The Sanctuary Truth

The sanctuary of the Old Testament, along with its services, has a profound application for us today. This article will shed light on this reality as we explore the sanctuary truth.

What is the Sanctuary

A sanctuary is a holy place set apart for the worship of God. It can also be a protection from danger. For example, in the US, certain cities are known as sanctuary cities where illegal immigrants can safely exist. Of course, in the Bible, the former meaning applies.

At the Lord’s request, the earliest sanctuary for Israel was the portable tent known as the tabernacle, where the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments was housed. It was also where the presence of the Lord existed (Ex 25:8). After the occupation of the land of Canaan by Joshua, the tabernacle with its sanctuary was placed at Shiloh, a town in central Palestine (Josh 18:1).

The Sanctuary Truth - The Tabernacle

The word sanctuary is applied to the most holy place, and the Holy of Hollies, in the tabernacle and the temple where animal sacrifices were offered to the Lord. Their blood was offered for the remission, the forgiveness of sins. God instructs in His Law in Scripture, Lev 17:11, For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” NIV

Therefore, blood must be shed for the remission of sins.

The Sanctuary Truth

Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Hollies once a year to atone for the sins of the nation as well as his own (Lev 16:29-34).

The Levitical priests mentioned earlier carried the portable tent sanctuary as the Israelites traveled from sight to sight on their pilgrimage to the Promised Land.

When David became king, he planned the temple in Jerusalem, which was eventually built by his son Solomon (1 Chronicles 22:6). This became a more permanent place of worship as the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy vessels of the Lord were placed in the temple.

For several millennia, the Sanctuary and its services were the center of the Israelites’ devotion experience that commenced after they escaped from Egyptian slavery. It was their church in the desert during their journey from Egypt to Canaan (the Promised Land).

What Happened to the Sanctuary?

So, what happened to the sanctuary? It was replaced. The Old Testament Sanctuary was a replica of the heavenly sanctuary. It was replaced with a much better sacrifice. Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and His shedded blood was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind.

The Sanctuary Truth

 

He was the perfect sacrifice because He was sinless (Heb. 4:15). When Jesus ascended into heaven, He became our High Priest, interceding for the sins of sinners who accept Him as Lord and Savior, Christians. When He ascended into heaven, He was inaugurated as our great High Priest. He began His intercessory ministry, previously symbolized by the High Priest’s work in the holy place of the earthly sanctuary.

Heb 9:11-12 reads:

11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

As a high priest, Christ also serves in the tabernacle, “the holy place,” however; His ministry is not limited to the earthly tabernacle. Instead, He operates through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made . . . “not of this building” or creation. Christ serves in the real, heavenly tabernacle because the earthly tabernacle had simply been an illustration, a foreshadowing of what was to come.

Some early Christians saw the phrase “more perfect tabernacle” as a reference to Christ’s incarnation. However, that could not be what the author of Hebrews had in mind. The writer clearly says that this tabernacle is “not a part of this building” or creation, so that could not refer to the human body of Christ. Christ’s ministry on our behalf is in God’s presence, a place where “the blood of goats and calves” would have no effect. Again, this point addresses Christ’s superiority. Verse 24 explains this further: “For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself” (NIV).

Jesus in the Sanctuary

Just as with the earthly sanctuary, there are three compartments: the outer court (courtyard), and within the covered tent are the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place (the Holy of Hollies). When Jesus was slaughtered on earth as the sacrifice for humanity, He was in the outer court of heaven just as it was in the earthly tabernacle where the sacrifices were slaughtered in the outer court. When He was resurrected and ascended into heaven, He entered into the Holy Place, interceding for the sins of humanity as the High Priest. This intercessory action of Jesus Christ, our Lord, is what makes our salvation possible. Next, He entered into the Most Holy Place.

In 1844, Jesus moved from the Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary into the Most Holy Place or Holy of Hollies to begin the final reparation for humanity and cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. This transition is understood as a change in the two phases of Jesus’ ministry. This is a fulfillment of the prophecy contained in Daniel 8, specifically in verse 14, which reads, “He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.” [Cleansed] NIV Details of this prophecy are too lengthy for this article. Perhaps another article will be produced in the future to explain it in detail.

The Sanctuary Truth - Daniel 8
The 2300 Day Prophecy in Daniel 8

This fulfillment is symbolized in the earthly temple by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. This action is explained in Leviticus 16:15-19.

In that typical or symbolic service, the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices. However, in the heavenly sanctuary, things are cleansed with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. As the Scripture reads in Heb 9:23, “It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” NIV

In the earthly sanctuary, after the slaying of the lamb, the blood was sprinkled on the sanctuary wall. Symbolically, this transferred the sin from the sinner to the sanctuary. Consequently, the sinner was forgiven and free, but their sin remained in the sanctuary. As a result, once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest was required to purify the sanctuary. The heavenly Sanctuary also needed to be cleansed.

Therefore, as the earthly service had a yearly Day of Atonement to clean sin out of the sanctuary, the heavenly Sanctuary also had a time of purification.

What is the Significance of the Sanctuary?

Upon the arrival of Christ, He put an end to the requirement for animal sacrifices. They symbolically represented the death of Jesus by taking on the consequences of sin for us and allowing us to be redeemed—if we so choose.

If we chose Jesus as Lord and Savior, He is interceding for our sins in the heavenly
sanctuary today in the most holy place or the holy of holies. Rom 8:34 reads, Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
Christ Jesus is at God’s right-hand, interceding and advocating for us in heaven.

Sanctuary Truth

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” NIV

We are encouraged not to sin. However, when we do, if we confess them and repent from them (Prov. 28:13), we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus, to plead our case, seek forgiveness and cleanse us from unrighteousness.

As a result, Jesus is able, once and forever more, able to save all who approach God through Him. He lives forever to plead with God on our behalf.

Jesus is at work in the heavenly sanctuary for the salvation of mankind, and will continue to do so until the close of probation. Therefore, if we have not done so already, it behooves us to accept Him as our Savior and lay aside the sin that so easily besets us(Hebrews 12:1).

All questions, comments, and concerns can be left below. You will receive a response.

Blessings!

The Millennial Kingdom

Have you noticed the turmoil in governments today? The division and chaos are worldwide. However, there is something to look forward to; the Millennial Kingdom, a time of peace spread upon the whole world with a new leader.

The Issue

Our government in the U.S. is in a very vulnerable state. The most evident of this state is the January 6th insurrection, with an attack on the Capitol to interrupt the peaceful transition of power.

The Millennial Kingdom - January 6th
                                                       The Insurrection of the US Capitol

The next sign of this vulnerability is the recent election of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. For the first time in approximately one hundred years, it occurred with much controversy. It took fifteen rounds of voting and lasted four days. This process, which is usually a characteristically run-of-the-mill government process, was turned into a theatrical spectacle exposing a significant susceptibility in Congress. In order for the nominated Speaker to obtain the votes required to be elected to the position, he yielded substantial concessions to a small group of ultra-conservatives that included making it easier to remove him from office and giving them more significant contributions in writing and passing laws, and in lawmakers’ positions with committees, where Congress is most effective.

This scenario is only the beginning of the potentially crippling confusion that will threaten our government’s effectiveness. These right-winged, ultra-conservatives literally high-jacked Congress until they got their way. Although they were a minority unit, they used their unity for leverage to fulfill their goal. Therefore, one can conclude with the assurance that this leverage will be used in their future endeavors, ultimately high-jacking the government to get their way.

The Millennium - Choosing the Speaker
                                Congress attempting to elect a speaker of the house

This set of circumstances places crucial legislation, such as the government’s funding, to keep it open and avoid defaulting on its obligations, along with other ominous spending bills on a battlefield. Should the government ever reach the spending limit, which could occur this summer, it will no longer be able to borrow money to pay off its debts, possibly forcing a default. That could cause severe damage to the world’s financial system. Among other consequences, U.S. Treasuries would no longer be considered a safe investment.

Imagine the government on such shaky ground. To make things worse, looking at the big picture, the U.S. is not the only country with governmental problems. There are governmental protests and upheaval in governments around the world. This condition is a worldwide political pandemic affecting all forms of government with continued escalation.

In the U.S., this defeats the purpose of government, which is to help the citizens.

What Does the Bible Say?

The Bible says in 1 Cor. 1:10:

10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

In this Scripture, Paul addressed the church at Corinth, saying there should be unity and no divisions among them. Unity is one of the most potent forces available to man on earth. Unity gets God’s attention (Gen. 11:4-8). Division only leads to confusion and chaos.

