Not Everyone Who Says To Me, Lord, Lord, Will Enter Into The Kingdom Of Heaven.

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New Heart English Bible).

St. Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

St. Matthew 7:22 Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did not we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’

St. Matthew 7:23 And then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.’

Being a Christian is more than making confessions about the lordship of Jesus Christ. It’s more than acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Saviour. In the passage above, Jesus made it abundantly clear that not everyone who calls him ‘Lord’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven. The Lord went further to say that some people will even prophesy accurately, cast out devils and do mighty miracles in his name, and still end up in hell! This is really sobering! How can someone confess Jesus as Lord, do mighty works in his name, and still end up being rejected by Jesus as a worker of lawlessness? Yes, it’s possible, because Jesus himself said so! Thus, confessing Jesus as Lord, and doing mighty works in his name, are no guarantees for going to heaven! That should make every Christian to stop and ponder seriously!

Why will someone call Jesus ‘Lord’, do mighty works in Jesus’ name, and still end up rejected by Jesus? Why will such professed followers of Jesus end up in hell? Well, the Lord himself provided the answer to this dilemma. Such Christians will be rejected because they are workers of iniquity (lawlessness). It means that, though they professed to follow Jesus and to serve him as Lord, they did not obey Jesus nor keep his commandnents while here on earth. Jesus calls them lawless, meaning tbey didn’t keep his laws. They professed to be Christians and to love the Lord, but in their works they denied him, living abominable and disobedient lives, contrary to the ways and teachings of Jesus Christ. The Lord describes such people who profess to be christians, who hear his teachings but do not follow them, as foolish people who build their houses on the foundation of sinking sand. Such houses are destined for monumental collapse when confronted with judgement. Such faiths that are not grounded and rooted in obedience to God’s word cannot escape the fiery judgement of God at the end of the road.

Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God, but by their works they deny him, being abominable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work.

St. John 14:15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

St. John 14:21 One who has my commandments, and keeps them, that person is one who loves me. One who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will reveal myself to him.”

St. John 14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, what has happened that you are about to reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?”

St. John 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.

St. John 14:24 He who does not love me does not keep my words. The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.

St. Matthew 7:24 “Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, will be compared to a wise man, who built his house on a rock.

St. Matthew 7:25 And the rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

St. Matthew 7:26 And everyone who hears these words of mine, and does not do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand.

St. Matthew 7:27 And the rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell-and great was its fall.”

The scripture teaches that the foundation of God stands sure, and that the Lord knows those who are truly his. Those who call upon the name of the Lord are to depart from iniquity (lawlesness). God cannot be mocked, for whatever a man sows, that’s exactly what he will reap. God is not deceived by our hypocritical lip service. He looks beyond our vain words to scrutinise the thoughts and intents of our hearts, and the fruits of our lives, including our secret works done in the dark, which no one may have seen. He will thus reward every man according to our fruits, and according to our labours. God knows those who are serving him hypocritically, and those following him sincerely. He knows those who are sacrificing their lives for him and his cause, in obedience to his commandments, as well as those using his name and his gifts to exploit people and corruptly enrich themselves. Nothing escapes the omniscient and omnipresent God, and no one can fool him!

2 Timothy 2:19 However God’s firm foundation stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let every one who names the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.”

2 Timothy 2:20 Now in a large house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of clay. Some are for honor, and some for dishonor.

2 Timothy 2:21 If anyone therefore purges himself from these, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, and suitable for the master’s use, prepared for every good work.

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

Galatians 6:8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:13 There is no creature that is hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Revelation 22:10 He said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.

Revelation 22:11 He who acts unjustly, let him act unjustly still. He who is filthy, let him be filthy still. He who is righteous, let him do righteousness still. He who is holy, let him be holy still.”

Revelation 22:12 “Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work.

Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.

Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

In the end, every man is responsible for his final destination. Eventually, where we end up is in our hands. If we are true and faithful in our walk with the Lord and keep his commandments to the end, he’ll acknowledge us as his own, and welcome us into his presence, when our pilgrimmage on earth is over. If we are lawless and rebellious against the Lord’s commandments, even though we call him Lord and do mighty miracles in his name, he will deny us and command us to depart from his presence, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. It’s only a genuine and sincere faith in Christ, maintained to the very end (and demonstrated by obedience to his commmandments) that saves, not lawless confession of Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

St. Matthew 10:32 Everyone therefore who confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven.

St. Matthew 10:33 But whoever denies me before people, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven.

St. Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

St. Matthew 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.

St. Matthew 16:26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?

St. Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds.

St. Matthew 24:11 Many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray.

St. Matthew 24:12 Because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of many will grow cold.

St. Matthew 24:13 But he who endures to the end, the same will be saved.

St. Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?

In conclusion, not everyone who calls himself a Christian, or calls Jesus ‘Lord’, will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Only those followers of Christ who obey his commandments and live according to his will, are guaranteed entrance into his kingdom. That much was said by the Lord himself. It behooves all who call upon the Lord, then, to depart from iniquity, as no one who practises lawlessness will be admitted into God’s kingdom. The Lord we serve is holy, and as we abide in him, he expects us to be holy too, for without holiness, no man shall see the Lord. Only those who do the will of God, not those who merely confess Jesus as Lord, or those who do mighty miracles in his name (while living lawlessly), will enter into the kingdom of heaven!

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (KJV).

1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance.

1 Peter 1:15 But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct;

1 Peter 1:16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.

1 Peter 1:17 And if you address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your temporary residence (HCSB).

1 Corinthians 6:9 Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality,

1 Corinthians 6:10 no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom (HCSB).

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A Biblical Exposition Of Paradise As A Place Of Eternal Rest And Bliss For Souls Of The Righteous After Death

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

The belief in paradise as a place of utter bliss, devoid of sufferings, is widely accepted by most people, both literally and figuratively. Most primitive myths believe mankind started life in some sort of paradise, but eventually lost it, and every human endeavour thereafter has been geared towards recreating some form of paradise on earth. Whether it’s the quest for an El Dorado or Utopia, man’s futile search for paradise on earth only reflects the deep yearnings of the human soul for a return to true paradise.

Paradise is presented in the Scriptures as the final resting place of the righteous, and the ultimate reward for obedience and faith in God. It thus behoves us to understand all we can about this final destination of the saints, in order to be motivated to do all we can to enter into this glorious place. In this article, we shall examine the Scriptures for a clear understanding of paradise, focusing on its location, the state of the souls there, as well as qualifications for entry into it.

When God created the first man and woman, he placed them in paradise in the garden of Eden. It was a place of delight and pleasure. There, mankind did not toil or suffer, nor was there sickness or death. Everything mankind needed for wholesome living was in abundance in that delightful garden. Thus, Adam and Eve lived blissfully in the garden of delight, until they sinned and were chased out of paradise. The man and his wife were evicted from paradise because of rebellion against God, and were sentenced to a lifetime of toil, suffering and finally death. That’s how mankind forfeited paradise, to enter the life we now experience.

Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Genesis 2:8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.

Genesis 2:9 The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground —trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters.

Genesis 2:11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold.

Genesis 2:12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.)

Genesis 2:13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush.

Genesis 2:14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

Genesis 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;

Genesis 2:17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ’You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Genesis 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,

Genesis 3:3 but God did say, ’You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

Genesis 3:4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.

Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Genesis 3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

Genesis 3:10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

Genesis 3:11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

Genesis 3:12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me —she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Genesis 3:13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Genesis 3:14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Genesis 3:16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

Genesis 3:17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ’You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.

Genesis 3:18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

Genesis 3:19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

Genesis 3:23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.

Genesis 3:24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Thus, we see that paradise was initially located on the earth, in the garden of Eden. When man was expelled from it, access to it was barred by angelic beings, to prevent fallen man from getting back there in his sinful and corrupt state. Later, paradise was relocated from the earth to a region beneath the earth. At what point the relocation took place is not stated in the Scriptures. But it was relocated from the earth to a region under the earth, to house the souls of righteous men and women after death, pending the resurrection of their bodies. Until the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, paradise remained under the earth, just like hell, but with a wide gulf separating both regions. Apparently, people in both regions could see one another, but couldn’t cross over, because of the wide chasm separating them. While those in hell experience torment and anguish from the unquenchable fire that burns them without respite, souls in paradise are at peace and experience unimaginable bliss.

