Why is the God of the Bible called “the living God?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? (Deuteronomy 5:26). Exactly why is the God of the Bible called “the living God?”

The title “the living God” appears 30 times in our King James Bible. Its first occurrence in God’s Holy Word is Deuteronomy 5:26 (above). In the context, Moses is rehearsing for this new generation of Jews what happened 40 years earlier to him and their parents. There, at Mount Sinai, God had spoken to them His words. Moses had received the Ten Commandments, and the other demands of the Law. He had faithfully given those commands. They heard a grand voice that thundered from darkness, on a mountaintop that burned with fire. Deuteronomy 5:26 is Moses quoting what Israel’s leaders had told him 40 years prior to Deuteronomy. How they trembled to hear the Creator God’s voice!

Read Deuteronomy 5:26 in context: “[23] And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; [24] And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. [25] Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die. [26] For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? [27] Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.”

Yes, Israel called the Creator God “the living God,” but they demonstrated they had no idea what it meant! Israel, in Deuteronomy 5:26, acknowledged JEHOVAH as “the living God.” Additionally, they had told Moses in verse 27: “Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.” This was their problem—they wanted to “do” something.

Indeed, Israel was terrified to hear “the living God” thundering words on Mount Sinai. Why? They had agreed to a works-religion covenant with Him. They wanted Him to deal with them on the basis of their performance. He gave them their wish (note Exodus 19:3-8, and chapter 20). The Mosaic Law was a very strict system, especially dominated by fear. God, once their Blesser (Exodus chapters 14-18), now their Judge. Moreover, save for Moses, He would not tolerate man or beast ascending—or even touching—Mount Sinai. Trespassers approaching Him were to be immediately stoned or shot through with a spear (Exodus 19:12,13)!

Centuries earlier, God had selected Abraham and promised to make of him a special nation. God in His grace would make Abraham a blessing and then bless the world through Abraham—God’s gift! Abraham had to do absolutely nothing to get it. Notice, it would be what God would do, not what Abraham would do! Genesis 12:1-3: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and [I will] make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and [I will] curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” The living God wanted to do something for and with Abraham and Israel. Israel, however, wanted to do something for the living God. They got death!

The Jews, sons of Abraham but also (sinful) sons of Adam, had been barred from entering the Promised Land because of their unbelief (see Numbers chapters 13 and 14; cf. Hebrews 3:7-19). Refusing to take God at His Word, Israel doubted He would surely drive out their enemies. They doubted they would dwell safely in Canaan. So, once that generation had died off in the wilderness, at the end of 40 years, Moses addressed Israel’s new generations in Deuteronomy (see Deuteronomy 5:26). He reminded them just how strict God is under the current Covenant of Law. Not long after Deuteronomy 5:26, Moses died, making Joshua God’s leader for Israel. We come to the second instance of “the living God.”

Reading Joshua 3:10: “And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.” Israel is where she was with Moses 40 years earlier, before the wilderness wanderings. Joshua reaffirmed that Israel had “the living God” on her side. There was great power to give them victory. While Israel under Joshua’s command had some notable military triumphs, Israel once again doubted God’s Word to her and was never faithful in remaining separate from her pagan neighbors.

The next two instances of “the living God” concern little boy David’s victorious fight with Goliath: “And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?….Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God (1 Samuel 17:26,36). There is power with “the living God!”

The fifth and sixth occurrences of the term “the living God” are 2 Kings chapter 19, verses 4 and 16. About 710 B.C., Assyrian King Sennacherib attempts to invade and destroy Judah and Jerusalem. Judaean King Hezekiah, seeking the LORD’S counsel, sends men to speak with the Prophet Isaiah. These men tell Isaiah in verse 4: “It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left.” And, Hezekiah prays in verse 16: “LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.” This is similar to when young David, anticipating military victory, spoke of “the living God” on Israel’s side (1 Samuel 17:26,36).

When the Psalmist saw God as his Deliverer, he wrote Psalm 42:2: “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” This closely resembles Psalm 84:2: “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”

Isaiah, commenting on the events of 2 Kings, used the term twice more. Isaiah 37:4: “It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left.” Verse 17: “Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God.”

The Bible’s definition of “the living God” is becoming more pronounced.

When we get to the eleventh time the phrase appears in our King James Bible, it is used to contrast the God of the nation Israel to the idols of the Gentiles. Notice Jeremiah 10:10: “But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.” Jeremiah 23:36 is a rebuke of Israel’s religious leaders for their deceiving the nation in the name of the one true God: “And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.”

We find the term twice in the book of Daniel. After Daniel the Prophet was thrown into the lions’ den for refusing to pray to a pagan king, Darius, King of Media, we read what happened the next morning. Daniel 6:20: “And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?” During the ordeal, Darius was evidently converted to Israel’s God. Observe what Darius said in verse 26: “I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.”

So, we see that, in addition to denoting power and victory, the term “the living God” is used in contradistinction to idols, the gods of the heathen. There is still much to learn about “the living God,” for we are only halfway through our list of references.

We learn about Israel’s restoration in the last days, prophecy that will be fulfilled after our Dispensation of Grace ends: “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God(Hosea 1:10).

The next occurrence of the term is in the Apostle Peter’s famous profession of faith. Matthew 16:16: “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” When the Lord Jesus is on trial, the high priest quotes the Old Testament, although in unbelief: “But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 26:63).

Peter, spokesman of the 12 apostles, told Jesus in John 6:69: “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God(cf. Matthew 16:16, quoted above). Paul and Barnabas, travelling in Lystra, urged idolaters in Acts 14:15: “And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:”

In reference to Israel’s future restoration in the Millennium, Romans 9:26 is Paul quoting Hosea 1:10, which we looked at earlier: “And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”

The 21st through 25th instances appear in the Pauline epistles. They are associated with us, the Church the Body of Christ. Paul penned in 2 Corinthians 3:3: “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” And, 2 Corinthians 6:16: “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Referring to grace assemblies in Crete, Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:15: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” And, 1 Timothy 4:10: “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” Finally, 1 Timothy 6:17: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;”

While we will discuss this more fully later, for now, suffice it to say “the living God” that was once exclusive to the nation Israel can now be the God of the nations (Gentiles). That is, the one true God who did not deal with non-Jews apart from the nation Israel, is now offering fellowship with all people (Gentiles). In Paul’s writings, the Gentiles are urged to “turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Let us look in the Bible to see where Israel is urged to do the same!

Recall how we discussed Deuteronomy 5:26 when we began these studies. Although Israel declared their God was “the living God,” they really did not believe it. Remember, not long after they accepted the Covenant of Law, they fashioned and worshipped a golden calf idol (Exodus 32:1-35). Their behavior never improved. As the centuries passed, the Israelites became increasingly idolatrous. They embraced additional gods and goddesses the Gentiles had worshipped and served. (Hence, as our earlier studies show, JEHOVAH repeatedly reminded them He was “the living God.”)

