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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).

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. 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. 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. 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 is your Savior!

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?

 

For those who aren’t Christian, who have not accepted Jesus, take this advice from the Scriptures 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.

The Sabbath Truth

There is a long-standing controversy regarding the Sabbath. Are Christians obligated to keep it or not? Is it a moral principle or a ceremonial one? This article breaks down the Sabbath truth.

 

The Sabbath Truth

What is the Sabbath?

The word Sabbath is translated from a Hebrew word that means cessation or rest and expresses the practice of observing one day out of seven as a time of rest and worship. This practice originated in creation because God created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh (Gen 1). With this action, God ordained and established a pattern for living-that man should work six days each week and should rest one day a week.

The Sabbath: A Moral Principal?

The question is whether keeping the Sabbath is a moral or ceremonial law. So, how do we identify the Sabbath as a moral principle?]

Ceremonial law encompasses rules regarding celebrations and regular rituals regarding the temple and worship. Ceremonial law also includes all of God’s instructions around the building of the tabernacle. The ceremonial law was established to reflect physical depictions of God’s holiness as well as the holiness He expected from His people. The ceremonial law regulated how the people drew near God in worship, recognized remembrance of God’s prior actions, and pointed ahead to the Messiah.

The moral laws, on the other hand, focus on conduct and relationships concerning human individuals and God and between fellow humans. Moral laws are generally considered universal, timeless, eternal, and based on God’s particular character. Therefore, they are in force today. This is an excellent functional definition of the moral category, but a problem arises when individuals presume they are aware of what is included in it. Some individuals assert that a particular law is moral, or a specific group of laws is moral, without attempting to see whether the laws are timeless, eternal, and based on God’s character. Rather, they seem to reason in a reverse direction: these individuals take laws that they think are still in force and conclude that they are also a timeless reflection of God’s character.

The Sabbath Truth

So then, is the fourth Commandment morally binding? When God commands His people in Exodus 20:8 to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” – are Christians under the New Covenant morally required and obligated to keep this command? At first glance, it would seem that there is no such obligation if one were to survey the evangelical landscape. The conventional Christian wisdom dictates that since we are “under grace,” we are no longer morally obligated to keep God’s moral law. Therefore, it is no mystery that in the last one hundred years, keeping the Sabbath as God commanded has literally disappeared from the thinking and the practice of today’s evangelical Christians.

The Sabbath Truth

Therefore, asking whether the fourth Commandment is morally binding invites a solid abhorrence to the basic idea, stating accusations such as, “That’s legalism!” Or it is to get a blank stare representing that no one is home upstairs– because they don’t even know what the question means. The response may be what is the fourth Commandment?

However, despite either reaction to this leading question, we must answer it since Scripture addresses the issue. The first and most crucial point to be made regarding the moral obligation of Sabbath-keeping is that this was a creation ordinance before it was even inscribed into God’s moral law (Gen. 2:2-3). As with marriage and work, God instituted Sabbath-keeping for man in his innocence before the Fall. This fact single-handedly establishes the moral obligation of the Sabbath, as well as its infinity. Moreover, this fact also justifies what Jesus Himself declared in Mark 2:27, which states, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” From Creation before the fall, God made the Sabbath for man – to benefit him spiritually, morally, and physically.

Furthermore, the Sabbath was made for man on the whole, not the Jews exclusively. This point is crucial because scores of individuals currently believe that the Sabbath was purely a Jewish decree and ceremony to be kept explicitly as a sign of God’s covenant with the Jews. While there were “Sabbaths” to be kept in connection with Israel’s ceremonial laws as a sign of the Mosaic economy (Exod. 31:16-17), which now have been fulfilled by Christ (Col. 2:16-17); yet, the Sabbath commandment in the moral law stands on the grounds of what God established in creation (cf. Exod. 20:11), which clearly predates and supersedes the Jews and any covenant God made with them.

Further confirmation of this is found in Ex 16:22-23

22 On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much — two omers for each person — and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses.