Does this apply to government? Absolutely! Even though we have a two-party government, there must be the ultimate goal of agreement on some level…for the sake of the people.
However, this is becoming more of a pipe dream rather than a reality.

What is the Answer?

How long can this go on? What is the solution? Unfortunately, this worldwide upheaval will not get any better until the return of Christ. Jesus stated that before He returns, there will be “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”
[Matt 24:21-22]

According to this prophecy of Jesus, what we are witnessing today in our governments is only the beginning of what is to come.

The Millennium Kingdom - The Beginning of Sorrows

Jesus Said in Matt 24:6-8

6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Notice in verse 8 that these things are only “the beginning of sorrows.” These will be a prelude to sufferings. Jesus’ words indicate that there will be a period prior to the end of the age and the future kingdom — it was not to come that week, nor immediately upon Jesus’ resurrection, or promptly after the devastation of Jerusalem.

First, much suffering must occur as a part of life on earth as history moves toward a single, final, God-planned goal — the creation of a new earth and a new kingdom (Rev 21:1-3). The description of sufferings as “sorrows”
is a common biblical metaphor for the commencement of pre-kingdom travail and suffering (see Isa 13:6-8; 26:16-18; Jer. 4:31; 22:20-23; Hos. 13:9-13).

Therefore, we Christians must not be alarmed. Jesus has warned us about them, and we know they must pave the way for the arrival of God’s magnificent kingdom. Everything will happen as per God’s divine plan. Our responsibility is to endure, be prepared, and continue preaching the Good News to all nations (Matthew 24:14).

Ultimately, Jesus is the answer to the resulting troubled condition of the world. Isa 9:6-7 reads:

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.

7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, 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.

The Millennium Kingdom
                                                                     Jesus will usher in peace !

These two verses contain one of the most significant prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament. In verse 6, it states that “the government shall be upon his shoulder.” Jesus will be the One who will eventually rule the world and bring peace to the earth as the eventual governor and ruler. He is called “the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” His rulership will be eternal, as the Scripture reads, Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end” (vs. 7).

The Millennial Kingdom – Jesus to the Rescue!

The ushering in of the Millennial Kingdom by Christ will be the answer to all of the forthcoming upheaval that will come upon the world.

The Millennium Kingdom

The Scriptures inform us that when Christ returns to the earth, He will install Himself as king in Jerusalem, sitting on the throne of David (Luke 1:32–33). The Davidic Covenant promised Israel a king from David’s line who would rule forever—giving the nation rest from all their enemies (2 Samuel 7:10–13).

At the second coming, this and other covenants will be fulfilled as God’s people are gathered again from the nations (Matthew 24:31), converted (Zechariah 12:10–14), and restored to the land under the rule of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Scriptures address the conditions during the millennium as a perfect environment physically and spiritually. It will be a time of peace (Micah 4:2–4; Isaiah 32:17–18), joy (Isaiah 61:7, 10), and comfort (Isaiah 40:1–2). The Scriptures also tell us that only Christian believers will enter the millennial kingdom. Because of this, it will be a time of obedience (Jeremiah 31:33), holiness (Isaiah 35:8), truth (Isaiah 65:16), and the knowledge of God (Isaiah 11:9, Habakkuk 2:14). Christ will rule as king (11:1–10). Nobles and governors will also rule (Isaiah 32:1; Matthew 19:28), and Jerusalem will be the world’s political center (Zechariah 8:3).

There are some who believe that the millennium kingdom is symbolic and not an actual one thousand years but is a way of expressing an extended period of time. However, Revelation 20:2-7 gives the specific time period of the millennial kingdom. Actually, six times in that passage, the millennial kingdom is expressly said to be 1,000 years in length.

Additionally, numerous other passages of Scripture point to a literal reign of the Messiah on the earth. The fulfillment of many of God’s covenants and promises rests on a literal, physical, future kingdom. Therefore, there is no solid basis for refuting the literal interpretation of the millennial kingdom and its duration of 1,000 years.

Conclusion

The time is coming when Christ will return to earth again. In Rev 22:12, He said, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

However, we do not know when for He also said in Mark 13:32, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”

Therefore, we simply do not know. Even though more events are to occur before Christ returns, they can transpire quickly enough during our lifetime to witness His grand return.

As a result, it behooves us to take the advice of Jesus, who said, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matt 24:42).

Therefore, we must stay ready for when He comes, He will already have His reward with Him, and all judgment will have been completed (Rev 22:12).

Amen

Your questions, comments, and concerns are welcomed below.

Blessings!

Marijuana and the Bible

The legalization of recreational marijuana is considered to be a revolutionary step in the progression of society. But is it? Is it really a good thing to legalize another mind-altering vice into society? Do we know everything about this drug? What does the Bible say about such things? This article will shed light on marijuana and the Bible.

The United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are thrusting hastily into a marijuana nirvana. But at what cost?

What is Marijuana?

 

Marijuana and the Bible - What is Marijuana?

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a psychoactive drug from the cannabis plant. An original inhabitant of Central or South Asia, the plant has been used as a drug for recreational and entheogenic purposes and in many traditional medicines for hundreds of years. Other names include Ganja, Grass, Hash, Pot, and Weed.

The Cannabis plant contains chemicals that affect the brain and can change one’s mood or consciousness.

Medical Use?

Not all Cannabis plants contain the chemical (THC) that has a hallucinogenic effect on the brain and makes individuals high. It is widely believed that this form of Cannabis has medicinal qualities and is known as CBD. CBD has become known as a natural and safe healing miracle substance that can cure many ailments, and it is a mild and safe substance with no downside. These ailments include Cancer, Parkinson’s’, back pain, depression, and nausea. However, the advocates for marijuana’s ultimate goal have been to legalize recreational Marijuana using medical uses as an entranceway to recreational use. However, is Marijuana the cure-all is the cure-all it’s claimed to be?

Marijuana and the Bible - CBD Oil

The Ohio Medical Control Program dispenses Marijuana for medical use according to the Ohio bill signed into law in 2016, making it legal for medicinal purposes. The following medical conditions qualify under the program

  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Spinal cord disease or injury
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • PTSD
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Hepatitis C
  • Glaucoma
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
  • Cancer
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease

This list is quite extensive and makes Marijuana quite a wonder drug, or is it?

Dr. Gary Wank, who sat on the Medical Marijuana Medical Committee in 2016, is open-minded and was not against trials on a number of ailments. He stated in an article in Psychology Today, “If you suffer from one of these disorders, the most important question to ask your recommender is whether you can benefit from using marijuana. If your recommender says “yes” then you can be certain that he or she is ignorant of the current state of medical research on marijuana. In other words, there is no reliable medical clinical evidence to support the use of marijuana for any of these conditions—none at all.”

A more recent British study examined the effectiveness of Cannabis for these six (6) mental health conditions: Depression, Anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Psychosis. The results were printed in the Lancet Pscharity Journal. London’s independent reported the scientists findings on October 28, 2019, that combined 83 studies that involved three thousand participants recommended their use for the six mental health conditions could not be justified based on the current evidence.

They further stated that this is due to a lack of evidence for their effectiveness and because of the known risks of Cannabinoids.

It appears that the advocates have promoted a cure looking for a disease. However, this does not mean there will be no medical uses for Cannabis, as many medicines are derived from plants. The issue is that there has been an agenda all along, and activists have dishonestly sold through anecdotal testimonies that it is a cure-all when proper testing is lacking.

Marijuana libertarian Alex Berenson, author of the book, Tell Your Children The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence, published in 2019, did research and reviewed some studies. What he learned surprised him and turned him into an outspoken critic of marijuana, setting him on a path to inform the public of its history and consequences. His findings are:

  • There is an agenda behind medical marijuana. To legalize medical marijuana
  •  Marijuana is linked to mental health problems. There has always been a known link between cannabis use and mental health issues such as psychosis and schizophrenia. However, the problem is more significant today.

Today’s marijuana is very different from the 1960 and ’70s when THC levels were 1 to 2%. However, with the onset of the 1990s, producers initiatedworking towards increasing the THC content to in access of 25%, ushering in an increase in mental health problems.

Researchers are aware that there is a time-lapse in the time mental illness begins and when an individual first engages in using cannabis. Therefore, it was no surprise when increased problems increased after 2000.

