Category Archives: GOD

Exactly what is “eternal life?”

EXACTLY WHAT IS “ETERNAL LIFE?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Just as death is not the cessation of existence, eternal life is not simply living forever. Lost people live in eternal hellfire forever, yet they are eternally dead. The word “death” in Scripture means “separation.” While there are various types of death in the Bible, they all have that basic definition of separation. Once we understand this, then we are able to comprehend what life—especially true life, or eternal life—entails.

For example, consider Romans chapter 4: “[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. [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;….” Abraham and Sarah were both certainly alive in Genesis chapter 17. Yet, their old age had resulted in sterility and barrenness. Abraham’s body and Sarah’s body were separated from their procreation ability. It was not that they lost their reproductive organs; those organs, while present, were functionally dead, separated from their purpose.

Physical death occurs when the spiritual body (soul and spirit) separates from the body of flesh and blood. Genesis 35:18 describes this as such: “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him Benjamin.” Physical death does not result in becoming nonexistent; it is a separation of the human spirit and soul from the physical body. Again, death is separation.

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We would do well to notice that “wages” is a plural noun; sin causes two deaths. One death is physical death, which is what we already covered. The other is spiritual death, when the spirit of man (as an individual) is unable to commune with the Spirit of God. Here again is a type of separation: man is spiritually separated from his Creator. There is no unity or fellowship between the two. You may read 1 Corinthians 2:9-16 to learn how sin has made the spirit of man incompatible with the Spirit of God.

Ephesians chapter 2 speaks to this point of spiritual death: “[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.” You will see, here also, the issue of eternal life. When a lost person trusts Christ as his or her personal Saviour, the person can connect with Almighty God as Adam did before the Fall of man in Genesis chapter 3.

There is also positional death. As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4); we have been crucified with Him and been raised again with Him. Romans chapter 6 speaks about positional death: “[1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? [2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? [3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

We are “dead to sin” in that we are no longer “in Adam.” God has reckoned us separated from Adam’s damnation; we are now a “new creature in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This new nature produces good works, as opposed to the old nature of sin that could produce nothing pleasing to God. Again, this is positional death. Through personal faith in Christ’s finished crosswork, our position “in Adam” has been exchanged for our position “in Christ.” Now, we have the ability to be vessels of God’s power and exhibitions of His grace!

There is one final “death” (separation) in the Bible. We have covered functional death, physical death, spiritual death, and positional death. The last “death” is “the second death,” and it is connected to spiritual death. While a lost or unsaved soul on Earth is spiritually dead—separated from God’s life—that can be remedied by personal faith in the Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). If that spiritual death is not replaced with eternal life before physical death arrives, that spiritual death will be replaced with the second death. As the spiritual body separates from the physical body, now the spiritual body separates from God’s Spirit forever. All hope of ever gaining a right standing before God is now permanently gone. The second death occurs when the lost souls in Hell are judged, and then tossed into the Lake of Fire.

Revelation chapter 20 mentions “the second death:” “[11] And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. [12] And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. [13] And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. [14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. [15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Also, Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

With all that said, we can now define what “eternal life” is all about. Again, “eternal life” is much more than “life without end” or “living forever,” for lost people under God’s eternal wrath live forever. They are not consumed in Hell, but are transferred to the Lake of Fire to serve out their sentence without end.

John 17:3 is the best definition of “eternal life” in the Bible: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Here is a personal relationship with the one true God through His Son Jesus Christ. This is the demolition of the barrier that sin has erected between sinners and their Creator. Romans 6:23 once again: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Whereas we were once separated from God, we are now united with Him forever through Christ! With that new nature, we can now experience “eternal life” on a daily basis. Contrary to popular belief, eternal life is not dying and going to Heaven; it is experiencing God’s life right now on Earth!

Romans 5:21 says of victorious Christian living: “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Chapter 6, verse 23, is actually about victorious Christian living also: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Moreover, 1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” And, verses 19-20: “That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” This is daily Christian living, a reflection of the new nature we have been given in Christ!

Read Mark chapter 10 now: “[28] Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. [29] And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, [30] But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” In Israel’s prophetic program—her earthly kingdom program—the word “eternal life” takes on a slightly different meaning than it does concerning us. “Eternal life” for them is the entrance into that earthly kingdom of God. They do not experience communion with Almighty God to the fullest extent until the Millennium (1,000-Year Reign of Christ), when Israel is under the New Covenant, nationally resurrected, and God causes them to enjoy His life to the maximum.