23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.'” NIV

Here we have Moses giving instructions to the Israelites regarding the Sabbath. This instruction occurred long before receiving the Lord’s Law in Exodus 20. This passage further affirms the Sabbath as being established as God’s moral law from the beginning.

But of course, the second important reason and the most obvious for the moral obligation of Sabbath-keeping is simply that this Commandment is a part of the moral law itself. It is the fourth Commandment.

The Sabbath Truth - The Law

First, Interestingly, all righteous and unrighteous individuals agree that we should obey the moral law. For example, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not lie, thou shalt not commit adultery, and thou shalt not kill. Yet, the professing Christians will say there is no obligation to keep the Sabbath. The golden question is, why not the Sabbath? What substantiates the disregarding of this particular element of the moral law? Additionally, what substantiated the changing of worship from Saturday to Sunday? For more information on this question, please read the Saturday vs. Sunday Worship article on this website.

There is not one Scripture indicating that we no longer have to keep the Sabbath. In fact, New Testament Scripture says the complete opposite. James 2:10-11 reads:

10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.NIV

If we violate any part of the law, we are lawbreakers and guilty of violating “all of it.” Keeping the Sabbath is a divine command with a moral obligation. To say that the Sabbath command is not morally binding is to deny the moral law as a whole. What would civilization be like without the moral law?

The Sabbath Truth - James 2:10-11

The Ten Commandments stand and fall together because they sum up what it means to love God and to love thy neighbor (Rom 13:8-10). Therefore, the fourth Commandment, with the other nine, is morally binding for the New Covenant believer, demonstrating the fruit of saving grace. No true Christian believer should deny their moral responsibility to keep those commandments. This truth is why they continue in the New Covenant, as God writes them on the minds and hearts of the new nature (Jer. 31:31-34, Rom. 7:22); and why the Holy Spirit enables every Christian to fulfill them (Rom. 8:4).

“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” is just as much a part of the moral law as “You shall not steal.”

Gen 2:2-3

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. NIV

After God created the world in six days, He rested on the seventh day. He blessed it and made it holy, and He wants us, the highest of His creation, to celebrate it with Him.

The Sabbath is a day of rest, a celebration of God and creation, and a celebration of our salvation. God was the first to celebrate it and declared this seventh day a period of rest, even before sin polluted the world.

Many centuries later, it was part of the Ten Commandments, so the Israelites would remember where they came from, who their God was, and what a blessing it was for them to partake of it.

The blessing remains currently. Heb 4:9-11reads:

9 There remains, then, a Sabbath — rest for the people of God;

10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.

11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. NIV

Just as God set it up after creating an entire world for us to live in and care for (Genesis 1:26). We need to rest! The Sabbath can be a welcome break that renews us each week and allows us to grow closer to Him.

The Blessing of the Sabbath

The Sabbath Truth - The Blessings of the Sabbath

Isa 58:13-59:1 reads:
13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the Lord has spoken. NIV

In verse 13, we see how important the Sabbath is to God. Through His prophet Isaiah, He reminded the Israelites, His chosen people, that they were to avoid doing their own thing on the Sabbath, conducting business, etc., but to keep it holy by delighting and finding pleasure in keeping the Sabbath.

He also informed them in verse 14 that, as a result, they would find joy in the Lord, and He would bless them with the inheritance of Jacob. This inheritance was an earthly one – the Promised Land.

Today, keeping the Sabbath yields the inheritance of Jesus. We receive the Spiritual inheritance and blessing of eternal life through Him.

Jesus is quoted in Matt 11:28-29 as saying:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Further, Ps. 37:4 reads: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” By honoring the Son and keeping the Sabbath, we are honoring God the Father and delighting in Him (John 5:23), and He will bless us and give us the desires of our hearts.

We are blessed when we honor God and His Sabbath.

Amen

Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, or concerns below. You will receive a response.