St. Luke 16:19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.

St. Luke 16:20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores

St. Luke 16:21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

St. Luke 16:22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.

St. Luke 16:23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

St. Luke 16:24 So he called to him, ’Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

St. Luke 16:25 “But Abraham replied, ’Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.

St. Luke 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

St. Luke 16:27 “He answered, ’Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,

St. Luke 16:28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

St. Luke 16:29 “Abraham replied, ’They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

St. Luke 16:30 “’No, father Abraham,’ he said, ’but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

St. Luke 16:31 “He said to him, ’If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

When Jesus died, while his body was in the grave, his soul went to paradise, to show himself to those righteous souls there, as their long awaited Messiah who had now appeared and paid the price for their sins, and thus secured their redemption. Upon Jesus’ resurrection, all those righteous souls in paradise also arose and showed themselves to people who were still alive on earth. And when Jesus ascended to heaven, forty days after his resurrection, he took along with him all the righteous souls in paradise and ascended with them to heaven. He thus relocated paradise from being co-located with hell under the earth, to a new location in the heavens. Now, paradise is located in heaven. Souls of righteous people who die now go to heaven, where paradise is located, while souls of the unrighteous still go to a region under the earth, where hell is located.

St. Luke 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

St. Luke 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?

St. Luke 23:41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

St. Luke 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. “

St. Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

St. Matthew 27:50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

St. Matthew 27:51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split

St. Matthew 27:52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.

St. Matthew 27:53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

Ephesians 4:8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”

Ephesians 4:9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ?

Ephesians 4:10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

2 Corinthians 5:2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,

2 Corinthians 5:3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.

2 Corinthians 5:4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

2 Corinthians 5:6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

Paradise is a glorious and beautiful place where no sin exists and where no sorrow is experienced. There is no crying and weeping there, and no sickness nor death. In paradise, the tree of life nourishes the saints of God, while they drink from the refreshing water of life. The streets of paradise are paved with gold, and the glory of the place is unimaginable. Believers have individual mansions in paradise, as our Lord Jesus told us in the Scriptures. Paul was taken to paradise in an out-of-body experience, and saw and heard things not fit for the human ear to hear, concerning the glory of the place. All Paul could say was that no man can imagine or fathom what God has prepared for the people that love him. The sight of paradise was so glorious that Paul couldn’t wait to die and leave this world in order to get there! It’s that glorious! It was the promise and glory of paradise that kept the saints of old going. It was the country promised to Abraham and his descendants, unto which they looked, and for which they counted life on earth as but dung. That same promise of life in paradise is offered to every believer and overcomer in Christ Jesus. We need to be faithful unto the end and to overcome so that we too will go to this indescribable place of glory!

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him (AKJV).

2 Corinthians 12:2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know —God knows.

2 Corinthians 12:3 And I know that this man —whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows —

2 Corinthians 12:4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

Philippians 1:23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;

Philippians 1:24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

Philippians 1:25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,

Philippians 1:26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Hebrews 11:9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

Hebrews 11:10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Hebrews 11:11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.

Hebrews 11:12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

Hebrews 11:13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

Hebrews 11:14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.

Hebrews 11:15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.

Hebrews 11:16 Instead, they were longing for a better country —a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.

John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also (AKJV).

Revelation 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb

Revelation 22:2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.

Revelation 22:4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

Revelation 22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 22:6 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”

Revelation 2:7 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the middle of the paradise of God (AKJV).

