The evidence thus far, doesn’t support a Pre-trib rapture. When Jesus comes, he will judge the wicked, gather his Elect together, and reward the just, all at approximately the same time – as the book of Matthew states. Jesus appears in the clouds first, separates the wicked from the just, then gathers together his elect and disperses his rewards to them. Things and events move very fast in the spiritual realm so each of these events could happen simultaneously yet very quickly, in the “blink of an eye…”

1Co 15:52 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.

Debra R. Stout © August 31, 2016

ENDNOTES:

[1] 1 Corinthians 12:8
[2] https://fortheloveoftruth.wordpress.com/rapture/
[3] http://www.askelm.com/essentials/ess025.htm [4] http://post-triborpre-trib.blogspot.com/

My Kingdom Is Not Of This World

  God in GloryIn this article, I’ll briefly address the doctrine of Dominionism which goes back at least as far as the 1950’s, but has gained momentum in recent years.

What we know today as Dominionism doctrine is a hybrid of Roman Restorationism, Dominionism, Preterism, liberal A-millennialism, Post-millennial eschatology, and Later Rain doctrines.

The doctrines of Dominionism are rooted in the earth. Their basis is the (false) teaching that man must take dominion of this earth and change it for the better before Jesus can come. The emphasis, therefore, has shifted from ‘looking up’ to ‘looking around’ to see what can be done to patch up the environment and change society into a more godly one. This scheme is unscriptural and should be rejected as heresy. Taking restoration teachings to their logical conclusion, it is clear that nothing less than world Christianisation would work the miracle of planetary salvation. This, say the leaders, would be the ‘Kingdom of Peace and Righteousness’ promised in the Old Testament. However, given the condition of the human heart, and satan’s plans for world dominion, it is actually the universal reign of terror through Antichrist! In the Word of God, not universal obedience but universal wickedness is forecast before the Coming of Christ, and all nations will follow the satanic plans of the ‘Beast’. [Rev 13:3,4] To set about organising and networking for a New Order and for global dominion is to throw huge parts of the Church into the hands of ‘another christ’ and ‘another gospel’. [1]

“Dominion has to do with control. Dominion has to do with rulership. Dominion has to do with authority and subduing and it relates to society. In other words, what the values are in Heaven need to be made manifest here on earth. Dominion means being the head and not the tail. Dominion means ruling as kings. “ – C. Peter Wagner [2]

One of the key principles of Dominionist theology, is that believers are to ‘fight’ and ‘struggle’ in order to ‘take over’ the world’s major systems (business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, family, and religion) and ‘make’ them subservient to Christ and His rule NOW, not later when He returns to earth. Dominionists believe that He can’t come until we do! [3]

Is this what the Scriptures teach? Where’s the proof of that in the Bible? How did Dominionists come to such conclusions?

Joh 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

Interestingly, the Greek term for ‘kingdom’ is ‘royal power, kingship, dominion, and rule!

Notice that Jesus said that IF his kingdom were of the world, then his ‘servants would FIGHT’ to get him released. ‘fight’ = G75 agonizomai From G73; to struggle, literally (to compete for a prize), figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or generally (to endeavor to accomplish something): – fight, labor fervently, strive.

Where, or on what, do Dominionists base their theology that Christians must take the world and its systems for Christ, even before He returns? Isn’t it written that Christ’s kingdom will be set up when He returns?

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 25:34 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.

This verse is obviously talking about the time of Christ’s second coming to the earth when He arrives with angels, in his glory. At that time, Jesus will invite the ‘blessed’ to inherit the ‘kingdom’ prepared for them. The kingdom being offered to the saints at that time, sounds like a real, physical place.

Luk 17:20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Luk 17:21 neither will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

‘observation’ From: G3906 paratereo; to inspect alongside, that is, note insidiously or scrupulously: – observe, watch.

What’s meant by Luk 17:20, is that God’s kingdom coming to reside ‘within’ us, cannot be observed or seen with the physical eye. The coming of God’s kingdom IN us, could easily get confused with the second coming of Jesus Christ to the earth with signs preceding – Mt 24:5-15.

Col 1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

‘kingdom’ = G932 basileia
Thayer Definition:
1) royal power, kingship, dominion, rule
1a) not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom
1b) of the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah
1c) of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah’s kingdom
2) a kingdom, the territory subject to the rule of a king
3) used in the N.T. to refer to the reign of the Messiah

What’s meant in Col 1:13, is that Christians are given ‘dominion’ or ‘authority to rule over God’s kingdom,’ having the royal power conferred on them! Hallelujah! (Notice it says, God’s kingdom, not the kingdoms of this world!) Is this likewise what’s meant in Eph 1:3, Phil 3:20, and Eph 2:6? – ‘and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus:

2Ti 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.

The writer of 2Timothy, seems to be suggesting that he hasn’t entered into the ‘heavenly kingdom’ as of yet, but it will be waiting for him at the end. Could he have meant that it’s a progressive kind of entering into His kingdom; little by little as he’s delivered from every evil deed? Or, does he mean that he will enter God’s kingdom at the end of his life, or at the end of the age? While the kingdom of God resides within those who believe, is there still a tangible, physical, kingdom awaiting us at the end of the age, when Christ returns and sets up His kingdom (rule, government) on the Earth, or is it solely a spiritual reality that exists inside of those who believe?

Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the….

God’s Kingdom will be established on earth, in His timing, not ours. While I believe all the spiritual gifts are for today, I’m uncertain and uneasy about Apostolic rulership of the Body, since the scripture states that Jesus Christ is the ‘Head of the Body’ and of ‘every man,’ according to Eph 1:22, 4:13-16, 5:23; Cols 1:18, 1 Cor 11:3.

What I see in the Bible is that until Yeshua returns, the whole earth will remain in turmoil and unbelief – Luk 18:8 Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (See also – Lk 18:8, Mt 24:9-12, Mt 24:24, 1 Thess 5:1-3, Luke 17:22-30)  This is not to say however, that there can’t be much more of God’s Kingdom established in us, and on the earth than there is now. I think the Church has lost much of its authority to influence the world through default, and by merging with the world and its systems instead of remaining separate from it.

“Be ye separate!” The Church is supposed to be “called out” (ecclesia) from the world; to be “separate” from it (2 Cor 6:17, Rev 18:4) but instead, has become “one with it” in many ways. Jesus said that his own were not ‘of the world’ so how can we become one with it? Joh 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Another tenet of Dominionism, is that Apostles are now being restored to their initial and proper place in the Body of Christ which is to ‘govern’ the Body. Dominionists believe that Apostles are more than missionaries or ‘sent ones’ sent to build churches in foreign lands, but are to act as the Authority of God over members of Christ’s Body. In other words, individual members come ‘under’ their authority and must ‘answer’ to them, not just to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Is this what the Bible teaches?

According to Eph 1:22, 4:13-16, 5:23; Cols 1:18, 1 Cor 11:3 – Jesus is the HEAD of all things pertaining to the Church, and the HEAD of every man. So how then can it be that Apostles have the ‘headship’ or ‘rulership’ of the Church? Can there be more than ONE head? What body has TWO heads, unless it’s a freak of nature?

Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

1Co 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
‘head’ = G2776 kephalē
Thayer Definition:
2) metaphorically anything supreme, chief, prominent
2a) of persons, master lord: of a husband in relation to his wife
2b) of Christ: the Lord of the husband and of the Church

If it be true that Christ is the ‘head of EVERY MAN, where would be the need for an Apostolic ‘headship’ or covering for members of the body?

According to the Bible, apostles and prophets were given for the perfecting and edification of the saints, and for the work of the ministry.

Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Far as I can see, there’s no scriptural support for Apostolic rulership of the Church. There are however instructions regarding submission to those in authority and for mutual submission to one another –

Eph 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. *(pastors, deacons, elders? civil authorities?)

