Christianity Does Not Have An Earthly Kingdom For Now…Our Citizenship Is Still In Heaven, And The Great Commission Remains Our Primary Task Till The Lord Returns!

Christians are people who have been born twice. They experienced a natural birth first, and then a spiritual birth or a rebirth later, the moment they accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour (became born again). From the natural birth to human parents, Christians automatically become citizens of the countries where they were born or where their parents came from, or both. The new/spiritual birth experienced at salvation, on the other hand, confers on Christians a heavenly citizenship, since we’re now children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Thus, every Christian is a dual citizen, of both heaven and earth.

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

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:29 And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (AKJV).

1 Peter 1:18 For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

1 Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

1 Peter 1:20 Who truly was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

1 Peter 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

1 Peter 1:22 Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned love of the brothers, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently:

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and stays for ever (AKJV).

Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Philippians 3:21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body (NIV).

With the issue of dual citizenship comes the question of loyalty and allegiance. Christians are expected to be good citizens of their earthly countries of origin (or domicile), by being obedient to the laws of the land and by contributing positively to national development. On the other hand, by being citizens of heaven, we’re expected to set our affections on heavenly things, and to earnestly desire the coming of our Lord and Saviour and the establishment of his kingdom on earth. Because our loyalty cannot be equally divided, the question of which of our countries deserves a higher level of allegiance and loyalty arises logically. If what Caesar (our earthly countries) demands from us is not at variance with God’s demands, we should gladly give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, while giving to God the things that are God’s. When there’s a conflict of interest between our earthly and heavenly countries, where should we place our loyalty? When our political leaders on earth make laws that are contrary to the laws of heaven, what should be our response? The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that as Christians, our loyalty should, first and foremost, be to God and to our heavenly country. We are taught in the Scriptures that here on earth, we are actually on a pilgrimage. We’re pilgrims and strangers on earth, people on transit, as we journey to our eternal heavenly home. In our various countries of birth or domicile, we’re heaven’s ambassadors, expected to project heaven’s values and policies, and point men and women to our God and our heavenly country.

1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,

1 Peter 2:12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

1 Peter 2:13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme,

1 Peter 2:14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.

1 Peter 2:15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—

1 Peter 2:16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.

1 Peter 2:17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king (NKJV).

Colossians 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

Colossians 3:2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Colossians 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory (NKJV).

St. Matthew 22:15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words.

St. Matthew 22:16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are.

St. Matthew 22:17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”

St. Matthew 22:18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me?

St. Matthew 22:19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius,

St. Matthew 22:20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

St. Matthew 22:21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

St. Matthew 22:22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away (NIV).

The Acts 5:25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.”

The Acts 5:26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.

The Acts 5:27 The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest.

The Acts 5:28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

The Acts 5:29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! (NIV).

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

2 Corinthians 5:19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God (NIV).

Getting our goals and priorities right is key to living a fulfilled Christian life that will receive acclaim from heaven. Expending our time, energy and life on earth for the wrong cause(s) can have disastrous consequences in the end. As the Lord Jesus told us, only those who lose their lives for his sake and for the sake of his kingdom will find them. Only those who hazard their lives for the sake of the gospel of Christ will receive eternal rewards. As heaven’s ambassadors, we should choose our fights carefully. Any battle that does not defend heaven’s cause or promote the great commission doesn’t glorify God and doesn’t advance his kingdom. It’s not every political fight that Christians should inject themselves into. Our goal is to persuade and win as many men and women of all philosophical and political shades for the Lord. To advance heaven’s goals on earth is our preeminent work as heaven’s ambassadors. It will not profit us anything if we lose focus of our heavenly calling and settle into anointing political leaders or taking part in earthly partisan fights that will generate unnecessary enemies for the church and the Lord, out of the people we’re supposed to win over for heaven. As Christians, we’re neither Republican, Democrat, Socialist or Independent. Christianity is not a political philosophy, but a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Because Jesus Christ is the Truth, Christians are to align with and defend God’s truth, the truth of the gospel. That’s our priority! That’s our number one goal! We’re not called to defend any political philosophy or political party, but the truth of the gospel! We do not need political power to undertake or execute the Great Commission. Neither the Lord nor his disciples relied on political power to fulfill their ministries. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is what we need to fulfill the great commission, not the power to make and enforce laws in the public space, however righteous those laws may be. The Lord and his original apostles readily sacrificed their lives so that the truth of the gospel might continue with us. That’s the only cause worth dying for as Christians. For any ambassador of Christ, living and dying for any other cause not related to the great commission is living and dying for a lie! It’s living and dying in vain! As soldiers of Christ, we should not entangle ourselves with the affairs of this world, so that we may be able to please our Commander-in-Chief (Jesus Christ), who has enlisted us into his Army!

St. Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

St. Matthew 16:25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

St. Matthew 16:26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

St. Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done (NIV).

St. John 18:33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

St. John 18:34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

St. John 18:35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

St. John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

St. John 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (NIV).

St. Luke 24:44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

St. Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

St. Luke 24:46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,

St. Luke 24:47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

St. Luke 24:48 You are witnesses of these things.

St. Luke 24:49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (NIV).

The Acts 1:1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach

The Acts 1:2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

The Acts 1:3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

The Acts 1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

The Acts 1:5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

The Acts 1:6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

The Acts 1:7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

The Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV).

1 Corinthians 2:1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.

1 Corinthians 2:4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,

1 Corinthians 2:5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power (NIV).

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel —not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (NIV).

2 Timothy 2:1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.

2 Timothy 2:3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.

2 Timothy 2:5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.

2 Timothy 2:6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.

2 Timothy 2:7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

2 Timothy 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel,

2 Timothy 2:9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.

2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

2 Timothy 2:11 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him;

2 Timothy 2:12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us;

2 Timothy 2:13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

2 Timothy 2:14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen (NIV).

To dedicate our lives as Christians to building political systems on earth is to miss the great commission and be blind to the fate awaiting all political systems on earth: ultimate destruction by God’s fiery judgement! To think that by voting in politicians who promise to make and enforce Christian laws in the public space is the way to win souls for Christ is to be greatly deluded as to the power of the law to save souls. The law could not make men righteous in the old testament, and it cannot make them righteous in the new. If all the countries in the world make the ten commandments obligatory laws for all men and women, it will still not accomplish the great commission! Sin is in the heart of every human being, and no amount of laws can cure that and deliver men from its vile grip. No amount of righteous regulations can deliver men and women from the powers of darkness and translate them into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ! Israel in the old testament had God’s commandments as its constitution, yet the nation still ended up idolatrous, wicked and vile, like its neighbours that had no laws of God. Having the commandments of God as a nation’s constitution will not save the souls of men and women. Only the gospel preached in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit will deliver people from the bondage of sin and make them sons and daughters of the living God. So, instead of wasting our energies and resources in campaigning for politicians who promise to make the Bible our constitution, let’s go back to fulfilling the great commission! Let’s get back to the apostolic way of saving men and women from the wrath to come! No political party in power will save our nations, because God’s judgement has been decreed on all nations and all kingdoms of men, which have to be destroyed first before the kingdom of God will be established on earth. We’re not called to save the nations of the world, but we’re rather called and commissioned to save as many men and women as we can, from all the doomed nations that are headed for destruction. One of the greatest evangelists in the modern era, D.L. Moody, summed up the Christian’s commission so succinctly: “I look upon this world as a wrecked vessel. God has given me a lifeboat and said, ‘Moody, save all you can'”.

2 Peter 3:1 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.

2 Peter 3:2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.

2 Peter 3:3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.

2 Peter 3:4 They will say, “Where is this ’coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”

2 Peter 3:5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.

2 Peter 3:6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

2 Peter 3:7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

2 Peter 3:11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives

2 Peter 3:12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.

2 Peter 3:13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

2 Peter 3:14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him (NIV).

Galatians 2:16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified (NIV).

Hebrews 7:18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless

Hebrews 7:19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God (NIV).

The Acts 2:37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

The Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 2:39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

The Acts 2:40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

The Acts 2:41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day (NIV).

St. Mark 16:14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

St. Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

St. Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

St. Mark 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

St. Mark 16:18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

St. Mark 16:19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

St. Mark 16:20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it (NIV).

1 Corinthians 9:19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.

1 Corinthians 9:20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.

1 Corinthians 9:21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.

1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

1 Corinthians 9:23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (NIV).

Romans 1:14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.

Romans 1:15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Romans 1:17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed —a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (NIV).

In conclusion, the Christian is a citizen of two countries, heaven and earth, with the heavenly country being his eternal home and final destination. Here on earth, the Christian is actually a pilgrim and heaven’s ambassador. We’re called to represent heaven on earth, to project heaven’s values and woo men and women from all countries and from all philosophies to become Christ’s disciples. Christians are not called to build political empires for Christ on earth right now, but are to recruit men and women from all nations to become citizens of heaven and of Christ’s future earthly kingdom. To achieve this great commission, we are not to rely on political power of the state, but on the power of the Holy Spirit. We cannot get men to become born again through force, intimidation, legislation of righteous laws or by aligning with politicians to enforce the practice of Christian values in the public space. All these are a leaning on the powers of the flesh to do the work of the Spirit. Making the ten commandments the constitution of a country will not save people, for no man can be saved by the law. Israel had God’s laws as its constitution in the old testament, and the nation still plunged full steam into idolatory and was cut off by God. The law couldn’t save men in the old testament, and it can’t save men in the new. Only the gospel preached with the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit can convict and convert the soul and bring about the new birth experience. Christians should therefore stop trying to build Christian nations out of their countries (it’s simply impossible!) through control of political power, but should seek to make Christians out of as many men and women as we can reach, and make them citizens of heaven. The world we’re in right now is a wrecked vessel that cannot be saved, as it’s headed for destruction, but we can save as many men and women as possible from this wrecked vessel, by focusing squarely on the great commission. That’s the only way to expand God’s kingdom and hasten the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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The Error Of Balaam Was In Placing The Love Of Money Above His Prophetic Calling— And That Cost Him His Life And Ministry!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

Balaam was an enigmatic figure in the Bible. In the Old Testament, he was portrayed as a prophet with many contradictions. In spite of his uncanny ability to hear from the Almighty and to see visions with his eyes open, Balaam incurred God’s wrath by embarking on a forbidden prophetic mission. Even when his life was miraculously spared by divine intervention, instead of turning back home, he continued on that destructive journey, relying on the permissive will of God, rather than his perfect will. Though Balaam gave very accurate and divinely-inspired prophecies, and though he seemingly refused to be induced by the promise of material gains to speak outside of the divine mandate, he ended up being destroyed by the army of Israel, on God’s orders, for luring Israel into idolatory. Prophet Balaam was indeed an intriguing seer, a man of many contrasting parts, whose calling and ambitions were constantly at loggerheads, as the Scriptures revealed. The lust of the eyes (greed) eventually undermined his relationship with God and sealed his doom (Numbers Chapters 22-25).

Numbers 22:1 Then the children of Israel moved, and camped in the plains of Moab on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho.

Numbers 22:2 Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites.

Numbers 22:3 And Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel.

Numbers 22:4 So Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this company will lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time.

Numbers 22:5 Then he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying: “Look, a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me!

Numbers 22:6 Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

Numbers 22:7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the diviner’s fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak.

Numbers 22:8 And he said to them, “Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the Lord speaks to me.” So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.

Numbers 22:9 Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”

Numbers 22:10 So Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying,

Numbers 22:11 ‘Look, a people has come out of Egypt, and they cover the face of the earth. Come now, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to overpower them and drive them out.’”

Numbers 22:12 And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”

Numbers 22:13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go back to your land, for the Lord has refused to give me permission to go with you.”

Numbers 22:14 And the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”

Numbers 22:15 Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more honorable than they.

Numbers 22:16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me;

Numbers 22:17 for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’”

Numbers 22:18 Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more.

Numbers 22:19 Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.”

Numbers 22:20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.”

Numbers 22:21 So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.

Numbers 22:22 Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.

Numbers 22:23 Now the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road.

Numbers 22:24 Then the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side.

Numbers 22:25 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall; so he struck her again.

Numbers 22:26 Then the Angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.

Numbers 22:27 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam’s anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff.

Numbers 22:28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”

Numbers 22:29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!”

Numbers 22:30 So the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?”
And he said, “No.”

Numbers 22:31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.

Numbers 22:32 And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me.

Numbers 22:33 The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.”

Numbers 22:34 And Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back.”

Numbers 22:35 Then the Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

Numbers 22:36 Now when Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, which is on the border at the Arnon, the boundary of the territory.

Numbers 22:37 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not earnestly send to you, calling for you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?”

Numbers 22:38 And Balaam said to Balak, “Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak.”

Numbers 22:39 So Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kirjath Huzoth.

Numbers 22:40 Then Balak offered oxen and sheep, and he sent some to Balaam and to the princes who were with him.

Numbers 22:41 So it was, the next day, that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the high places of Baal, that from there he might observe the extent of the people.

Numbers 24:1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness.

Numbers 24:2 And Balaam raised his eyes, and saw Israel encamped according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him.