Finally, paradise will ultimately be relocated back to earth, where it started, before sin came and disrupted everything. When the rebellion of sin is finally done away with and the wicked are judged and cast into the lake of fire, along with satan and all his rebellious angels, the earth will be renovated and paradise will be relocated from heaven back to earth. Not only will paradise be relocated to earth, God too will relocate his throne from heaven to earth, in order to dwell with his children! God will be with his children physically! We will see him physically and be with me him forever. Paradise then will have no need for the sun or the moon, for God and the Lamb will be its light. There will be no need for physical temples again, because we will see and worship God live! It will be an eternity of blissful living! The desire of all ages and the Utopia man has consistently dreamed of will be here at last! Finally, the meek will inherit the earth when paradise is brought back to the earth.

Revelation 21:1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

Revelation 21:2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

Revelation 21:4 ’He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.

Revelation 21:7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars —they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Psalms 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth (AKJV).

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth (AKJV).

In conclusion, paradise, as the abode of the righteous, was the starting place for sinless man, and it will be his final destination. The original man lost paradise through sin, but thank God Christ’s atoning sacrifice at Calvary has purchased man’s redemption from the guilt and penalty of sin. Christ has thus restored paradise again for as many as would accept him as Lord and Saviour. Paradise should be the ultimate goal of any sane person, as the alternative to missing it is landing in hell and the lake of fire, a horrible place of sufferings and torment, where unquenchable fire burns the inhabitants without respite, for all eternity. In paradise, eternal life is restored, as well total abolition of all the effects of sin and the curse. The holy trinity will be physically present in paradise with the saints, and we will live happily for all eternity, without the devil, his angels and his human agents. We will go back to the very beginning before the fall, and without the chance of it ever happening again, because that old serpent, the tempter and deceiver, will be no more!

Thanks for visiting and for reading. God bless you!

A Biblical Exposition Of The Reality Of Hell As A Place Of Torment And Sorrows For The Souls Of Unrepentant Sinners

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

Some people are of the opinion there’s no literal place burning with fire called hell, where the souls of unrepentant sinners go to after death. While some of the deniers of hell don’t believe in life after death and the reward and punishment that will follow, others simply can’t accept the fact that a merciful and loving God can be that indignant and fiery in his judgement, to send any of his beloved creatures to such a horrible place of torment! Does hell exist? If yes, where is it located? Who are the people that go there, and what is the state of the souls in hell, as well as their ultimate fate? This article will attempt to answer these questions through a careful examination of the Scriptures.

The Almighty God, Jehovah, is a God of knowledge and justice. Each individual’s actions are carefully weighed and rewarded by him. God’s judicial system defers judgement and punishment/reward till the end of each person’s life on earth, thus giving everyone a chance to make things right with him while they’re still alive. God doesn’t count anyone out, until life on earth is truly over for that person. That’s why the thief on the cross was able to make peace with God with almost his last breath, and just about squeezed into paradise thereby. Such is the mercy and long-suffering of God with sinners! He is this long-suffering and merciful with humans because he doesn’t want anymore to perish, but desires for all to come to repentance.

1 Samuel 2:3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogance come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed (AKJV).

Romans 2:2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.

Romans 2:3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

Romans 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

Romans 2:6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”

Romans 2:7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

Romans 2:8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

Romans 2:9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile;

Romans 2:10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Romans 2:11 For God does not show favoritism.

St. Luke 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

St. Luke 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?

St. Luke 23:41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

St. Luke 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. “

St. Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

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.

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.

The judgement of sinners who refused to repent during their lifetime on earth will take place at a set time at the end of the ages, for God has set aside a day to judge the world in righteousness. This means that sinners are not being judged individually as they die. All will be judged collectively at the same time, at the end of the ages. So, what happens to the souls of sinners from the time they die to when they will face God’s judgement? The answer to this question may be found in recalling what happens to those who commit heinous crimes, between their arrest and trial. Such offenders are usually kept in custody (prison), pending trial. The same thing happens to sinners when they die. They go to God’s prison house, where they are kept in custody until judgement day. That prison house is called hell or hades.

The Acts 17:30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

The Acts 17:31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

Hebrews 9:27 People are destined to die once and then face judgment (CEB).