‘obey’ = G3982 peitho;
Thayer Definition: 2b) to listen to, obey, yield to, comply with
3) to trust, have confidence, be confident

1Pe 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort,
1Pe 5:2 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;
1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

‘lords over’ = G2634 katakurieuo;
Thayer Definition:
1) to bring under one’s power, to subject one’s self, to subdue, master
2) to hold in subjection, to be master of, *exercise lordship over*

Elders, deacons, and pastors, aren’t to “lord it over” God’s flock, but lead by “example.” That goes for Apostles and Prophets too. In fact, throughout Church history, an Apostle was also a ‘deacon’ or an ‘elder,’ as well as a ‘sent one,’ sent to preach the gospel or on special missions.

Luk 11:49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’

‘apostle’ = 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].

1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, *all of you* be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

‘submit yourselves’ = G5293 hupotasso;
Thayer Definition:
1) to arrange under, to subordinate
2) to subject, put in subjection
3) to subject one’s self, obey
4) to submit to one’s control
5) to yield to one’s admonition or advice
6) to obey, be subject

Take note that it’s the “younger” or those “new to the faith” (neophytes, newly born) who are being admonished to “submit” to an elder in the church. By making such a distinction, it may be that mature members need not be in submission to an elder, since they are mature in the faith, and are more likely to be elders themselves. An elder was and still is, a member who has reached maturity in the faith, having achieved a level of knowledge and understanding of the faith by which they’re able to instruct others. An elder is someone other members recognize as being worthy of their respect, due to the obvious unction of the Holy Spirit upon them.

From 1 Pet 5:3 and 5, it would seem that elders, deacons, and pastors – are admonished not to “lord it over, or exercise lordship over” other members in the Church. It’s certain that all members of the Body are to submit themselves “to one another” and that any submission to an elder or the like, is done WILLINGLY and not through COERCION or certain members pulling rank on other members.

Dominionists are saying that Apostles receive ‘new’ revelation all the time through the Holy Spirit, and that those revelations are on equal footing, are as authoritative as the written Word of God. Many would disagree. It’s my personal opinion that we must be very careful about receiving ‘new’ revelation if it contradicts what God has already revealed in the written Word, or isn’t supported by it.

That being said, there are some verses in the New Testament, where it’s stated that after Jesus went back to His Father, He spoke to and gave instructions to his Apostles through the Holy Spirit.

Act 1:2 until the day in which he was received up, after that he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

Eph 3:3 how that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery, Eph 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

That the calling of the Gentiles was made known by the prophets in different ages of the Jewish Church is exceedingly clear; but it certainly was not made known in that clear and precise manner in which it was now revealed by the Spirit unto the ministers of the New Testament: nor was it made known unto them at all, that the Gentiles should find salvation without coming under the yoke of the Mosaic law, and that the Jews themselves should be freed from that yoke of bondage; these were discoveries totally new, and now revealed for the first time by the Spirit of God.Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Thus, while the revelation of the mystery of Christ was prophesied in a couple Old Testament books, it wasn’t fully made known until it was disclosed to Paul and others in the New Testament, by the Holy Spirit. Even so, the revelation wasn’t completely new, it had been previously mentioned in the Old Testament.

In conclusion, I’m all for establishing as much of God’s rule on earth as is possible, but primarily WITHIN individual members of HIS BODY. That’s where His Kingdom should FIRST be established, and where the Body should be focussed. I don’t see anyplace in the Word which states or suggests that we’re going to subdue the world and its systems before Jesus returns, or, that He can’t return until we do. Nor do I see any scriptural mandate to even attempt such a feat. What I do see taught in the Bible is that believers in Christ will SUFFER persecution and deprivation before He comes the second and last time to establish His Kingdom on earth, and that they’re to be waiting patiently for Him. – Mt 10:22, 39; Mark 13:9-13, John 15:18-20, 2 Cor 1:7, 2 Cor 4:10, Phil 3:10, 2 Tim 4:5, Rev 3:10 (for starters).

Debra R. Stout © Februrary 14, 2016

Endnotes —

[1] http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/dominionismexposed.html
[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecszOPc95s8 This was a transcription of a recording of C. Peter Wagner delivering a speech to the 2008 “Starting The Year Off Right” conference. YouTube location of this recording is. This is also posted at http://www.rightwingwatch.org/print/8018 where these words are transcribed. *Apparently these are no longer available, sorry. If I find these sources again, I’ll update with new links. 
[3] http://www.theocracywatch.org/dominionism.htm  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominion_Theology

 

Open Theism Denies GOD’S Foreknowledge & Sovereignty; A Radical Departure from Historic Christianity

(Photo of a Fig tree) John 1:48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”

Pro 16:9 A man’s heart deviseth his way; but the LORD directeth his steps.

Pro 19:21 There are many devices (H4284 plans, purposes) in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand. (H6965 be fixed, be fulfilled).

Pro 20:24 Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

Psa 37:23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; [ESV]

Jer 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (H3559 “direct” – fix, establish, determine, prepare, arrange, order)

Isa 46:10 declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure;

Isa 46:11 calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country; yea, I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed, I will also do it.

Isa 43:13 Yea, since the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who can hinder it?

Deu 32:39 See now that I, even I, am he, And there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; And there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

Exo 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and will proclaim the name of Jehovah before thee; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.

Isa 14:27 For Jehovah of hosts hath purposed, and who shall annul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?

Job 9:12 Behold, he seizeth the prey, who can hinder him? Who will say unto him, What doest thou?

Rom 9:18 So then he hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will be hardeneth.
Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he still find fault? For who withstandeth his will?

Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy.

Eph 1:11 in whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will;

Act 2:23 him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay:

1Pe 1:19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ:
1Pe 1:20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of times for your sake,

Gen 50:19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
Gen 50:20 And as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

“meant” – H2803 châshab
A primitive root; properly to plait or interpenetrate, that is, (literally) to weave or (generally) to fabricate; figuratively to plot or contrive (usually in a malicious sense); hence (from the mental effort) to think, regard, value, compute: – (make) account (of), conceive, consider, count, cunning (man, work, workman), devise, esteem, find out, forecast, hold, imagine, impute, invent, be like, mean, purpose, reckon (-ing be made), regard, think.

There are teachers in the world today teaching a doctrine called, OPEN THEISM which calls into question the absolute Sovereignty of God.

It is a false and dangerous doctrine which in effect tries to weaken or reduce God’s power and foreknowledge to that which mere mortals have. It makes God out to be just like one of us! For a thorough examination and illumination on Open Theism vs. Classic Theism, I recommend these resources: 1) Their God is Too Small: Open Theism and the Undermining of Confidence in God Aug 12, 2003, by Bruce A. Ware; 2) Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity by John Piper and other theologians. (See at Amazon.com)

Excerpts from the second book —

This work argues that open theism undermines the heart of biblical Christianity: the inerrancy of Scripture, the trustworthiness of God, and the Gospel of Christ.

The heart of open theism is that humans and angels can be morally responsible only if they have ultimate self-determination – and have it to the degree that their self-determination rules out God’s ability to render or see any of their future acts as certain. Therefore, open theism’s most obvious departure from historic Christianity is its denial of the exhaustive, definite foreknowledge of God.”

“The very identity and reality of the God of the Bible is at stake.” The essays in this book contend that open theism presents us with a different God – a God compatible perhaps with contemporary sentiments, but one who is not the God of the Bible.

Controversy is required when essential truths are called into question. “The proper activity of professing Christians who disagree with one another is neither to ignore, nor to conceal, nor even to minimize their differences, but to debate them.” The apostolic command is clear. We are to “maintain the truth in love,” being neither truthless in our love, nor loveless in our truth, but holding the two in balance. ~ John Stott

The truth about Yahweh, our God, is that He has all Foreknowledge of the future, and He is completely Sovereign. The biblical account of Joseph is one very good example of how Yahweh wove the events and choices of men together, for not only Joseph’s good, but for “many persons” – to keep them alive during an extensive famine. To understand the scope and meaning of Joseph’s life, read Genesis Chapters 37-50.