Numbers 24:3 Then he took up his oracle and said:
“The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor,
The utterance of the man whose eyes are opened,

Numbers 24:4 The utterance of him who hears the words of God,
Who sees the vision of the Almighty,
Who falls down, with eyes wide open:

Numbers 24:5 “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob!
Your dwellings, O Israel!

Numbers 24:7 He shall pour water from his buckets,
And his seed shall be in many waters.
“His king shall be higher than Agag,
And his kingdom shall be exalted.

Numbers 24:8 “God brings him out of Egypt;
He has strength like a wild ox;
He shall consume the nations, his enemies;
He shall break their bones
And pierce them with his arrows.

Numbers 24:9 ‘He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?’
“Blessed is he who blesses you,
And cursed is he who curses you.”

Numbers 24:10 Then Balak’s anger was aroused against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have bountifully blessed them these three times!

Numbers 24:11 Now therefore, flee to your place. I said I would greatly honor you, but in fact, the Lord has kept you back from honor.”

Numbers 24:12 So Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying,

Numbers 24:13 ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord, to do good or bad of my own will. What the Lord says, that I must speak’?

Numbers 31:1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

Numbers 31:2 “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the children of Israel. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people.”

Numbers 31:3 So Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm some of yourselves for war, and let them go against the Midianites to take vengeance for the Lord on Midian.

Numbers 31:4 A thousand from each tribe of all the tribes of Israel you shall send to the war.”

Numbers 31:5 So there were recruited from the divisions of Israel one thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.

Numbers 31:6 Then Moses sent them to the war, one thousand from each tribe; he sent them to the war with Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, with the holy articles and the signal trumpets in his hand.

Numbers 31:7 And they warred against the Midianites, just as the Lord commanded Moses, and they killed all the males.

Numbers 31:8 They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of those who were killed—Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. Balaam the son of Beor they also killed with the sword.

Numbers 31:9 And the children of Israel took the women of Midian captive, with their little ones, and took as spoil all their cattle, all their flocks, and all their goods.

Numbers 31:10 They also burned with fire all the cities where they dwelt, and all their forts.

Numbers 31:11 And they took all the spoil and all the booty—of man and beast.

Numbers 31:12 Then they brought the captives, the booty, and the spoil to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the children of Israel, to the camp in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho.

Numbers 31:13 And Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the congregation, went to meet them outside the camp.

Numbers 31:14 But Moses was angry with the officers of the army, with the captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, who had come from the battle.

Numbers 31:15 And Moses said to them: “Have you kept all the women alive?

Numbers 31:16 Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the Lord in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.

It took the writings of the apostles in the New Testament to unveil the true nature of Balaam as a wayward prophet who was more concerned with the use of his gifts for personal gains, than in pleasing the God who called and gifted him into the prophetic ministry. Balaam was a seer who couldn’t resist the lure of wealth and material gains in ministry. Although his words sometimes appeared to show he wasn’t after money, his actions readily betrayed his true motives. Despite his protestations that no amount of money could make him curse Israel, Balaam ended up offering Balak the recipe for doing just that, by enticing God’s people into idolatory and fornication with the daughters of Midian! It was Balaam, a prophet of God, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block in the path of God’s people, by inviting Israel to participate in idol worship and sexual immorality! How could a man who had such profound visions of the Most High deliberately set up God’s people to rebel against him? How could a prophet of God lure God’s people into idolatory and fornication? The answer is simple. A man of God who values his belly more than his calling will readily sell his anointing to the highest bidder, even if that means misleading God’s people into destruction. A prophet who loves the wages of unrighteousness will shamelessly distort the word of God to suit his personal interests. It was the love of money that drove Balaam into using his prophetic gift for evil purposes and becoming a false prophet thereby. And it is the love of money today that derails men of God from the path of righteousness and shipwrecks their faith. Covetousness will blind a man’s eyes to the truth of the gospel and make him follow after other gods (including mammon, the god of riches), while thinking he’s still following God. We’re vehemently warned in the Scriptures to flee from such prophets who lure us to follow after other gods, even though they may give us accurate and infallible prophecies! God is simply testing our loyalty to him with such prophets like Balaam, who are already marked for destruction.

Numbers 25:1 Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab.

Numbers 25:2 They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.

Numbers 25:3 So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.

Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.

2 Peter 2:2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.

2 Peter 2:3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;

2 Peter 2:5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;

2 Peter 2:6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;

2 Peter 2:7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked

2 Peter 2:8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—

2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,

2 Peter 2:10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries,

2 Peter 2:11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.

2 Peter 2:12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption,

2 Peter 2:13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you,

2 Peter 2:14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.

2 Peter 2:15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

2 Peter 2:16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.

Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

Jude 1:4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

Jude 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;

Jude 1:7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Jude 1:8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.

Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Jude 1:10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.

Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

Jude 1:12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;

Jude 1:13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

1 Timothy 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.

1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

1 Timothy 6:8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

1 Timothy 6:9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

1 Timothy 6:11 The Good Confession
But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate,

1 Timothy 6:14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing,

1 Timothy 6:15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

1 Timothy 6:16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

Deuteronomy 13:1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,

Deuteronomy 13:2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’

Deuteronomy 13:3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Deuteronomy 13:4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.

Deuteronomy 13:5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.

The error of Balaam was in assuming that as long as he kept hearing from God and seeing visions of the Almighty, he had divine approval for all his actions, however immorally he lived. It is in believing that continual display of the prophetic gift is a sign of divine vindication and approval of a sinful lifestyle. Samson too believed the same gospel, and therefore lived recklessly, lured into a false assurance of safety, as long as the power to perform miraculous signs and wonders continued to rest upon him. But, such prophets are ignorant of the fact that the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. What this means is that, once God has imbued someone with a gift or supernatural ability, he doesn’t recall that gift back, even if the person misuses it or uses it against the will of God. Such gifts will continue to be operational in the life of the servant possessing them, even if the person lives an ungodly life (Remember Lucifer, God’s covering cherub who rebelled against God to become Satan? Well, he still retains his supernatural powers!). God’s judgement for the misuse of gifts and talents will come at the end of a servant’s life, not before. We will account for our talents, but not here and now. That accounting will be done at the judgement seat of Christ, at the end of the ages. Thus, God not taking immediate actions against an erring servant, and even allowing his gifts to continue to operate in such a person’s life, is not an endorsement of the person’s lifestyle. God is simply long-suffering and does not usually bring judgment before the time. But, God’s judgement will surely come one day, and all the secret works of darkness will be laid bare, and everyone will receive his due reward from the Lord.

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Romans 14:10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Romans 14:11 For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”

Romans 14:12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

1 Corinthians 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.

1 Corinthians 4:4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

Matthew 25:14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.

Matthew 25:15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.

Matthew 25:16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.

Matthew 25:17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.

Matthew 25:18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.

Matthew 25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

Matthew 25:20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’

Matthew 25:21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

Matthew 25:22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’

Matthew 25:23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

Matthew 25:24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.

Matthew 25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

Matthew 25:26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.

Matthew 25:27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.

Matthew 25:28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

Matthew 25:29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.

Matthew 25:30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

In conclusion, Balaam was a gifted prophet with an exceptional ability of connecting to God and accessing the divine will. Nevertheless, he made shipwreck of his faith and ended up destroyed in his prime. His error was in placing the love of money above his calling, and in being swayed by the wages of unrighteousness to lead God’s people astray. He was deceived by greed into thinking that he could make merchandise of his gifts and still retain God’s favour. Like many of his modern counterparts, Balaam misunderstood his calling, and presumed ownership of the gifts of God in his life, forgetting he was just an unprofitable servant entrusted with talents that he would one day be called upon to account for. May we take heed from the error of Balaam and strive to live as people who would one day appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give account of our stewardship. May we lay hold on eternal life and run with patience the race set before us, looking unto and following the example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in meekness, humility, and godliness with contentment, which have great eternal rewards.

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Anointing For Sale: The Height Of Pentecostal Rascality And Greed!

(Except otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version).

It’s common among modern-day Pentecostals to see all kinds of gimmicks designed to defraud people when it comes to the impartation of grace and transfer of anointing. Those who believe people’s grace can be transferred or imparted to others can go to ridiculous lengths to covet the grace upon certain ministers of the gospel. The most effective way to “tap” into somebody’s grace, according to some Pentecostal ministers, is to sow huge “financial seeds” into the lives/ministries of those possessing the gifts being sought. Such financial commitments are assumed to be necessary catalysts for the transfer of grace and the impartation of anointing. Is it biblical to seek the transfer of the gift of God in a minister’s life by financial inducements? Does the Bible approve the selling of the anointing for money? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

When the gospel was first carried to Samaria by Philip (the deacon turned evangelist), it was widely received because of the miraculous signs that accompanied it. Even Simon, a magician who had once bewitched the entire city of Samaria with his sorcery, abandoned his magical art and believed the gospel preached by Philip, seeing the superior signs and wonders that followed the preaching of the good news. Simon was baptised thereafter, and followed Philip closely in his evangelistic campaign at Samaria, having become a disciple. When the apostles at Jerusalem heard the good news that the city of Samaria had received the gospel, they sent Peter and John to lay hands on them to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen upon any of the Samaritan believers, who had only been baptised by water in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Upon the laying on of the apostles’ hands, the Holy Spirit came upon the new believers, confirming their faith in Christ with God’s seal (the Holy Spirit). When Simon, the sorcerer turned Christian, saw that the Holy Sprit came upon the people by the laying of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money for the transfer of that power, so that he too could lay hands on people to receive the Holy Spirit. The apostles were rightly outraged by the proposition to impart their grace and gift for money. They were enraged that someone could even contemplate the idea of buying the gift of God with money! Peter’s scathing rebuke of Simon revealed the depth of the apostles’ righteous indignation at someone trying to sway them with money to compromise their integrity. Peter rightly considered Simon’s request as evil and satanic, and urged him to repent and seek immediate deliverance from such demonic thoughts!

The Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

The Acts 8:6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

The Acts 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.

The Acts 8:8 And there was great joy in that city.

The Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,

The Acts 8:10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.”

The Acts 8:11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.

The Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

The Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

The Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,

The Acts 8:15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 8:16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 8:17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,

The Acts 8:19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

The Acts 8:20 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!

The Acts 8:21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.

The Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.

The Acts 8:23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”

The Acts 8:24 Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.”

The apostles’ abrasive response to Simon’s satan-inspired request was in line with the teachings of their Lord and Master. The Lord Jesus Christ had taught the apostles to freely give the gifts of God they had received, and never to make merchandise of the gospel or the gifts of God. The healing of the sick, the raising of the dead, the casting out of evil spirits and other works of the Spirit are to be done free of charge! God freely bestows his gifts on his servants, and he expects them to use the gifts freely in the service of humanity! The anointing of God is not for sale. The gifts of grace in a minister’s life are not for personal enrichment, but for selfless service. No wonder the original apostles of the Lord, though endowed with extraordinary gifts of the Spirit and power, lived meek and lowly lives, like their Lord and Master. They could have become the richest men on earth if they had wanted, by simply making merchandise of their gifts and power. They could have requested people to sow huge “financial seeds” into their lives, for raising the dead, healing the sick and casting out demons. They could have charged other aspiring ministers to tap the grace of God in their lives by sowing “dangerous” ‘financial seeds’. But they didn’t apply any of these personal enrichment gimmicks. Even when people sold their properties and brought all the proceeds and laid them at the apostles’ feet, the apostles didn’t grab the money and place them in private accounts. They didn’t see such money as meant for their personal and exclusive use, to fund lavish and opulent lifestyles. Rather, they appointed deacons to handle these financial resources and use them to take care of people’s needs in the church, so that they wouldn’t be distracted from their primary assignment of praying and preaching the gospel! What an example of selfless leadership the apostles set for other ministers to follow! Though they had access to so much money, the apostles remained humble and ordinary, like every other church member. Rather than make themselves millionaires, they chose to make sure no one lacked in the church, by distributing church money according to members’ needs. In some instances, rather than depend entirely on the congregation for sustenance, some apostles worked to support themselves and those they ministered to, showing the extent they were ready to go to preach the gospel free of charge. The apostles obviously did not expect their rewards for ministry here. They were looking for eternal rewards for faithful service, which the Lord promised all faithful servants at his appearing.

Matthew 10:1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.

Matthew 10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

Matthew 10:3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;

Matthew 10:4 Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Matthew 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.

Matthew 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew 10:7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Luke 17:7 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’?

Luke 17:8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’?

Luke 17:9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.

Luke 17:10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”

The Acts 4:32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.

The Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

The Acts 4:34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,

The Acts 4:35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.

The Acts 4:36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,

The Acts 4:37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

The Acts 6:1 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.

The Acts 6:2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.

The Acts 6:3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;

The Acts 6:4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

The Acts 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch,

The Acts 6:6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.

The Acts 6:7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

1 Corinthians 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.

1 Corinthians 4:4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

1 Corinthians 4:6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.

1 Corinthians 4:7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

1 Corinthians 4:8 You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!

1 Corinthians 4:9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.

1 Corinthians 4:10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!

1 Corinthians 4:11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.

1 Corinthians 4:12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure;

1 Corinthians 4:13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.

1 Corinthians 4:14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.

1 Corinthians 4:15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

1 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.

The Acts 20:17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.