Ezekiel chapter 36 says of this New Covenant for Israel: “[25] Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. [26] A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. [27] And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. [28] And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (See also Jeremiah 31:31-34.)

Like us Christians today, believing Jews in Israel’s prophetic program (whether in Acts or beyond our dispensation) have eternal life as a present possession—otherwise, they would be Hell-bound! Notice these verses from the epistle of 1 John: “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life” (2:25). “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (5:11). “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (5:13). “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life” (5:20). Yet, there is a national eternal life they will enjoy as well… and this is their earthly kingdom. Jude 21 is redeemed Israel waiting for Christ’s Second Coming, when they receive eternal life nationally: “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

One more thing about “eternal life:” it is the life of Jesus Christ, the life that God Himself lived during His earthly ministry. This is the same life He wants to live in Israel by faith, and what He wants to live in us by faith. Eternal life is living as God lives, enjoying His life. Both redeemed Israel and the Church the Body of Christ will be the vehicles whereby He exhibits that life throughout the endless ages to come!

“[1] That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; [2] (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; ) [3] That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:1-3).

Also see:
» What happens after death?
» Will living in Heaven forever be boring?
» “So shall we ever be with the Lord?”

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

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.”

CONCLUSION

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?”

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

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…?”

Can an atheist be moral without any influence from any “higher power?”

CAN AN ATHEIST BE MORAL WITHOUT ANY INFLUENCE FROM ANY “HIGHER POWER?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Atheists assert they are able to be decent, moral, ethical people without the instruction or help of some “god.” They contend they have no need for a religious text to teach them how to live. In the exact words of one such individual: “I do not need a holy book or church to tell me that I need to do right. I can be a good person with good morals and ethics without needing the Bible. I do good for the sake of being good.” Is this a valid objection to believing in God? Atheists claim they can be good on their own. In that case, why should we be Christians? Is the Bible really necessary? Why believe in God at all? We will gladly answer these inquiries!

Here are three fundamental problems with the above statements:

  1. What objective evidence do atheists have that they are actually doing right and good anyway? They cannot say that they do “right” because they “feel” that particular course of action is right, or that they “think” that it is right. Feelings change; they are misleading. We can be mistaken in our thoughts. What authority do atheists have to go around and label what is wrong and what is right? Their opinions, feelings, and thoughts are just as valid as everyone else’s. If someone disagrees with atheists concerning whether something is good or bad, how will the conflict ever be resolved? Who will make the final determination to settle it? What is “right” or “moral” to atheists may, in fact, be “wrong” and “immoral” to numerous others (and vice versa). In fact, one atheist may disagree with another atheist about the same matter! Again, where is the objective standard to settle it all?
  2. Deep down inside, we all know we are not What will atheists do about all those times when they did not have good morals and ethics? Have they always done right when they knew they should have? No! Have they done wrong when they knew they should have done right? Yes! Like the religionists they despise, they answer with the qualifier, “Yeah, but I will do better next time.” Alas, there is no guarantee they will do better the next time, since they have already failed. They have a history of doing wrong! What will they do with their past failures… not to mention their future ones?
  3. Who are atheists ultimately attempting to glorify when they do “right” and “good?” Are they seeking attention or accolades? Is there any selfishness at all on their part? No one is entirely selfless, always thinking of the benefit of others, so even atheists are not always “good” in their thoughts and behaviors. Christian or non-Christian, none of us can ever boast that we have been wholly altruistic every moment of our lives. To say otherwise is empty arrogance—religious and non-religious alike!

Honestly, our dear atheist friends, you do not have a clue about spiritual matters, ethics, and morals. Really, you do not. It is better for you to be quiet, sit down, and listen to some counsel for once. For sake of argument, we will momentarily adopt your view. If there is any remote possibility that there happens to be a god though, he or she may be listening to you and watching what you are doing. We will say it advisedly: you would do well to choose your words wisely. Better yet, again, you should stop using your mouth and hands, and start using your ears and eyes. We say this in love, not malice.

Atheists, believe or not, are actually religionists themselves. The fact of the matter is that we are all worshipping something or someone. If we are not worshipping the God of the Bible, then we are, at minimum, worshipping ourselves. We are acting independently of Him: we are our own authority, believing whatever we want, saying whatever we want, doing whatever we want. Atheists can advertise all they want about being “irreligious” and “nonreligious” but they worship a god as well. That god is self. We will stop here, move on to a related topic, and return to it later.