We have finally reached the last five occurrences. After our Dispensation of Grace (mystery program), Israel’s prophetic program resumes where it paused 2,000 years ago. Notice what Hebrews 3:12 says to Israel in those last days: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” And, Hebrews 9:14: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Also, Hebrews 10:31: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” And, Hebrews 12:22: “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,….” Finally, Revelation 7:2: “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,…”

The Jews are encouraged during Daniel’s 70th week to turn from their spiritual blindness, renounce their idols, trust the living God, and not return to that ignorant idol worship. During that seven-year Tribulation, Israel will be greatly pressured into accepting the Antichrist’s false religious system. If they are to survive God’s wrath, they cannot embrace the Antichrist’s idols and Satan’s policy of evil.

Now, to summarize!

The term “the living God” elicits cross-references. Psalm 135:15-18, for example: “[15] The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. [16] They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; [17] They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. [18] They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them” (cf. Psalm 115:4-7).

Note, “neither is there any breath in their mouths” (verse 17)—opposite of “the living God.” In Scripture, we see JEHOVAH, Israel’s God, “the living God.” We also see Gentiles’ silver and gold idols—unable to speak, see, hear, and breathe. They are dead; they can do nothing for their worshippers. Those who worship them must carry them around, and yet, those who carry them around pray to these inanimate idols for help. (Ludicrous!)

Habakkuk chapter 2: “[18] What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? [19] Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.” “The living God” versus heathenism’s dead gods.

When Scripture mentions “the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15), or “turning to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9), this is monotheism. There is only one God, not hundreds, thousands, or millions. He, not dead idols, is the living God. He is powerful; idols are powerless. He can commune with us, and we with Him. Idols cannot. Remember, Genesis 2:7: “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 soul.”


The God of the Bible is living. He can actually do something for you. Idols can do nothing for you. The “living God” has a Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:16). As He gave us physical life in creation (Genesis 2:7), He offers us spiritual life. There is no life apart from Him (John 1:1-4). If you want life, you must find it in the God of the Bible. You can only find God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

Life is not in Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, mysticism, or any other religion. We must go beyond dead gods, false prophets, fake gods, and false religions, to find “the living and true God.” It is not we striving to find life in and of ourselves (religion), but rather Christianity, the living God offering us His life a free gift because we are spiritually dead.

While there was a dead goddess in Ephesus, Diana (today’s “Queen of Heaven,” Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary)—Acts chapter 19—there was also in Ephesus the Church the Body of Christ, “the church of the living God(1 Timothy 3:15). We become a member of it by simply trusting exclusively Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. He died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again to give us His resurrection life (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

In the future, Israel will learn that the living God must give her life. She will not find life in heathen religion. She will not find life in her works-religion (the Mosaic Law). She is spiritually dead, unable to do anything that God instructs. But, as she experienced the living God delivering her from Egyptian and bondage to idols, He can (and will) redeem her from Satanic captivity and hellfire as well. No idol can or will ever do it… for Israel… or for us! 🙂

Also see:
» Are we all God’s children?
» How can the Bible say, “No man hath seen God at any time?”
» Is it not enough that “I believe in God?”

Does Satan whisper evil words to us?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Superstition flourishes to the degree that Bible ignorance abounds. Irrational fears permeate so much of “Christian” thought that the general public is simply unable to distinguish truth from error. This is exemplified in the words of a lady this author visited sometime ago. She claims to be a believer in Jesus Christ (although her testimony is somewhat nebulous, as she is heavily Charismatic in doctrine, claiming to possess the spiritual gifts of healing and tongues). Many times she has great difficulty even articulating the pure Gospel of Grace. Her emotions have so dominated her that she exhibits behavior unbecoming for a Christian. (Details of such ridiculous conduct will be skipped here.)

On this particular occasion, the dear lady was describing something this author completely unexpected. Allegedly, when her ailing (dying) daughter was complaining of having evil thoughts, that mother would tell the daughter that it was Satan himself speaking to her. Is that possible? Does Satan whisper words into our ears? If we sit alone, and hear a voice talking to us about something bad, would that actually be Satan’s voice? Could it be someone else? In this study, we will carefully consider such matters.

A genius can devise a way to accomplish something seemingly “insurmountable.” The greater genius, however, can achieve that end while appearing to be doing something else. For example, a genius thief will not only take, but will take while operating under the guise of honesty (that thief will likely be the most trusted relative, friend, employee, et cetera). Here is a genius supreme, but there is someone wiser. Satan is the wisest of God’s creatures (Ezekiel 28:12), although he is certainly no match for God’s intellect. Millions of people—especially Christians (both professing and genuine)—assume they can positively identify and avoid Satan’s policy of evil. They have been led to believe they are able to flee his influence. However, they really have no idea as to the depths of his demented wisdom. The Bible speaks of Satan’s “wiles” or schemes, stratagems designed to outwit Christians. Oftentimes, he does outsmart them too!

Ephesians 6:11 orders us, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” The Greek word translated “wiles” is “methodeia,” which is obviously the source of our English term “method” (as in “systematic course; procedure”). It is rendered “lie in wait” in chapter 4 and verse 14: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;….”

These Scriptures indicate that Satan himself does not need to whisper directly into our ears. No, his evil world system uses “men”human religious leaders—to deceive us. The poor lady all worked up about spiritual warfare is actually caught in her own trap—and she does not even know it! (See also Matthew chapter 23 and John chapter 8 for Israel’s spiritual dilemma… brought on by her corrupt religious leaders.) People in Christendom have been listening to denominational preachers spout speculations, but have not been turning pages in the Bible to see for themselves what is true and what is not!! This was ancient Israel’s downfall, and this contributes to so many wrecked Christian lives even now.

Turn to 1 Timothy chapter 4: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

What leads to this mass apostasy, departure from the truth? It is individuals listening to “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (verse 1). Who are these? They are the voices of those who are “speaking lies in hypocrisy” (verse 2). Remember, the genius of Satan’s evil world system is doing wrong while appearing to be good. For religious purposes, they will enforce celibacy and dietary restrictions (verse 3). Does this sound familiar? Friend, would you happen to know any such religious groups?! This has nothing to do with listening to the voices of evil spirits but rather people listening to the voices of heretical and apostate church leaders.

If we sit by ourselves, and we hear a “voice,” then there is one of three possibilities. Firstly, we may suffer from mental illness. Secondly, we can “hear” ourselves think. We are talking to ourselves, and we may not be aware of it. Lastly, our brains have recorded texts we have read, sermons we have heard, and images we have seen in our lifetime. Consciously or subconsciously, we can access these mental files and “play” them. If we use our memory, we can “re-hear” all sorts of things we have heard—voices of loved ones long gone, our favorite music being sung, and so on. This information can be good or bad, but it has nothing to do with Satan actually speaking into our ear or given us some supernatural glance into his realm. Here would be the superstitious nonsense that we will embrace if we are not holding to the written (!) Word of God, especially approaching it “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15). The reason we have evil thoughts is we have not let sound Bible doctrine renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 3:9-11)!! We have been listening to false doctrine in church, and it will not leave our memory unless we reprogram our minds.