Dan 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

No one can ‘stay’ or withstand God’s will and plans for individuals and for the course of life on planet earth, or in the heavens. What Yahweh wills, He can do, for He is all-knowing, all-seeing, and almighty. Yahweh is God immortal and immutable. God does what He wants to do, when He wants to do it, and how He wants to do it; and no one can stay His hand, “stay” – H4223 (Aramaic) mechâ’ basically means to “hinder.” In other words, no one can stop God from doing what He means to do.

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

“called” – G2822 klētos; Thayer Definition: 1) called, invited (to a banquet) 1a) invited (by God in the proclamation of the Gospel) to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom through Christ 1b) called to (the discharge of) some office 1b1) divinely selected and appointed

“purpose” – from G4388 protithemai; Middle voice from G4253 and G5087; to place before, that is, (for oneself) to exhibit; (to oneself) to propose (determine): – purpose, set forth.

“foreknow” – G4267 proginōskō; From G4253 and G1097; to know beforehand, that is, foresee: – foreknow (ordain), know (before).

“predestinate” – G4309 proorizō; Thayer Definition: 1) to predetermine, decide beforehand 2) in the NT of God decreeing from eternity 3) to foreordain, appoint beforehand

These Roman verses make it crystal clear that God foreknows people – what they’ll do, and what choices they’ll make ahead of time. In this case, He knew which persons in the world would believe on Him, even before they were born! Because God knows and sees every day of our lives before we’re born (Ps 139), He’s always way ahead of us. God ‘calls’ and ‘predestinates’ those He foreknew to be ‘conformed to the image of His Son.’ The calling and predestination of God is for the purpose of conforming His chosen ones to the image of His Son Jesus. In Romans 8:28, we read that “all things work together for good ‘to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose” (not men’s purposes). And what is His purpose according to these texts? It is to “be conformed to the Image of His Son.”

God is in full control of the Universe – He is Sovereign; nothing surprises Him, he’s never caught off guard, and He certainly isn’t guessing about what the Future holds for anyone! God knows the ‘end from the beginning,’ doesn’t need or heed the counsel of mere mortals, directs the lives of men but no one can direct Him! God performs His will absolutely and without contest. He’s the Almighty, All-knowing, All-Seeing, ever Present God and Creator of all that exists. If He were anything less, He would be no higher than the average mortal; a sacrilegious thought if ever there was one.

To God be the glory, power, might, and dominion, now and forever ~ Amen! (based upon Jude 1:25)

Debra R. Stout, March 5, 2016

A Biblical View of Self-Defense

What does the Bible say about self-defense? What is the Biblical view of using lethal force for self-protection? Can a Christian own a gun? What about gun ownership? Assault weapons? The Bible study below attempts to answer these questions using Scripture.

Introduction

This study examines the Biblical view of self-defense. We’re looking at questions such as, Is it right to employ lethal force to protect the life of yourself and others? Is it right to take measures that might kill an attacker who is wrongfully threatening your life or the life of another?

Self-defense here is defined as “protecting oneself from injury at the hand of others.” Self-defense is not about taking vengeance. Self-defense is not about punishing criminals. Self-defense involves preserving one’s own health and life when it is threatened by the actions of others. When we speak about using potentially lethal force in self-defense, we’re talking about using weapons to protect ourselves and others, even if the weapons used could kill the attacker.

Now why in the world would we take time to look at this subject? First, as Christians, we want to know how to apply the Bible to current issues in society. We live in a country with approximately 250 million guns and approximately 300 million people. Furthermore, in our country, it is estimated that law abiding citizens defend themselves using guns approximately one million to two million times a year. Almost 200,000 people in this state alone have a legal permit to carry a concealed handgun. What does the Bible have to say about that many guns actively being used for self-protection?

We live in a time where the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, current possibilities of economic and societal collapse, and crime have people buying guns and ammunition in large quantities for self protection. What does the Bible say about that? What does the Bible say about so-called “assault weapons”?

As always, we want our hearts and minds to be ruled and informed by Scripture–not by our emotions, not by our experiences, and certainly not by the World. And because the Scriptures have much to say about this topic, it is relevant and worth examining in the Church.

The focus of this study is specific. I am not dealing with whether lethal force can legitimately be used in wartime. I am not dealing with capital punishment. I am not dealing with Biblical principles involved in the American Revolution or the War Between the States.

This study is organized in five sections. First, we will look at the Biblical obligation to preserve life. Secondly, we will look at the Biblical view of bloodshed. Thirdly, we will look at passages dealing with the application of lethal force in self-defense. Fourth, we will look at what the Bible says about possession of weapons and skill in using weapons. Finally, we look at limitations and warnings about self-defense.

The Biblical Obligation to Preserve Life

We begin by first looking at the Biblical obligation to preserve life. The Bible clearly teaches that we must preserve life–our own lives and the lives of other people. 1 Corinthians 6:19f teaches that our bodies are not our own. Rather, our bodies belong to God. Our bodies are His property and so we are not permitted to treat or destroy them as we please:

19 Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own;  20 for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body. (1Co 6:19-20 ASV)

Not only are we to take care of our bodies and the life contained. We have an obligation to preserve the body and life of other people. Psalm 82:4 even cites an obligation to protect those who are in danger:

Psalm 82:4 Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. 

Consider also Proverbs 24:11, which indicates we have a duty to preserve the lives of those who are harming themselves:

Proverbs 24:11 Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.

Ezekiel 33 is a well-known passage:

Ezekiel 33 “… 6 ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’

If you know danger is coming to others, and you deliberately fail to warn the others of the danger, you are guilty of harming the victims. This is not to say that you can make people heed your warning. The surrounding verses also say that if the people refuse to heed the warning of the watchmen, the watchman is not guilty if they are harmed.

We also see principles in Mosaic law teaching that if we fail to guard the lives of others, we are guilty. In Deuteronomy 22:8, if someone falls from your roof, and you failed to install a safety fence around the edge, you would be held liable for the death of that person. Likewise, in Exodus 21:29-31, if a man has an ox which is prone to harm people, the owner is held liable if he fails to confine it and the ox harms or kills others. If the ox harms someone, the negligent owner is fined. If the ox kills someone, the negligent owner is to beput to death.

The principle could hardly be stated more forcefully: you must protect your life and the lives of others.

The Biblical View of Bloodshed

So we see we have a Biblical obligation to protect life. Now let’s look at the Biblical view of bloodshed. When we come to this topic, we enter an area that requires cultural re-calibration. As you read through the Old and New Testaments, it’s very clear that real blood, from animals as well as humans, has a significance not recognized in modern American culture. We must adjust our perception of blood to fit God’s view of blood.

Let’s look at some relevant passages and contrast them with what our culture thinks about bloodshed.

Genesis 9:5-6  

Genesis 9:5-6   5 And surely your blood, the blood of your lives, will I require; At the hand of every beast will I require it. And at the hand of man, even at the hand of every man’s brother, will I require the life of man.  6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: For in the image of God made he man.

These words come in the days of Noah. This is pre-Mosaic law. Don’t think this is obsolete thinking from the Mosaic law.

If a man was killed, the man or beast who caused the death must pay with his/its own life. God says here, “I will require the life of man.” Killing or bloodshed was not always wrong. But when it was wrong, the penalty was ultimate.

We learn here that there is sanctity to spilled blood. Why? Two reasons:

1) Life is precious, and the life is in the blood. When blood is shed, something precious is lost. You might not think blood is precious. We tend to consider blood to be just a “bodily fluid”. It is, however, precious to God.  