The Oxford English Dictionary says the “conscience” is “a person’s moral sense of right and wrong, viewed as acting as a guide to one’s behaviour.” To wit, it is a system of standards and norms that we use to evaluate ourselves as we function in the world around us. (Our English word “conscience” is derived through Old French from Latin, with “con–” meaning “with” and “scire” meaning “know.” The conscience is basically a set of internal information or data, equipping us with a “compass” or “GPS” of sorts.) If something goes against our conscience, we will hesitate to think it or do it. “That is wrong, and I will not get involved with it.” Conversely, if it agrees with our conscience, we are more willing to think it or do it. “That is right, and I need to associate with it.” Moreover, it is possible to ignore our conscience; in this case, we dwell on a thought that we believe is wrong, or we do something that we know is wrong. Our conscience will thus bother us—at least to some degree—unless we have a “seared” or anesthetized conscience (1 Timothy 4:2).

The Holy Bible says that we were created with a conscience, something to “accuse” us when we do wrong and something to “excuse” us when we do right. We turn to Romans chapter 2 and read: “[14] For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: [15] Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; ) [16] In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”

In short, the Gentiles (non-Jews) did not have the written or codified Word of God as the Jews had during the Old Testament economy (see Romans 3:1-2). However, those Gentiles will be also held accountable to a holy, righteous God one day because they had some sense of right and wrong in their spiritual body. As the Word of God will condemn the lost Jews when they give account to the Lord at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15), so the conscience of the unsaved Gentiles will testify against them when they are also judged for their sins. For example, they knew it was wrong to steal and kill because that knowledge is innate among all peoples. Any society cannot function and survive if there is disorder and death.

The Gentiles did not have it written down on scrolls or animal skins (as Israel did), but, even in their idolatrous state, they had a God-given conscience and thus had some insight into what actions were acceptable and what conduct was unacceptable. Romans chapter 2 is saying no sinner—Jew or Gentile—will escape the wrath of a just God. None will have an excuse, and none will be able to say, “Do not throw me into the Lake of Fire, God! I did not have a chance to know and believe the truth!”

However, there is a danger in having a conscience. The conscience is fallible, subject to sin, prone to error. Consequently, the Scriptures speak of a “weak/defiled conscience” (1 Corinthians 8:7). Here is a system of standards and norms lacking so much good information that not only is it feeble, it can be perverted or influenced by bad information. Then, there is the “good conscience” (Acts 23:1; 1 Timothy 1:5,19; Hebrews 3:18; 1 Peter 3:16,21), a system of standards and norms abounding with the right information and not easily susceptible to being perverted by wrong knowledge.

Evolutionary scientists tell us that our universe is not the result of a Creator God deliberately causing everything to appear. According to them, the universe came about not because of something supernatural but because of the interaction of natural laws (which they themselves cannot explain with perfect knowledge). This naturalistic explanation reduces everything to the following: “Unless we can see, touch, taste, smell, or hear it, it is not real. We do not need any religion or ‘god’ to describe the origin of our universe. No religion or ‘god’ can be proven anyway. We can study the laws of physics and see how they formed the universe. If you want to call those laws ‘god,’ then that is the ‘god’ we will believe in. However, to say that there is a personal and intelligent God as described in the Christian Bible, that we will not accept!”

The above argument is quite clever. Unbelievers have used it ad nauseum to beat Christians into silence. On the surface, it sounds convincing. It falls apart upon closer inspection, however. The fact is, we cannot reduce everything in this universe to strictly naturalistic terms. After all, what can physics possibly tell us about the origins of reason/logic, love, hate, joy, sadness, anger, fear, morals, and ethics? These are feelings, emotions, and ideas—intangible and invisible faculties and yet nonetheless realities. Without any personal God whatsoever, how do we explain their existence or our possession of them?

Unless we are desperate enough to say the laws of physics are rational beings, capable of communicating knowledge and wisdom to us, we must look elsewhere to establish the origins of thought and emotion. Here is where the Bible believer’s position is more plausible than the atheist’s. The atheist is hard-pressed to define immaterial things with material laws!!!! His staunch dependence on naturalism—what he boasted as his impregnable bastion—is now his trap and ultimate downfall!!!!