Someone once spoke of the inexperienced person going against an expert as a game of a “checkers child” challenging a “chess grandmaster.” Unfortunately, this is where most professing Christians and most genuine Christians are in their Bible understanding. They attend local churches where men use the Bible as Satan himself would, and are thus vulnerable to Satan’s evil world system! While they assume they are not aligned with Satan, it is (in fact) a faulty assumption. No doubt, he will “beat” them because they have come unprepared.

Yes, Satan knows the Bible, and he quoted the Bible to the Lord Jesus (see Matthew 4:5-7; Luke 4:9-13). Never forget that, friend!!!!! The reality is Satan misquoted God’s Word—adding to it, taking from it, watering it down—and even ripped verses from their dispensational setting. Christ knew Psalm 91 is not a First Coming passage but a Second Coming passage, and refused to follow it in Matthew and Luke. It was not time for that passage to be fulfilled, so the Lord Jesus did not obey it. Even now, Satan encourages us to follow the Bible, so long as we do not use it dispensationally. Instead of going to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, God’s current dealings with man, Satan’s evil world system has us going to everything else in the Bible. Again, these are stratagems, and we know they are so effectual because over two billion people quote Scripture today and are still confused about God’s will for them. They are too busy following God’s will for someone else in Scripture!

No, Satan has no reason to whisper evil words to us. We do that pretty good by ourselves—listening to false doctrine in religious settings and later repeating it in our sinful minds.

Also see:
» What is the difference between apostasy and heresy?
» What are Satan’s current operations?
» Why does God let Satan exist?

“But, what if I do not accept the Bible’s authority?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

My dear friend, if you are visiting a foreign country, whether you “accept” that nation’s authority or not, you are still subject to its rules. If you break the law there, you will suffer the penalty—whether or not you agree with it. Here is how you should look at life on Earth.

Deep down inside, my friend, you know that you do not do that which you know you are supposed to do, and you know that you do that which you know you are not supposed to do. Here is your conscience, an internal system of norms and standards that governs your thoughts and behaviors. What are you going to do with that guilty conscience? Do some “good” works? How exactly does one compensate for bad works anyway? Is there some way to measure the “badness” of an evil work so that a “good” work of the same value can take its place and cancel it? But, what if the evil work is so terrible that many “good” works are needed to nullify it? What if, in the event you try to do good the next time, you commit another evil work in the process? Eventually, you realize you are fighting a losing battle, accumulating a debt you can never possibly pay!! Insanity has been defined as repeating the same action and expecting a different result. Maybe, just maybe, you had better look to someone beyond yourself to deal with your mounting guilt!!

The Holy Bible is an objective standard. It transcends everything subjective—feelings, hunches, opinions, and so on. Either we agree with it or we disagree with it. If we want to oppose it, we can indeed oppose it. However, we will hurt only ourselves. Sinful flesh discounts the Bible out of spite, nothing more. There was no careful investigation of facts, only a willful disregard of the facts already presented therein. The Bible has a negative view of us, so we (naturally) shy away from it and do what we can to “disprove” it. Here is how we know someone other than a person like us wrote it. A Divine mind is behind the Bible, and that conviction pricks us down to our very innermost being!

If man influenced the penning of the Scriptures, we would read page upon page upon page of how we can improve ourselves. There would be such boasting in those passages, and license for us to brag as well. We could praise ourselves, fall in love with ourselves, and exalt ourselves to some deified status. Yet, upon reading the pages of Scripture, we find the human race is condemned as Hell-bound sinners. This is most offensive, right? See, “religious” and “irreligious” alike, all are headed to a place of endless suffering under the righteous judgment of a holy God! Like it or not, friend, your guilty conscience agrees with the Bible. You can argue with it all you want, invent and jump through all the mental hoops you want, but you cannot get around it. You are guilty as charged in conscience and confirmed by Scripture—and what an unspeakable eternal penalty that guilt carries!

It is your eternal soul at stake, dear friend, not mine. If you prefer to refuse to submit to the Holy Bible, then you go right on ahead and rebel against it. No one will stop you or force you to accept it—not even God Himself. In the event that you are wrong, then you will have no one to blame but yourself for those consequences. Someone once wisely observed, “Some people tell God, ‘Thy will be done.’ God tells many people, ‘Thy will be done!’” It was true then and it is equally true now. If you are Hell-bent on your anti-Bible path, by all means, friend, you just keep walking it. You have made your choice, and we will not deny you your right. This is said in love. Here is another word of caution we will add. When you reach the “dead end” of your journey, you can look back and see where your decisions got you. You will not be able to repeat that life either. (Perhaps you should think twice before arriving at that end?)

Dear friend, when you are finally done “doing your own thing”—now disappointed, and feeling insignificant, hopeless, and helpless—just remember there was an answer in the Lord Jesus Christ that you refused. Furthermore, He will be there until your last breath, waiting for you to trust Him as your personal Saviour before it is eternally too late. When your seasonal pleasures in sin have departed, what then, friend? Will you still refuse to accept the Bible’s authority? When your guilty conscience is so vexing that you can bear it no longer, what then, dear friend? Will you still refuse to accept the Bible’s authority? (Do you really want to know? Your answer will likely be, “Yes, I will still refuse to accept the Bible’s authority.” The longer you refuse, the harder your heart grows, and the more difficult it is for you to receive the Word of God by faith. However, the God of Scripture values free will, so you just keep on doing what you feel like doing. The path is all yours, and yours alone!)

In closing, you should be reminded that it is not too late to turn around… yet.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:23-28).

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen”
(Romans 1:18-25).

Also see:
» What happens after death?
» Can an atheist be moral without any influence from any higher power?
» “If only I saw a miracle…?”

Are our mystery program and its promises better than Israel’s prophetic program and its promises?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Some within grace circles have stated, “While Israel has been promised just the Earth, we the Body of Christ have been given the much better heavenly places.” When this author entered the Grace Movement over a decade ago, he heard that expression from various teachers. Upon him studying the Bible, however, he discovered it was a highly misleading claim. We are no better than redeemed Israel; their hope is no worse than ours. Both eternal destinies are in God’s design.