 

 

 

The Remnant Church

According to the Scriptures, shortly before the return of Christ, there will be a church that embodies believers who are faithful to God. This church will be an organized body recognized by obedience to all of the commandments of God and the possession of a distinctive end-time gospel declaration. This church is known as the Remnant Church and is equated with the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.

What Does the Bible say about the Remnant Church?

So let us look at what the Scriptures say about the Remnant Church.

The book of Revelation is a book of heavy symbolism. The reason was that the Roman authorities at that time were beginning to enforce the cult of emperor worship—Christians who held Christ, not Caesar, as Lord were facing increasing aggression. Therefore, the writer John had to write this letter to the Christians using symbolic language so that the Romans would allow its delivery to the seven churches. In Chapters 12 and 17, the church is depicted as a woman.

Revelation 12 unmistakably teaches that God has a remnant church at the end time. After revealing the history of the Christian church (under the symbolism of a woman), from the time of Jesus (the child mentioned in verse 5) to the end of the 1,260 years (538–1798 AD), Revelation 12:17 says: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Satan, the Devil, is depicted as the dragon.

The Remnant Church - Revelation 12:17

This verse leads to a time after the 1,260-year period (Rev. 12:6, 14) in the nineteenth century. Seeing that he could not wipe out God’s faithful people, Satan becomes angry with a group the Scripture describes as “the remnant of her seed”—[the remnant church]. At this point, the focus rests not on the woman (symbol of God’s faithful people throughout the ages) but on this particular group, “the remnant of her seed” or the remnant church.

Twice in this chapter, John mentions a “remnant” (or offspring NIV) of the woman. The first is the male child in verse 5 (mentioned earlier), the Messiah; the second is “the remnant of her seed,”
the remnant church. Both times John plainly identifies the remnant or offspring of the woman in verse 17, supporting the view that “the remnant of her seed”
encompasses the visible remnant church. Two identifying marks, or signs, of this remnant church are given: they keep “the commandments of God,”
and they have “the testimony of Jesus.”

Keeping the Commandments of God

Keeping the Commandments of God most undoubtedly includes the Ten Commandments. Hence, the first identifying sign of the remnant church is the loyalty to God’s Commandments—all of His commandments, including the fourth, the Sabbath Commandment. So if one were to paraphrase Revelation 12:17, it would read: At the end of time, God will have a church—the remnant church—, which will be recognized by the fact that they keep the commandments, including the seventh-day Sabbath commandment.

Remember that during the time of the apostles, or the early church, this would not have been a unique sign because they all kept the Sabbath. However, today, when most Christians “keep” Sunday as the day of worship, the Sabbath has indeed become a distinguishing mark.

The Remnant Church - The fourth Commandment

 

The seventh-day Sabbath, observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening, is an integral part of the beliefs and practices of the remnant church. These churches emphasize biblical references such as the ancient Hebrew practice of beginning a day at sundown and the Genesis creation narrative in which an “evening and morning” established a day, predating the giving of the Ten Commandments (thus the command to “remember” the Sabbath). They hold that the Old and New Testaments show no variation in the doctrine of the Sabbath on the seventh day. Saturday, the seventh day in the weekly cycle, is the only day in all Scripture designated using the term Sabbath.

The seventh day of the week is recognized as Sabbath in many languages, calendars, and doctrines, including Catholic,[1] Lutheran,[2] and Orthodox churches.[3] It is still observed in modern Judaism concerning Mosaic Law. In addition, the Orthodox Tewahedo Churches uphold Sabbatarianism, observing the Sabbath on Saturday and the Lord’s Day on Sunday.[4]

However, Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestant denominations keep the Lord’s Day on Sunday and maintain that the Saturday Sabbath is no longer required for Christians. Conversely, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and many Episcopalians have historically supported the view of first-day Sabbatarianism. They support this by describing the Sabbath as being transferred to the Lord’s Day (Sunday), the first day of the week, merged with the day of Christ’s resurrection, forming the Christian Sabbath. However, there is no Scriptural foundation to support this doctrine.