2) An attack on man is an attack on the image of God. At a trivial level, you’re messing with sculptures in God’s art studio. In God’s view of bloodshed, it is not merely a physiological event, but it is an assault on the divine image. Why is murder punishable by death? It says, “For in the image of God made He man.”

David

We learn more about God’s view of bloodshed from David. David is a man who loved God and who was loved by God. God raised him up to defend Israel. God sent David to physically fight to defend Israel. When David killed Goliath and Philistines in battles, it was at God’s command. They were righteous killings. Now, with that understanding, let’s look at a few passages:

1 Chronicles 28:3 “But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.’

1 Chronicles 22:8 But the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build a house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.

David wants to build a house for the Lord. This is a good desire. But God says, “David, you are disqualified from doing this.” Why? Not because of the murder of Uriah. Not because of his adultery with Bathsheba. It is because of the wars, and because David had “shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.” David had killed men in the sight of God, and that disqualified him from this spiritual service.

But wasn’t David obeying God in engaging in these wars? Yes. Did David sin in shedding this blood? No. But shedding blood is so significant to God that David was unfit to for certain “ministries”.

Killing someone is not a light thing. Our culture casually depicts killing. In television, movies, and video games, killing, whether it is legitimate or illegitimate killing, is portrayed with such a frequency that most people are relatively desensitized to it.

Here is the bottom line: Shedding blood, taking the life of another, is a big deal. Your life is forfeit if you wrongfully take the life of another. Even if you take life in a permitted manner, it is serious enough that it can disqualify you from certain types of spiritual service. Even if you are the “good guy”, you are “marked” in the eyes of God. I didn’t say you are guilty. I am merely showing that God viewed Godly David differently because David had killed men (though righteously).

Bloodshed must have the same significance to us. It is never a light thing, even if you are in the right, even if you do it righteously.

As we move on, I want to ask this question: Does the believer have an obligation to resist evil and to protect life? Think about it.

Having looked at the obligation to preserve life, and the Biblical view of bloodshed, let’s now look at passages dealing with self-defense and the use of lethal force.

Old Testament Passages on Lethal Force and Self-defense

We start in the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:13 

Exodus 20:13   You shall not murder.

Murder is wrong. This means the premeditated killing of others is wrong. Killing in a fit of emotion is also wrong and is prohibited here. But as we will see later, accidently taking the life of another is wrong. We must do all that we can to avoid it and stay as far away as possible from taking life.

Having stated this prohibition, let’s look at some of the qualifiers to this prohibition.

Leviticus 24:16-17

Leviticus 24:16-17  16 ‘And whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death.  17 ‘ Whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death.

From verse 17, we see that “killing” was a crime requiring capital punishment. “Killing” here is defined above. But note that not all killing is wrong. In the immediately preceding verse 16, there were times (such as in civil judgments) in which “killing” was commanded and sanctioned. Blasphemers were to be killed. Likewise, in verse 17 itself it commands that “whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death.” So we already see two qualifiers to the command “thou shalt not kill.”

Killing a man in capital punishment for murder or blasphemy was permissible.

We saw earlier in the examples of the ox and the roof that if you caused someone’s death through your negligence, you were also deserving of capital punishment. So, killing a man for causing negligent death was permissible.

Exodus 21:12-15, Numbers 35:6-34, and Deuteronomy 19:1-13

Exodus 21:12-15, Numbers 35:6-34, and Deuteronomy 19:1-13 give further qualifications to the prohibition to kill. Here the Lord deals with accidental killing where there is no negligence.

God defines accidental killing this way in Deut. 19:4: “…whoever kills his neighbor unintentionally, not having hated him in time past…”. It even gives an example: “as when a man goes to the woods with his neighbor to cut timber, and his hand swings a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies”.

These passages establish the cities of refuge. If you are not familiar with the system described here, I commend it for your study.

God says here, if you commit unintentional killing–that is, if you accidently kill someone, and it is not motivated by anger or hatred, and there is no negligence involved–then your life is forfeited.  You are guilty of killing and could be put to death by the avenger of blood, but there is a way of escape. If you committed accidental killing, and there was no negligence, you wouldnot be put to death if you fled to one of the designated cities of refuge.

This is like house arrest. In fact, it is stronger than house arrest! Number 35:25ff says that if you wander out of the city of refuge, you may be put to death if the avenger of blood finds you. The person guilty of accidental killing had to stay in a city of refuge until the death of the high priest.  Then he was free to return home. (By the way, this is a beautiful picture of Christ’s work—Christ, the city of refuge in whom we must remain hidden! And Christ is the high priest whose death takes our guilt and sets us free.)

It shows that killing someone accidently, with no malice, without negligence, made your life forfeit. It was almost as serious as murder in God’s eyes. God makes a merciful provision, but it did not remove the fact that you were worthy of death for unintentional killing.

Premeditated, intentional killing, as well as killing in passion, was absolutely forbidden. Such a one had no protection in the cities of refuge and was to be handed over and put to death (Ex. 21:14f, Deut. 19:11ff, Num 35:16ff ).

This far, we see that killing someone out of 1) hatred, 2) negligence, or 3) sheer accident were subject to capital punishment. In the case of sheer accident without negligence, God established a network of cities of refuge which made merciful provision to spare the life of the killer. With that important background, let’s look at passages speaking about victims of crime.

Exodus 22:2-3

Exodus 22:2-3  2 “If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed.   3If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed.

There are two cases here. In the first case, if someone breaks into your home at night, and you kill him, you are not held guilty of murder. You are not deserving of capital punishment. You do not need to flee to a city of refuge to preserve your life. The understanding is that at night, it is dark, and if someone has invaded your house, they do not announce if they are there merely to steal jewelry and tools. In the dark, you have no way of knowing if someone is coming to kidnap, to rape, or to murder. You are thus blameless if the criminal is killed in that situation. The passage does make it clear that if a man is breaking in at night with the intent of theft or worse (rape, murder, kidnapping, etc.), the defendant can righteously defend himself with lethal force to prevent the commission of the crime).  

In the second case, it says “if the sun has risen on him”, and you kill the intruder, you are guilty of his bloodshed.  The understanding is that in daytime, there is light, and you can discern the intentions of the home invader. The crime in question here is theft (“if the thief“). It is not legitimate to kill someone who is merely stealing your property. In creating civil laws, we see here that not all crimes are worthy of death.

In the daytime, it is assumed that the intention of the intruder can be discerned. If he is a thief, he may not be killed by the defendant. However, if the intruder is there to commit a different crime—assault, murder, kidnapping, rape, etc.—different laws/rules would apply. Though the crime of theft is not worthy of death, kidnapping was worthy of death (Exodus 21:16, Deut. 24:7) as was murder.

Matthew Henry writes: “…if it was in the day-time that the thief was killed, he that killed him must be accountable for it, unless it was in the necessary defense of his own life. … We ought to be tender of the lives even of bad men; the magistrate must afford us redress, and we must not avenge ourselves.”

Now let’s look at two examples of defending your own life against murderers.

Nehemiah 4:8-23

In Nehemiah 4, Israelites have been sent back from captivity to rebuild Jerusalem. They were rebuilding their lives with the sanction of the civil ruler, King Artaxerxes. This was not a wartime scenario. It was closer to a racial integration scenario where racists wanted to kill them. Think of the KKK threatening black homeowners and students. They are surrounded by people who hate them and want to kill them.

These were citizens, not soldiers. Nehemiah 4:13 says that people stationed “people by families” around the city. These were not trained soldiers or law enforcement officers. They were merely concerned residents and settlers—citizens, not professional soldiers or law enforcement agents.

Note that these families were armed, with “their swords, their spears, and their bows.” This is a situation where they are willing to apply lethal force to defend themselves.