In the overall purpose and plan of the God of Scripture, the nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ are equally righteous before Him. The shed blood of Christ that saves us—that is the redemption price for our sins—is the exact same shed blood that atones for Israel’s sins. (See Romans chapter 3 for our doctrine, and Hebrews chapter 10 for Israel’s doctrine.) It would be thus impossible for one agency to have a “better” inheritance than the other. Both are equally in God’s family, having the same right standing before Him as His Son Jesus Christ does. Just as all lost people are equally lost (there being no people “more lost” than others), all saved people are equally saved (there being no people “more saved” than others). Believers of all ages—yea, of all dispensations—are sons of God.

The Bible speaks of God as having one “eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11). Chapter 1 of Ephesians says to that point: “[10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: [12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”

Colossians chapter 1: “[16] For by him [the Lord Jesus Christ were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [19] For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

When the LORD God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1), He also formed a governmental structure within each realm. Later, Satan and sinful man corrupted these positions of power. Father God set into a motion a plan to restore those governments unto Himself: He formed the nation Israel to be His representatives in the Earth, and He created the Church the Body of Christ to be His representatives in the Heaven. Both agencies are formed by faith in the same shed blood of Christ at Calvary. Israel is one half of God’s restoration plan, and we the Body of Christ are the other half. We are both in Christ, both alive unto God by the same Lord Jesus, to manifest in our particular realms the life of that same Lord Jesus.

It would be wholly inappropriate to say that, in eternity future, we the Church the Body of Christ will glorify Jesus Christ in the heavenly places more than redeemed Israel will glorify Him on Earth. (This would be absurd! Why would God glorify His Son more in one realm than in the other?) Likewise, we would be utterly thoughtless—and conceited and boastful—to advertise our eternity destiny as “superior” to Israel’s eternal destiny. Both agencies serving in their respective roles in the ages to come are equally pleasing to God, for He is the wise Author of both. Jesus Christ’s shed blood redeemed Israel and the Body of Christ. One is no better than the other. Our heavenly hope is not greater than Israel’s earthly hope.

Also see:
» Will living in Heaven forever be boring?
» Can you compare and contrast the ministries of the Apostles Peter and Paul?
» What do you mean—“the prophetic program” and “the mystery program?”

Can you explain Romans 4:17—“[God] calleth those things which be not as though they were?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

To begin our study, we will read Romans 4:17 in context: “[16] Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, [17] (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. [18] Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.”

Let us go back to Genesis chapter 17, where the LORD God promises to give Abram/Abraham a son, Isaac. “I have made thee a father of many nations” (Romans 4:17) quotes Genesis 17:4-5: “[4] As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. [5] Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.” Isaac will not be born until Genesis 21:5, approximately a year later. Yet, God spoke of Abraham’s fatherhood as though it was already true: “a father of many nations have I made thee [not “a father of many nations will I make thee”].”

“God calleth those things which be not as though they were” is another way of saying, “God considers His future promises as though they have already been fulfilled.” Abraham did not know everything, but he at least believed God’s words about the future. Upon hearing God’s communication to him, childless Abraham made up his mind to consider himself a father. The LORD God said it, and while Abraham did not see it physically, he could, through the eyes of faith, see the birth of Isaac as if it was already accomplished (which is exactly what God Himself saw because He could look into the future, and Abraham believing God’s words saw into the future too)! No evidence to the contrary swayed Abraham: he literally did see that promise fulfilled eventually, though believing in it long before it actually occurred.

Moreover, according to Romans chapter 4, God’s promise to Abraham involved more than just a literal, physical bloodline (Isaac, Isaac’s son Jacob, Jacob’s 12 sons, and the resulting 12 tribes of the nation Israel). The Apostle Paul comments that we (as Gentiles) have a relationship to Abraham too because we share Abraham’s faith. As Abraham was saved by grace through faith without works, so we are saved by grace through faith without works. In that sense, we also are “the children of Abraham.” He is said to be “the father of us all” (read Romans 4:16,23-25, for example). What did Abraham do to be justified? He did nothing; Abraham had no works or Law-keeping (the Mosaic Law was given 400 years later). Abraham simply believed God and it was counted/imputed unto him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:1-5). The same is true of us in the Dispensation of Grace; therefore, Paul cites those passages.

Also, as justification qualified Abraham for eternal life, we also (as justified people) are now able to have eternal life. Not only does Paul state that God “calleth those things which be not as though they were,” God also “quickeneth the dead” (Romans 4:17). By the time of Genesis chapter 17, Abraham’s reproductive capability was functionally dead; it was here that God restored it to life. Continue reading Romans chapter 4: “[19] And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: [20] He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; [21] And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” Here is resurrection life, how God enables—brings to life—dead sinners so they can function for His glory!!! We experienced a similar event when we passed from eternal death to eternal life, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; cf. Romans 4:5,23-25).

While there was no one but Abraham (no Isaac, no other believers such as believing Jews in Israel, no believing Jew or Gentile members of the Church the Body of Christ yet either), God had already—in Genesis chapter 17, before Abraham’s children came—called Abram “father of many.” (“Abraham” literally means “father of a multitude,” according to Genesis 17:5. Notice the name change here from “Abram” to “Abraham,” God giving him His Word so he/Abram could have faith in it.) Abraham was childless—that “many”/multitude did not yet exist. However, God considered it just as true as if it did exist, since He knows the future and accomplishes what He wants now in order to bring about His desired end. Without sight, Abraham agreed with God.

Almighty God knows the end from the beginning, what is yet to be—whether giving Abraham his son Isaac, or bringing us safely to Heaven. Like Abraham, we do not currently see with physical eyes God’s promises to us fulfilled, but we do know they will come to pass in His own timing. We simply behave and believe like Abraham: trust God’s Word to us, Romans through Philemon, knowing full well we too will one day see with physical eyes God’s promises to us that we already have right now!

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen
(Hebrews 11:1).

“(For we walk by faith, not by sight: )”
(2 Corinthians 5:7).

Also see:
» What happens after death?
» Is John 20:29 applicable to us today?
» “If only I saw a miracle…?”

Will living in Heaven forever be boring?


by Shawn Brasseaux

No, not at all!

Religious tradition causes us to see life in Heaven forever as monotonous—the same old mindless, daily routine (like religion itself!). Perhaps the most prevailing idea of existence in Heaven is someone floating on a cloud, strumming a harp, and singing endless praises to God. Of course, after a few years (let alone eternity), that would become pretty dull!

Growing up, this author heard the claim that the Bible never really tells us what we will be doing in Heaven. In reality, however, this is not true. If we study the Scriptures—what most people simply refuse to do—we will see existence in Heaven as something that grows better and better with the passing of the decades, centuries, and millennia. Heaven is a place of intense activity. There is certainly time in Heaven, as the absence of time is motionlessness. Time as related to eternity is endless, stretching forever and ever. Doubtless, our limited minds struggle to comprehend anything that is limitless (do we not live in a world of the temporary?). Whether we understand it or not, the fact remains that eternity future will never stop!