Without the presence of a god—and this author, being a Bible believer, will restrict that to the Judeo-Christian God, the God of Holy Scripture—we will never truly know if what we believed and did were good or evil. All the “good” impact we had in this world will be meaningless. In fact, unless there is the God of the Bible to make a final evaluation, none of us will ever know one way or another. Some people criticize our efforts, and disagree with us. Others support our ideals. Without one standard to rate everything (all beliefs and all actions), the only thing on which we can fall back is “relative righteousness”—and there is nothing comforting or lasting here. We must look past subjective standards, something beyond ourselves and beings like us.

About 3,000 years ago, an ancient king of Israel, Solomon, penned: “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). The Bible Book of Ecclesiastes is his assessment of the world around him (us). Puzzles, contradictions, ironies, and uncertainties bothered him relentlessly. He saw evil unaddressed and unpunished. Greed, violence, and dishonesty abounded. He witnessed wise men dying like common fools. He observed the foolish destroying the accomplishments of the wise. (Friend, does this world sound even remotely like ours, 30 centuries later? Indeed!!)

Solomon’s final statement to close Ecclesiastes is chapter 12, verse 14: “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” After making a careful investigation of the world, he still had a plethora of nagging questions. He did not fully understand everything like he wanted. Nevertheless, Solomon was absolutely sure of two things: (1) there most certainly is a God, and (2) one day He will evaluate everything in order to set right all that is wrong.

However, my friend, if you happen to be an atheist, you do not have Solomon’s hope. If you are correct and there is no god of any type, then what we are doing here is ultimately futile, pointless, wasted time and energy. Nothing will ever amount to anything. Nothing will ever be ultimately settled. It will not matter whether we do right or wrong anyway—so then why “do good for the sake of being good?!” There is no objective standard for you. All you have is your subjective hunches, opinions, and feelings. Christians, at least, have the Holy Bible as an objective standard, and the hope that whatever does not match the Bible will be corrected in due time. Evil will be dealt with at the appropriate time!! (How strange it is that precious souls use “logic” to dismiss the notion of any personal “god,” when the very logic they are using necessitates a logical God imparting such a faculty to them!)

My dear friend, if you are an atheist, you would do well to listen here. Maybe we have gotten your attention, but our message to you is not finished. You are a sinner, and your sin will be dealt with in one of two ways. If you so desire, the Bible says the one true God (the God of Christianity) will let you go to Hell so you can spend all of eternity paying your sin debt. It is a terrible reality, but I (as a Bible teacher) must warn you in love. You will suffer endlessly in those flames because God’s wrath against your sin will never be satisfied. Now, here is something equally important. The Bible also says you do not have to go to Hell. The God of Scripture loves you and has done everything to keep you from going to Hell. He took upon Himself our human flesh, and, as the Lord Jesus Christ, He died in our place. Where we failed, God the Son triumphed. He satisfied His Heavenly Father’s righteous demands.

I will be gentle but I will be frank, my friend. Your atheism will give you just as much a right standing before Almighty God as self-righteous religious works will for the religionists. None! The God of the Bible will accept neither your works apart from religion, nor the works of the religionists. Both classes are attempting to sidestep the righteousness found in Jesus Christ exclusively. He alone can live the “good” life, the moral life, the ethical life, the selfless life, the righteous life, the perfect (!) life. There are no substitutes whatsoever—in religion or atheism!!!!

Behold, the Gospel of the Grace of God! Believe it and be saved unto eternal life. You can join God’s family by faith and His grace will transform you from the inside out. Make note of these Scriptures, believe them, and never forget them!

  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: “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:….”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
  • Romans 4:1-5: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

Absolutely do not delay another second, friend. Place your faith in Jesus Christ alone as your personal Saviour now. He died to pay for everything that is wrong with you. He rose again to give you new life. Swallow your pride. You cannot offer Him anything but your sins. Once you trust Him exclusively, your faith resting in these simple Bible truths, you will be granted eternal life. God will then live His life in and through you as you walk by faith in His words to you. This is the only way whereby good will be accomplished in this lost and dying world. Start reading in Romans and go on through to Philemon; here is the Christian life described in great detail.

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

Also see:
» How should we answer the argument, “If only I saw a miracle…?”
» Why did Jesus curse the “poor” fig tree?
» Why is the Bible Book of “Ecclesiastes” thus named?

How is the Holy Spirit “the Comforter?”