The Acts 20:18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you,

The Acts 20:19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews;

The Acts 20:20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house,

The Acts 20:21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Acts 20:22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there,

The Acts 20:23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.

The Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

The Acts 20:25 “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.

The Acts 20:26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.

The Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.

The Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

The Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.

The Acts 20:30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.

The Acts 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

The Acts 20:32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

The Acts 20:33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.

The Acts 20:34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me.

The Acts 20:35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

The Acts 20:36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.

The Acts 20:37 Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him,

The Acts 20:38 sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.

1 Corinthians 9:1 Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?

1 Corinthians 9:2 If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 9:3 My defense to those who examine me is this:

1 Corinthians 9:4 Do we have no right to eat and drink?

1 Corinthians 9:5 Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?

1 Corinthians 9:6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working?

1 Corinthians 9:7 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?

1 Corinthians 9:8 Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also?

1 Corinthians 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about?

1 Corinthians 9:10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope.

1 Corinthians 9:11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?

1 Corinthians 9:12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?
Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar?

1 Corinthians 9:14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

1 Corinthians 9:15 But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void.

1 Corinthians 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!

1 Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship.

1 Corinthians 9:18 What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.

In contrast to the selfless leadership style displayed by the original apostles of the Lord, modern-day Pentecostal ministers prefer to reap the full rewards of ministry here and now, as though they’re not certain of making heaven. Whereas the original apostles freely imparted the anointing and gifts they received to others, our contemporary ministers not only expect people to pay for the anointing, they shamelessly manipulate them to do so! Rather than rebuke the Simons of this world who think they can buy the gift of God with money, merchants behind the pulpit openly encourage people to sow huge “financial seeds” in order to tap the anointing and grace upon their lives. Like Balaam, they’re propelled by the prospects of financial gain in giving out prophecies and in praying for those in need. Pentecostal anointing and gifts of the Spirit are now available to the highest bidder! You can now buy the gift of God with money! Once upon a time, godliness with contentment was considered great gain by God’s ministers; now, covetousness and an overflowing bank account are great gain! To the original apostles, the love of money was the root of all evil; now, some modern preachers consider the lack of money to be the root of all evil (I actually heard the general overseer of a mega Pentecostal church say that!). A man’s life now seems to consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. As far as this crop of covetous ministers are concerned, it’s perfectly possible and okay to serve both God and mammon (riches) simultaneously! That’s the new gospel according to Pentecostal rascality! Do we need to think twice to imagine the destination of preachers of such a perverted gospel? Not really. The Scripture is very clear about the fact that destruction awaits all who pervert the original apostolic faith for personal gains. Like Balaam, their end in the hottest and darkest parts of hell is assured. They will hear from the Lord at the end, but it will not be “welcome, faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord“. “Depart from me, you workers of iniquity“, will be the reward for their service of greed, covetousness and deceit.

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,

Galatians 1:7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

Galatians 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

2 Peter 2:12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption,

2 Peter 2:13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you,

2 Peter 2:14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.

2 Peter 2:15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

2 Peter 2:16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.

1 Timothy 6:3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness,

1 Timothy 6:4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,

1 Timothy 6:5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.

1 Timothy 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.

1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

1 Timothy 6:8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

1 Timothy 6:9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

St. Luke 16:13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

St. Luke 16:14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.

St. Luke 16:15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight (NIV).

Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

Matthew 7:16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

Matthew 7:17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

Matthew 7:18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

Matthew 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 7:20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Matthew 7:21 I Never Knew You
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’

Matthew 7:23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

In conclusion, the original apostles of the Lord set examples of selfless leadership in ministry by freely using the gifts of God in their lives to serve humanity, without seeking for personal gains for themselves. Not only that, they resented and resisted the idea of people trying to buy the gift of God with money. To them, the anointing of God was not for sale. In contrast, most modern-day Pentecostal ministers openly instruct people to sow “financial seeds” in order to tap their anointing/grace. The gift of God can now be bought with money, as material prosperity is now seen as the evidence of divine favour and blessedness in ministry. People no longer look forward to the reward of faithful service in ministry at the coming of the Lord, but seek immediate gratification here and now. This inordinate quest for instant reward in ministry has corrupted the gospel and turned it into a profit-oriented business venture, and ministers have become merchants behind the pulpit. Like Balaam who followed the wages of unrighteousness to his destruction, making merchandise of the gospel can only lead to eternal contempt and shame. The reward for ministry should not be sought here, but at the end of a Christian’s journey, when the Lord will reward every man according to his labour.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Revelation 22:12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.

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The Gospel Of Jesus Christ Is The Gospel Of Salvation, Not Of Prosperity! Beware Of Motivational Speakers Parading As Ministers Of Jesus Christ!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).

St. Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

St. Mark 8:37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (KJV).

The word ‘gospel’ simply means ‘good news’. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of God’s salvation for mankind, made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the message of how reconciliation of fallen humanity with God was made possible through the sacrificial and substitutionary death of God’s only begotten Son at Calvary. Through Jesus Christ, lost humanity is offered divine pardon from the original sin and its consequences, as well as eternal life in paradise. Thus, the gospel is variously called “the gospel of God”, “the gospel of Jesus Christ”, “the gospel of the kingdom” (of heaven), “the gospel of peace” and “the gospel of salvation”. From all these descriptions of the gospel, the focus of the gospel is clear—-salvation from sin, peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ and eternal life in God’s kingdom.

The focus of the gospel was made clear by our Lord Jesus Christ in his final command to his original apostles, to whom he committed his gospel. The great commission the Lord entrusted to the apostles (and to those they would disciple later) was to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creation, in order to bring salvation to as many as would believe and accept the gospel. The apostles themselves demonstrated a clear understanding of their life mission by focusing exclusively on saving souls and reconciling men and women back to God. Their ministry of reconciliation was the driving force of their lives. They were not ashamed to preach the gospel of peace and save men and women from the wrath of God which awaits all sinners who die without making peace with God.

St. Mark 16:14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

St. Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

St. Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

St. Mark 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

St. Mark 16:18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

St. Mark 16:19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

St. Mark 16:20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel —not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

1 Corinthians 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

2 Corinthians 5:19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Romans 1:13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

Romans 1:14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.

Romans 1:15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Unfortunately, the gospel message has taken a different turn in our time. The focus of the gospel in a lot of Christian circles is no longer the salvation of souls, but the enrichment of pockets. The gospel of material prosperity has supplanted the gospel of salvation in many quarters. Ministers of Christ in most pentecostal circles now see their calling as that of making people rich materially, rather than making them rich towards God. The evidence of divine approval now seems to be how rich a Christian is in the things of the world. Ministers of Christ now parade their fat bank accounts, fleets of exotic cars, private jets, multi-million dollar auditoriums, state-of-the-art mansions, etc, as evidence of success in ministry. And those who become materially rich and successful in business (even if dubiously), by following the teachings of these ministers of Christ, are readily paraded for all to see as the testimony of blessed Christianity! Is material prosperity the barometer for measuring success in ministry or in life generally?

The original apostles of the Lord made clear in their writings that material prosperity was not the goal of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They stressed the fact that an inordinate ambition for riches was actually counterproductive to the gospel message, and at variance with being heavenly-minded. Those who covet riches while following Christ may actually end up making a shipwreck of their faith! The love of money still remains the root of all evil, and those who lust after wealth end up erring from the faith and piercing themselves with many sorrows. The original apostles of the Lord made the fact clear that ministers who make prosperity the crux of their message are earthly minded and are called into ministry by their belly (materials needs), which is also their god. The end of such ministers is destruction! Ministers who place prosperity above salvation of souls are patently false, and should be avoided at all costs! They are nothing but satanic agents masquerading as ministers of Christ. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, who specialise in fleecing God’s flocks and making merchandise of the gospel. These are people who don’t hesitate to sell the anointing to the highest bidder, while imparting their grace only to those who sow the largest financial ‘seeds’ into their lives and ministries. Like the prophet Balaam who was enticed by the wages of unrighteousness to his destruction, a similar fate awaits such modern day merchants behind the pulpit, and all those who follow their destructive ways! Like the Lord Jesus Christ warned his disciples, we should take heed and beware of covetousness, for true success in life is not measured by the abundance of material riches, but in how rich we are towards God.

1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

1 Timothy 6:8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

1 Timothy 6:9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

1 Timothy 6:11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Philippians 3:17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.

Philippians 3:18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.

Philippians 3:19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.

Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Philippians 3:21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them —bringing swift destruction on themselves.

2 Peter 2:2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.

2 Peter 2:3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;

2 Peter 2:5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;

2 Peter 2:6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;

2 Peter 2:7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless

2 Peter 2:8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) —

2 Peter 2:9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.

2 Peter 2:10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings;

2 Peter 2:11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord.

2 Peter 2:12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.

2 Peter 2:13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.

2 Peter 2:14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed —an accursed brood!

2 Peter 2:15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness.

2 Peter 2:16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey —an animal without speech —who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

Jude 1:3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.

Jude 1:4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Jude 1:5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.

Jude 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling —these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.

Jude 1:7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

Jude 1:8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings.

Jude 1:9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Jude 1:10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct —as irrational animals do —will destroy them.

Jude 1:11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

Jude 1:12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm —shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted —twice dead.

Jude 1:13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

Jude 1:14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones

Jude 1:15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Jude 1:16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

Jude 1:17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold.

Jude 1:18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”

Jude 1:19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

Jude 1:20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,

Jude 1:21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

The Acts 8:14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria.

The Acts 8:15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit,

The Acts 8:16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 8:17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 8:18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money

The Acts 8:19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

The Acts 8:20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!

The Acts 8:21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.

The Acts 8:22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.

The Acts 8:23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

St. Luke 12:13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

St. Luke 12:14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”

St. Luke 12:15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

St. Luke 12:16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.

St. Luke 12:17 He thought to himself, ’What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

St. Luke 12:18 “Then he said, ’This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.

St. Luke 12:19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

St. Luke 12:20 “But God said to him, ’You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

St. Luke 12:21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

In conclusion, the gospel message was intended to save the souls of men and deliver them from the wrath of God. Therefore, the gospel of Jesus Christ is called the gospel of peace and of salvation. The original apostles of the Lord thus made salvation of the soul the primary focus of the gospel they preached, and entry into God’s kingdom the ultimate goal of preaching the gospel. Unfortunately, the focus of the gospel has taken a different turn in our day, with material prosperity now being the focus and goal of the gospel. Most ministers of the gospel are now ministers of prosperity and motivational speakers who inspire people to a life of great material success, while sidelining salvation of the soul. Living in affluence and opulence is now seen as a testimony of the success of the gospel and of divine favour. Thus, the original gospel which sought to make men heavenly-minded has been supplanted by an earthly-minded gospel focused on material riches. Salvation of the soul and righteous living have thus been relegated to the background. It doesn’t matter anymore how a Christian lives; as long the person is enjoying material blessings and paying huge tithes, God must be with such a one. Anointing for prosperity is now available to the highest bidder only. Grace is now only imparted to those who can sow tangible financial ‘seeds’ into the lives of men of God. This type of gospel, and the people who preach and project it, can only end in one way— destruction in hell. The prosperity gospel is a hell-bound gospel which only breeds and spreads covetousness and greed. The love of money still remains the root of all kinds of evil, and servants of God are still enjoined to flee the love of money and lay hold on eternal life, for they that pursue after riches end up making a shipwreck of their faith, as well as piercing themselves with many sorrows. Let’s take heed then and beware of covetousness and greed, for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the material things he possesses. That much was said by the Lord Jesus Christ himself! What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his soul? What can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Colossians 3:3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

Colossians 3:6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

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Can People Die Prematurely And Outside Of The Will Of God, Or Is Every Death A Will Of God?

(Except otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New International Version).

Most people attribute all deaths to the will of God, even when some people die as a result of direct disobedience to God’s commandments. We understand God has decreed that no man would live forever on earth in the fallen state, and all men must die someday, as a result of the original sin. But, what of those whose lives are terminated by others while in their prime? Are their deaths too the will of God? What of people that die through suicide, through the negligence of others, and while indulging in destructive lifestyles (chronic alcoholism, drug abuse, cigarette smoking, etc)? Is it the will of God for them to die at the time they did? Could they have lived longer if they had avoided doing certain things, or if they had adopted more healthy lifestyles? It’s important to find scriptural answers to these questions, to enable us have a clearer understanding of what the will of God is (concerning death), as well as the place of human responsibility in preserving and prolonging our lives on earth. This article will attempt to answer the aforementioned questions through a careful examination of the Scriptures.

When Cain killed his brother Abel through a fit of rage induced by jealousy, God wasn’t pleased with the act, and revealed his displeasure to Cain in very strong terms. God made it clear to Cain that Abel wasn’t supposed to have died the way he did and when he did. The blood of Abel was crying out for vengeance, because his death wasn’t natural. Abel had been cut short in the prime of his life, and neither he nor God was happy about that, hence God’s outrage at what Cain had done, and Abel’s outcry for vengeance. We can’t say in this circumstance that Abel died according to the will of God, simply because it wasn’t the will of God that Abel should die at the time he did. Abel’s death can only be attributed to the murderous will of his brother Cain, and not to the will of God. For that reason, God pronounced a curse on Cain and declared him a fugitive and a wanderer. Cain was expelled from God’s presence and became a vagabond for prematurely terminating his brother’s life.