Brethren, it is no secret that life on Earth is fraught with distractions and weaknesses. We do not use our brains to their full potential either. There will be no such restrictions for us in the ages to come. Eternity in Heaven will be a time of tremendous learning, the likes of which we will not know until we actually get there. We will not have the limitations that hinder us now: there will be no false teaching to trouble and confuse us, no petty denominational arguments to sidetrack and divide us, and no fleshly inclinations to afflict and distress us. Such peace and serenity will never become intolerable or “boring!”

We will now read and briefly discuss several Bible passages that aid us in understanding what our life in Heaven will be like.

Let us start in Ephesians chapter 2: “[1] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Saints, before we came to faith in Jesus Christ, this was our lot in life. We were under Satan’s control, dead in our trespasses and sins, and on our merry way to Hell! Then, something drastic occurred….

“[4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; ) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Why did God save us from our lost estate (verses 1-3)? Why did He not let us go on to Hell forever? Why did He intervene—sending Christ to die for our sins, to let us trust Him as our personal Saviour, thereby allowing us to escape that horrible fate we deserved? The answer lies here: “[6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Father God’s purpose in saving us from our sins and Hell’s flames is that He has a mission for us to undertake in the heavenly places. We, as saints, are now qualified to participate in His Son Jesus Christ’s reign and glorification in Heaven!

Notice verse 7: our heavenly assignment spans “the ages to come!” Dear brethren, here are the endless eons of eternity. Eternity is actually a set of uninterrupted and successive ages, each one building upon the previous. “Same old, same old” is absolutely not the case in eternity in Heaven! With each subsequent era, Almighty God will reveal to a greater (and even greater!) extent “the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus!”

Indeed, we on Earth study the Scriptures to better understand God’s grace… but the riches of that grace have yet to be grasped. Even though we can spend our whole earthly life searching and memorizing the Scriptures, we will never fully comprehend every last detail of the message of grace (let alone the rest of the Bible)! It would help if we said it like this: once we get to Heaven, God will declare, “Look, do you see this marvelous truth here? I have something more profound and thrilling to show you now! Did you see that doctrine there? Now, let me present this to you—something even better than what I just showed you!” This cycle repeats without end. The riches of God’s grace are so deep that they are actually never exhausted; therefore, our learning about that grace never ceases either.

As ages upon ages upon ages roll by in Heaven, we are growing in the Scriptures, gaining a greater awareness of exactly what Father God had in mind so long ago when He rescued us from Satan’s evil world system. We see His work in the heavenly places, and as we labor with Him up there, we better grasp His purpose and plan for glorifying His Son Jesus Christ through us functioning in those heavenly places. The details of that plan are so plentiful and so intricate that our education in them cannot stop. Here, dear friends, we plumb the immeasurable depths of God’s wisdom!

Ephesians chapter 3 concludes with a doxology, the Apostle Paul praising God as he closes his prayer for us the Body of Christ: “[20] Now unto him [Father God] that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, [21] Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” The “world without end” refers to the permanent arrangement of us in the heavenly places. Here is life forever in Heaven, an expansion of the truths presented in chapter 2—the Church the Body of Christ living by Christ Jesus in order to glorify Father God. How exciting! Yet, brethren, there is more!

Colossians and Ephesians are companion, or sister, epistles. Therefore, we should compare them. Let us consider what Colossians chapter 1 declares: “[16] For by him [the Lord Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [19] For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

The governmental offices that the Lord Jesus Christ created in heaven and earth have been corrupted. Sinful man and fallen angels have perverted these positions of power. Therefore, these offices must be purged of evil and restored to God. The nation Israel is God’s people who will return Earth unto Him. The Church the Body of Christ is God’s people who will return Heaven unto Him. In other words, we will reign in Heaven with Jesus Christ for His glory, that Father God ultimately be glorified.

We will turn now to Philippians chapter 3: “[20] For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [21] Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” These “things” are those we already read about in Colossians chapter 1—offices of government (particularly those in Heaven). Our glorified bodies are the means whereby we are equipped to function in the heavenly places (see 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 and Romans 8:18-26).

Finally, read 2 Timothy chapter 2: “[10] Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. [11] It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: [12] If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: [13] If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” Our time in Heaven will be spent administrating God’s work throughout the universe. It will be like Earth’s governments are managed today—just without sin! There are more stars in the sky than there are grains of sand on all of Earth’s beaches! Such celestial bodies are so numerous that it will take an eternity to visit them all. Here is our domain, brethren, the eternal destiny of us the Church the Body of Christ. We will “judge angels” (1 Corinthians 6:3): “reigning with [Christ],” we rule over even the angelic beings, a massive host of millions upon millions, teaching them all the Word of God as we ourselves continue learning it!

Also see:
» What is the “fire” at the Judgment Seat of Christ?
» Will we know if a loved one is not there in heaven with us?
» What happens after death?

Why did God place a curse on creation?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Anyone familiar with the Bible knows about the Fall of man in Genesis chapter 3. Also therein is the institution of the infamous curse upon creation. Verses 16-19 relate the matter to us: “[16] Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. [17] And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; [18] Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; [19] In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

It often seems “unfair” that God, because of Adam’s sin, has punished creation. Why did He alter plants’ genetic makeup so they produce thorns and thistles? Why should wholly-herbivorous animals be forced to become carnivores, no longer having exclusive plant-based diets? Why must work be strenuous and exhausting? Why should women have conception/pregnancy pains and birth pangs? Why do we have to physically die? Pay close attention, dear friends. It is quite easy to explain and not impossible to understand. There is something terribly wrong with creation in the spirit world. Consequently, it is only appropriate that something be extremely wrong with the natural world to reflect it. In other words, we can see the physical effects of an invisible spiritual war. God placed a curse on creation in order to indicate to us something is amiss in a realm we cannot see with physical eyes.

Adam was God’s king or representative in the Earth. Notice Genesis chapter 1: “[26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. [28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

When Adam made a conscious choice and sinned, deliberately siding with Satan in the Garden of Eden (Genesis chapter 3), he as Earth’s God-given leader handed over that government to Satan. Adam relinquished his position of governing in the Earth, and Satan gladly occupies that office instead. Hence, Satan is called “the god [ruler] of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Notice the following exchanges with Satan and Jesus Christ; particularly observe how Satan boasted that he had usurped Earth’s governments, and then he used that as leverage to challenge Christ!

Matthew 4:8-10: “[8] Again, the devil taketh him [the Lord Jesus Christ] up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; [9] And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. [10] Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Luke 4:5-8: “[5] And the devil, taking him [the Lord Jesus Christ] up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. [6] And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. [7] If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. [8] And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

In addition to reflecting that spiritual war, there is a second reason why God put a curse on creation. We find it in Romans chapter 8: “[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

God in His wisdomnot recklessness or indifference—temporarily granted Satan the ability to exercise dominion over the Earth and all of creation, but Satan cannot use creation to its full potential. While a crude illustration, here is something that may help. Renters may vandalize or destroy real estate before they permanently move out, taking vengeance on the property’s owner. Similarly, before God momentarily gave creation over to Satan, He put limitations on it. Satan receives less worship in a fallen world than he would have in an un-fallen one. Additionally, a world that is dying is not perpetually trapped under his control anyway.