HOW IS THE HOLY SPIRIT “THE COMFORTER?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

On four occasions, the King James Bible calls the Holy Spirit “the Comforter.” How is this title most appropriate for Him? What exactly does He do?

  • John chapter 14: “[16] And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [17] Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. [18] I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you…. [26] But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
  • John chapter 15: “[26] But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: [27] And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.”
  • John chapter 16: “[7] Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. [8] And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: [9] Of sin, because they believe not on me; [10] Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; [11] Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. [12] I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. [13] Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. [14] He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. [15] All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

John 13:1–17:26 details the Lord Jesus in the upper room with His disciples at evening. They eat the Passover and then the Last Supper. In just a few hours, He will go out to the Garden of Gethsemane where He will be betrayed and arrested. Ultimately, the following morning, they will execute Him on Calvary’s cross. These chapters are thus His parting words to Israel’s believing remnant. He reveals to them things to come—both short-term and long-term. There is good news and bad.

The central piece of good news is the coming of “the Comforter” (first mentioned in John chapter 14): “[16] And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [17] Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. [18] I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you…. [26] But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

While the word “comfort” often invokes the thought of cheering up a sad person, there is a much wider meaning in this unit of Scripture. At the heart of “comfort” is “fort,” from the Latin term (fortis) meaning “strong.” “Fortitude” is the related concept. Tough times are coming for Israel’s Little Flock, heirs of God’s earthly kingdom (Luke 12:31-32), so they need power to endure. They will be endowed with Divine strength—“the Comforter!” The Greek word is “parakletos,” which simply means “called alongside, especially to help.” God’s Word defines “the Comforter” as “the Holy Ghost,” the third Member of the Godhead, who will enable Israel to work in Christ’s absence. The strength will come about via God’s Word, the truth that “the Spirit of truth” speaks to these saints.

As Christ conducted His earthly ministry, He was present bodily to fortify His disciples. Now that He was leaving to go to Calvary’s cross, eventually returning to Heaven to His Father, He was training them for His absence. Howbeit, they would not be totally alone. He would ask His Father to send “another Comforter” (John 14:14). This Person, “the Spirit of truth,” would “dwell with [them],” and would be “in [them]” (verse 17). Jesus would not leave them “comfortless” (verse 18).

In chapter 15, the Lord Jesus says the Holy Spirit “shall testify of me: and ye shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning” (verses 26,27). Chapter 16 speaks of the Holy Spirit coming once Christ departs (verse 7). Through the Apostles’ preaching, He will “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: [9] Of sin, because they believe not on me; [10] Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; [11] Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” He enables them to proclaim God’s truth—especially facts from Christ’s earthly ministry.

Finally, Christ discloses how the Holy Spirit will pen our “New Testament” Scriptures: “[12] I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. [13] Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. [14] He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. [15] All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” The Holy Spirit will take Christ’s words from His earthly ministry, expand on them, and then cause them to be written down so we can have them now. As He is the “Comforter” of the Little Flock, so He is our “Comforter,” strengthening God’s people regardless of the dispensational change.

In the 40 days following His resurrection, Jesus Christ opened the Scriptures so His Apostles could better comprehend them. All they had at the time was Genesis through Malachi (see Luke 24:44-48), but it was enough to get them going without Him. Those “Bible classes” resulted in the Apostle Peter’s astonishing grasp of obscure Old Testament Scripture as seen in Acts 1:16-20!

Just before He ascended into Heaven, Jesus said, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high(Luke 24:49). The parallel passage is Acts chapter 1, verses 4 and 5: “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”

As sworn, the “Comforter” arrived in Acts chapter 2: “[1] And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. [2] And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. [3] And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. [4] And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Here, the Holy Spirit enabled the Apostles to speak in human languages they never formally learned, that their Jewish brethren visiting from foreign lands would understand God’s Word in their native dialect!

Over in Ephesians 3:16, we see Paul praying for us Gentiles in the Dispensation of Grace, “That he [God] would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;….” Here, the Holy Spirit functions as our fortifier, our “Comforter,” our Helper.

John 14:17 says the Holy Spirit will “dwell with [believing Israel], and shall be in [them].” Contrary to popular belief, the indwelling Spirit is not unique to our Dispensation of Grace. Through the Prophet Ezekiel, the LORD God had promised centuries earlier, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (36:26-27).