Let’s briefly discuss swords, spears, and bows. Swords and daggers killed Ehud, Amasa, and eighty priests. At longer ranges, we know bows and slings killed men like Goliath, King Joram, and King Ahab. Spears killed men like Asahel, Absaolm, the Israelite man and the Midianitish woman, and many others. These are handguns, shotguns, and rifles. These are implements of lethal force. In fact, at close range, a sword is more deadly than a handgun.  These ancient weapons are as deadly as their modern counterparts.

Note that they are carrying these weapons for personal defense and civil defense, and that these are “assault weapons”, namely, the same types of weapons that armies would use for offensive purposes. And why wouldn’t they want assault weapons (for those weapons are the most effective weapons for defending oneself)? Why would you not want to use the best tools available for the task at hand?

Against what are they defending themselves? The crime of unlawful, racist murder. Hate crimes. They are defending their lives and their homes. Nehemiah 4:14 specifically says, “…fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” It is good and right to defend your family, even using lethal force weapons.

One final observation: In self-defense, these citizens did not merely own weapons. Rather, where they perceived a risk of harm to their persons, they carried their weapons with them, as many people legally carry weapons with them today, for the purpose of self-protection:

Nehemiah 4 17 Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon.  18 As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while the trumpeter stood near me. … 21 So we carried on the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars appeared..  23 So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water.

If you live somewhere where you have reason to be concerned about crime, this would be similar to legally carrying a weapon to defend your family, even when running daily errands to the store.

Esther 8-9

The final Old Testament passage we examine is in the book of Esther. Here we have a historical example arranged by Divine Providence. In this account, the Jews are under threat of racial violence. The civil authority, King Ahasuerus, grants them legal permission to use lethal force in self-defense:

Esther 8:11-12  11 By these letters the king permitted the Jews who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives — to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them, both little children and women, and to plunder their possessions…

So they have legal sanction to “protect their lives” using ultimate force, much as we do in most parts of this country. They are allowed to “kill and annihilate” in order to “protect their lives.” Now, as people under obligation to obey God, not just stay within the civil laws of Ahasuerus, what do the Jews do with this legal freedom?

Esther 9:1-5 …the Jews themselves overpowered those who hated them2 The Jews gathered together in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could withstand them, because fear of them fell upon all people. 5 Thus the Jews defeated all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, with slaughter and destruction,

We see that given legal sanction to defend their lives with lethal force, they do not choose non-violence. Rather, as it says in verse 11, to “protect their lives”, they use the “sword” (verse 5).  Here is another example of widespread use of weapons in self-defense—a non-wartime, non-law enforcement scenario.

New Testament Passages on Lethal Force and Self-defense

At this point, you may be thinking this is all relegated to Old Testament principles and thinking. Let’s turn to some passages in the New Testament dealing with lethal force and self-defense.

Buying and carrying a sword

Luke 22:35-39 And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.”  36Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one37 “For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.”  38 So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”  39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him.

Here’s the context. Picture this. Jesus and his disciples have just had communion. They are about to go to a time of prayer in the garden. Jesus says these words to His disciples, and it’s as if they are saying, “Look what we have with us, Lord. Two guns!” Jesus responds, “It is enough.”

If you read commentaries on this passage, there are a number of questions which are not clearly answered. There are questions about the applicability of this passage, of the intent of Jesus, of the meaning of His response.

Whatever your interpretation of this passage, there are a few broad-stroke observations we can make about this passage.

  1. Jesus expected them to have swords and anticipated a time when those without swords would need to acquire them.
  2. Among eleven disciples, they did have two swords–in almost a 1:5 ratio.
  3. Jesus expected them to carry the swords on their person as they traveled from the city to the garden prayer meeting.

It is difficult to make absolute claims beyond these observations, but the observations themselves have significance. Namely, among those closest to Jesus, some carried personal weapons in His presence with His consent to communion and to prayer meetings. We cannot make absolute claims as to the reasons, right or, wrong, for the carriage of these weapons. Perhaps it was in anticipation of trouble from the Jewish leadership. Perhaps it was protection against mere robbers. Paul in 2 Cor. 11:26 cites the “perils of robbers”. Though there are questions we can’t answer, we do know they possessed these weapons, that they carried these weapons, and that Jesus knew and consented. Furthermore, Jesus spoke of some time, present or future, when disciples would need to acquire personal weapons, even more urgently than garments.

The Garden of Gethsemane

Now, the next passage we come to follows these events. Jesus and the disciples are in the garden, and the men come to arrest Jesus. At least two of the disciples are armed, with the knowledge and consent of Jesus. Here is the question: Will they use the sword against the armed multitude which has come against Him? Let’s look at the three passages which recount this event.

Luke 22:49-53 (NAS) 49 And when those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”  50 And a certain one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.  51 But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him. 52 And Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as against a robber?  53 “While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”

Matthew 26:51-56   51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.  52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword53Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels54 “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”  55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.  56 “But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

John 18:10-11   10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.  11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

In these three passages, you get a sense that Jesus is saying, “Though we have a right to employ our swords in defense of this unrighteous arrest, we are intentionally putting aside our lawful right, and I am allowing myself to be taken without resistance.” See how this is expressed: “Lord shall we strike with the sword?” “No more of this.” “This is your hour, and the power of darkness.” “Put up your sword… or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father… all this was done that the Scriptures…might be fulfilled.” “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup…?”

Why Christ tells Peter to put up the sword:

  1. Christ is willingly laying down His life, though He has the right to use sword and angelic legions to deliver Himself from this unjust arrest (Luke 22:51, John 18:11).
  2. Those who are quick to resort to violence will die by violence (Matt 26:52). The Lord hates the one who “loves violence” (Psalm 11:5).

The sword is not always the appropriate response, especially in persecution for Christ.

There is greater protection than swords.

Possession of weapons and skills with weapons a good and useful thing

Having looked at a number of passages that deal with weapons and self-defense, let’s spend a little time discussing Scripture’s view of owning weapons and being skilled in their use. The imagery of weapon use and skill at weapons use is often employed in Scripture, and it is often portrayed as a positive or desirable thing. The Lord’s might is something good, and it is often depicted using martial terms (Zec. 9:14, Psa. 7:13, 18:14, 21:12, 64:7, Hab. 3:11, Deu 32:42, 2 Sam 22:15). The Scriptures are a sword (Eph. 6:17; Heb 4:12). A sword comes out of the mouth of Christ (Rev. 1:16, 2:16, 19:15).

Possession of weapons is never discouraged in Scripture. In fact, in 1Sam 13:19ff, it is negatively reported that no spears or swords were found in Israel because of the Philistines:

1 Samuel 13:19-22  9 Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make swords or spears.”…  22 So it came about, on the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan. But they were found with Saul and Jonathan his son.

Let’s look at two verses from the Psalms:

Psalm 144:1 Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:

Psalm 18:34 He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze

Skill and ability to use weapons here, whether literal and/or metaphorical, is positively portrayed in these verses.

Further, we have accounts of David, not a soldier, not a law enforcement officer, but a youth, employing ranged weapons skillfully (with God’s help) against bears and lions. This is domestic use of lethal weaponry, non-military use, with non-military training. The weapons used by young David are not “kiddie” slingshots. They are powerful enough to kill a bear and lion–in today’s market, we’re talking about a .44 magnum, not a .22, in the hands of someone too young to be in the army.

We might be tempted to think that was just for dealing with animals that could threaten sheep. But aren’t humans worth even more protection than sheep?

We understand that according to Scripture, in matters not of worship or church government, whatever is not forbidden is permitted. I’m not making a claim that ownership of weaponry for the purpose of self-defense is requiredof the believer. It is not required, but it is permitted by Scripture.

Warnings

Now, let’s conclude with some warnings.

Trusting in the sword

First of all, it would be a mistake to leave this class trusting in the sword. Guns, knives, weapons… these are mere tools, and none of these things can guarantee protection, any more than owning a fire extinguisher guarantees that your house won’t burn down.