Researchers in Denmark recently observed that their mental illness registry had a significant increase in schizophrenia cases of about 30% from 2000 to 2012. Additionally, the higher levels of THC appear to contribute to another more significant trend. When they observed 30 to 59 aged adults, psychiatrists expected schizophrenia and bipolar disorder to become evident by the late twenties. However, the researchers found that 46 out of 100,000 individuals in the over-30 group received a new Psychosis diagnosis every year. This high rate of actual cases after age 30 contrasts with conventional wisdom.

  • Cannabis is linked to violence. The majority think of marijuana as a wholly calming drug. But is it? According to a 2016 Psychology Today article, new research in the journal Psychological Medicine concludes that perpetual use of cannabis may cause violent behavior due to changes in brain function. This link between the use of recreational marijuana and violent behavior resulting in crimes in contrast to alcohol, meth, and other illegal drugs has been long debated by researchers. The mellowing effects of Cannabis seem unacceptable for promoting violent behavior. However, ample research has linked marijuana to violent behavior.

It is important to note that most individuals do not exhibit violent behavior, but a small percentage do, and the problem can arise suddenly without any warning.

Other adverse effects of significant marijuana use found in various studies include:

  • Loss of motivation
  • Addiction
  • Brain impairment and mental health
  • Lung and heart damage
  • Cancer risk—Although studies are inconclusive; some have made a strong link.

Yet, despite what has been mentioned above, efforts to legalize the use of marijuana for both “medicinal” and recreational purposes continue to grow. These efforts are succeeding in the halls of state and national governments. Unfortunately, the drug is not as harmless as advocates claim.

For several years, the Partnership for a Drug-Free Canada has presented reputable, peer-reviewed scientific studies showing the dangers and social and economic costs of marijuana use. However, despite the endorsement of health experts, social pressure and the lure of increased tax revenue are driving the political mechanism.

Could society benefit from legalizing pot? Is there a larger picture to consider?

So what is the Benefit?

It is interesting that even though Western nations live in a time of excessive prosperity compared to any other period, so many in our population today, the youth, in particular, search for what is basically an escape from reality in mind-altering drugs. Lavishness flourishes in our lives, yet many run after hallucinogenic drugs. With the problems that already exist with alcohol (e.g., alcoholism, drunken driving, loss of work, violent behavior, even loss of life), why do we need to add another destructive player to this negative playbook by legalizing Marijuana? Make no mistake; unfortunately, people will die due to legalizing marijuana.

Some will say, well, people will do it anyway.
Okay—why?

It is evident that not all is right. Something is indeed missing. Our day-to-day lives are not satisfying, and we are not finding pleasure in our work and relationships with family and friends. We seek transitory pleasure through intoxication with drugs that bring all sorts of potential harm. Perhaps it is time to inspect our lives a little more closely.

Eccl 3:11 says, “He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” NIV

God has “planted eternity in the hearts of men.” What this means is that we can never be totally content with earthly pleasures and pursuits. In view of the fact that we are created in God’s image, we have a spiritual thirst and eternal value. Therefore, nothing but the eternal God can truly satisfy us. He has built in us a restless yearning for the perfect world that can only be found in his perfect rule.

Marijuana and The Bible - Eccl. 3:11

However, we fail to recognize this either out of ignorance or rebellion and attempt to fill this yearning with earthly things, such as excessive shopping for things, relationships, excessive work, and drugs and alcohol. However, these things only create a futile downward spiral. Therefore, there is no more of a benefit than any of the other vices the world engages.

We do not have to live this way because we can elect a way of life that provides happier lives for our families and ourselves. Therefore, we can avoid choices that create trouble and gruesome realities from which we wish to escape. We must fill this void with God and His Word.

What Does the Bible Say?

Marijuana and the Bible

Although the Bible does not mention anything specific regarding the recreational use of marijuana, it clearly warns about the dangers of drunkenness and cautions that it leads to overindulging. For example, Eph. 5:18 reads, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” and Proverbs 23:20 counsels against surrounding ourselves with those who are drunk, and reads, “Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:”

Recreational marijuana can trigger a mind-altering high that is comparable to drunkenness. Both can cause impaired judgment, cognitive dysfunction, restlessness, coordination and reflex issues. Based on that, it is viable that the Bible’s warnings against drunkenness can also be applied to marijuana intoxication.

Paul’s instruction to Titus, a young colleague in Crete, included an exhortation on soberness. Titus 2:6 reads, “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.” NIV

Self-control is the opposite of being high, stoned, drunk, or in any other condition in which we are not in control of our minds. One of the elements that are essential for happiness and success is self-control. The Bible also stresses the need to be in control of our minds at all times. Gal 5:22-23 reads:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The fact of the matter is self-control cannot be exercised when one is drunk or high on a mind-altering substance. When in that state of mind, one is at risk of actions and words that can be regretted for life. The possible addictions that result can devastate families, careers, reputations, and potential. A sober mind is an invaluable defense against such tragedies.

We are entering a difficult and dangerous period in our lives. Nations have outright rejected teachings on proper behavior, ethics, and morality that were formerly revered. The concept that humankind is the creation of a God who gave instructions preserved through His sacred text is no longer widely accepted in the Western world, and the moral guidelines that directed behavior are no longer considered valid. At the same time, social order has started to unravel without such a set of moral directives.

The sad truth is that the Bible is slowly being canceled.

Comments, questions, concerns, or experiences with marijuana can be left below.

The Beginning of the End

The Last Days

Those of us who know the truth know that the end is coming, that we are living in the last days. The signs are all around us according to the prophecy spoken by Jesus in Matthew 24:3-51. In the meantime, according to what Jesus said in verse 42, we must be ready for His return because we do not know what day His return will occur. When Jesus ascended into heaven, humanity headed toward the beginning of the end. One of the ways to be ready for His return is to be aware of what is going on in heaven concerning us.

Jesus’ Heavenly Sanctuary

When Jesus entered heaven, He did so as the high priest of humanity and began His heavenly ministry. The two-compartment design of the earthly sanctuary built by Moses was, in fact, a replica of the Heavenly Sanctuary set up by God. Heb 8:1-2 reads:

1 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,

2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. NIV

The Beginning of the End
Jesus is our High Priest who intercedes for us!

The two compartments of the sanctuary are the holy place and the most holy place. Worshipers were only allowed in the outer courtyard and could not enter the tabernacle tent containing these compartments. Only priests were allowed; only the high priest was allowed in the Most Holy Place and only on the Day of Atonement.

Christ entered the first phase of his Heavenly ministry, which is in the Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary as the High Priest of humanity after his resurrection and ascension into heaven to intercede for the sins of mankind.

However, there was a second phase of Jesus’ Heavenly ministry when He moved to the Most Holy Place of Heavenly Sanctuary. The prophecy of the 2300 days (years) contained in Daniel 8:13-14 points to when Christ’s Most Holy Place ministry in Heaven would start. Verse 14 reads, “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” This is the passage that William Miller mistakenly interpreted to be the return of Christ to earth to cleanse the earthly sanctuary when it was actually the heavenly sanctuary that was to be cleansed.

This event is symbolized by the Day of Atonement described in Leviticus 16 and Leviticus 23:26–32. The Investigative Judgment doctrine states that in 1844 (456 BC – 2300 years = 1844 AD), Christ moved from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place in Heaven as described in Daniel 8:13-14, and this initiated the judgment described in Dan 7:9-10, which read,

9 “As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.

10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. NIV

The Beginning of the End
The ancient of days sitting on the throne!

 

This passage describes the investigative judgment. During the investigative judgment, the works of all men and women are written down in books, kept in heaven. Throughout the investigative judgment, also known as the Pre-Advent Judgment, these books are opened (as also described in Revelation 20:12), and the lives of all individuals, both living and dead (2 Cor. 5:10), are examined to establish who has responded to Christ’s offer of salvation.

The record books of heaven, in which the names and deeds of humanity are listed, establish the judge’s decisions. As the books are opened in the judgment, the lives of all, who believe in Jesus, come into review before God. Commencing with those who first lived upon the earth, our Advocate (Jesus) puts forward the cases of each successive generation and concludes with the living. Every name is presented, and every case is closely investigated.

The Judgment will confirm those who are genuine believers in God from those who are not. Individuals who have truly repented of sin and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice have pardon entered by their names in the books of heaven. They have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of God. Their sins will be blotted out. They will be accounted worthy of eternal life.