“Seventh-day Sabbatarians” are Christians who seek to reestablish the practice of the early Christians who kept the Sabbath according to standard Jewish practice. They usually believe that all humanity is obliged to keep the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath, and that keeping all the commandments is a moral responsibility that honors and shows love towards God as creator, sustainer, and redeemer. Christian seventh-day Sabbatarians hold beliefs similar to that tradition that the change of the Sabbath was part of a Great Apostasy in the Christian faith.

Additionally, Seventh-day Sabbatarians hold fast to the Scripture in James 2:10, which reads:

10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Some of these, most notably the Seventh-day Adventist Church, have traditionally maintained that the apostate church formed when the Bishop of Rome began to influence the west and brought in heathen corruption. This influence allowed pagan idol worship and beliefs to enter, creating the Roman Catholic Church that teaches traditions over Scripture promoting rest from their work on Sunday, instead of the Sabbath, which is not in keeping with Scripture.

The Sabbath is one of the defining characteristics of seventh-day denominations. For more detail on the seventh day Sabbath, please read the Saturday vs. Sunday Worship article on this website.

The Testimony of Jesus

The second identifying mark is “the testimony of Jesus.” What does this phrase mean? The expression “testimony of Jesus” occurs six times in the book of Revelation (1:2, 9; 12:17; 19:10 [twice]; 20:4).

First, we look at Revelation 1:1, 2, and 9. In verse 1, the introduction to Revelation makes known the source, in particular, God, and the book’s content—the revelation of Jesus Christ. In verse 2, we are told that John bore witness to “the Word of God” and “the testimony of Jesus.”

We commonly understand “the Word of God” to refer to what God says, and “the testimony of Jesus,” in parallel to “the Word of God,”
must therefore mean the testimony that Jesus Himself presented. How did Jesus testify of Himself? While on earth, He testified in person to the people in Judea. After His ascension, He spoke through His prophets.

In Revelation 1:9, the parallelism between the “Word of God” and “the testimony of Jesus” is again clearly apparent. It reads: “I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

“The Word of God” in John’s time referenced the Old Testament, and “the testimony of Jesus” referred to what Jesus had said, the truths He revealed as recorded in the Gospels, and through His prophets, such as Peter and Paul.

The Spirit of Prophecy

Concerning the Spirit of Prophecy, Revelation 19:10 reads in part, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy'” (NKJV). So, what is “the spirit of prophecy”? I discovered this phrase occurs only once in the Bible and in this text. We find the closest biblical parallel in 1 Corinthians 12:8–10, where Paul refers to the Holy Spirit, who, among other divine gifts, bestows the gift of prophecy, and the individual who receives this gift is called a “prophet” (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11).

The Spirit of prophecy is the gift of prophecy and is the work that the Spirit accomplished past, present, and future. The Old Testament prophets predicted the future. The New Testament prophets confirmed the past, addressed the present, and predicted the future.

All Christians are, in a way, prophets since they testify of their faith. For many of the believers mentioned in Revelation, it had meant testifying to their own deaths. For example in Rev 12:11, it reads:

11  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

The word “prophecy” means more than seeing and foretelling the future, although in some cases, that is true (especially in the Old Testament prophets and in John’s case). The primary objective of prophecy is to convey God’s message.

These are the three significant marks of the Remnant Church confirmed in Scripture. There are more identifying marks to follow in upcoming articles.

Conclusion

When Christ returns for His church, He will return for the remnant church and the saints within who keep all of “the Commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns are welcomed below.

Blessings

 

 

 

God and Evil

Evil – What a word! We basically know what it is, but how much do we know about it? What is its origin, and why is it here? Let’s take a look as we explore God and evil.

What is Evil?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary,morally reprehensible: sinful, wickedan evil impulse:arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct a person of evil reputation.

According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, “A force that opposes God and His work of righteousness in the world (Rom 7:8-19). The word is also used for any disturbance to the harmonious order of the universe, such as disease (Ps 41:8). But the Bible makes it plain that even these so-called “physical evils” are the result of a far more serious moral and spiritual evil that began with the FALL of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3).”