Psalm 44:6-7   For I will not trust in my bow, Nor shall my sword save me.  7 But You have saved us from our enemies, And have put to shame those who hated us.

We see in Nehemiah 4:14 that the people were armed and willing to use their weapons, but they were also trusting in the Lord:

 “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses….  20 “At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” 

Do not put your trust in weapons. They are tools that are useful, but they are only dead, inanimate tools, at the end of the day.

“…the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’s.” (1Sa 17:47 NAS)

Improperly resorting to the sword

Secondly, beware of improperly resorting to the sword. I would hope the passages dealing with the shedding of blood impressed on you the narrow limitations for when it is proper to employ lethal force. It is never to be in hatred, never in revenge, never in jealously. David in his pride nearly murdered Nabal, but Abigail restrained him. David would have killed Nabal…and regretted it.

1 Samuel 25:32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, who sent thee this day to meet me:  33 and blessed be thy discretion, and blessed be thou, that hast kept me this day from bloodguiltiness, and from avenging myself with mine own hand. 

Employing potentially lethal force out of anger, hatred, jealously, or revenge is always wrong and is condemned by Scripture.

Here is a warning: If you find that you have anger or self-control problems, owning weapons is unwise. The believer is to be “not soon angry, no brawler, no striker” (Titus 1:7). Lamech is an example of someone who should not own weapons (Gen. 4:23f).

When you are insulted or cursed, when your wife or your mother is insulted or cursed, you are not to resort to violence.

27 But I say unto you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you,  28 bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.  29 To him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and from him that taketh away thy cloak withhold not thy coat also.  30 Give to every one that asketh thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.  (Luk 6:27-30 ASV)

There are a lot of great virtues depicted in the classic westerns. The propensity to break into fistfights or gunfights when honor is insulted is not a virtue. The Lord, not you, is to take vengeance and set things right. An insulting slap in the face is something you can suffer as a Christian.

What if you are badly wronged? What if your wife or daughter is badly wronged? You must stop an attack that is in progress, but afterwards, you must not seek revenge. There is no room for vigilantes.

Rom 12:19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 

A wrong admiration for the “man of violence”

Thirdly, do not admire the “man of violence”.

Proverbs 3:31-32  Do not envy a man of violence, And do not choose any of his ways.  32 For the crooked man is an abomination to the LORD; But He is intimate with the upright.

Those who resort to violence rather than Godliness are not to be admired. There are many similarities between David and Joab. Both were skilled at killing men, and both had killed many men. Were they both men of violence? Here is the difference: David, first and foremost, sought the Lord, trusted the Lord, and loved the Lord. Why didn’t he do violence against Saul? It wasn’t because Saul was his father-in-law. Rather, it was because Saul was theLord’s anointed. It was because of David’s regard first for the Lord that he would not resort to violence.

On the other hand, Joab, over and over, resorted to the sword to deal with problems. Joab was a man of violence.

Proverbs 1:16 For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood.

Romans 3:15 Their feet are swift to shed blood;

Earth was destroyed in the day of Noah because “the earth was filled with violence” (Gen 6:11ff). God hates violence. There is a narrow scope in which it is applied righteously, but it is only because of sin that such skill is necessary.

Beware of influences in your life which would encourage admiration of a Joab rather than a David.

Perspective

Fourthly and finally, keep the right perspective on this. Though we see sanction and even a qualified directive from Christ to possess personal weapons, we must remember three points. First, in the remainder of the New Testament, we have no further examples of believers taking up the sword. Secondly, the emphasis in the remainder of the New Testament is decidedlynot geared toward the issues of physical self-defense or righteous use of lethal force. Rather, we see more emphasis on Godly living, suffering affliction and persecution for Christ, and grasping the precious doctrines of Christ and the Gospel.  Thirdly, possession of weapons and acquiring the skill to use them in self-defense is permitted but not required by Scripture.

Believers should be conscious that personal self-defense is legitimatized by the Scriptures, just as the use of construction tools, cooking tools, transportation tools are legitimized by Scripture. And these matters of self-defense should hold in our minds and in our affections the same position as those other legitimate, but transitory, matters.

The tendency in some circles is to make the topic of self-defense of primary importance. Though heavenly beings do battle and render judgments with the sword, in the perfection pictured in both the garden of Eden and in the Heavenly city, the primary activities are fellowship with God, fellowship with His people, singing in worship, and living in peace.

That is our destination.

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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

“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 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).

BEWARE THE LEAVEN OF THE LEGALISTS

pharisee1

Legalism may be summed up in a word – TRADITION! Legalists are traditionalists. They adhere to religious traditions regardless of their source (not all religious traditions are of God), and they expect everyone else to do the same, or suffer the slings and arrows of their scorn. They’re secretly envious of the true Christian’s liberty in Christ, not having that freedom themselves (Gals 2:4). They seek to lay traps for those who follow Christ and his words instead of tradition, as did the Scribes and Pharisees to Jesus, hoping to catch him in some violation of the law (theirs or God’s) so they could condemn him. They accused Jesus of ‘breaking the Sabbath’ when he and a few of his disciples picked some ears of corn on a Sabbath because they were traveling and were very hungry (Luke 6:1-5). 

They accused him of being a ‘winebibber’ and ‘glutton,’ because he ate and drank with heathen (Gentile unbelievers) – Mt 9:10-11, 11:19. They said he broke the law by not ‘washing his hands’ before eating, Mt 15:2. They accused him of breaking the law for healing a man’s shriveled hand on the Sabbath (Luke 6:6-11) and of having a ‘devil,’ because he went about healing people! (Mark 3:22, 30)

This is but a partial list of the false accusations the Pharisees and Sadducees flung at Jesus, and of their attempts to discredit his mission and ministry. In our day, the legalist operates much the same way using the same tactics. They look for opportunities to discredit your ministry and or induce a sense of guilt in you for doing things God’s Word doesn’t prohibit. They’ll severely criticize and chastise you for doing the works of God outside the city gate (church walls) by demanding to know where you attend church, who your covering is, and/or who gave you authority to do such things! Legalists teach the ‘letter only,’ while Jesus brought the “spirit (or intent) of the Word.” Legalism leaves no room for ‘mercy,’ you break a law or command you pay the penalty. God the Father had ‘mercy’ on mankind when he sent his son Jesus to be the propitiation (to pay the penalty) for sin. God is merciful, legalists are not. Legalists ‘add’ their own rules and codes of conduct to God’s Word, and condemn you if you break one of them. Mat 15:9  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Mar 7:13  making void the word of God by your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things ye do. An example of a man-made doctrine is, “You can’t hang pictures of Christ, people, or anything in Nature (animals, angels, heavenly bodies, etc.) in your home, because the 2nd Commandment says that’s IDOLATRY.”  

Sometimes well-meaning believers apply allegory where they shouldn’t, and or, read into Scripture what isn’t there; which renders ‘private interpretations’ (2 Pet 1:20). We avoid these mistakes by ‘comparing scripture to scripture,’ interpreting it in its proper context. 

Here’s the exact wording of the 2nd Commandment – Exo 20:4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: If taken OUT of the CONTEXT of its preceding and following verses, one could conclude that making a likeness of anything, is prohibited. When taken in the context of Exo 20:3 & 5 –  Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: we see that what God is prohibiting is the making of IDOLS, and “bowing down to, and serving them.” To merely have a picture hanging on a wall in your home, doesn’t make it an idol or a thing of worship, unless you do bow to, and or, pray to it.  Same with Lev 26:1  Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it:

The operative phrases in each of these four verses are, BOW DOWN TO THEM, and SERVE THEM. It’s the making of, or setting up of images for the purpose of WORSHIPING them that’s prohibited, not the mere displaying of them for the purpose of decorating and adorning your home. So, if and when someone tries to place guilt and condemnation on you for simply decorating your home, you can choose not to receive it. If God convicts you of sin, he almost always (unless you’re hard headed and have consistently ignored his correction) does it with a large dose of love and gentleness, without condemnation! If you know Christ, and you’re feeling condemned, it’s not him speaking to you. 