Genesis 4:3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD.

Genesis 4:4 And Abel also brought an offering —fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering,

Genesis 4:5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Genesis 4:6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?

Genesis 4:7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

Genesis 4:8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Genesis 4:9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Genesis 4:10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.

Genesis 4:11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.

Genesis 4:12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

1 John 3:10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

1 John 3:11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

1 John 3:12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.

After the flood, we see God giving mankind a definite commandment not to kill one another unlawfully. Murder was declared an offence worthy of capital punishment. Whoever killed another person would be killed himself, for killing someone else (without divine authorisation) is clearly against the will of God. Anyone who dies thus (through homicide) obviously did not die by the will of God, even if God allowed it to happen. Thus, even though God had decreed that all men would ultimately die by reason of the original sin, he did not intend for people to kill one another. Obviously, God intended for people to live to old age and die only when their bodies get frail and are unable to house their souls anymore. That’s when people are supposed to die: at ripe old age, and from natural causes.

Genesis 9:1 God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Multiply and fill the earth.

Genesis 9:2 All the wild animals, large and small, and all the birds and fish will be afraid of you. I have placed them in your power.

Genesis 9:3 I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables.

Genesis 9:4 But you must never eat animals that still have their lifeblood in them.

Genesis 9:5 And murder is forbidden. Animals that kill people must die, and any person who murders must be killed.

Genesis 9:6 Yes, you must execute anyone who murders another person, for to kill a person is to kill a living being made in God’s image.

Genesis 9:7 Now you must have many children and repopulate the earth. Yes, multiply and fill the earth!” (NLT).

St. Matthew 26:47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people.

St. Matthew 26:48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.”

St. Matthew 26:49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

St. Matthew 26:50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.

St. Matthew 26:51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

St. Matthew 26:52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

Revelation 6:9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.

Revelation 6:10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”

Revelation 6:11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.

By extension, people who destroy their bodies (by willfully indulging in dangerous lifestyles) and die as a consequence of such bodily harm, cannot be said to have died according to the will of God. For instance, when people drink alcohol excessively and end up with alcoholic liver disease and liver cancer and die thereby, such deaths cannot be attributed to the will of God. Such people clearly violated God’s commandment which forbids excessive consumption of alcohol and drunkenness, and their deaths, which resulted from the violation of God’s commandment, cannot be said to be the will of God. In the same vein, a man who contracted HIV/AIDS from sexual promiscuity or sodomy, and died thereby, cannot be said to have died by the will of God. Such a man died from the consequences of a disease contracted while disobeying the word of God. His death therefore cannot be said to be the will of God. Similarly, a woman who dies while procuring an abortion cannot be said to have died according to God’s will. It is obviously not the will of God when, out of our own rebellion, we disobey God’s commandment and die as a result. It wasn’t the will of God that Adam and Eve should eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree and die thereby. Those who wilfully destroy their bodies through the violation of God’s word will have God to reckon with at the end of the day, for God has promised to destroy those who destroy their bodies, which is the temple of God. That’s the same fate that awaits people who commit suicide and destroy God’s temple thereby. In the church at Corinth, some believers were partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner, and they were falling sick as a result and dying thereby. Surely, such deaths could not have been ascribed to the will of God?

1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

1 Corinthians 3:17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

1 Corinthians 6:15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!

1 Corinthians 6:16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”

1 Corinthians 6:17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.

1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

1 Corinthians 6:20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,

1 Corinthians 11:24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

1 Corinthians 11:25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

1 Corinthians 11:26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

1 Corinthians 11:27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.

1 Corinthians 11:29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.

1 Corinthians 11:30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

1 Corinthians 11:31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.

1 Corinthians 11:32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,

Romans 1:19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities —his eternal power and divine nature —have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Romans 1:22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

Romans 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

Romans 1:25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator —who is forever praised. Amen.

Romans 1:26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.

Romans 1:27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Romans 1:28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

Romans 1:29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,

Romans 1:30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;

Romans 1:31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.

Romans 1:32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

What of people who die as a result of the negligence of others, or the incompetence and carelessness of other people? That would include manslaughter and deaths resulting from professional incompetence and negligence. Are such deaths the will of God? If a doctor neglects to perform his duties to a patient, or carries out the wrong procedure and the patient dies thereby, is such a death the will of God? From the Scriptures, we understand that deaths resulting from negligence are not considered the will of God, for those responsible for the negligence are commanded to be punished by God. God will not prescribe punishment for a man who helped to execute his will! Similarly, accidentally causing another’s death (manslaughter) is also a punishable offence in the Scriptures, and cannot therefore be the will of God. Thus, we can see from Scriptures that any death that cannot be attributed to natural causes, or which does not proceed directly from a divine proclamation, even if permitted by God to happen, cannot be the will of God.

Deuteronomy 22:8 When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.

Exodus 21:20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result,

Exodus 21:21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

Exodus 21:22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows.

Exodus 21:23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life,

Exodus 21:24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

Exodus 21:25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

Exodus 21:28 “If a bull gores a man or woman to death, the bull is to be stoned to death, and its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will not be held responsible.

Exodus 21:29 If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull is to be stoned and its owner also is to be put to death.

Exodus 21:30 However, if payment is demanded, the owner may redeem his life by the payment of whatever is demanded.

Exodus 21:31 This law also applies if the bull gores a son or daughter.

Finally, when people die without coming to the knowledge of God and without making peace with him, God is not pleased. God does not take pleasure in the death of a sinner, but wishes that all men would repent and come to the knowledge of the truth. Thus, if a wicked person dies in his wickedness without making peace with God, such death is obviously not pleasing to God, and cannot therefore be his will. When we therefore pray for our enemies who have not known God (be they witches or wizards) to die, it is certainly not the will of God. Our prayers for sinners should therefore be for God to convert them, so that they would come to his knowledge and make peace with him. No wonder Jesus prayed for God to have mercy on those who crucified him, and pleaded for their sins not to be laid to their charge. No wonder Stephen prayed for those stoning him to death to be forgiven and to be granted the privilege of experiencing the grace of God in salvation. Through his prayers, Saul, one of his killers, became converted to Paul, the greatest apostle in the history of the church. That certainly was well-pleasing to God!

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, ’As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’

1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people —

1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

1 Timothy 2:3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,

1 Timothy 2:4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Timothy 2:23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

2 Timothy 2:24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

2 Timothy 2:25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,

2 Timothy 2:26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

St. Luke 23:33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals —one on his right, the other on his left.

St. Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

The Acts 7:54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.

The Acts 7:55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

The Acts 7:56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

The Acts 7:57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him,

The Acts 7:58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

The Acts 7:59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

The Acts 7:60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

The Acts 8:1 And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

In conclusion, even though death has been decreed upon every man as a consequence of the fall, God’s perfect will is that people would live long on earth and attain old age before dying. Thus, some people dying before reaching old age may not be the will of God. Such premature and unnatural deaths from homicide, suicide, illnesses precipitated by sinful lifestyles and rebellion to God’s word cannot be from the will of God. Thus, some people can die from their own carelessness and self-harm, as well as from the carelessness and wickedness of others. To attribute to God such preventable deaths arising from human failings is erroneous and a gross misunderstanding of the will of God. A change in lifestyle to shun health-destroying habits, living in harmony with God and his word, showing more love towards our neighbours and being more diligent in performing our duties and responsibilities towards others can reduce the incidence of certain premature and unnatural deaths and prolong life on earth. It is therefore wrong to attribute every death to the will of God, as some deaths are obviously not the will of God, and can be prevented by aligning ourselves more with God’s word and by living in obedience to his commandments.

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Is There A Divinely Decreed Lifespan For Mankind On Earth?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).

Some people have set various lifespans for mankind, based on various interpretations of certain scriptural verses in the old testament. From these verses of scripture in the writings of Moses, some Biblical scholars have put mankind’s lifespan first at 120 years (just before the flood) and later at 70-80 years (during the time of the wandering of the Israelites in the wilderness). Thus, we frequently hear of people who get to 80 years of age being described as having fulfilled the biblical fourscore years and therefore considered mature and fit to die. Any additional years spent on earth beyond 80 years are traditionally considered “bonus years” by this school of thought. Did God actually decree a fixed lifespan for humanity, apart from the fact that every person must certainly die? Was 80 years (or even 120 years) actually set by God as mankind’s maximum limit on earth? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

Genesis 6:1 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them,

Genesis 6:2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

Genesis 6:3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal ; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

The scripture above (Genesis 6:3) has been variously interpreted to mean that because of the extreme violence on earth at the time preceding the flood, God became disgusted with mankind and set a lifespan of 120 years for the race. Taken out of context, it might appear to be so, but when we consider the verses of scripture that follow, it will be readily understood that the expression “their days will be a hundred and twenty years” referred to the fact that mankind would have no more than 120 years of grace before God would wipe out the world of wicked men with the flood. God had decreed judgement upon the antediluvian world because of the extreme violence perpetrated by the wickedness of mankind at this period, which had made God to regret his creation of mankind. Despite this judgement, God still gave men space to repent. That’s the one hundred and twenty years spoken of in the verse above, the time of grace remaining for men on earth, before God’s judgement would come to wipe away the race and begin afresh with Noah and his family.

Genesis 6:4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days —and also afterward —when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

Genesis 6:6 The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

Genesis 6:7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created —and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground —for I regret that I have made them.”

Genesis 6:8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

Genesis 6:10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Genesis 6:11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.

Genesis 6:12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.

Genesis 6:13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

Genesis 6:14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.

Genesis 6:15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.

Genesis 6:16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.

Genesis 6:17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.

Genesis 6:18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark —you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.

Genesis 6:19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.

Genesis 6:20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.

Genesis 6:21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

Genesis 6:22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

To buttress the aforementioned point that the 120 years mentioned in Genesis 6:3 was not man’s new lifespan going forward, we find people who lived well beyond 120 years after the flood. Noah, for instance, lived an additional 350 years after the flood, and died at the age of 950 years (Genesis 9:28-29). Shem, Noah’s son, lived an additional 500 years after the flood, and died at the age of 600 years (Genesis 11:10-11). In the generations after the sons of Noah, we find men living above 400 years (Genesis 11). Ten generations from Noah, Abraham lived for 175 years (Genesis 25:7); Abraham’s son, Isaac, lived for 180 years (Genesis 35:28), while Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, lived for 130 years (Genesis 47:9). These all exceeded 120 years, several generations after the flood, proving that mankind’s lifespan on earth was not set at 120 years.

Another school of thought puts mankind’s lifespan at 70-80 years, and considers those who live beyond 80 years as enjoying “extra time” on earth. This is based on the erroneous interpretation of a verse of scripture in the 90th Psalm penned by Moses, the man of God. In Psalm 90, Moses was lamenting about Israel’s condition in the wilderness, following God’s pronouncement of judgement upon all those who were 20 years and above at the time of leaving Egypt. The entire nation was to roam for 40 years in the wilderness, until all those aged 20 years and above had died, for failing to believe God’s word that he would expel the inhabitants of Canaan and give Israel their land. So, those who were 20 years when they came out of Egypt died at the maximum age of 60 years, after wandering for 40 years in the wilderness, while those aged 40 at the time of the exodus died at the maximum age of 80. Thus, Moses was describing the maximum lifespan of the people under God’s judgement in the wilderness. Majority of them were not getting past 70 years, with only a few strong ones getting to 80 years. That Scripture has nothing to do with mankind’s lifespan in general. Moses himself lived for 120 years (and died with his natural strength still unabated, and could have lived longer, if not for the divine proclamation that he would not enter the promised land, because of his rebellion- Deuteronomy 34:5-7). Joshua, the next leader of the Israelites after Moses, lived for 110 years (Joshua 24:29). Eli, Israel’s high priest and judge during the reign of the Judges, lived for 98 years, dying from an unnatural cause, several generations after the exodus (1 Samuel 4:13-18). So, 70-80 years couldn’t have been the maximum age God set for the whole of mankind at any point in time. Some people in our generation are living well beyond 80 years, further disproving 80 years as man’s decreed maximum age on earth.

Psalms 90:1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.

Psalms 90:2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Psalms 90:3 You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”

Psalms 90:4 A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.

Psalms 90:5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death — they are like the new grass of the morning:

Psalms 90:6 In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.

Psalms 90:7 We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation.

Psalms 90:8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.

Psalms 90:9 All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.

Psalms 90:10 Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

Psalms 90:11 If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.

Psalms 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalms 90:13 Relent, LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants.

Psalms 90:14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Psalms 90:15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.

Psalms 90:16 May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.

Psalms 90:17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us — yes, establish the work of our hands.

Numbers 14:26 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:

Numbers 14:27 “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites.

Numbers 14:28 So tell them, ’As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say:

Numbers 14:29 In this wilderness your bodies will fall —every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me.

Numbers 14:30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

Numbers 14:31 As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected.

Numbers 14:32 But as for you, your bodies will fall in this wilderness.

Numbers 14:33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness.

Numbers 14:34 For forty years —one year for each of the forty days you explored the land —you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’

Numbers 14:35 I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die.”