On the other hand, when any individual has sins remaining upon the books of record, unrepented of and unforgiven, their names will be blotted out of the book of life, and the record of their good deeds will be erased from the book of God’s remembrance. Sins that have remained unrepented and not forsaken will not be pardoned nor blotted out of the books. They will stand to witness against the sinner on the day of the Lord.

During this judgment, Satan will bring charges of transgression and unbelief against believers, while Jesus acts as defense. The good news of the judgment is that Jesus is not only the Attorney but also the Judge (John 5:22). With Jesus as Attorney and Judge, there is nothing to fear.

The Final Chapter

Although the time of the commencement of the Investigative Judgment is precise, which is the year 1844, no one knows when it will end. All that is known is that the work of the investigative judgment and the purging of sins are to be completed before the second coming of the Lord. Rev. 22:12 reads, quoting Jesus, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

The Beginning of the End

When Jesus arrives, He will have His reward (s) with Him according to the judgment of the works of individuals. The investigative judgment will have closed and the critical hour that marks the determination of every man’s destiny, and the final offer of mercy is withdrawn from guilty men. Jesus is also quoted as saying in

The conclusion of the Investigative Judgment is expressed as “the close of probation” At this point, the destiny for all will have been decided, whether for life or death. There will be no further opportunity for unbelievers to repent and be saved. Revelation 22:11 is considered to describe the close of probation: Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.” NIV

Following the close of probation will be a time of great distress. Matt 24:21-22 reads:

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

The Beginning of the End - Matthew 24:21

This tribulation will be a time of severe conflict and persecution for God’s people (Revelation 13:15-17; 7:14). Shortly after that, Christ will return in glory (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10), and raise the dead in Christ, the righteous ones (the “first resurrection,” Revelation 20:4-5), whom He will take to heaven together with the righteous ones that are living to share his millennial reign (Revelation 20:6). Just who these “righteous” ones are, will, of course, have been revealed during the time of the Investigative Judgment.

It is essential to recognize that we are under probation during this current period of grace. It is not the time to be flippant about our salvation. It is a time of reflection and recognition that life is serious and it matters how we live our lives and check our attitudes towards sin. It matters how we obey all of the Commandments of God.

Conclusion

Many of us will not make it to the close of probation but will die prior. It will then be too late to repent of our sins and too late for unbelievers to know Christ. Eccl 9:10 reads, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). However, Ecclesiastes 9:10 says there is no wisdom in the grave.

So let us not be deceived, but be wise, and let others know that time is at hand and we must make things right with our creator—before it is too late. This appeal is what the Three Angels Message is all about.

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.

Blessings!

The Right Church

The Right Church

What is the church? Is it a building, or is it more? Actually, it is more than a building. The church building houses the church. There are many different kinds of churches; some are weak, some are strong, and all are not Christian churches but churches of other religions (temples, mosques, etc.). But what is the right church? Churches differ, even among Christian churches, so what is the right church for the Christian? Let’s see what the Scriptures say.

Matt 16:13-20

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

The Christian church is about Jesus being the Son of the living God. If this is removed, it is no longer a church. The church is built on the principle that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (vss. 17 & 18).

The Right Church -

The Characteristics of a Strong Church

Now that the foundation of the Christian church has been laid, the fact remains that some churches are stronger than others. So what makes a church strong?

Spirit-Filled Leadership – If a church does not have spiritual leadership, that is a weak church. Remember what Jesus said to His disciples. First, He gave them the Great Commission.

In Matt 28:18-20 He said,

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Therefore, they had the call to go forth and spread the gospel. Imagine spreading the gospel message to the whole world. Keep in mind that this was a time when there was no television, radio, smartphones, internet, etc. This Commission was a great undertaking which is why it is called the Great Commission. But, He is also quoted saying more in Acts 1:4-5:

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Jesus, in addition to giving the Commission, commanded them to stay in Jerusalem until they had received the Holy Spirit. Why? Because He knew that they could not carry out this Great Commission without the power of the Holy Spirit to dwell within them, empowering, enabling them, and giving direction and guidance to carry out what they were called to do.

Jesus told the disciples, in essence, that they were not ready without the Spirit dwelling within them.

TheRight Church

The same is true today. No church staff can do God’s work unless they are filled with the Holy Spirit. This truth not only includes the Pastor but the staff as well. Therefore, for a church to be strong, the leadership of the staff must be filled with the Holy Spirit to have the direction, power, and energy to carry out the work that must be accomplished. The Spirit should also be in their lives, exhibiting evidence of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23).

Doctrinally sound messaging and teaching – Messaging (preaching) and teaching must meet the needs of the people. Therefore, it must be fastened, fixed firmly on the Word of God. This should be the basis for every individual to have a personal belief in the truth. All personal beliefs must be based on the Word of God they received from the church. We must know what we believe and why we believe it. This truth must also be passed on to children, the next generation (Deut. 4:40; 6:6-7).

Uncompromising in its convictions – a strong church contains leadership and body that have convictions that they do not lay aside but stand by them. A church with a pastor that compromises the Word of God and where the people compromise their convictions is a weak church. A strong church of God is built on a strong conviction—a “rock” that stands firm on the Word of the living God.

Strong emphasis on faith and prayer – A strong church emphasizes faith and prayer to its congregation. A life without prayer is a weak life. If one does not pray, it is unlikely that one will live a godly life. Therefore, a church must emphasize prayer. Without faith, we cannot please God, and prayer strengthens faith. The power of the Holy Spirit flows through individuals of prayer and faith.

Sanctified worship service – The worship service of a strong church should provide the atmosphere in which individuals experience God’s presence and leave renewed in their commitment to obey and serve Him. The church should be a spiritual hospital that renews and strengthens its congregants. There is strength in numbers.

Generosity and Faithfulness in giving – A strong church comprises individuals who are faithful and generous in their giving. People, who obey God, walk in His way, and follow Him will give because the Spirit of God motivates them to do so.

Strategically organized – A strong church is organized to reach its God-given goals. Jesus was organized, and the first church was organized. A strong church is organized in a way to efficiently use its resources (time, money, human resources) in a way that it functions in a way that benefits its members and community.

Encourages the utilization of Spiritual gifts – Spiritual gifts are bestowed upon all Christians by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7).

Rom 12:5-8: reads:

5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

The passage informs us that everyone” should work together under the command and authority of Christ, using their spiritual gifts to build up the church.

The Right Church - One Body
d) Different gifts. e) God’s grace/choice/enabling.

A very strong church is a church where individuals operate out of their gifts. People are the happiest and most efficient in the church when they use and bless others with their spiritual gifts.

United in spirit – A strong church consists of people who are united in Spirit. Jesus said in Mark 3:25, And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
The church holds no exception to Jesus’ statement. When a church is divided, it is severely weakened, incapable of effectively functioning as a body of Christ.

Scripture says in Eph. 4:3-6

3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

4 There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called—

5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. NIV

Notice how many times “one”
is mentioned in this passage. It is the will of Christ for His church to be in unity. It is the only way “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18).

Genuine love for one another – Loving one another is what Jesus embodied. The rock on which Jesus would build his church has been identified as Jesus himself. His work of salvation by dying for us on the cross was the greatest act of love. As a result, His church must exhibit love. Scripture says in Eph 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
NIV This is what we must do if we are going to be one with Christ and build His strong church.

 A vision for a lost world – A church that does not have a vision for the world is not a strong church. Prov 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”

The church is to carry out the vision of Christ, the Commission, and spread the Word all over the world, reaching as many as possible with love and unity in the spirit of Christ.

Conclusion

Is your church weak or strong? It matters where you go to church. We must be aware.

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.

Blessings

Death and Life

Death and Life

The Scriptures have a lot to say about death and life. It addresses these aspects of humanity from the beginning (Genesis) to the end (Revelation). But what about life after death?

What is Life?

According to Nelson’s Bible dictionary, life is “The physical functions of people, animals, and plants. In physical terms, life is the time between birth and death. Because God is the source of life, it is a gift from Him. He first filled Adam with the breath of life (Gen 2:7), and He continues to be the source of all life. ”

What is Death?

Again, according to Nelson’s Bible dictionary, death is “A term which, when applied to the lower orders of living things such as plants and animals, means the end of life.”

Life after Death?

Is there life after death? Well, it depends on whom you ask. Since no one has returned to tell us, there has been much discussion and debate in answering that question.

What Does the Bible Say?