Let’s look at this issue from another angle. If the mere displaying of works of art and photographs of people, places, and things was forbidden by the 2nd Commandment, then God is himself GUILTY of breaking his own commandment when he directed King Solomon to ADORN the Temple with all manner of workmanship and artistry; gold filigree, a pair of gold angelic figuresangels on top of Ark of the Covenant which sat atop the Ark of the Covenant. The temple walls were carved with figures of cherubim (angels), flowers, and palm trees.  Aren’t those ‘things in heaven above and on earth below?’ Read about the building of the first temple in 1 Kings chapters 6 – 9. It has been argued that this ornate decoration of the temple was allowed by God one time only, for this special purpose. I disagree because God wouldn’t direct something he considers a ‘sin’ or ‘sinful,’ to be used in his house or temple!

Some examples of the legalistic doctrines added to God’s law by the Scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ day —

Legalism says, You can’t eat without first washing your hands, because the dirt clinging to your hands will defile you. Jesus rebuked that man-made legalistic doctrine when he said, Mat 15:11  Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Mat 15:17  Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? Mat 15:18  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. Mat 15:19  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: Mat 15:20  These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Blind leaders of the blind, Jesus called them (Mt 15:14) Legalists major in minors, and minor in majors. They nitpick at you for small, usually insignificant faults and offenses but ignore serious ones. Mat 23:23  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone. Mat 23:24  Ye blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel! Mat 23:4  They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. Jesus does the opposite, Mat 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Mat 11:29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Mat 11:30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Some are heartless and relentless in their pronouncements of judgment on those who don’t follow their man-made, religious traditions, while ironically labeling ‘legalistic’ those who obey and teach the commandments of Yahweh. Jesus said, Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5: 17-19) Legalism is obeying and teaching them from wrong motives, ie., for the sake of elevating oneself above one’s brothers, or as a requirement for salvation. When love for God and one’s brethren is the motive, it isn’t legalistic to obey and to teach them.

Legalism is the strict enforcing or perversion of a law. Legalism is not equal to the Law (except in the mind of the Church). If you’re driving 61 miles per hour in a 60 mile per hour zone and a policeman gives you a ticket, that’s legalism—but the law is good. The Law was given so there won’t be chaos and accidents on the Highway of Life.” ~ http://seedofabraham.net/The-Lifting-of-the-Veil.pdf

Legalists know nothing of the love and mercy of God, and in fact, turn men AWAY from God – Mt 23:13  “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. They do it by putting stumbling blocks in the way of those trying to enter the kingdom, like telling them they must observe certain holy days and rituals which aren’t commanded by God – Rms 14:10-13.  All religions have rituals, rites, and holy days, and rules about how to observe them, and how to worship. The Christian walk (or life) isn’t a dead, dry observance of endless rules about food, drink, and holy days! (Rms 14:17). It’s an exciting adventure of walking with the Living Word (Jesus), allowing him to fully immerse you in the Holy Spirit, and freely (without hindrance) flow through you any way he chooses (Luke 3:16). It’s only by the power and presence of God’s Holy Spirit, that true and lasting works can be accomplished, for without him we can do nothing! (Jn 15:5)

The problem with legalists, is that they won’t allow the Holy Spirit to do what he wants to do (heal people, perform miracles, prophesy, deliver men from demons), because they want to be in control of the church, of its functions and its members. In many houses of worship, the Holy Spirit is quenched – not allowed to move in church services where very little time is allowed for praise and worship, certainly not enough for him to move upon people’s hearts and minds to prepare them to receive what he wants to do among them.  So they leave still hungry and thirsty, sensing something is lacking or missing but don’t know what.  Some are totally unaware of the deficiencies, having become used to a state of spiritual starvation! The typical church structure today is unlike that of the first century church where church elders and bishops were chosen by the other members, not by their papers, or some board. It was the Holy Spirit who called and appointed men and women to various positions and qualified them for service; not PhD’s or minister licenses. By his moving and flowing through various members, the Holy Spirit revealed what their giftings and callings were. That was possible because the Holy Spirit was ALLOWED to MOVE (work, function) in the assemblies and to FLOW through ALL the members, not just ONE! In the New Testament it is written that when Christians gathered together they were ALL expected to contribute to the service, not just the choir, bishop or pastor! (1 Cor 14:26) It was never God’s intent for the congregation to sit passively, like lifeless statues, until the pastor gives them permission to pray, sing, or speak. Where in that controlling structure is there room for the Holy Spirit to ‘speak’ through the other members? Fact is, God has already given ALL his Body members permission to speak or sing out what he has spoken to them in their PRAYER CLOSETS, and shown them in his Word. It would then seem that those in high positions in the Church are either ignorant of these facts (though I don’t see how, if they have read the Bible), or don’t want to lose control of the Church, so they keep a tight lid on the Holy Spirit and congregants. woman with ducktape on mouth

Generally speaking, congregants are trained to be PASSIVE OBSERVERS rather than ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS in God’s program! That’s partly why they don’t go out into the whole world making disciples of all men, preaching the Gospel to every creature. Their idea of fulfilling the Great Commission, is giving money to a missionary or an evangelistic organization. The time is coming when Jesus will replace every aberrant thing, and restore true, spiritual worship to his house forever when he ‘builds again the tabernacle of David,’ Acts 15:16.

We don’t see God’s spiritual gifts (tongue-speaking, prophesying, miracles, healing, etc.) today like in Jesus’ day because of erroneous teachings that those ‘gifts’ ended in the first century AD, and were only given to the Apostles so they could start the Church. Cessationists, base their conclusion upon a few verses – 1Co 13:8  Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. 1Co 13:9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 1Co 13:10  but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.

I call that a ‘fly-by interpretation,’ meaning the interpreter doesn’t bother to think about what’s actually being stated, nor bothers to look up any of the key words in a bible dictionary to see what they mean. The unlearned remain ignorant of the truths in the Bible because they don’t take the time required to study and truly understand them. A real student of the Bible, ‘compares scripture with scripture,’ in order to find the truth. A thorough search of the scriptures shows that the charismatic gifts haven’t passed away and are still in effect.

Eph 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; Eph 4:12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Eph 4:13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

We may deduce that the charismatic gifts are still needed, since that which is PERFECT hasn’t yet come. That which is perfect is when every believer has reached the state of full maturity in Christ, “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Since we don’t presently see every believer in that state of perfection, we can safely conclude that the gifts have not passed away. Furthermore, Paul wrote that he “wished they ALL would speak in tongues, but more that they would prophesy” 1 Cor 14:5. He wrote at length concerning spiritual gifts and their usage in 1 Cor 1:14-39, Acts 21:9, and Rms 12:6. “The doctrine of Cessationism did not originate from a careful study of the scriptures … [but] … originated in experience. A cessationist may say something like this: “The fact that at some point in history the church stopped speaking in tongues, is testament that the gifts were not meant to be permanent.” For further information read Are the Spiritual Gifts for the Church Today? @ http://www.bibleissues.org/gifts1.html  

All the words in the Bible are ‘God-breathed,’ meaning that God’s Spirit inspired and over-shadowed men’s minds to write down what God wanted written (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:21). Holy Prophets of God spoke and prophesied by the power of God’s Spirit speaking through them, and Christians today may do the same. Many sincere believers are being led astray by irresponsible interpretations and false teachings. One way to distinguish truth from error, is to become thoroughly familiar with the Holy Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Psa 119:165  Great peace have they that love thy law; And they have no occasion of stumbling. “stumbling” – H4383 mikshôl; Masculine from H3782; a stumblingblock, literally or figuratively (obstacle, enticement (specifically an idol), scruple): – caused to fall, offence, X [no-] thing offered, ruin, stumbling-block. H3782 kâshal; A primitive root; to totter or waver (through weakness of the legs, especially the ankle); by implication to falter, stumble, faint or fall: – bereave [from the margin], cast down, be decayed, (cause to) fail, (cause, make to) fall (down, -ing), feeble, be (the) ruin (-ed, of), (be) overthrown, (cause to) stumble, X utterly, be weak. 