Numbers 14:36 So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it —

Numbers 14:37 these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the LORD.

Numbers 14:38 Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.

Truth be told, there is no divinely set lifespan for mankind. The only certain divine proclamation concerning man’s life on earth is that all men must die someday, for all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. Physical death is sure for everyone, because of the fall. However, lifespan is an individualised affair. How long each person will live depends on a lot of factors, including genetic makeup, personal lifestyle, environmental factors, presence of diseases, poverty, ignorance, and one’s relationship with God and his fellowmen. Sin and rebellion can cut short one’s life, as we saw with Israel in the wilderness. Disobedience to parents can equally shave some years off one’s life. Unwise use of the tongue and not being a person of peace can also shorten one’s life. Generally speaking, mankind’s lifespan has been progressively shortening from creation, and a combination of all the aforementioned factors may be responsible to varying degrees. All things being equal, people can live for as long as their bodies can carry them, barring man-made or natural disasters and diseases. Hence, keeping the body healthy by healthy eating habits and healthy lifestyles can enhance longevity, just as destructive lifestyles can bring about premature death. But, even more important than maintaining healthy lifestyles, being at peace with God and dwelling under the covering of the Almighty protects from diseases and natural as well as man-made disasters, and prolongs life on earth.

Deuteronomy 5:32 So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.

Deuteronomy 5:33 Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

Ephesians 6:2 “Honor your father and mother” —which is the first commandment with a promise —

Ephesians 6:3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

1 Corinthians 3:17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

1 Corinthians 11:23 I received a tradition from the Lord, which I also handed on to you: on the night on which he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread.

1 Corinthians 11:24 After giving thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this to remember me.”

1 Corinthians 11:25 He did the same thing with the cup, after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Every time you drink it, do this to remember me.”

1 Corinthians 11:26 Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you broadcast the death of the Lord until he comes.

1 Corinthians 11:27 This is why those who eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord inappropriately will be guilty of the Lord’s body and blood.

1 Corinthians 11:28 Each individual should test himself or herself, and eat from the bread and drink from the cup in that way.

1 Corinthians 11:29 Those who eat and drink without correctly understanding the body are eating and drinking their own judgment.

1 Corinthians 11:30 Because of this, many of you are weak and sick, and quite a few have died (CEB).

1 Peter 3:10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.

1 Peter 3:11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.

1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Exodus 15:26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”

Psalms 91:1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalms 91:2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Psalms 91:3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.

Psalms 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalms 91:5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

Psalms 91:6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

Psalms 91:7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

Psalms 91:8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

Psalms 91:9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,

Psalms 91:10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.

Psalms 91:11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

Psalms 91:12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

Psalms 91:13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

Psalms 91:14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

Psalms 91:15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

Psalms 91:16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

In conclusion, from the evidence of Scripture alone, there is no divinely set lifespan for mankind. Though it is appointed unto every man to die because of the fall, the age at death is not universally fixed, and varies from person to person. How long each person lives on earth depends on a number of variables such as genetic makeup, environmental factors, presence of diseases, poverty, lifestyle, and an individual’s relationship with God and his neighbours, amongst others. Obedience to God and God’s words prolongs life on earth, while disobedience and rebellion to him have the opposite effect. Barring natural and man-made disasters, longevity is mostly dependent on individual lifestyle and personal relationship with God and neighbors. That said, even though everyone must die ultimately, there is life after death, and there’s a possibility of living eternally in bliss in the afterlife, if we accept God’s salvation in Christ Jesus. It’s wonderful to aspire to live long on earth, but it’s even more glorious to be able to live eternally in paradise after death. That’s only possible for those who have been redeemed and sanctified from the effect of the fall by the blood of Jesus Christ.

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Is Eating Food In The Dream Bad Or Sinful?

You’ve probably heard some Christians talk about the spiritual danger of eating food in the dream. Such people will readily tell you that feeding in the dream is a means of getting initiated into the kingdom of darkness. Anyone who eats in the dream is thus considered a candidate for special deliverance prayers, to exorcise evil spirits that must have possessed them while they were busy devouring exotic cuisine in the dead of the night. Is it really a bad thing to eat food while dreaming? Can a Christian be initiated into witchcraft just by accepting meals offered in the dream? Let’s examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

Dreams are largely imaginary events that take place in the subconscious mind when one is asleep. When one is dreaming, while the body is asleep, the subconscious mind is actively roaming, regurgitating things and playing them out like a fantasy film. Most times, dreams are the troubled mind’s means of achieving catharsis and relieving tensions. At other times, unfulfilled wishes in reality find unrestrained outlet in dreamland. Thus, not only do people dream of stuffs that bother them, they also dream of things they long for and can’t have in reality! In dreamland, you can be anything or have anything you’ve been fantasising about! Fantasies happen freely in dreamland. That’s what the Scriptures teach!

Ecclesiastes 5:3 The saying is true: Bad dreams come from too much worrying,
and too many words come from foolish people (NCV).

Isaiah 29:7 Then all the nations that fight against Jerusalem
will be like a dream;
all the nations that attack her
will be like a vision in the night.

Isaiah 29:8 They will be like a hungry man who dreams he is eating,
but when he awakens, he is still hungry.
They will be like a thirsty man who dreams he is drinking,
but when he awakens, he is still weak and thirsty.
It will be the same way with all the nations
who fight against Mount Zion (NCV).

Psalms 73:20 They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord, you will despise them as fantasies (NIV).

Apart from being an outlet for the projection of subconscious and suppressed agitations and anxieties, as well as a place for actualising fantasies, dreams can also be a means of divine revelation. God can speak to his people through dreams, as part of the manifestations of the prophetic gift. In the endtime, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is to bring with it a lot of prophetic dreams as a means of divine communication. However, prophetic dreams require prophetic interpretation for the messages contained therein to be properly understood. That said, dreams are an inferior means of prophetic revelation, with open visions and audible voices being more superior, as majority of dreams are not of any prophetic significance, as pointed out earlier. Ultimately, dreams and visions and even audible voices must be judged by the written word, to determine their authenticity and divine/prophetic origin. Any dream or vision that contradicts the written word should be jettisoned, as it cannot be from God, since God cannot contradict himself. The written word is the judge of all things and the urim and thummim (final arbiter) for determining spiritual truth and the divine origin of extra-biblical revelations.

Numbers 12:6 He said, “Listen to my words:
When prophets are among you,
I, the Lord, will show myself to them in visions;
I will speak to them in dreams.

Numbers 12:7 But this is not true with my servant Moses.
I trust him to lead all my people.

Numbers 12:8 I speak face to face with him—
clearly, not with hidden meanings.
He has even seen the form of the Lord.
You should be afraid
to speak against my servant Moses.”(NCV).

Job 33:14 God does speak—sometimes one way and sometimes another—
even though people may not understand it.

Job 33:15 He speaks in a dream or a vision of the night
when people are in a deep sleep,
lying on their beds.

Job 33:16 He speaks in their ears
and frightens them with warnings

Job 33:17 to turn them away from doing wrong
and to keep them from being proud.

Job 33:18 God does this to save people from death,
to keep them from dying (NCV).

The Acts 2:17 ‘God says: In the last days
I will pour out my Spirit on all kinds of people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams (NCV).

Deuteronomy 13:1 Prophets or those who tell the future with dreams might come to you and say they will show you a miracle or a sign.

Deuteronomy 13:2 The miracle or sign might even happen, and then they might say, “Let’s serve other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let’s worship them.”

Deuteronomy 13:3 But you must not listen to those prophets or dreamers. The Lord your God is testing you, to find out if you love him with your whole being.

Deuteronomy 13:4 Serve only the Lord your God. Respect him, keep his commands, and obey him. Serve him and be loyal to him.

Deuteronomy 13:5 The prophets or dreamers must be killed, because they said you should turn against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and saved you from the land where you were slaves. They tried to turn you from doing what the Lord your God commanded you to do. You must get rid of the evil among you (NCV).

Now, let’s get back to the issue of eating food in the dream. How bad really is it to eat in the dream? Can a Christian be initiated into Satan’s kingdom and become a wizard or a witch just by having a meal in the dream? Can evil spirits be transmitted to a child of God just by the act of sampling mouth-watering dishes in the dream, as some deliverance ministers would have us believe? Well, it would mean one would have to stop fantasising about delicacies and exotic meals during the day, because if you keep doing that, you’re most likely going to dream about them at night, and you’re most likely going to eat them in your dream! Remember what we said about dreams being an outlet for fantasies? That’s right! But don’t worry about what you eat in the dream, because it’s just fantasy! Nothing of what you eat in the dream enters your body or your spirit! That’s why you wake up still hungry, despite having had a sumptuous buffet in the dream! Nothing you do in the dream is real. You cannot commit sin in the dream because sin is not an involuntary or unconscious act. Sin is willful disobedience to a divine injunction. Since the will is not active while one is asleep, and the person dreaming is actually subconscious, he or she cannot do anything willfully while sleeping. You’re not responsible for any of your actions while asleep. That’s why people who commit crimes while genuinely sleep-walking are not held accountable for their actions! By the way, Pharaoh’s butler saw himself serving Pharaoh wine in the dream and Joseph told him it wasn’t a bad thing. It meant he was going to go back to doing the same thing in real life. It didn’t mean he was trying to initiate Pharaoh into the occult! Even God offered Peter food in the dream (yes, a trance is like day-time dreaming), and although Peter turned down the offer of a free exotic meal (he was afraid of being defiled, like a lot of us who are scared shit of eating in the dream), God told him to stop resisting and eat up! Whatever you do legitimately in the real world, you can also lawfully do in the dream! Stop feeling bad if you eat in the dream because there’s nothing to it! Remember what Jesus said about no food being able to defile us spiritually? That applies to what we eat in dreamland too! By the way, if receiving money in the dream or dreaming of winning the jackpot doesn’t make you rich in real life, why are you bothered about eating your favourite meal in the dream? After all, you’ve been dreaming about it all day!

Psalms 73:20 They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord, you will despise them as fantasies (NIV).

Ecclesiastes 5:3 A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool (NIV).

Ecclesiastes 5:7 Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God (NIV).

Isaiah 29:7 The horde of nations fighting against Ariel,
and all who make war on her and her fortress and besiege her,
will be like a dream, a vision of the night.

Isaiah 29:8 It will be like when a hungry person dreams of eating
but wakes up and the mouth is empty.
Or when a thirsty person dreams of drinking
but wakes up and has a dry throat.
So will it be for all the horde of nations
who fight against Mount Zion (CEB).

Genesis 40:9 The chief wine steward described his dream to Joseph: “In my dream there was a vine right in front of me,

Genesis 40:10 and on the vine were three branches. When it budded, its blossoms appeared, and its clusters ripened into grapes.

Genesis 40:11 Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, so I took the grapes, crushed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and put the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.”

Genesis 40:12 Joseph said to him, “This is the dream’s interpretation: The three branches are three days.

Genesis 40:13 After three days, Pharaoh will give you an audience and return you to your position. You will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just the way things were before when you were his wine steward (CEB).

The Acts 10:9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.

The Acts 10:10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance.

The Acts 10:11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.

The Acts 10:12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds.

The Acts 10:13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

The Acts 10:14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

The Acts 10:15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

The Acts 10:16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven (NIV).

St. Mark 7:14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.

St. Mark 7:15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”

St. Mark 7:17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.

St. Mark 7:18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them?

St. Mark 7:19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)

St. Mark 7:20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them.

St. Mark 7:21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come —sexual immorality, theft, murder,

St. Mark 7:22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.

St. Mark 7:23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (NIV).

Remember this: as a child of God, Satan and his agents can’t possess or take you over when you’re sleeping! Even though you’re subconscious and defenceless while asleep, the God watching over you neither sleeps nor slumbers! The angels of God encamp around those who fear God, even when they’re asleep and dreaming. Satan and his agents have a standing order concerning God’s children: “touch not my anointed ones and do my prophets no harm!”. So, agents of darkness can’t break God’s hedge around his children to get to initiate them into the occult while they’re sleeping and dreaming (whether they eat in the dream or not). No weapon fashioned against a child of God shall prosper (in reality or in the dream). Finally, the Lord gave us the assurance that even if we eat any deadly thing accidentally or unconsciously (including eating them in the dream), we shall not come to any harm. Therefore, no child of God should be afraid of eating any food in the dream, because no harm can come to them thereby.

Psalms 121:2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalms 121:3 He will not let your foot slip — he who watches over you will not slumber;

Psalms 121:4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

Psalms 121:5 The LORD watches over you — the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

Psalms 121:6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

Psalms 121:7 The LORD will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life;

Psalms 121:8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore (NIV).

Psalms 34:7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them (NIV).

Psalms 105:14 He permitted no one to do them wrong;
Yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes,

Psalms 105:15 Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones,
And do My prophets no harm.” (NKJV).

Job 1:8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

Job 1:9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied.

Job 1:10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land (NIV).

Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord (NKJV).

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Mark 16:17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;

Mark 16:18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (NKJV).