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

1 Peter 3:19 After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits —

1 Peter 3:20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water.

Hell is located beneath the earth. It’s a bottomless pit (abyss) originally created by God to be a prison house for the rebellious devil and his angels. Some of the fallen angels are currently imprisoned there, while the rest, like satan, still roam free on earth and in the heavens. They too will be eventually thrown into hell, and ultimately into the lake of fire, after completing their mission and fulfilling God’s purpose for them. As God’s maximum security prison, hell is under lock and key (Jesus holds the keys of hell), and is guarded by powerful angelic beings. It’s a place of darkness and anguish, where fire burns and torments the inhabitants non-stop. Although hell was initially designed for the devil and his angels, it also houses wicked and rebellious human beings who follow satan to reject God’s rule and his righteousness. We’re told in the Scriptures that the wicked shall be turned into hell, as well as all the nations that forget God. Hell is enlarging every day as it receives more and more human inhabitants. The road to hell is broad and wide, and unfortunately, many people are on it.

St. Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ’Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

St. Matthew 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,

St. Matthew 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

St. Matthew 25:44 “They also will answer, ’Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

St. Matthew 25:45 “He will reply, ’Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

St. Matthew 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

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.

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.

Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.

Revelation 20:2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.

Revelation 20:3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

Revelation 1:18 I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for ever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (AKJV).

Psalms 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God (KJV).

Isaiah 5:11 Woe to them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!

Isaiah 5:12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.

Isaiah 5:13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.

Isaiah 5:14 Therefore hell has enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoices, shall descend into it (AKJV).

St. Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

St. Matthew 7:14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

The spirits in hell are conscious and alive, and are sensitive to their environment. They feel the excruciating pain and torment there, as they weep and wail night and day, pleading for mercy and for their agonies to be lightened. But, alas, that’s not possible! The fire will burn them without consuming them, for the soul is indestructible! And so, their torment will continue day and night, till the final judgement.

St. Luke 16:19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.

St. Luke 16:20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores

St. Luke 16:21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

St. Luke 16:22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.

St. Luke 16:23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

St. Luke 16:24 So he called to him, ’Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

St. Luke 16:25 “But Abraham replied, ’Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.

St. Luke 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

St. Luke 16:27 “He answered, ’Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,

St. Luke 16:28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

St. Luke 16:29 “Abraham replied, ’They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

St. Luke 16:30 “’No, father Abraham,’ he said, ’but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

St. Luke 16:31 “He said to him, ’If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

The Lord Jesus warned people to do all they can to avoid hell, as the torment there is real, unbearable and unimaginable! If an eye would cause one to sin and go to hell, the Lord said it would be better to pluck out that eye, than to go to hell with both eyes! If a limb would cause one to land in hell, it’s better to cut off that limb, than to end up in hell with all limbs intact. This is because the torment of hell is for ever, and is better imagined than experienced. There, the fire is not quenched, nor do the worms cease that torment the inhabitants.

Mark 9:43 And if your hand offend you, cut it off: it is better for you to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Mark 9:44 Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mark 9:45 And if your foot offend you, cut it off: it is better for you to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Mark 9:46 Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mark 9:47 And if your eye offend you, pluck it out: it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:

Mark 9:48 Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mark 9:49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt (AKJV).

Isaiah 66:22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the LORD, “so will your name and descendants endure.

Isaiah 66:23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the LORD.

Isaiah 66:24 “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

Souls in hell will be there till the final judgement. At the final judgement, the inhabitants of hell will be released to appear in judgement before the Lord Jesus Christ, who will be the one to judge all men. Sinners in hell will be judged according to their works. But no man’s works can save him, for all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, and none is righteous! The righteousness of any man is just like filthy menstrual rags before God. And that is what the inhabitants of hell will find as they stand before God in judgement. Their works, like that of every other person, won’t be able to save or justify them before God, for no man is saved by the works of the flesh (Romans 3:20; 4:2; Ephesians 2:8). By rejecting God’s atoning sacrifice of his Son, and by refusing to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, every sinner is already doomed. Whoever rejects God’s son is already condemned, because the wrath of God abides on such a person. The book of life will be opened to find if the names of the inhabitants of hell are written therein, for only those whose names are in the book of life will escape the second death. Of course, none of the inhabitants of hell will find their names in the book of life, for only the redeemed of the Lord have their names written therein. And because their names are not written in the book of life, all those in hell will be transferred to the lake of fire, having been pronounced guilty before God. This is the second death. All in the lake of fire will burn eternally with fire and brimstone (sulfur).