Another reason the Holy Spirit doesn’t often move in services, is that men don’t pursue or wait on him long enough in their prayer closets (hearts, private devotions) to receive from him. Worldly church members weighed down with the cares of this life (Lk 8:14), have become the norm. Rev 3:16  So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Many don’t seem to have a desire for the return of Jesus, they’re ‘living their best lives NOW!’ Jesus didn’t tell us to live our best lives now, but to PICK UP OUR CROSSES AND FOLLOW HIM – Lk 9:23, Mk 10:21, Gals 2:20, 5:24! Our BEST LIFE is in the hereafter – Rom 8:17  and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

Yet another reason for the Spirit’s aloofness in the Church, is sin in the camp; dissention, divisions, striving for position, power, and titles (1 Cor 3:3, 11:18; Jms 4:1-3, 11). Many are spiritually DEAD – “Ichabod” (1 Sam 4:21) from whom God’s Spirit has departed, as it had from king Saul (1 Sam 16:14, 1 Sam 28:15). If your church doesn’t allow speaking in tongues, prophesying, and other works of the Holy Spirit in its services, and you never feel his presence there, seek God for direction.

Legalists love to burden you with a load of man-made rules and obligations, like blessing one’s self with ‘holy water,’ and ‘crossing one’s self with the sign of the Cross’ before entering the sanctuary and before eating, ‘bowing down on one knee’ in the aisle before entering a pew, repetition of prayers (Rosary and others), praying to deceased saints, wearing of talismans (medals and Scapulars), venerating a wafer as Christ’s body (as in Transubstantiation) and many more. Protestants have their own, yet similar set of religious works and rules by which they seduce men into a false piety, or outward show of righteousness. Some regard only ‘traditional forms of worship’ as viable; if you don’t attend church and do what they do there, you can’t possibly be a devout, faithful Christian, if one at all. Holiness and Pentecostal groups often have a list of do’s and don’ts like, “Don’t cuss, smoke, drink alcohol, play cards, go to movies, watch TV, wear makeup or jewelry, etc., and so long as you keep that list, you’re OK. Most of these things aren’t sinful per say; smoking in my opinion is since it defiles the body. Some may partake of them in moderation without defiling their souls, others may not. This is where God’s “permissible will” comes into play. When there’s no law against doing something which could become a stumbling block or temptation for oneself or someone else, one must follow his conscience or better, ask God if a thing is good for him or not, and accept his verdict on it. The point is, abstaining from outward, obvious sins alone doesn’t make one holy. God sees the heart, and his Word judges the sinful thoughts and intentions of one’s heart – like hatred, lust, greed, envy, and murder (Luke 5:22, Mt 15:19). Harboring hateful thoughts towards one’s neighbor, is tantamount to murder Jesus said (Mt 5:21-22), and is far worse than cussing for example. The legalist judges according to his own standards, not according to God’s, and often doesn’t even realize it (Mt 23:23). Tithing and going to church on Sunday doesn’t make anyone a Christian; one must be “born again” (by God’s Spirit) or he isn’t a Christian (John 3:3, 7; 1 Pet 1:23). Legalism may gain a stronghold in those who walk by the flesh and not by the Holy Spirit. When we walk by the Spirit (live through his leading), we won’t fulfill the desires of our flesh (nature) – Gal 5:16, 25. Also, when we ‘put on Christ,’ we won’t walk by our flesh – Col 2:6; 1 Jn 2:6. The Christian life requires constant vigilance (watching, checking one’s true spiritual condition) – Rev 3:3, 16:15; 1 Cor 16:13; 1 Th 5:6.

Legalists love to exalt themselves, seeking the top positions in church or synagogue so as to gain the admiration of their fellows.

Mat 23:5  They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, (priests and pastors often wear long, ornate robes to distinguish themselves from the rest of the congregants) Mat 23:6  and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues (or churches) Mat 23:7  And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. (or father, pastor, etc.) Mat 23:8  But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

But be not ye called Rabbi,…. Do not be ambitious of any such title, fond of it, or affect it, or be elated with it, should it be given you; nor look upon yourselves as men of power and authority over others; as having the dominion over men’s faith, a power to make laws for others, impose them in a magisterial way, and bind and loose men’s consciences at pleasure, as these men do. – John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

Mat 23:9  And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Mat 23:10  Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. Mat 23:11  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. Mat 23:12  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Jesus was ‘humble’ and never sought praise from men. Mat 21:5  Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, Meek, and riding upon an ass, And upon a colt the foal of an ass. Php 2:6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: Php 2:7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: Php 2:8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Jesus was exalted for his humble obedience to his father’s will and now sits at his father’s right hand – Eph 1:20, Rm 8:34.

Legalists are more concerned with outward appearances than with inward holiness.

Mat 23:26  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof may become clean also. Mat 23:27  white-washed-tombsWoe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Mat 23:28  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but inwardly ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Not much has changed since Jesus’ day, there are many in houses of worship today who only appear to be righteous, but God knows all men’s hearts, and judges accordingly. It is written, Jas 1:27  Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

“to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction;”and not only to see them, and speak a word of comfort to them, but to communicate to them, and supply their wants, as they may require, and according to the ability God has given: where there is true religion in the heart, there is love to God; and where there is love to God, there is love to the saints; and this will show itself to them, in times of affliction and distress; and where this is wanting, religion itself is not pure and undefiled – John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible.

“keep oneself unspotted from the world” – will keep us from the maxims, vices, and corruptions which prevail in the world, and make us holy. Compare Rom 12:2  Jam 4:4 1 Jo 2:15-17. Albert Barne’s Notes on the Bible

“pure, undefiled religion” – (G283 amiantos) Thayer Definition: 1) not defiled, unsoiled; 1a) free from that by which the nature of a thing is deformed and debased, or its force and vigour impaired.

One way the force or vigour of pure religion is weakened and impaired, is to turn it into a legalistic observance only, while abandoning the spirit (intent) of the law – Mt 5:22-44. Another, is to make the observance of outward religious rites and dogmas the locus of righteousness, which Christ and all the Writings decry. During his earthly ministry Jesus corrected the false teachings of legalism.

Legalists persecute the righteous, and you’ll find them everywhere!

Mat 23:34  Therefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: some of them shall ye kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, (or churches) and persecute from city to city: 

don't be a PhariseeThese are some of the tactics of legalists in every religion. The spirit of legalism seeks to discredit if not destroy, the ministry of true men and women of God doing the true works of God. For where there is the true, there is also the false; where there is ‘wheat’ there is also the ‘tare’ (Mt 13:24-39). If you think you might be a legalist, don’t despair, God forgives when we sincerely repent and ask for his help. At times, we have all been legalistic, usually without being aware of it. An unholy ‘spirit’ caught from being part of a legalistic church may be one cause. There are other causes as well, errant teachings, and of course pride – wanting to appear more ‘holy’ and righteous than one really is. 

I realize that some things written here may offend a few people, which is never my intent or desire, but it can’t always be helped. Know that I take no pleasure in offending anyone, but the truth must be told. I’ll be held accountable, having been commissioned to “preach” and prophesy to the Church – Isa 58:1  Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Therefore, I will fear God and not worry about men’s opinions of me.

Debra R. Stout © May 24, 2015