In conclusion, dreams are mostly fantasies that play out our subconscious and unaccomplished wishes and desires, with only a few being means of divine communication. Thus, most of the things we do in the dream are not real. Because dreams occur in our subconscious mind, we’re not responsible for what we do in the dream, and cannot therefore be held accountable for them. Also, anything we can do legitimately in real life can also be done legitimately in the dream, for most dreams come from what we think and do while awake. Thus, to dream of eating food is not bad or sinful, because eating food in real life is neither bad nor sinful. We cannot commit sin subconsciously or unconsciously, because sin is wilful disobedience to a divine injunction. Also, any fear of agents of darkness initiating a believer into witchcraft, through meals offered in the dream, is unfounded and unscriptural, as nothing taken into the body can defile us, since no food enters into our hearts to defile or contaminate us spiritually, including foods eaten in the dream. Most importantly, God watches over his children when they sleep, and Satan and his agents have a standing order to not touch God’s anointed and to do his prophets no harm, even in our sleep. Thus, worrying about any harm coming to a child of God through eating in the dream is baseless and groundless, because he that’s in us is greater than he that’s in the world! We have the promise of God that even if we drink or eat any deadly thing unknowingly or subconsciously, it will not harm us! So, let’s stop fretting unnecessarily about what we do in the dream and rather pay more attention to what we do while awake and conscious, for that’s when we can sin and offend God!

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We Do Not Run The Christian Race To Win The Prize Of Salvation!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).

A Christian’s life journey is compared to an athletic race in the Olympic Games, among several other analogies. In a race, athletes compete for a prize. There are rules governing an athletic race, which athletes must adhere to strictly, in order not to be disqualified from the race and the ultimate prize. Athletes prepare for a race by following a strict regime of training and dieting, to keep themselves fit and in shape. In the race proper, the competitors must keep to the rules of the race- not to take off before the sound of the starter pistol, to run within their lanes and to strive to reach the finish line before others, in order to win the prize. Failing to observe any of these rules will disqualify an athlete from the race and the prize. Thus, like professional athletes, Christians must discipline themselves and run their spiritual race lawfully, in order to be considered worthy of the prize at the end of it all.

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

1 Corinthians 9:26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.

1 Corinthians 9:27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

2 Timothy 2:5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.

But, what’s the prize the Christian is expected to win at the end of his spiritual race? For the professional athlete, the ultimate prize is clear-gold medal and the championship title. Only the fastest athlete in a professional athletic race who runs the race lawfully goes home with the championship title. So, what’s the prize the Christian athlete is supposed to win at the end of the spiritual race that he or she ran faithfully and lawfully? Some have opined that salvation is the prize at stake in the Christian race, and that not running lawfully or not coming out tops at the end of it all means the Christian is disqualified (castaway) and will fail to win the prize of salvation. Is salvation the prize to be won for running a successful Christian race? Is disciplining ourselves to run a lawful spiritual race just so that we can be saved? We’ll have to look at the Scriptures closely to answer these questions.

The Scriptures make the fact abundantly clear that salvation is not a reward for our labours. It’s not a prize we win for our hard work. Salvation is a gift of grace, not a reward for works! We do not merit salvation! We are saved by grace through faith. Salvation is a gift of God, to preclude men from boasting about earning their right standing with God! The Jews attempted to earn salvation through the works of the law and missed it! Abraham was saved simply by believing God. He didn’t work for his salvation, but was made righteous just by believing God! David described the blessedness of the man who does not rely on his works to be saved, but depends on God for justification. Thus, according to the Scriptures, we do not earn God’s salvation by our discipline and hard work while running the Christian race, simply because salvation is a free gift of God’s grace! We’re saved the moment we believe and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour! Salvation is not a futuristic prize to be won at the end of the Christian journey, but a current and present possession of every born again Christian! Thus, the Christian is not running the heavenly race to be saved, but he’s running because he’s already saved! Only the saved are qualified to run the Christian race!

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —

Ephesians 2:9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Romans 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter?

Romans 4:2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about —but not before God.

Romans 4:3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Romans 4:4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.

Romans 4:5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

Romans 4:6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

Romans 4:7 “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

Romans 4:8 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 5:2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

The Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

The Acts 16:26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

The Acts 16:27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.

The Acts 16:28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

The Acts 16:29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.

The Acts 16:30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

The Acts 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved —you and your household.”

St. Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

St. Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile —the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,

Romans 10:13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

If salvation is not the ultimate prize Christians strive for in the heavenly race, what then is the prize the Apostle Paul alluded to that we must run to win? What is the reward for faithful Christian service? If we’re already saved at the beginning of the Christian race, what is the reward for our labours of love in Christ at the end of the race? The apostles made it clear in their writings that our Christian service will be appraised and rewarded by the Lord, not with salvation which we already possess, but with positions of honour and glory in God’s kingdom. In the future kingdom of the Lord, believers will rule with the Lord Jesus when he assumes his rightful place as King of kings and Lord of lords on earth. We will occupy various positions of authority, as we help the Lord in administering his kingdom. Our greatness in that kingdom will be determined by the faithfulness and diligence of our service to the Lord during our period of pilgrimage on earth right now. If we labour faithfully and diligently in God’s vineyard here, we will be adequately rewarded with commensurate positions of honour and glory in his kingdom. If we build God’s building (his church) according to God’s blueprint and with precious stones (representing high-quality selfless service), our labour will be accepted and rewarded accordingly. If, however, we build outside of God’s blueprint and with combustible materials, our works will be tested with fire, and if consumed, there will be no reward for our labours, though we will not lose our salvation, which is not a reward for our labours (that is, if we maintain our faith in the Lord to the end). Entering God’s kingdom is a free gift of grace, but our positions in that kingdom will be determined by our labours and diligence in serving the Lord.

St. Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

St. Matthew 16:25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

St. Matthew 16:26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

St. Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.

1 Corinthians 3:7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

1 Corinthians 3:8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.

1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

1 Corinthians 3:10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,

1 Corinthians 3:13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.

1 Corinthians 3:14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.

1 Corinthians 3:15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved —even though only as one escaping through the flames.

Revelation 22:10 Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near.

Revelation 22:11 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”

Revelation 22:12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.

Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Hebrews 6:9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.

Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,

Hebrews 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (NKJV).

2 Timothy 4:5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

2 Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day —and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

1 Peter 5:1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed:

1 Peter 5:2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them —not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;

1 Peter 5:3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

1 Peter 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Revelation 2:26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—

Revelation 2:27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—
as I also have received from My Father;

Revelation 2:28 and I will give him the morning star.

Revelation 3:21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

The Lord Jesus, after saving us by grace, gives us gifts of grace with which to serve him and humanity. He expects us to use those gifts and talents and other resources he’s made available to us to minister to him and others and earn eternal rewards thereby. How gracious is the Lord in his kindness towards us! He saves us by grace, loads us with gifts of grace and still looks forward to blessing us for using those gifts! He requires only one thing from us- that we cultivate and use those gifts and talents well. That we discipline ourselves in the use of the gifts he has given us, in order not to misuse them. We’re going account for every gift, talent, skill and ability, and the rewards for our service to the Lord will be based on his evaluation of how well we used the gifts he gave us. All Christians will appear before the judgement seat of the Lord, not to be judged for our sins (those were already judged at Calvary), but to be judged for our works and service to the Lord. Our faithful services will be adequately rewarded, while unfaithful services will receive no reward, though our salvation will remain intact, as it’s a free gift of grace, through faith, and not a result of our works.

Matthew 25:14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.

Matthew 25:15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.

Matthew 25:16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.

Matthew 25:17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.

Matthew 25:18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.

Matthew 25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

Matthew 25:20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’

Matthew 25:21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

Matthew 25:22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’

Matthew 25:23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

Matthew 25:24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.

Matthew 25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

Matthew 25:26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.

Matthew 25:27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.

Matthew 25:28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.


Matthew 25:29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.

Matthew 25:30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (NKJV).

Romans 14:1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.

Romans 14:2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.

Romans 14:3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.

Romans 14:4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

Romans 14:5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.

Romans 14:6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.

Romans 14:7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.

Romans 14:8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Romans 14:10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Romans 14:11 For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”

Romans 14:12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way (NKJV).

In conclusion, salvation is not the prize Christians strive for as we run the Christian race, because salvation is a free gift of grace all born again Christians possess at the beginning of their Christian journey, the moment they placed their faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour. The prize Christians are expected to win at the end of the Christian race is the reward for our labours in God’s vineyard. We will be rewarded with positions of honour and glory in God’s kingdom, depending on how faithful and diligent we were in our service to God and his people. Our rewards in God’s kingdom, to be given to us after the evaluation of our works at the judgement seat of Christ, will be based on how faithfully we used the skills and talents God gave us, and how lawfully we laboured, according to God’s blueprint. If our labours are accepted after God’s evaluation, in addition to the salvation we already possess, we will receive exalted positions of honour and glory in God’s kingdom. If our labours are rejected (because we did not strive lawfully), we will lose our rewards, but will maintain our salvation, as long as our faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour remains firm to the end. Thus, the prize we strive to win at the end of the Christian race is not salvation, but positions of honour and glory in God’s kingdom, which are the rewards for faithful and lawful service.

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Does God Still Punish Children For The Sins Of Their Fathers? Examining The Doctrine Of Generational And Ancestral Curses In The Light Of The Bible

(Except otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version).

Many Christians in Africa believe that ancestral curses are actively working against them, negatively impacting on their successes and achievements in life. These followers of Christ, despite their new birth experience and faith in Christ, still believe in the potency of generational curses, blaming their setbacks and failures in life on the outworking of curses incurred by the sins of their ancestors. For this reason, we see many believers undergoing endless curse-breaking and family liberation/deliverance sessions, all in a bid to free themselves from the stranglehold of familial curses. Is God still punishing children for the sins of their forebears? Do generational curses actually work against born-again Christians? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

The doctrine of children receiving punishments for the sins of their fathers was first expressed in the Mosaic Law. In the Law, God promised to visit the iniquities of fathers upon their children, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate him, while holding out mercy to thousands of those who love and obey him. Based on this principle, we see many children and families in the old testament being punished for offences committed by the family heads. For instance, Achan stole the accursed things during Israel’s victory over Jericho, and he and his entire family were stoned to death. The Moabites and Ammonites were banned from entering the assembly of the Lord, because of the opposition of their forebears to Israel, and their ancestors’ lack of support for God’s people during their migration from Egypt to Canaan. In the same vein, God declared Amalek a perpetual enemy, for their ancestors’ unprovoked attack against the Israelites during their sojourn in the wilderness. We see the children here being visited with punishments for the sins of their forebears. At the other end of the spectrum, we see the descendants of favoured people like David being promised an everlasting covenant of peace, for the good relationship their progenitor had with God. The descendants of Phinehas, Aaron’s grandson, were also promised God’s blessings, because of Phinehas’ love and zeal for God. That’s the mercy of God being extended to the generations of those who fear and love the Lord. Thus, while the progenies of those who hate God are cursed, the descendants of those who love God are assured of divine favour and peace.

Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying:

Exodus 20:2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.

Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;

Exodus 20:5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

Exodus 20:6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Exodus 34:5 Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.

Exodus 34:6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,

Exodus 34:7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

Joshua 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.

Joshua 7:24 Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor.

Joshua 7:25 And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.” So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.

Joshua 7:26 Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.

Deuteronomy 23:3 “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord forever,

Deuteronomy 23:4 because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.

Deuteronomy 23:5 Nevertheless the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam, but the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you.

Deuteronomy 23:6 You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.

Exodus 17:8 Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim.

Exodus 17:9 And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.”

Exodus 17:10 So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

Exodus 17:11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.

Exodus 17:12 But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

Exodus 17:13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Exodus 17:14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”

Exodus 17:15 And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner;

Exodus 17:16 for he said, “Because the Lord has sworn: the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

Psalms 89:1 I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.

Psalms 89:2 For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever;
Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.”

Psalms 89:3 “I have made a covenant with My chosen,
I have sworn to My servant David:

Psalms 89:4 ‘Your seed I will establish forever,
And build up your throne to all generations.’” Selah

Psalms 89:19 Then You spoke in a vision to Your holy one,
And said: “I have given help to one who is mighty;
I have exalted one chosen from the people.

Psalms 89:20 I have found My servant David;
With My holy oil I have anointed him,

Psalms 89:21 With whom My hand shall be established;
Also My arm shall strengthen him.

Psalms 89:22 The enemy shall not outwit him,
Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.

Psalms 89:23 I will beat down his foes before his face,
And plague those who hate him.

Psalms 89:24 “But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him,
And in My name his horn shall be exalted.

Psalms 89:25 Also I will set his hand over the sea,
And his right hand over the rivers.

Psalms 89:26 He shall cry to Me, ‘You are my Father,
My God, and the rock of my salvation.’

Psalms 89:27 Also I will make him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.

Psalms 89:28 My mercy I will keep for him forever,
And My covenant shall stand firm with him.

Psalms 89:29 His seed also I will make to endure forever,
And his throne as the days of heaven.

Psalms 89:30 “If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,

Psalms 89:31 If they break My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,

Psalms 89:32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod,
And their iniquity with stripes.

Psalms 89:33 Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him,
Nor allow My faithfulness to fail.

Psalms 89:34 My covenant I will not break,
Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.