The Holy Bible
The Inspired Word of God

The Bible says in 2 Tim 3:16-17

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

“All Scripture”; the Scriptures are well-balanced when approached and applied correctly.

 

There are numerous Scriptures that address death used by those who support life after death and those who do not. For example, those who believe all of life ends in the grave would use the following: Ps. 115:17; John 5:28, 29; Ps. 146:4; 1 Cor. 15:51-58, etc.). However, these Scriptures address only the physical aspect of death, such as the dead, the grave, the body, as well as the final resurrection. However, other Scriptures shed light on the spiritual aspect of death between dying and the final resurrection.

For example, those who support an existence beyond the grave would use    2 Cor. 5:8

8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. KJV

This Scripture unmistakably affirms that to be away from the body connotes being at home with the Lord. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul also wrote that departing from this life means to “be with Christ” (Phil 1:23 NIV). Notice that He didn’t say that he would rather be dead than alive! He further states in this Scripture that he’d rather “be with Christ, which is better by far.” It doesn’t appear that he is seeking a state of nothing until the final resurrection.

Never the less, these passages have been the subject of much debate over the actual state of believers at death. Theologians call this condition “the intermediate state” between being at home in the body (vs.5:6) and at home with the Lord. He does not address resurrection or heaven in these Scriptures. He addresses these in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54

Since Paul addressed the bodily resurrection occurring upon Jesus’ return and believers being with Jesus immediately after they die, several conclusions have been proposed to explain this transitional state of the believer.

It appears that in recent years, conclusions regarding the disembodied state have been severely criticized. Many of these condemnations are based more on philosophical ideas about a person’s soul than on Scripture. Some of the confusion is due to very little scriptural explanation.

There are three main views of the “intermediate state.”

Soul sleep — Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses hold this view that believes that the soul rests in unconsciousness or oblivion until the resurrection. This view is based on verses where death is referred to as “sleep” (Acts 7:6, 13:36; 1 Cor. 15:6; 1 Thess. 4:13-15, and even Jesus’ words in John 11:11). However sleep is a figurative way of addressing the dead and refers to the physical body and not the soul. Some have even modified this view to say that believers are “with Christ,” but not in a conscious state.

However, Scripture teaches the believer’s immediate presence with the Lord at death in Jesus’ words in Luke 23:43 to the thief on the cross,
“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise”
(NLT) and his final prayer, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” (NLT) Stephen, the first Christian martyr, said right before he died, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59).

Purgatory — This is the Roman Catholic view that at death, those who have died in their sins and rejected Christ go to Hades (hell) for eternal punishment; those who died in a perfect state of grace go directly to heaven. Those who are not spiritually perfect go to purgatory for a refining process and purification of sin.

This view has developed mainly from church theologians and church councils rather than the Bible itself, although Catholics have used 1 Cor. 3:15 to justify this view, which reads: “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

Incomplete resurrection — This is the most commonly accepted view of Paul’s words in the New Testament. There is a conscious, personal existence for the believer after death. At death, a believer goes to a place and condition of blessedness. The time interval between the believer’s death and the complete resurrection of the body will be undetectable to the Christian. No anxiety or discomfort will blemish this condition. However, the body will not be in its complete and final form because Paul points to a future resurrection as a specific event (Phil 3:20-21; 1 Thess. 4:16-17), as does Jesus (John 5:25-29). At death, we will transition and assume a different expression or condition of the bodily self; then, at the Second Coming, this will be exchanged or reconstituted as the resurrection body (1 Cor. 15:51-53).

A passage of Scripture illustrates this disembodied state from no other than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Luke 16:19-31

19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

Death and Life - Lazarus and the Rich Man

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Death and Life - Lazarus
There is a big chasm between the righteous and the unrighteous! It matters how we live!

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:

28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

A lot is contained within this passage, and an article could be composed on it alone. But to summarize, this is one of Jesus’ parables. Jesus used them to communicate a spiritual truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.

This parable is the story of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. While the rich man enjoyed his luxurious life, the beggar was stationed outside his gates, never invited in by the rich man, only to receive crumbs from his table.

Both Lazarus and the rich man died but ended up in different places. But notice verse 22,And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom:…” Abraham’s bosom is a synonym for the life hereafter and a place of rest and tranquility—“comforted” (vs. 25).

According to the Old Testament, when an individual died, he went to be with his fathers (Gen 15:15; 47:30; Deut. 31:16; Judg. 2:10). The patriarch Abraham was regarded as the “father” of the Jews (Luke 3:8; John 8:37-40). At death, therefore, the Jew went to his forefathers or, more specifically, to join “father Abraham.” As a child of Abraham, Lazarus gained closeness to Him as a fellow beneficiary and companion of Abraham. The only use in the Bible of “Abraham’s bosom”
is this parable.

A great gulf or chasm divided him from the rich man, who was being “tormented” in the flames of hell. The Greek word translated as hell is Hades, the place or state of departed souls. In the King James translation, it is also translated as grave (1 Cor. 15:55).

The Pharisees deemed wealth to be evidence of a person’s righteousness. Jesus troubled them with this story where a diseased beggar is rewarded, and a rich man is punished. However, God’s judgment is just no matter the social status. Therefore, no matter how much material wealth one has, God sees the heart.

Another moral of this story is that it matters how we live our lives on earth, which determines our eternal destinations. However, within this story is another precept; there is a spiritual
existence that is initiated when we die. There is no contact with the natural world. Notice that when the rich man requested Abraham to send Lazarus to impart a warning to his household, he was refused (vss. 27 & 28). There is no contact will the dead. Once death has occurred, that is the end of the story (Eccl 9:10).

Jesus Christ, Himself delivered a message about the eternal gateway of the lost and the saved in this parable. Having come from eternity, who else would be more proficient in the things of the spiritual world and acknowledge that there is a veil that separates this present world from the unseen? With His divine knowledge, He could speak with authority of the afterlife.

The contrast between the eternal abodes of the lost and the saved in this parable is colossal. Although Jesus’ parables were stories, they were factual principles used to illustrate a point for teaching. They were not fairy tales. Jesus would not have said that “…the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom:” if that was not factual. Jesus would never mislead anybody or tell a lie (Numbers 23:19).

Death and Life - Abraham's Bosom
Lazarus was delivered to Abraham’s Bosom by angels – a place of rest and tranquility.

Let’s look at more of Jesus’ sharing of eternal destinies, Matt 10:28

28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Death and Life - Matthew 10:28
The soul lives until God destroys it.

This Scripture containing the words of Jesus unambiguously illuminates the point that there is the “soul” and the “body.” The Scripture acknowledges that the body dies, but the soul does not. According to the Scripture, if an individual kills a body, the soul continues “but is not able to kill the soul.” Only God “is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” So, if the soul is not destroyed, where does it go until the resurrection? [Answers and comments can be left below]

Jesus’ point for His disciples was not to be afraid of persecution from men but to be afraid of God only.

[Other Scriptures to consider: Psalm 146:4, Ecclesiastes 12:7, Hebrews 9:27]

What is the Soul?

The Greek word translated as soul is psuche (psoo-khay’) which means breath and, by implication, spirit.

According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, Soul is “A word with two distinct meanings in the Bible:”

1. That which makes a human or animal body alive. This usage of the word soul refers to life in the physical body. The best example of this usage is those passages in the New Testament in which the Greek word for soul is translated as life. “For whoever desires to save his life [soul] will lose it,” Jesus declared, “but whoever loses his life [soul] for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36-37).

This idea is also present in the Old Testament. For example, the soul of a dying person departed at death (Gen 35:18). The prophet Elijah brought a child back to life by stretching himself upon the child three times and praying that God would let the child’s soul come back into him (1 Kings 17:19-23).

2. The word soul also refers to the inner life of man, the seat of his emotions, and the center of human personality. The first use of the word soul in the Old Testament expresses this meaning: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (soul)” (Gen 2:7). This means more than being given physical life; the biblical writer declares that man became a “living soul,” or a person, a human being, one distinct from all other animals.

Therefore, only God can deliver the soul and life, and only God can destroy it.

Conclusion

In the final analysis, Christians can only affirm precisely what the Bible says: there is the body, and there is the soul. The body, upon death, goes to the grave, and the soul and spirit transition and commences an eternal journey. How we live our lives determines whether we enter a place of rest or a place of torment until the time of the final judgment.

Amen

So what do you think? What happens when we die? Your questions, comment, and concerns are welcomed below.