What is most important for us to remember here is the temporariness of the fallen creation. Creation has not always been fallen, and it will not always be fallen. The God of the Bible who cursed creation because of sin has left us with the promise—the hope—that He will remove that curse one day. Such a wonderful hope saves us from despair, hopelessness, doom and gloom.

Romans chapter 8 again: “[21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Just think, dear friends, we are moving closer and closer to this day of redemption. Time is indeed running out on Satan’s reign and the bondage of corruption. Deliverance for creation is coming, and in God’s (!) own (!) time (!) we will see it with physical eyes. He who subjected the creation to a cursed condition will one day subject that same creation to a glorious restoration! “Then do we with [!] patience [!] wait [!] for it.” 🙂

Also see:
» Why do we suffer?
» Is God “unfair” to punish us for Adam’s sin?
» Can you explain “knowing” good and evil with respect to the Garden of Eden?

What happens after death?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Like all Bible topics, we must remember to approach it dispensationally. We will begin by presenting some basic information about a human’s physical and spiritual makeup. Then, we will explain physical death and its subsequent events as outlined in Scripture.

Physical death is described most graphically in Genesis 35:18: “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.” Upon death, we see the person’s physical body lying motionless and immediately undergoing the grisly process of decomposition. Here are the limits of the “natural eyes.” Through the eyes of faith, however, we see can see more—much more.

We understand that his or her invisible person—the “real” or permanent individual—has vacated that temporary tent or shell and relocated to another dimension. No longer housing the soul and the spirit, the physical body can be buried in the earth to return to the dust from which it came (Genesis 3:19). Death is not a termination but a separation. We continue to exist after death, just in a different form. Our spiritual body has separated from our physical body; to wit, the “inward man” has departed the “outward man” (2 Corinthians 4:16). The physical body now lacks a spirit (memory, vocabulary, frame of reference, and perception) and a soul (mentality, conscience, will/volition, and emotional seat). Both the spirit and the soul are linked at the mind, and they remain connected even after death. They are simply not attached to a physical body.

Peeling back the curtains of the mysterious afterlife, the Holy Spirit reveals to us in Luke chapter 16: “[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.

“[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.

“[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.”

The Bible says, after death, the angels indeed carried the soul of the believer (Lazarus) into “Abraham’s bosom” (verse 22), what Jesus Christ termed “paradise” (Luke 23:43) and “the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). Read Luke 16:22 again: “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.” The Bible is silent about anyone or anything coming to retrieve the rich man’s spiritual body though. He—his soul and spirit—simply fell into the heart of the earth. “Hell” is said to be downward or beneath our feet (Proverbs 15:24; Isaiah 14:9).

Although the rich man’s body is buried, he has eyes and can still see (Luke 16:22-23). He has a tongue and can experience thirst (verse 24). The rich man can talk and hold a conversation with Abraham whom he recognizes (verses 24-31). He also has a detailed memory of his life on earth (verses 25,27-28). The rich man is completely aware of his torment in flames (verse 24). Here are his soul and spirit, existing outside his body, just as conscious as we are right now, able to be exercise senses and use logic as we do now. Abraham, a believer, is on the paradise side of the afterlife. He too can remember, reason, and speak. Both have a will or volition to make decisions.

Friends, the above information is true even now concerning the afterlife, with a few exceptions. Here is where dispensational Bible study is critical (2 Timothy 2:15). “Paradise” has been moved to “the third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:1-4). Therefore, believers in Christ go to Heaven today, as opposed to the heart of the Earth (see also Hebrews 12:22-24). Also, in this the Dispensation of Grace, angels do not play the role they once did in believers’ lives. We study Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, to see that to be the case. Now, angels do not come to collect a Christian’s spiritual body when he or she dies. Instead of angels (as with Lazarus), the indwelling Holy Spirit Himself personally escorts the Christian into Heaven. What a remarkable trip that is!

Ephesians chapter 1: “[12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. [13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” The Holy Spirit preserves us Christians spiritually as we live on Earth, and this will be equally valid once we leave Earth! “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). After the saint exhales his or her final breath, the Holy Spirit rapidly transports soul and spirit into the third heaven. It is an instant awareness, much like waking up to a new morning—only a million times better! Yes, they know where they are, they are enjoying praising the Lord, and we will see them again!

Some religionists contend that we cease to exist when we physically die. On the basis of 2 Corinthians chapter 5, we know this to be a lie. “[6] Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: [7] (For we walk by faith, not by sight: ) [8] We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Notice verse 8—to be present with the Lord.” “To be” means we still exist after death!

Paul the Apostle said in Philippians chapter 1: “[21] For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. [22] But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. [23] For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: [24] Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” Again, “to be” describes Christians after physical death. Paul stated that dying “is gain” and “far better.” How ridiculous these statements would be if death were the cessation of existence!

The souls and spirits of all people currently physically dead will be reunited with their physical bodies one day. Concerning members of the Church the Body of Christ, they will be joined with their new bodies at the Rapture (Romans 8:18-25; 1 Corinthians 15:35-58; 2 Corinthians 4:16–5:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). They will reign with Christ in His heavenly kingdom (Ephesians 1:20-23; Colossians 1:16-20). All other believers of the ages will be resurrected at the Second Coming of Christ, to reign with Christ in His earthly kingdom (Revelation 20:1-6). Exactly 1,000 years later, all unbelievers of the ages past now in Hell will be bodily resurrected to be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, and then thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

My friend, if you are without Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, do not waste another moment being lost. You can pass from eternal death to eternal life right now—and you are strongly urged to immediately believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). He shed His sinless blood to pay for everything that is wrong with you. If you die and wake up in Hell, it will be your own fault because Almighty God did everything to prevent you from going there. Those of us in Christ need not fear death or anything that will happen afterward. We are well aware of what heavenly bliss awaits us in the next life—as well as the eternal doom that looms for those outside of Christ.

P.S.: Dear reader, just in case you “do not believe in the afterlife,” you should be warned that you will most definitely believe in it one second after death… when it is too late!

Also see:
» Is Luke 16:19-31 merely a parable?
» How can a “loving” God send people to Hell forever?
» Will we know if a loved one is not there in Heaven with us?

What are “evil communications” in 1 Corinthians 15:33?


by Shawn Brasseaux

“[33] Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. [34] Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33-34). What are “evil communications?” Does it really matter if we associate with questionable characters? Yes! Are we immune to their effects? No!