Beloved, our flesh is weak. (Right?) Despite our best efforts, we cannot live the Christian life. Only Jesus Christ can live His life—whether in Israel’s prophetic program or our mystery program. As the nation Israel will be the expression of Jesus Christ’s life in the earth in the ages to come, so we the Church the Body of Christ will be the manifestation of His life in the heavenly places. It is not we duplicating His life but rather He Himself living in and through us. There is no imitation; it is the actual life of Christ!

How exactly does Christ live in and through us though? Does He unexpectedly take control of our bodies and manipulate us as puppets? (No!) Is there some mysterious, hair-raising, gentle breeze? (No!) Bolts of lighting striking the back of our neck? (No!) The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible (2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). When we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, the Spirit of God indwell and seals us (Ephesians 1:12-14). We become “an holy temple in the Lord, an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21-22). He strengthens or fortifies us internally as we walk by faith in His Word to us, Romans through Philemon (Ephesians 3:16). Hence, daily Bible study—yea, daily dispensational Bible study—is so critical. Without the Comforter grounding us using God’s Word, neither Israel nor we can be vessels of Christ’s life!

Also see:
» Is the Holy Spirit a Person or a force?
» Was the Holy Spirit really given in John 20:22?
» Why did the Samaritan believers not receive the Holy Spirit upon believing in Acts 8?

How did Satan “take” the Lord Jesus during His temptations?

HOW DID SATAN “TAKE” THE LORD JESUS DURING HIS TEMPTATIONS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

How did Satan “take” Jesus during His temptations? Was the Lord hostage to the Devil, the Adversary?

Matthew chapter 4: “[5] Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,…. [8] Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;….”

Luke chapter 4: “[5] And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. [9] And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:….”

No, Satan did not snatch up the Lord Jesus and then drop Him in specific locations. We are not to suppose it is some kind of a violent, forceful capture like a law-enforcement officer holding and transporting an inmate. A better way to look at this is that Christ and Satan walked together to that pinnacle of the Jerusalem Temple and they walked together to that mountaintop. For example, if someone “takes” a person on a tour of his or her city, this is not in the sense of seizing or arresting the visitor and making him or her go on a tour. It is a walking together.

The Lord Jesus, exercising volition, has agreed to go with Satan to the roof of the Jerusalem Temple and has decided to go with Satan to the exceeding high mountain. Please understand that Christ was not a powerless prisoner here. The Lord was not forced into any of this. Even as a Man, He is still mightier than Satan. Notice how He orders Satan like a superior commands an inferior individual. If Satan had control over Jesus here, then Jesus could not have issued such decrees.

Matthew 4:10: “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 4:8: “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.” (Due to manuscript differences from the King James Greek text, in Luke 4:8, nearly every modern English version eliminates that command, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” If this is omitted, we cannot make the very point we are attempting to get across here!)

Also see:
» Why did Jesus Christ quote Deuteronomy during His temptations?
» Did Jesus ever claim to be God?
» What are Satan’s current operations?

Can you explain, “Give strength to the LORD?”

CAN YOU EXPLAIN, “GIVE STRENGTH TO THE LORD?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Bible thrice says “give strength to the LORD.” How do we “give strength” to Him?

  • 1 Chronicles 16:28: “Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.” (Parallel is Psalm 96:7—see below.)
  • Psalm 29:1: “Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.”
  • Psalm 96:7: “Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.”

The “strength” given to the LORD is in connection with “glory”—give Him “glory and strength.” It is majesty or splendor. The Ark of the Covenant, for example, is called “the ark of [God’s] strength” (Psalm 132:8; cf. 2 Chronicles 6:41). “Strength” refers to His majestic presence above the Mercy Seat (as in the Tabernacle and Temple). When Israel was guilty of sin, the Bible says God let the Philistines take the Ark, “his strength,” into their land (see 1 Samuel chapter 4).

We give to the LORD “glory and strength” in that we worship Him. We read His Word, believe it, let it work in and through us as it transforms our minds and conduct, pray in accordance with it, teach it to others, write songs about it and sing them, and so on. Here is how He manifests His glory and majesty: this is how we express His magnificence, goodness, splendor, all that He is and all that He has done and will do. This is in contradistinction to drawing attention to and praising ourselves and our human viewpoint, worshipping the world’s idols, and the like. “For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary” (Psalm 96:4-6).

Also see:
» How can God be “jealous” and not sin?
» Was God “unfair” in striking Uzzah dead?
» Is it truly a good deed if done for selfish reasons?