Blessings

The Three Angels Message

The Three Angels Message

The three angels’ message is related to the second coming of Jesus Christ. What is it, and to who is it directed? This article will explain The Three Angels Message.

What is the Three Angels Message?

The Three Angels Message

The three angels’ message is an interpretation of the messages given by the three angels in Revelation 14:6–12 and is part of John’s vision of the end time while exiled on the island of Patmos and is part of John’s vision of the end time while exiled on the island of Patmos.

In this passage, three angels contrast the destiny of Christians with that of unbelievers. This contrast is a shift from the picture of the coming triumph of God’s people (vss.1-5) and the pouring out of the seven bowl judgments upon the earth prior to the return of Jesus. In essence, God will judge evil.

The doctrine is that these messages are given to prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The Three Angels Messages

To look at these messages, we look first at Rev 14:6-7.

6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

The Three Angels Message - The First Angel

The first angel’s message pronounced people to fear God and worship him because the hour of his judgment had come. The “everlasting gospel” was still the Good News. Even in these final moments of judgment, God gave the people the opportunity to repent. This announcement may be the final fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy, “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them.” (Mark 13:20 NIV ).

The phrase “fear God, and give glory to him” is the essence of the believers’ duty to God. The word “fear” refers to respect and reverence. The word “glory” means recognizing God’s power and giving him the honor He is due.

Some students of the Bible see this as an announcement of judgment rather than an appeal. The world’s people have had their chance to proclaim their allegiance to God, and now God’s great judgment is about to begin. However, in all probability, this is a final, worldwide appeal to all individuals [“every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people”] to acknowledge and accept “the everlasting gospel” of Jesus, the Son of the one true God who is to be honored. No one would have the excuse of never hearing God’s truth. Since this is the vision of a scene in the future, it is unknown if God will, at that point, give the world one more chance. What is known, however, is that He offers that chance to the ones who read and study John’s vision now (Rev. 1:3).

The message will be proclaimed to everyone; therefore, no one will have the excuse that they did not know the gospel message. As Paul wrote in Romans 1:20, “…they have no excuse for not knowing God.” NLT

This truth is a central theme of Revelation. Whenever there has been a time of judgment, there has been a preceding time of warning. Scripture states in Amos 3:7,Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” One of Jesus’ functions on earth was that of a prophet. He issued numerous warnings through His discourses and parables of His return and the need to be prepared for the same.

People are being granted the opportunity to repent. However, those who refuse want nothing to do with God. Therefore, their punishment will be justified.

The Three Angels Message - the second angel

Revelation 14:8

8 A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” NIV

The second angel’s message came from the angel that followed the first one through the skies pronouncing that Babylon is fallen. This event was also prophesied in the Old Testament (Isa. 21:9, Jer. 51:8).

In the Old Testament, Babylon was synonymous with an evil city and an evil empire — a world center for idol worship. Outside that city, King Nebuchadnezzar had built a great statue for himself, and everyone needed to worship it (Dan 3:1-6; compare Rev 13:14-15).

Nebuchadnezzar had reached the height of power and pride but found himself judged by God (Dan 4:28-33). The Babylonians had gone through Jerusalem and taken many of the citizens of Judah into captivity (see 2 Kings 24 and 2 Chron. 36).

As Babylon had been Judah’s worst enemy, the Roman Empire was the worst enemy of the early Christians. John, who in all probability did not dare write openly against Rome, was, in this case, symbolically applying the name “Babylon” to this enemy of God’s people (Rome) — and, by extension, to all of God’s enemies of all times. However, there is a literal connection between Rome and Babylon, and the saints are strongly encouraged to abandon Babylon as she will fall and be judged. (Rev. 18:1-4).

Babylon” is the name of the civilization seduced by the beast (see also 17:1-9).

Presently this world system is filled with idolatry, corruption, and sexual sin (18:2-3, 7), a wellspring of ungodly religion, government, and economics.

The Three Angels Message - the 3rd Angel

Rev 14:9-11

9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

The third angel’s message explained to the nonbelievers what would happen to them if they received the beast’s mark. Their eventual judgment would be much worse, and the consequences eternal. The beast’s mark is false worship, and churches that fail to abandon this worship become churches of Babylon. For more details on the beast mark, please read 666 Mark of the Beast on this website.

While those who belong to God will suffer and be killed, they would have a glorious eternity awaiting them (14:1-5). These are the saints that have endured and kept the Commandments of God. This is where the seed that Jesus planted on the cross comes to fruition.

Those who worship the beast and accept his mark, however, would choose to operate according to the Antichrist’s world economic and religious system and ultimately face God’s judgment. These individuals would have turned away from God to get what the world values and violated Christian principles.

Therefore, they will have to drink “the wine of the wrath of God.” The Old Testament regularly depicts God’s anger as being in a cup, prepared to be poured out (e.g., Job 21:20; Ps. 75:8; Isa 51:17; Jer. 25:15-38). This cup of wrath is undiluted, “without mixture.” This description refers to the usual Roman practice of diluting wine with water. God’s wrath will be in its most potent form. The full extent of his anger, not watered-down by mercy and grace, would soon be poured out on those individuals who had steadfastly declined to repent from sin and receive His salvation.

The Three Angels Message - Revelation 14:11

Their anguish will be with fire and burning sulfur. This description is a depiction taken from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, two sinful cities that God had destroyed with “fire and burning sulfur” that “rained down from heaven” (Gen 19:24). Fire and sulfur are used as instruments of torture in Revelation 19:20, 20:10, and 21:8. The actual picture may be symbolic. Still, there is no question about the horror and conclusiveness of this judgment, as “the smoke of their torment” rises forever and ever.

In contrast to the redeemed, who could “rest from all their toils and trials” (14:13 NLT), the unbelievers will have no release day or night from their suffering. Having chosen the side of the beast, they will suffer for it. Jesus described eternal punishment as “fire that never shall be quenched” (Mark 9:44, cf. Rev. 20:10).

God has assured in other passages that He will penalize sin (e.g., Rom 2:6-11; 12:19). The wicked will be avenged for how they have discarded God and neglected their fellow human beings (Matt 13:41-42; 16:27). Jesus assured that Satan, his demons, and the wicked would be cast into hell at the final judgment (Matt 25:41).

While Scripture uses the imagery of fiery sulfur, destruction, and darkness for hell (Matt 7:13; 18:8; Jude 13; Rev 14:10), few details are given. Jesus used the Greek word Gahanna to depict hell. The word hell alludes to the valley of Ben Hinnom, where, at times, Old Testament Israelites would sacrifice their children to idols (2 Chron. 28:3), and later where they burned their garbage and refuse (Jer. 7:31). Jesus continually warned that hell would be a fatality far worse than physical death. The Scriptures repeatedly describe hell as a place where one is utterly alone, rejected by God, and excluded from His presence (Matt 25:12, 41; Luke 13:24-28; 2 Thess. 1:8-9).

Conclusion

The Three angels’ message is a solemn one. It encourages decisive actions on our part and severe consequences for not taking them. However, note that there are significant and glorious blessings as well. Rev 14:13 reads, “Then I heard a voice from heaven say, Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” NIV

Blessed are they that die “in the Lord,” meaning those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and keep the Commandments of God. In addition, “their deeds” include heeding the three angles’ messages and encouraging others to do the same.

The Three Angels Message - 2 Peter 3:9

Upon reading this article, you have already witnessed God’s truth. You know that God’s final judgment will not be delayed eternally (2 Peter 3:9). If you have joyfully received the everlasting Good News, confessed your sins, and trusted in Christ to save you, then you have nothing to fear from God’s judgment. The Judge of the whole earth, Jesus Christ is your Savior! Rom 8:1 reads, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

The whole human race is on death row, on its way to hell, justly condemned for repeatedly breaking God’s holy law. Were it not for  Jesus there would be no hope at all. But praise God! For He has declared those who have accepted His Son as not guilty and has offered us freedom from sin and power to do his will.

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns are welcomed below.

Blessings!

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life

This title is derived from a statement that Jesus Himself made in response to a question. In John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.What does this really mean? Hopefully, by the time you reach the end of this article, it will be clear why Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Earlier in this chapter (verses 1-4), Jesus comforts His disciples after revealing His soon departure, and they would not be able to go with Him. He further expressed that He was going to prepare a place for them, and they would know the way to the place where He was going. One of the disciples, Thomas, asked Jesus how they would know the way. Jesus replied that He was the way, the truth, and the life. So, what does this mean? Let’s take a look.