“The ultimate source of evil in the world is Satan, also called “the devil” (Luke 8:12) and “the wicked one” (Matt 13:19).

Nelson’s definition states that the ultimate source of evil “in the world” is Satan. However, evil existed long before the fall. Satan bought evil with him and tempted eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil; thus, evil entered the world. So, where did evil come from, and what is its origin?

God and Evil

The one true God is a God of righteousness and love, loving-kindness, grace, and mercy. He is the Creator of all things. But – did He create evil?

God and Evil - Did God Create Evil?

Let’s look at what’s contained in Scripture.

Isa 45:5-7

5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.

7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

This passage shines a light on the sovereignty of God. He is the Creator of all things, including evil. From the rising to the setting of the sun, from one end of the earth to the other, all people were to know that there is no God but the Lord Himself (Jehovah, Yahweh). He alone is the Creator, for He alone has created both light and darkness. Moreover, He alone is sovereign, controlling both good and evil, peace and calamity.

Why did God Create Evil?

God and Evil - Why did God Create Evil?

God desires His creatures to love Him, to have a real love for Him. He could have created creatures that loved Him automatically. However, they would have merely been robots incapable of real love simply because love is not real without the ability not to love. This reality is why God gave man free will to choose to do right (love Him) or to do wrong-evil (disobey Him). His desire is for us to do right but out of love and choice, not out of obligation.

Evil is a by-product of good and existed before Adam and Eve were created. Therefore, when God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden and made a law not to take of its fruit, Adam and Eve had a choice to love God and obey or disobey Him and commit evil, which is sin. Before making their choice, they knew nothing about evil; they were innocent. Had they not eaten its fruit, there would have been no evil in the world.

Evil serves the purpose of establishing real, genuine love relationships between creation and the Creator.

Does God do Evil?

God and Evil - Does God Commit Evil?

This question raises some controversy. The most common response is, no, God is not evil; therefore, He cannot commit evil. There is some truth in that response. However, it contradicts Scripture that says He does. For example, the Scripture above quotes God as saying, “I create evil.”

Let’s look at one more, Jer. 18:5-8

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;

8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil
that I thought to do unto them.

Here is a message to Israel through the prophet Isaiah. He used the illustration of a potter to depict His relationship between His people and Himself.

The message is that He has the sovereign right and power to save or condemn as He chooses. As the potter holds the clay in his hands, the Lord holds His people in the palm of His hand. The metaphor is a descriptive way of saying the Lord can do with His people as He wills.

There is also a clear illustration of God’s mercy and grace: if a nation repents or turns away from their evil, He will repent from the “evil”
He “thought to do unto them.
There are other Scriptures with God conveying similar thoughts, but the message is clear enough. However, further explanation is required which follows.

There are two kinds of evil, destructive or calamity and moral evil. The Old Testament uses two Hebrew words translated as evil: ra’ah and rash’a’. The Hebrew word used in Isaiah 45:7 is ra’ah, which means calamity, destruction, distress, and hardship.

This evil is the kind of evil the Lord unleashes in His judgment against the unrighteous, those who disobey and break His moral law (sin). The calamities of the world are the result of the original evil sin committed by Adam and Eve. God allows this but it is not moral evil. For more information on this, please read the article, Why Does God Allow evil to exist, on this website.

God does not commit moral evil or sin. Look at what the Scripture reads in Zeph. 1:12,

12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

The Hebrew word used in this Scripture is rash’a, which is moral evil.

Conclusion

God and Evil - Does God Commit Evil?

In summary, the Lord does commit evil, but not for evil or immoral purposes (sin). He uses evil only for righteous purposes to bring calamity to the unrighteous, so they may recognize and honor Him. He does not commit moral evil as that kind of evil comes from Satan. As the Scripture reads in James 1:13, “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.” NLT

God never has nor will He ever tempt anyone to sin; only Satan.

Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, or concerns below.

Blessings!