Once, this author counseled a dear Christian who was having some major and continuous difficulties. We were able to identify the source and we studied verses that were useful in correcting his thinking and behavior. Moreover, this author encouraged him to limit his contact with certain “friends.” Perhaps they meant well—hopefully so (!)—but they were negative spiritual influences. They were offering their denominational doctrine to help him cope with his problems, but such false teaching had only made matters worse for him.

First Corinthians 15:33 begins, “Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt good manners. It is easy to assume that, since we who have trusted Christ are eternally secure in Him, we are immune from Satan’s lie program. Yea, we can be quick to suppose that no one can trick us because we have the Holy Bible in our possession. First Corinthians 15:33 says that, if we think others cannot deceive or corrupt us, we are in fact deceived. For example, we can hear sound Bible doctrine but fail to keep it in memory and/or fail to use it by faith. People can come along with incorrect information and confuse and/or distract us. This happened to the Corinthians.

The Apostle Paul spent 18 months in Corinth, winning various individuals to Christ and educating them in the Bible rightly divided (Acts 18:1-11). The church at Corinth was established and growing, but Satan would not be outdone. Once Paul left to preach the Gospel of Grace in other regions, false teachers visited and corrupted the Corinthian saints with a mixture of Greek philosophy and Judaistic legalism.

Consequently, some Corinthians recanted faith in the doctrine of literal, bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12). Therefore, they were under the impression that they could live however they wanted. The latter part of verse 32 says, “…let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.” If there were no resurrection, there would be no accountability. First Corinthians 15:33 thus immediately follows with a warning: Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners….”

Ordinarily, we use the term “communications” in the sense of telephone and internet connections or television and radio broadcasts. In this context though, it has a slightly different meaning. The most basic definition of “communications” is “the impartations or exchanges of information.” Concerning 1 Corinthians 15:33, it means “company, social contacts, intercourses, companionships, associates.” Moreover, we can restrict its definition even more: “to succeed in conveying one’s ideas or in evoking understanding in others.” (“Communication” is derived from a Latin word that meant “to share.”) As for “manners” in 1 Corinthians 15:33, it means “moral habits, social behavior, conduct amongst others.”

Rereading the first part of 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” In other words, do not be misled to believe that Satan’s evil world system cannot contaminate you by word or deed. Christian friend, always be on guard concerning those with whom you associate yourself. Those not led by the Spirit of God can and will corrupt you. Proverbs chapter 22 provides us with a very simple example of and cross-reference to “evil communications corrupt[s] good morals:” “[24] Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: [25] Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”

While we are always responsible for making our own choices, others can influence us to participate in their sins. They can persuade us to adopt their beliefs, and/or entice us to repeat their actions. This was the Corinthians’ problem in 1 Corinthians 15:33. They had been fooled into thinking their companionships, the company they kept, made no difference. Many Christians believe this even today. It is said so casually, “I can hang around with anyone, no matter how they talk or act. They will not adversely affect me. I can frequent a denominational church. No one will mislead me because I know the truth.” First Corinthians 15:33 says they are deceived just by assuming they will not be deceived! Beware!

First Corinthians 15:33 resumes, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not.” Here, “awake” means (figuratively) “to rouse out of a stupor.” Imagine a drunkard becoming sober, restored to clear thinking. In other words, false teaching had lulled the Corinthians to sleep. They were slumbering—inactive—as pertaining to Christian living. Rather than walking according to the Holy Spirit’s current operations, they thought and behaved as the Adversary (Satan) desired. Some years later, a similar satanic assault was launched on the Christians at Ephesus.

Chapter 5 of Ephesians: “[7] Be not ye therefore partakers with them [the “children of disobedience,” unbelievers, of verse 6]. [8] For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: [9] (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; ) [10] Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. [11] And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. [12] For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.”

“[13] But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. [14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;….”

Notice the advice in verse 18—“Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” The “wine” here is not simply literal alcohol. It is, more specifically, the intoxicating doctrines of devils that distort and dull one’s spiritual senses to the point of spiritual drunkenness and fainting. This loops back to the “awakening” in 1 Corinthians 15:33.

Returning to Ephesians chapter 5: “[14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;….”

The issue of “wine” is explained in Revelation 14:8: “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Also, Revelation 17:2: “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” The Antichrist’s political-religious system, while future from our day, nevertheless has elements that have been around since just after the Fall of man. Satan’s evil world system promotes mind-altering doctrines that corrupt believers. There is spiritual fornication, dabbling with devils, here. It enticed the Corinthians, lured the Ephesians, and even ensnared ancient Israel.

Ephesians 5:14, which we just read, loosely quoted Isaiah 60:1: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” This is Israel, gripped by spiritual ignorance and slumber, and God’s conversion and restoration of her at Christ’s Second Coming. Notice God’s warning to His people who will live during the Antichrist’s reign, and the final phases of religious Babylon: “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4). Yes, “evil communications corrupt good manners.” God’s people are not to be associated with Satan’s evil world system… past, present, or future!

If it happened to Israel, to the Corinthians, and to the Ephesians, we indeed are not immune. Romans chapter 13 reminds us: “[11] And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. [12] The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. [13] Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness [sexual sins], not in strife and envying. [14] But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

Since the Lord Jesus Christ could come at any time for us at the Rapture, we should be walking as the people we are instead of who we are not. It is absurd for us Christians to behave like we were still under “the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13): we have been “translated… into the kingdom of [God’s] dear Son.” We should conduct ourselves in that light.

Hence, in 1 Corinthians 15:34, Paul wrote to Corinth: “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” They were to sober up, spiritually speaking, and start thinking according to Romans chapter 13 (quoted earlier). Jesus Christ was their “righteousness” (1 Corinthians 1:30). They were to think about their justified and sanctified identity in Him, and walk by faith in that. This is how they would “sin not.” The Word of God’s Grace to them through Paul’s ministry—not Greek philosophers and Judaistic legalists—was the key to successful Christian living.

First Corinthians 15:34 concludes, “…for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” The Corinthians should be ashamed to the point of correcting their error. They should separate from “evil communications” (bad influences). Paul had preached to them, but they ignored the doctrine. They wasted the opportunity to know God’s grace, but they have another chance.

For almost 2,000 years now, the Church the Body of Christ has had a completed Bible. Howbeit, instead of letting it transform them, and then allowing it to enlighten others through them, the church permitted the world to alter the Bible and them! Whether 20 centuries ago, or today, “evil communications corrupt good manners.” This is true of both wicked behavior and false teaching.

Sinful conduct, except it is addressed according to God’s grace, will certainly pollute the local church. First Corinthians chapter 5 says of humanism (worldliness—namely, philosophy): “[6] Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? [7] Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” As a small amount of yeast taints the whole lump of dough, so a little misbehavior corrupts many! If you read the chapter, you see it is about a fornicating Christian man whom the Corinthians overlooked. God commanded they excommunicate him until he reformed…lest he contaminate them all!