The way – “I am the way.” Jesus is the way in several ways. For starters, He is the way to salvation. He is the way to righteousness, justification, acceptance, and communion with the Father. “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  There is no wiggle room for other ways in that statement. It excludes every way except through Christ. In Acts, the word “way” is used significantly to describe the Gospel. (See Acts 9:2; 19:9; 19:23; 22:4; 24:22).

For example, in Acts 9:1-2, we have Saul, the Pharisee, before he was converted to Paul, the apostle.

1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,

2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

In his zeal to persecute the church, Saul requested the high priest to write letters to the synagogues asking them to allow him to bound” any of the “way” (Christians-Christianity) and take them to Jerusalem.

Jesus is the Way

The Truth“I am… the truth.” This powerful statement by Christ has a crucial two-fold application.

Truth attests to knowledge. Christ is the great essential truth to recognize. He is the One Truth we must know to be saved. Failure to know this truth will lead to eternal damnation. Many will lose their opportunity for eternal life because they fail to recognize this truth. Pilate lost it all because he failed to know the truth. He asked Christ, “What is truth?” (John 18:38) when Truth stood right before him.

The Life – “I am… the life.” Sin ushered in death (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1). However, Christ gives life. But life is in Christ. As He said elsewhere in John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” This is not the life of the world but the eternal life of a redeemed person.

Why is Jesus the Only Way?

Jesus said it, and numerous Scriptures confirm it, yet a leading question remains…why? Out of all the other worldwide religions (Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Mormons, etc.), why is Jesus set apart from every religious leader?

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life

There are four primary attributes that set Jesus apart from every other religious leader.

  1. His Power – No other leader accomplished the things that Jesus achieved. Think of the miracles Jesus did; walking on water, calming the storm, raising the dead, casting out demons, healing the sick, and restoring sight to the blind. These are miracles that no other leader has ever done since the beginning of time.

Let us not forget that He raised His own body from the dead, which He prophesied (John 2:18-22). Afterward, He showed Himself to more than 500 of His followers (1 cor. 15:6) as proof. Every religious leader died and is still dead, but the Bible and other secular history books record the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection.

2. His Prophecies – Jesus fulfilled prophecies written about him hundreds of years before His incarnation.

  1. – He would be born in Bethlehem – Micah 5:2
  2. – He would be born of a virgin – Isaiah 7:14
  3. – He would suffer a gruesome death – Isaiah 53
  4. – The date of His death – Daniel 9:24-27
  5. – He would be pierced – Zech12:10

These and hundreds of others, Jesus fulfilled with perfect accuracy and perfect precision.

No other leader in the history of time has even had prophecies concerning them, not to mention having the power to fulfill them.

3. His preaching/message – No other religious leader taught the way Jesus taught. Jesus is the only spiritual leader that actually provided a real solution for the problem of sin. Every other leader has stated that you must obey and live some variation of a moral code to earn God’s favor and forgiveness. This requirement puts individuals in a state of insecurity or uncertainty because they never really know if they have done enough to earn God’s forgiveness.

Jesus’ message is unambiguous, we are sinners, and even with our best efforts, we cannot do enough good to make up for our sins. Therefore, He went to the cross to bear the burden of our sins to pay for them with His precious blood, and all we have to do in return is—believe in Him as our Savior.

Jesus is the only One who offers a way for humanity to redeem itself from sin and have eternal life.

4. His perfection – No other religious leader lived the way Jesus lived. Some of the other leaders lived very sinful lives, even to their own admission. Some were polygamists, others were murderers, and others made countless prophecies that were never fulfilled. After all, they were fully human.

For example, Muhammad admitted he was a man just like us (Surah 18:110), and Joseph Smith (founder of Mormonism) had at least 27 wives.

However, Jesus was the only leader who even claimed to live a perfect life. He claimed to be equal to God (perfection), which led to His crucifixion. His followers described Him as a man who was without sin (1 Peter 2:21-22).

Even His enemies, the very same people that were responsible for His crucifixion, for one, Pilate, admitted that they could find no fault in Him (Luke 23:3-4).

Therefore, because Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life, this automatically sets Him apart from every other religious leader who has ever lived.

Therefore, for the Christian who says that there is another way, other than Jesus, to get to heaven, they are saying, in effect:

–  The Bible is false

–  Jesus, Himself was a liar because He clearly said thatI am THE way, THE truth, and THE life: NO MAN cometh unto the Father, but BY ME.?

Scripture says in Acts 4:12, There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” NLT And that is the moral of the whole story!

Amen

Blessings!

Please leave questions, comments, and concerns below and you will receive a response.

Jesus is the Only Way to the Heaven?

Jesus is the Only Way to the Heaven?

Jesus is the only way to the heaven, is that true? Well, it depends on whom you ask. Some say yes, others say no. Even among Christians, some will give an emphatic yes, while others will say not so fast.

It is perfectly understandable for individuals of another faith to say no. After all, if they didn’t think their belief was correct, they wouldn’t believe in it. However, it is a bit perplexing for Christians who profess Christianity and believe in Christ to say there is another way to heaven.

For an individual to believe in Christ, profess Christianity, and that the Bible
is the irrefutable Word of God, the answer should be abundantly clear. While this article is written for all to read, it is mainly directed at Christians.

What Does the Bible Say?

First, let’s look at a passage that some believe supports that there is another way.

Rom 2:11-16

11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

This passage addresses judgment and illuminates the truth that God shows no favoritism and that both Jews and Gentiles will be held accountable. It makes no difference whether one lives by the Law of Moses or the law of their conscience; if they obey, they are justified. However, if they sin or disobey, they will be judged.

There is an inward struggle against the conscience when it convicts of wrongdoing. The conscience is an inward monitor that lets us know when we have done wrong. What the law does for the Jew, the conscience does for the Gentile. However, while people can obey the Law without the Law, but with the law of their conscience (vs. 14), this does not mean they are saved another way. Further, if they disobey their conscience, they will be judged (vs. 12).

Notice the judgment in verse 16. According to the gospel he preached, Paul states that they (Jews and Gentiles) will be judged by whom—Jesus Christ. Paul preached the gospel of Jesus to the Jews and the Gentiles (Romans 1:14-17) for them to be saved. So the question becomes; what in this passage indicates that there is another way to be saved? [Comments and answers can be left below]

Judgment is inevitable, and it will be conducted through Christ’s mediation. As Jesus said in John 5:26-27, For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.”

For those who are trusting in Christ for their righteousness, God’s judgment does not include the fear of exposure and punishment because they have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Either way, individuals who obey the law are not saved on that basis (on works). They are saved by their faith in Jesus Christ only. Gal 2:16 says, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

The Scripture confirms that works save no one, whether by the law of Moses or the law of conscience, but only by faith in Jesus Christ.

Is Jesus the Only Way to Heaven?

All individuals stand as condemned sinners before God. This truth includes the God-fearing, law-keeping Jews, and the Gentile sinners equally. However, all have hope in the same source: through faith in Jesus Christ.

Titus 3:5-7

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;

6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

This passage is further confirmation of what saves mankind from sinfulness.

A foremost concern of Paul was for “another gospel” would be preached.

2 Cor 11:2-4

2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.

3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. NIV

Paul’s concern was that the church’s love should be for Christ alone, as a pure bride saves her love for one man only. By “pure virgin,” he meant one who was unaffected by false doctrine. The Corinthians’ unadulterated and straightforward devotion to Christ was being endangered by false teaching. Paul did not want the believers to lose their single-minded love for Christ.

Gal 1:3-8

3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—

7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! NIV

Here we have an even stronger rebuke. Some individuals were preaching “a different gospel,” and Paul stated they should be “eternally condemned.”

Paul advocated that Jesus was the only way to be saved. This has not changed—there is no other way.

What did Jesus Say?

Let us now take a look at what Jesus Himself, said about this matter.

John 3:5-7

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 

7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Jesus is the only way to the Heaven?

Jesus said that no one could enter the kingdom of heaven unless we were born again. We are born again by believing in Jesus, as expressed in John 3:16-18

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Verse 16 is a very well-known Scripture in and of itself. However, let’s look at it in its full context. Verse 17 states that “the world through Him might be saved.” God sent His Son to save the whole world, not some of the world, not some through Jesus and some another way. What Scripture indicates otherwise? If there is one, please leave it in the comments section.