Psalms 89:35 Once I have sworn by My holiness;
I will not lie to David:

Psalms 89:36 His seed shall endure forever,
And his throne as the sun before Me;

Psalms 89:37 It shall be established forever like the moon,
Even like the faithful witness in the sky.” Selah

Numbers 25:10 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

Numbers 25:11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal.

Numbers 25:12 Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace;

Numbers 25:13 and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.’”

However, during the time of the Prophet Ezekiel, the concept of generational responsibility in God’s dealings with Israel was abandoned, with individual responsibility instituted in its place. Now, the children of evil men would no longer be automatically punished for the sins of their fathers. Such children would now be dealt with on their own merits. If they were righteous and had faithfully served the Lord despite the wickedness of their parents, God promised to bless and prosper them, even though their parents were cursed. The children of wicked and ungodly men were no longer to be automatically punished to the third and fourth generations, for the sins of their fathers. Also, fathers would not be punished for the sins of their children. Every individual would now bear responsibility for their sins, while every man’s righteousness would earn them favour with God, irrespective of their ancestral backgrounds. Ancestral curses and blessings would not automatically be transmitted to progenies now. That was a monumental change from the concept of ancestral and generational curses as earlier pronounced by Moses. One would expect the people to be happy with this new principle of individual responsibility, as people would no longer suffer for the sins of their forebears. Unfortunately, the people seemed to prefer the status quo to be maintained! They were actually happier with children suffering automatic punishments for the sins of their fathers, no matter how righteous the children lived! The people preferred to continue to use the proverb that “the fathers had eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth were set on edge” (meaning children being punished for the sins of their parents, as was previously operational in Israel). For abolishing generational curses and instituting personal responsibility and accountability for sins, the Israelites considered God to be unfair, preferring instead that generational curses had continued! What a warped way of reasoning! The people had become so used to ancestral and generational curses that they had actually fallen in love with them, and didn’t want them abolished! It’s like a slave being in captivity for so long and getting so used to living in bondage that when set free, refused to walk away, considering release from captivity as being unfair! This is nothing but Stockholm syndrome! This is insanity! But, that was what actually happened in the time of the Prophet Ezekiel, as recorded in the Scriptures below.

Ezekiel 18:1 The word of the Lord came to me again, saying,

Ezekiel 18:2 “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying:

‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
And the children’s teeth are set on edge’?

Ezekiel 18:3 “As I live,” says the Lord God, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.

Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are Mine;
The soul of the father
As well as the soul of the son is Mine;
The soul who sins shall die.

Ezekiel 18:5 But if a man is just
And does what is lawful and right;

Ezekiel 18:6 If he has not eaten on the mountains,
Nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel,
Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife,
Nor approached a woman during her impurity;

Ezekiel 18:7 If he has not oppressed anyone,
But has restored to the debtor his pledge;
Has robbed no one by violence,
But has given his bread to the hungry
And covered the naked with clothing;

Ezekiel 18:8 If he has not exacted usury
Nor taken any increase,
But has withdrawn his hand from iniquity
And executed true judgment between man and man;

Ezekiel 18:9 If he has walked in My statutes
And kept My judgments faithfully—
He is just;
He shall surely live!”
Says the Lord God.

Ezekiel 18:10 “If he begets a son who is a robber
Or a shedder of blood,
Who does any of these things

Ezekiel 18:11 And does none of those duties,
But has eaten on the mountains
Or defiled his neighbor’s wife;

Ezekiel 18:12 If he has oppressed the poor and needy,
Robbed by violence,
Not restored the pledge,
Lifted his eyes to the idols,
Or committed abomination;

Ezekiel 18:13 If he has exacted usury
Or taken increase—
Shall he then live?
He shall not live!
If he has done any of these abominations,
He shall surely die;
His blood shall be upon him.

Ezekiel 18:14 “If, however, he begets a son
Who sees all the sins which his father has done,
And considers but does not do likewise;

Ezekiel 18:15 Who has not eaten on the mountains,
Nor lifted his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel,
Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife;

Ezekiel 18:16 Has not oppressed anyone,
Nor withheld a pledge,
Nor robbed by violence,
But has given his bread to the hungry
And covered the naked with clothing;

Ezekiel 18:17 Who has withdrawn his hand from the poor
And not received usury or increase,
But has executed My judgments
And walked in My statutes—
He shall not die for the iniquity of his father;
He shall surely live!

Ezekiel 18:18 “As for his father,
Because he cruelly oppressed,
Robbed his brother by violence,
And did what is not good among his people,
Behold, he shall die for his iniquity.

Ezekiel 18:19 “Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live.

Ezekiel 18:20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

Ezekiel 18:21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

Ezekiel 18:22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live.

Ezekiel 18:23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?

Ezekiel 18:24 “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.

Ezekiel 18:25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?

Ezekiel 18:26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies.

Ezekiel 18:27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive.

Ezekiel 18:28 Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

Ezekiel 18:29 Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?

Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.

Ezekiel 18:31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?

Ezekiel 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

With the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and the abolishing of the Law, following his substitutionary and sacrificial death for mankind on Calvary, the curse of the Law was removed from God’s people. Christ became a curse for us, by taking our curses upon himself on Calvary, so as to transmit God’s blessings to us. Anyone who is in Christ Jesus, by virtue of the new birth, becomes a new creation: old things in his life (including ancestral and generational curses) pass away, and all things become new. The curses incurred from the violation of the Law by the individual, as well as those inherited from his ancestors, all pass away. The born-again believer, in the place of curses, now enjoys the blessings of Abraham through Christ. No matter your ancestral background, the moment you become a Christian through the new birth, you become a new creation, and your ancestry (however vile and cursed) no longer counts against you in the sight of God. You become discharged and acquitted from all charges and curses of the past! No one can lay any charge on God’s elects! No one can condemn whom God has justified, and no one can curse whom God has blessed! It’s impossible! Thus, the idea of a born-again Christian suffering from generational or ancestral curses is unscriptural! It’s contrary to the principle of God’s justification and blessings in Christ! You cannot be in Christ and still be experiencing the effects of ancestral curses! Just as light and day cannot coexist at the same time, and fresh water and salt water cannot proceed from the same spring, it’s impossible to be in Christ and still be suffering the effects of generational curses! All curses on all children of God were broken at Calvary! Therefore, no one should deceive any child of God about the necessity of performing special curse-breaking and family-liberation/deliverance services for breakthroughs! The only method of curse-breaking preached by the original apostles of the Lord is the new birth experience. Once you’re born again and in Christ, you become a new creation, and old things pass away in your life, while all things become new. Being in Christ makes you sit in heavenly places, far above all principalities and powers! If the Son sets you free, you’re free indeed! As Christians, we’re empowered to trample upon serpents and scorpions and all the powers of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt us. We’ve been delivered from the powers of darkness (and all the curses associated with them) and have been conveyed into the glorious domain of the Lord Jesus Christ, where only blessings flow! Hallelujah!

Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”

Galatians 3:11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”

Galatians 3:12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”

Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),

Galatians 3:14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,

2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Colossians 1:9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

Colossians 1:10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Colossians 1:11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;

Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,

Colossians 1:14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Romans 8:33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Romans 8:36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,

Romans 8:39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Numbers 23:20 Behold, I have received a command to bless;
He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.

John 8:36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

Ephesians 1:5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

Ephesians 1:8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

Ephesians 1:9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,

Ephesians 1:10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.

Ephesians 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

Ephesians 1:12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 1:14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Ephesians 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Luke 10:17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”

Luke 10:18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

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

In conclusion, generational curses were part of the Mosaic Law, wherein God promised to visit the iniquities of fathers upon their children, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate him, while holding out mercy to the progenies of those who love and obey him. During the time of the Prophet Ezekiel, God abolished the concept of generational responsibility for sins committed by forebears, making each person now solely accountable for his or her actions. No longer would children suffer for the sins of their parents, or automatically benefit from their parents’ righteousness. The soul that sinned would be individually punished, while the righteousness of a parent would no longer benefit an ungodly child. Thus, the children’s teeth would no longer be set on edge because the parents ate sour grapes. With the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and the abolishing of the Mosaic Law and its curses, every believer in Christ is automatically delivered from the curse of the Law and from all ancestral curses, and becomes a new creation at the new birth. We’re no longer under the domain of Satan where curses operate. In Christ Jesus, we’re seated in heavenly places, far above all principalities and powers, and are eternally blessed. We’re empowered by the Holy Spirit to trample upon serpents and scorpions and all the powers of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt us. Nobody can curse a believer in Christ, simply because we’ve been blessed by God by virtue of our being in Christ. The idea of a believer in Christ being under generational curses is therefore unscriptural and a belittling of the great exchange that took place at Calvary. It’s a great trivialising of the power in the blood of Jesus Christ to deliver from all sins and from all curses. The breaking of all curses took place at Calvary, and anyone who places faith in that great atoning and redeeming sacrifice of Christ becomes completely delivered from all curses, whether personal or ancestral. It’s therefore dubious and heretical to persuade any born-again Christian to undergo any curse-breaking exercise outside of what Christ did at Calvary. A born-again Christian is not under any ancestral curses because he’s been delivered from his old ancestry and now belongs to the lineage of Christ where no curse exists! You cannot be in Christ and be under the influence of any curses, because blessings and curses cannot coexist in the same place at the same time, just as light and darkness cannot exist at the same time. As Christians, let’s then enjoy our liberty in Christ, for he whom the son of man has set free is free indeed!

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Is The Death Penalty For Murder Justified Under The Dispensation Of Grace? An Examination Of Capital Punishment In The Light Of The Bible

The death penalty is a highly charged and emotive hot-button issue, and a subject of endless debates. Among Christians, opinion is divided on the lawfulness of the death penalty under the current dispensation of grace. With the abolition of the law of Moses (where the death penalty was freely used as a punitive measure for offences like idolatory, murder, rape, kidnapping, adultery, blasphemy, homosexuality etc,), the argument rages among Christians as to whether the death penalty for murder is justified in the New Testament. Since murder is not the unpardonable sin, and God does forgive murderers who repent, should Christians still support governments inflicting the death penalty on convicted murderers? What’s the biblical view with respect to the death penalty as punishment for murder under the new covenant of grace? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

From the time of Noah, God made a universal and everlasting covenant of grace with mankind, after the great deluge. In the Noahic covenant, God identified murder as a heinous sin and crime that should be dealt with ruthlessly. God considered murder as a violation of his unique image in humankind, and therefore prescribed the death penalty for anyone who kills a human being, be they animals or fellow human beings. Thus, the concept of the death penalty for murder started with God. The aim of this severe penalty for murder was two-fold: to take life for life and thus prevent a murderer from killing again, and to deter other would-be murderers from executing their murderous intentions. God created human life in his very image, and therefore, he alone knows the value of human life and the deserved penalty for snuffing it out, as well as the necessary deterrent to prevent people from contemplating murder.

Genesis 9:1 God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Multiply and fill the earth.

Genesis 9:2 All the wild animals, large and small, and all the birds and fish will be afraid of you. I have placed them in your power.

Genesis 9:3 I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables.

Genesis 9:4 But you must never eat animals that still have their lifeblood in them.

Genesis 9:5 And murder is forbidden. Animals that kill people must die, and any person who murders must be killed.

Genesis 9:6 Yes, you must execute anyone who murders another person, for to kill a person is to kill a living being made in God’s image (NLT).

Deuteronomy 17:8 “If a matter arises which is too hard for you to judge, between degrees of guilt for bloodshed, between one judgment or another, or between one punishment or another, matters of controversy within your gates, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the Lord your God chooses.

Deuteronomy 17:9 And you shall come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge there in those days, and inquire of them; they shall pronounce upon you the sentence of judgment.

Deuteronomy 17:10 You shall do according to the sentence which they pronounce upon you in that place which the Lord chooses. And you shall be careful to do according to all that they order you.

Deuteronomy 17:11 According to the sentence of the law in which they instruct you, according to the judgment which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left from the sentence which they pronounce upon you.

Deuteronomy 17:12 Now the man who acts presumptuously and will not heed the priest who stands to minister there before the Lord your God, or the judge, that man shall die. So you shall put away the evil from Israel.

Deuteronomy 17:13 And all the people shall hear and fear, and no longer act presumptuously (NKJV).

It’s instructive to note that God’s covenant with mankind through Noah is an everlasting covenant that’s meant to be operational for as long as the earth remains, and for as long as night follows day. Unlike the Mosaic covenant that was abolished by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Noahic covenant, like the Abrahamic covenant, is still effective and operational today because it’s an eternal covenant of grace! God’s covenant with mankind through Noah was not part of the old covenant of law God made with Israel on Mount Sinai that’s been replaced with the new covenant of grace ratified by the blood of Jesus Christ. As a result, God’s promise of not destroying the world again with a flood remains, as evidenced by the sign of the rainbow in the sky each time it rains; seedtime (springtime) is still followed by harvest; winter and summer have not ceased, and night still follows day. All these are parts of God’s promise to mankind in the Noahic covenant. Therefore, the death penalty for murder prescribed in the Noahic covenant still remains valid, for as long as the other components of that covenant remain valid! The Lord Jesus too taught that those who live by the sword would die by the sword, and that those who kill others would be killed in return. Thus, under both testaments, murder remains a death penalty offence in the sight of God.