Evil doctrine, unless corrected using rightly divided Scripture, is sure to corrupt the local church. Galatians chapter 5 speaks of legalism (works-religion—namely, Law-keeping): “[7] Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? [8] This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. [9] A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” As a small amount of yeast taints the whole lump of dough, so a little false teaching corrupts many! If you read the chapter, you learn that false teachers (denominationalists) had tricked the Galatians to abandon grace and return to works-religion (specifically, the Mosaic Law). God commanded they separate from those false teachers…lest they continue deceiving them all!


First Corinthians chapter 5 was written to warn those Christians who say they can associate with sinful individuals and not be corrupted. Galatians chapter 5 was written to admonish those Christians who say they can keep attending denominational churches and not be deceived. They are just as human—prone to failure—as the Corinthians and Galatians. If the Corinthians and Ephesians were prone to spiritual slumber as the Adversary worked, we should not be surprised that believers in Christ today exhibit poor to dead Christian living!

Verse 34 of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 thunders, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not!” Dear brethren, if we are those with functionally-dead Christian lives, it is not too late for us to reform. We may have reverted to the lifestyle we had before we trusted Christ, but the Holy Scriptures rightly divided can lead us to repentance. That change in mind will then transform our behavior.

Second Timothy chapter 2: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” Let us not fall into Satan’s trap!

Whether the Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, or reverted Christians today, they should be walking in light of Titus chapter 2: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20).

Also see:
» Is grace a “license to sin?”
» Once Christians fall into gross sin, will God use them again?
» Does God see us Christians as sinners?

What is the “appearing” of the Lord in 2 Timothy 4:8?


by Shawn Brasseaux

The King James Bible reads in 2 Timothy chapter 4: “[6] For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. [7] I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: [8] Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” What is this “appearing” of the Lord (Jesus Christ) in verse 8?

One explanation for this “appearing” of Christ is His life being manifested in our life. In other words, “Christ ‘appears’ to people when they observe us Christians as we live by faith in sound Bible doctrine.” This is quite a bizarre interpretation of the verse: Christ “appearing” is an awkward way of conveying how we manifest His life to the people around us. We do not think that is the sense of the term “appearing” as it sits in this passage.

The modern English versions—NIV, NASB, Amplified, HCSB, ESV, and NKJV—have replaced “love” (present tense) with “have loved” (present perfect tense). The NRSV reads “have longed.” It may not be immediately apparent, but this textual alteration is more detrimental to our understanding than beneficial. It obscures what the verse is teaching in the King James Bible. With the verb tense changed to present perfect, modern versions read here such as the “appearing” could have already happened. In other words, with the modern reading, one could easily conclude, “Those who loved Christ’s ‘appearing’ is His earthly ministry” (namely, His incarnation). The King James has a superior wording, and we will stick with it! It is a future not historical appearance.

We believe the context of 2 Timothy 4:8 already established or defined the “appearing.” Start reading at the beginning of the chapter: “[1] I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [2] Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

The “appearing” of verse 8 is the same “appearing” of verse 1. Now, what is the “kingdom” of verse 1? Again, the context defines this as well: “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (verse 18). Here is not the establishment of Israel’s earthly kingdom, the Millennium or 1,000-Year Reign of Christ. Paul is referring to the establishment of God’s heavenly kingdom, the installation of us the Church the Body of Christ in the governmental positions of the heavenly places (see Ephesians 1:20-23 and Colossians 1:16-20). Since the context of 2 Timothy chapter 4 is God’s kingdom in the heavens, the “appearing” of the chapter would be connected to it. It is not Christ “appearing” in the form of Christian living, and it is not Christ’s earthly ministry either. The “appearing” here is the manifestation of Jesus Christ to establish God’s authority in the heavenly places. To wit, it is Christ’s coming for the Church that is His Body—what we call “the Rapture.”

The Apostle Paul’s ministry concerns “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2), God’s current dealings and present-day words/directions to mankind. Christ’s coming in wrath to destroy unbelievers, redeem Israel, and set up His earthly kingdom was known and preached prior to Paul (for example, see Matthew 13:37-43 and Matthew 24:30-41). Bodily resurrection was understood and proclaimed prior to Paul as well (for instance, see John 5:28-29 and Job 19:25-27). However, Christ’s coming to physically deliver from this present evil world the Church that is His Body, His coming to Earth to prepare His people’s entrance into Heaven, a bodily resurrection of these Heaven-bound people, were secrets God kept in Himself until He revealed them to and through Paul. We read about them in the Pauline Epistles, Romans through Philemon.

First Corinthians chapter 15 speaks of a “mystery” (secret) coming of Christ and a “mystery” resurrection: “[51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Here is what is called “our gathering together unto him [Jesus Christ]” (2 Thessalonians 2:1). This “gathering” will occur—not on the Earth as concerning Christ’s coming for Israel but—in the air. Be sure to recognize that difference!

Turn now to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, and read, “[16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up [Latin, “raptured”] together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. [18] Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” This is notNOT!—to be confused with Jesus’ coming as described in Matthew 24:30-41. We are gathering to meet the Lord in the air, whereas Israel will meet Him on the Earth several years later. It is absolutely critical (!) to differentiate between these two comings!!! This cannot be emphasized enough.


Some Pauline dispensationalists claim the Lord’s “appearing” in 2 Timothy 4:8 is when He appeared to save Saul of Tarsus in Acts chapter 9 (cf. chapters 22 and 26). This is as strange as the idea that Christ’s “appearing” is Him manifesting His life in and through us. Personally, this author does not believe Christ’s appearance to save the Apostle Paul is in view in 2 Timothy 4:8.

Yet, now that we are on the subject, we should point something out. Unless we realize Christ unexpectedly (not in prophecy but in mystery/“un-prophesied”) came to save Saul of Tarsus in grace and peace to open our Dispensation of Grace, we will not recognize Christ’s coming a second “mystery” time to close our Dispensation of Grace. In other words, there are close parallels between Christ’s coming in Acts 9 to save Saul and Christ’s coming in 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians to physically save/deliver us from this present evil world (Rapture). The main reason why Christian people often dislike and deny the concept of the Rapture is that they fail to recognize and appreciate the Lord’s special return/“appearance” to save and commission Saul of Tarsus (2 Timothy 1:8-11, noting especially verses 10-11). Having not understood the Dispensation of Grace beginning, they cannot appreciate it closing (the Rapture). Instead, they see just one future coming of Christ—the one in Revelation chapter 19. Unless they see Christ’s appearing in Acts chapter 9, the really cannot truly “love” the appearing for which we are currently waiting!

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Who will accompany Jesus at His Second Coming?
» Is the Rapture in Matthew 24 and Luke 17?
» Is the Antichrist alive right now?