Verse 18 clearly shows that those who believe in Him are “not condemned.” It also makes it very clear that those who ‘believeth not” “is condemned already” before the judgment for not believing in the Son of God.

Jesus is the only way to the Heaven

Therefore, is there another way?

John 14:6

6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Here, Jesus is answering one of His disciples, Thomas, who asked Him how they could know the way. Jesus said He is the way, not a way, not one of the ways, not some of the ways, but the way.” No one gets to the Father but through Him (cf. Isa. 43:11). So why is Jesus the only way?

Because He said so, and His Father’s Word (the Scriptures ) confirms it! Are they lying?

Acts 4:10-12

10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead.

11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’

12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” NLT

This passage is a segment from Peter’s sermon to the religious leaders, the Sanhedrin.

In verse 10, he boldly charged them for killing Jesus, the Messiah that God rose from the dead.

In verse 11, he used figurative language from Ps. 118:22, describing Jesus as the stone rejected by the builders. The builders, in this case, were the religious leaders. However, even though the stone was rejected, it turned out to be the most significant stone of all, the cornerstone.

The cornerstone is the most important stone in a building. It is used as the standard to ensure that the other stones of a building are straight and level. Israel’s leaders, like a builder looking for a suitable cornerstone, rejected Jesus, because He was not the leader they were looking for (that’s another article). However, as it turned out, Jesus was the most crucial stone that ties all of the stones together.

Verse 12 announces the result, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Can it get any clearer than this?

Jesus is the Only Way to the Heaven?

No other name under heaven! It is only through Jesus we can be saved. This is the gospel, the good news! Why are we denying it? Why aren’t we just celebrating it?

Conclusion

Jesus is the only way to the Heaven?

It is astounding that any individual that professes Christianity and the authenticity of Scripture can say that there is another way for one to be saved and inherit eternal life. This may seem narrow minded to some, but Jesus did say, “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt 7:14).

Further, for the Christian, consider this question: Why are you a Christian if there is another way and what is the other way?

Contrary to popular opinion, believing in a chosen truth does not make it true. There is only one truth, and that’s the truth of Jesus Christ. He said “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Believe in that truth in order to get to the Father. That’s what He said. said “… No one comes to the Father but by me.”

For those who aren’t Christian, who have not accepted Jesus, take this advice from the Scriptures in Acts 2:38

38 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. NIV

Amen

Please share any questions, comments, or concerns below. You will receive a response.

For more information on being born again, please read the article, What Does it Mean to be a Born Again Christian, on this website.

Blessings

 

The Christian Walk

To walk the Christian walk is to walk with God. But how do we walk with God? How do we know whether we are walking with God or not? This article will shed some light on the answers to those questions.

How do we walk with God?

To walk with God is to have a relationship with Him. To walk with God is to keep Him at the center of our thinking: in everything we do, everything we say, everything we think, in our relationships, our finances, our plans, and every area of our lives. He becomes the greatest desire of our hearts. Walking with God is the wisest way to walk.

The word “walk” is used in the Scriptures to describe a lifestyle. We can choose to walk with God or we can walk in the world—the flesh. Walking with God is often referred to as “walking in the Spirit” in the New Testament, (Galatians 5:16; Romans 8:4). When we choose to walk with God we choose to glorify Him in every way we can, regardless of personal cost.

The steps for walking with God

Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior – This is the beginning. If we want to walk with God, it can only be done through His Son, Jesus Christ. As He is quoted in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” 

God sent His Son, Jesus, to save us so that we may have eternal life (John 3:16) and be saved from eternal damnation. Therefore, the best route to take is to walk with God; if we are going to walk Him, we must accept His Son as our savior.

We must learn to listen to God – We must listen to God to walk with Him and follow Him. Therefore, the time we spend with God is essential. We do this through prayer and the reading and application of His Word, the Scriptures.

We must trust God – To walk with God and be a follower of Him, we must trust Him. Prov. 3:5-7 reads:

5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

God frequently requires us to trust Him even though what He leads us to do may not make sense to us. However, if we are going to walk with Him, we must decide that we will trust Him whether we understand it or not.

It is about faith. Scripture says in Heb 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

The Christian Walk - Faith

Scripture reads in Heb 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Walking with God involves having a relationship with Him. A relationship requires trust and faith. This faith and trust is what pleases God and is essential if we are going to walk with Him. Faith is the prerequisite for pleasing God. If we do not believe in God’s Word, we will not please Him. Faith in God’s Word is crucial if we are going to pursue Him and walk with Him.

We must agree with God – We must be in agreement with God in order for us to walk with Him. God may very well require some things that are not agreeable to us. However, God is not required to agree with us. On the contrary, we are required to agree with Him. God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Therefore, it is in our best interest to agree with Him, especially if we are going to walk with Him.

We must obey Him – Obedience to God is essential if we are going to walk with Him. When we disobey God, we indicate that we know better than He does. The thing to remember is partial obedience is disobedience. Therefore, we are to obey Him completely. We are to do what He says to do when He says to do it, and the way He says to do it. Obedience to God should be a lifestyle for those who want to walk with Him.

The Christian Walk - obedience

Jesus said in John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” NIV As mentioned earlier, walking with God can only be done through His Son. Therefore, by knowing and obeying the Commands of the Son, we show our love for Him, and both He and the Father will love us, resulting in a spiritual relationship.

We must walk in the same direction with God– God has a different path and direction for everyone. Some ways may seem better than God’s. However, if we desire to walk with God, we must walk in His way. Scripture reads in Prov. 19:21, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” NIV

We cannot walk in the ways of the world, hold a close friendship with the world, and walk in the ways of God. James 4:4 reads, You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” NIV If we walk in the ways of the world, we will be walking in the opposite direction of God; we become an enemy of God.

We must stay in step with God – In addition to walking in the same direction as God, we must be careful not to walk ahead of God or to walk behind Him, but we must keep in step. To be in step with God is to be together with Him. Living a godly life is a requirement of God in order to walk with Him and receive the blessings He has for us.

We have to love God – If we do not love God, we will not walk with Him. If we love Him, we will obey Him, wait for His timing, and keep an open ear to hear from Him. All of the things listed above we will do if we love Him. This is why Jesus said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Loving God is the first and greatest Commandment.

We must forsake sin – To forsake sin, we must keep our hearts clean by turning away from sin (repent) to receive God’s best for our lives. To confess sin is the beginning, but we must also repent. Scripture says in Prov. 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
Therefore, we must confess and forsake our sins to receive mercy and continue to walk with God.

We cannot have sin and holiness simultaneously. If we are going to walk with God, we must pursue a life of holiness; a life committed to and surrendered to God.

We must pray to Him – Communication is the fuel for a relationship. A relationship with God is no exception, and we communicate with God through prayer. The Scripture says in 1 Thess. 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

This Scripture does not mean Christians should spend all of their time on their knees or with their eyes closed when it says, “pray without ceasing.” In fact, Scripture is adamant that everyone should have work to do (vs. 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:6-7, 11). It is feasible, however, for Christians to have an attitude of prayer at all times. This attitude is built upon acknowledging dependence on God, realizing his presence within, and determining to obey him completely. Subsequently, it will be likely to pray frequent, spontaneous, and short prayers.

Prayer is not to be exercised by the church or church leader only, nor is it carried out only in worship services. Rather, prayer can be a part of every believer’s daily walk, and Paul noted how important this would be for one’s spiritual life (Rom 12:12; Eph 6:19). As Jesus told his disciples, “they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1 NIV). Christians should pray together in worship, spend time alone with God in prayer, and pray to God each day as the desire to rejoice or the need for help arises. Prayer should be a lifestyle, not a life jacket. For more detailed information on prayer, please read the article, Christians and Prayer, on this website.

This ties in with listening to God (addressed earlier). When we pray, and we ask and make our requests to Him, we must listen for His direction and answers. So often, we pray, but we fail to hear the answer. Effective communication involves listening as well as requesting.

Conclusion

The Christian Walk - a battleground

The Christian walk is a battleground.

The road to eternal life is always under construction; we all are a work in progress. The Christian walk is not easy, and it takes tenacity and patience. This virtue is one ingredient of the fruit of the Spirit. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we effectively walk with God. Scripture says in Phil 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God works in us through His Spirit.

Again, walking with God is the wisest way to walk.

Amen

Any questions, comments, concerns, or experiences walking the Christian walk can be left below.

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