Genesis 8:20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and sacrificed on it the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose.

Genesis 8:21 And the Lord was pleased with the sacrifice and said to himself, “I will never again curse the earth, destroying all living things, even though people’s thoughts and actions are bent toward evil from childhood.

Genesis 8:22 As long as the earth remains, there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.”

Genesis 9:8 Then God told Noah and his sons,

Genesis 9:9 “I am making a covenant with you and your descendants,

Genesis 9:10 and with the animals you brought with you—all these birds and livestock and wild animals.

Genesis 9:11 I solemnly promise never to send another flood to kill all living creatures and destroy the earth.”

Genesis 9:12 And God said, “I am giving you a sign as evidence of my eternal covenant with you and all living creatures.

Genesis 9:13 I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my permanent promise to you and to all the earth.

Genesis 9:14 When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will be seen in the clouds,

Genesis 9:15 and I will remember my covenant with you and with everything that lives. Never again will there be a flood that will destroy all life.

Genesis 9:16 When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.”

Genesis 9:17 Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this is the sign of my covenant with all the creatures of the earth.” (NLT).

St. Matthew 26:45 Then he came to the disciples and said, ” Still sleeping? Still resting? Look, the time has come. I, the Son of Man, am betrayed into the hands of sinners.

St. Matthew 26:46 Up, let’s be going. See, my betrayer is here! “

St. Matthew 26:47 And even as he said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a mob that was armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent out by the leading priests and other leaders of the people.

St. Matthew 26:48 Judas had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I go over and give him the kiss of greeting.”

St. Matthew 26:49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Teacher!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss.

St. Matthew 26:50 Jesus said, ” My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.” Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him.

St. Matthew 26:51 One of the men with Jesus pulled out a sword and slashed off an ear of the high priest’s servant.

St. Matthew 26:52 ” Put away your sword, ” Jesus told him. ” Those who use the sword will be killed by the sword.

Revelation 13:9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear.

Revelation 13:10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints (NKJV).

The implementation of the death penalty for murder has been left for human governments to effect, right from the time of Noah. Under the Mosaic covenant, Israel operated a theocracy, with priests, judges and later kings given the mandate to implement God’s law, including the death penalty for murder. Although the death sentence was not always faithfully executed under the law, it was more a failure of human governments to enforce a divine law, than a rescinding of the death penalty by God. Governments of all shades, including autocratic and despotic ones, have this divine authority to enforce the death penalty for murder. Even under the covenant of grace, the apostles still recognised the divine authority of rulers to execute the death penalty on offenders. The apostle Paul mentioned the fact that rulers do not bear the sword in vain, and are to legitimately use it to punish those who violate the law. In that respect, rulers are to be a terror to evil doers, by effectively using the sword to punish crimes adequately and uncompromisingly!

Deuteronomy 17:8 “Suppose a case arises in a local court that is too hard for you to decide—for instance, whether someone is guilty of murder or only of manslaughter, or a difficult lawsuit, or a case involving different kinds of assault. Take such cases to the place the Lord your God will choose,

Deuteronomy 17:9 where the Levitical priests and the judge on duty will hear the case and decide what to do.

Deuteronomy 17:10 The decision they make at the place the Lord chooses will always stand. You must do exactly what they say.

Deuteronomy 17:11 After they have interpreted the law and reached a verdict, the sentence they impose must be fully executed; do not modify it in any way.

Deuteronomy 17:12 Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the Lord your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel.

Deuteronomy 17:13 Then everyone will hear about it and be afraid to act so arrogantly (NLT).

Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.

Romans 13:4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil (NKJV).

1 Peter 2:13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme,

1 Peter 2:14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.

1 Peter 2:15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—

1 Peter 2:16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.

1 Peter 2:17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king (NKJV).

How is murder viewed from the perspective of those murdered? If the victims of murder could communicate with us, what would be their number one demand concerning the people that killed them? What would constitute adequate and satisfactory justice for them? What would make their souls really rest in peace? Well, murdered people have actually spoken in the Scriptures (in both the Old and New Testaments), and they’ve demanded for only one thing- vengeance upon their murderers! The blood of Abel cried out to God from the ground for vengeance against Cain. The souls of those martyred for their faith in Christ in the book of Revelation cried out relentlessly for vengeance upon their murderers. They looked up to God, the avenger of blood, to avenge their deaths. By vengeance, the souls of murdered people want the termination of the lives of their murderers. They want nothing less than the death penalty inflicted on the people who killed them. And God has granted human governments the authority to execute that vengeance upon their murderers. But, in the instances where the human justice system failed them, God has promised them divine justice in bringing their murderers to book. If God promised to destroy those who destroy their own bodies, how much more would he destroy those who destroy the lives of others? Initially, God placed a curse on Cain and declared him a fugitive and a wanderer for murdering his brother, and prevented him from being killed in return, by threatening to punish seven-fold whoever would kill Cain for killing his brother. That apparently emboldened Lamech, Cain’s descendant, to kill too, and he expected killing him in return to be punished seventy-seven fold! Cursing Cain and condemning him to a life of vagrancy (more like banishment from civilised society, a form of imprisonment) didn’t appear to be a sufficient deterrent for his progeny Lamech to refrain from murder. Lack of sufficient deterrence for murder may also have occasioned the unprecedented violence that engulfed the world just before the flood, which necessitated a near-total obliterative judgement for the chaos that resulted from humanity’s extreme wickedness. The above factors may have been responsible for God upping the penalty for murder to the death sentence in the Noahic covenant and in subsequent covenants with mankind. The death penalty appears to be the strongest deterrent for murder, as a murderer is not allowed to live further to have the opportunities to kill again, and other people who witnessed their execution would think twice before contemplating murder, knowing the fate that awaits them.

Genesis 4:8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Genesis 4:9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Genesis 4:10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.

Genesis 4:11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.

Genesis 4:12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

Genesis 4:13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear.

Genesis 4:14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

Genesis 4:15 But the LORD said to him, “Not so ; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him (NIV).

Revelation 6:9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.

Revelation 6:10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”

Revelation 6:11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been (NIV).

Genesis 4:19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah.

Genesis 4:20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock.

Genesis 4:21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes.

Genesis 4:22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.

Genesis 4:23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me.

Genesis 4:24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.” (NIV).

Genesis 6:1 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them,

Genesis 6:2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

Genesis 6:3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal ; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

Genesis 6:4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days —and also afterward —when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

Genesis 6:6 The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

Genesis 6:7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created —and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground —for I regret that I have made them.”

Genesis 6:8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

Genesis 6:10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Genesis 6:11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.

Genesis 6:12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.

Genesis 6:13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth (NIV).

1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

1 Corinthians 3:17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple (NIV).

The argument some Christians have put forward against the death penalty for murder is that, murder is not the unpardonable sin, and that God still forgives murderers who repent. Therefore, murderers should be imprisoned instead and given the chance to repent. Agreed that God does forgive murder, because it’s not the unpardonable sin. However, divine forgiveness for the sin of murder does not address the issue of murder as a grievous crime against humanity and against the state. Divine forgiveness is to avoid the second death in the lake of fire, which is the wage of unremitted sin. The repentant murderer will escape the second death and inherit eternal life, if he or she places faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Nevertheless, God’s decreed penalty for the crime of murder still remains physical death. The crime still needs to be punished, though the sin may have been forgiven. It’s the function of human governments to punish crime, while God forgives repentant sinners. Even while awaiting execution, the murderer has the chance to make peace with God and thus secure his eternal destiny. One of the purposes of the death penalty is to prevent the murderer from rejoining society after incarceration (as some do on parole), with the possibility of becoming a serial killer. How many murderers released on parole have ended up killing more people thereafter! How many have ended up as serial killers! Any subsequent deaths caused by these murderers could have been prevented if they had been executed after the first murder they committed. And some would-be murderers too could have been deterred by the prompt execution of cold-blooded murderers, following conviction by the highest court of the land.

Also, some argue that a few innocent people have been wrongly executed under the death penalty, only for their innocence to be discovered posthumously. It’s really a tragedy and travesty of justice to punish any innocent person for a crime they didn’t commit, and even more so with the death penalty. The problem in such a case is not the inappropriateness of the death penalty for murder, but a failure of the criminal justice system. Everyone should be presumed innocent until their guilt has been proved beyond all reasonable doubt. Even in the Old Testament, people were only sentenced to death after a thorough judicial examination, and upon the testimony of two or three witnesses taken on oath, with the penalty of death for bearing false witness. If people contrived to bear false witness against an innocent person just to get him or her executed, if the witnesses were found out later to be false, they too would be put to death. Such safeguards were to limit the chances of sentencing an innocent person to death by error. The death penalty for false witnessing was to deter people from bearing false witness that could lead to the execution of an innocent person. Thus, reformation of the criminal justice system is needed to prevent the sentencing of innocent people to death. Sentencing of people to death should only be done when the evidence of guilt is incontrovertible, and when no doubt exists about culpability. If any doubt exists, it’s better to set free a guilty person than to kill an innocent one. That should be the guiding principle of the law.

Deuteronomy 19:1 “The Lord your God will soon destroy the nations whose land he is giving you, and you will displace them and settle in their towns and homes.

Deuteronomy 19:2 Then you must set apart three cities of refuge in the land the Lord your God is giving you to occupy.

Deuteronomy 19:3 Divide the land the Lord your God is giving you into three districts, with one of these cities in each district. Keep the roads to these cities in good repair so that anyone who has killed someone can flee there for safety.

Deuteronomy 19:4 “If someone accidentally kills a neighbor without harboring any previous hatred, the slayer may flee to any of these cities and be safe.

Deuteronomy 19:5 For example, suppose someone goes into the forest with a neighbor to cut wood. And suppose one of them swings an ax and the ax head flies off the handle, killing the other person. In such cases, the slayer could flee to one of the cities of refuge and be safe.

Deuteronomy 19:6 If the distance to the nearest city of refuge was too far, an enraged avenger might be able to chase down and kill the person who caused the death. The slayer would die, even though there was no death sentence and the first death had been an accident.

Deuteronomy 19:7 That is why I am commanding you to set aside three cities of refuge.

Deuteronomy 19:8 “If the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he solemnly promised your ancestors, and gives you all the land he promised them,

Deuteronomy 19:9 you must designate three additional cities of refuge. (He will give you this land if you obey all the commands I have given you—if you always love the Lord your God and walk in his ways.)

Deuteronomy 19:10 That way you will prevent the death of innocent people in the land the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession, and you will not be held responsible for murder.

Deuteronomy 19:11 “But suppose someone hates a neighbor and deliberately ambushes and murders that neighbor and then escapes to one of the cities of refuge.

Deuteronomy 19:12 In that case, the leaders of the murderer’s hometown must have the murderer brought back from the city of refuge and handed over to the dead person’s avenger to be killed.

Deuteronomy 19:13 Do not feel sorry for that murderer! Purge the guilt of murder from Israel so all may go well with you.

Deuteronomy 19:14 “When you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession, never steal someone’s land by moving the boundary markers your ancestors set up to mark their property.

Deuteronomy 19:15 “Never convict anyone of a crime on the testimony of just one witness. The facts of the case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Deuteronomy 19:16 If a malicious witness comes forward and accuses someone of a crime,

Deuteronomy 19:17 then both the accuser and accused must appear before the priests and judges who are on duty before the Lord.

Deuteronomy 19:18 They must be closely questioned, and if the accuser is found to be lying,

Deuteronomy 19:19 the accuser will receive the punishment intended for the accused. In this way, you will cleanse such evil from among you.

Deuteronomy 19:20 Those who hear about it will be afraid to do such an evil thing again.

Deuteronomy 19:21 You must never show pity! Your rule should be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot (NLT).

In conclusion, the death penalty for murder was instituted by God himself, as part of the everlasting covenant with mankind God made with Noah after the flood. The purpose of the death penalty was to deter the unlawful killing of human beings by both humans and animals. This shows the high premium God places on human life, which was created in his own image. The Noahic covenant of grace was to last for as long as the earth remains, and is still valid today, including the death penalty component for murder. Even the Lord Jesus Christ recognised the legitimacy of capital punishment for murder, by warning his disciples that those who lived by the sword would die by the sword. The apostles Paul and Peter acknowledged the divine authority of governments in wielding the sword for the punishment of evil doers, as agents of God to execute God’s wrath on criminals. Therefore, Christians are admonished to operate within the ambit of the law, in order to avoid the sword of judgement and justice, for he that kills by the sword would be killed by the sword too. Thus, capital punishment for murder is still lawful under the covenant of grace, for it’s part of an everlasting covenant that remains valid for as long as the earth remains. Christians should therefore resist the pressure being put on them to feel it’s anti-life and immoral to support the death penalty, because the Creator of human life, as well as the highest moral Being, instituted the death penalty for murder, and still supports it. The death penalty for murder is not meant to violate the sanctity of human life, but to uphold it, by eliminating those who have no regard for the highest form of life, as well as deterring others who would contemplate the termination of other people’s lives. Thus, supporting the death penalty for murder is simply believing and aligning with God’s word without sentiments. That’s what Christians are called to do.

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