John 5:22 For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son:

John 5:23 That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which has sent him.

John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life.

John 5:25 Truly, truly, I say to you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

John 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself;

John 5:27 And has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation.

John 5:30 I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which has sent me (AKJV).

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:18 He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:20 For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

John 3:21 But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are worked in God (AKJV).

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Revelation 20:15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (AKJV).

Thus, we see that the souls of sinners imprisoned in hell are destined for eternal destruction, because their fates were already sealed during their lives here on earth, by their rejection of God’s salvation. The judgement of the final day is but a confirmation of the word of God that those who reject his mercy here are eternally doomed, with no second chance to make things right with God after death.

In conclusion, hell or hades is a prison house and a place of torment designed by God to keep in custody rebellious and sinful men and angels, pending the final judgement. When unrepentant sinners die, they go to hell where they remain until the final resurrection, when they will be released from hell to appear before the Lord Jesus Christ to be judged for the sins they committed while alive on earth. All the inhabitants of hell, because their names are not written in the book of life by virtue of their rejection of God’s salvation in their lifetime, will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. There, they will burn for ever and ever. That is the fate and final destiny of all rebellious sinners among men and angels. Hell is therefore not a metaphor for suffering, but a real place of torment and unimagined sorrows which men should avoid at all cost, by taking hold of God’s pardon for sin through Jesus Christ and getting saved thereby. That’s the only way to escape the torment of hell and the second death in the lake of fire. The God of mercy is also the God of judgement and justice, and he will punish sin and rebellion severely, while rewarding faith and obedience accordingly.

Hebrews 10:26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,

Hebrews 10:27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Hebrews 10:29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 10:30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”

Hebrews 10:31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

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What Happens To The Souls Of Children Who Die Before Reaching The Age Of Accountability?

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

The Scriptures are very clear about the fate of adults after death. Their souls either go to paradise or to hell, depending on their relationship with God. Adults bear personal responsibility for their actions as free moral agents. A free moral agent has the mental capacity and freedom of will to make informed choices and decisions, and is held accountable for those decisions, by both God and man. However, the fate of children who have not come to the age of accountability is not so clear-cut, with reference to personal responsibility for their sins. What happens to the souls of children who die before reaching the age of accountability, and before having had the opportunity to repent of their sins and make things right with God? Will they go to hell when they die, or will they be allowed to go to paradise? We will try to answer these questions through a careful examination of the Scriptures.

Though no clear-cut Scriptures exist about the eternal destiny and fate of children who die before reaching the age of accountability (and therefore never had the opportunity of making peace with God), circumstantial evidence gleaned from the Scriptures suggest such children would go to paradise at death. From the Old Testament, infants/children were included in the redemptive covenant, and atoning sacrifices covered them too. A redemptive price was named for the children of God’s people (God described those children as belonging to him), and male infants were circumcised on the eighth day, as a seal of God’s everlasting covenant of redemption and ownership. Both male and female infants were dedicated to the Lord at set times after birth. The children thus became the Lord’s, and were under his protective care, until they could decide for themselves whether to remain the Lord’s or not, when they come to the age of accountability.

Genesis 17:9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.

Genesis 17:10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

Genesis 17:11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.

Genesis 17:12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner —those who are not your offspring.

Genesis 17:13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.

Genesis 17:14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

Leviticus 12:2 “Say to the Israelites: ’A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period.

Leviticus 12:3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised.

Leviticus 12:4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over.

Leviticus 12:5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.

Leviticus 12:6 “’When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering.

Leviticus 12:7 He shall offer them before the LORD to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood. “’These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl.

Leviticus 12:8 But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”

St. Luke 2:21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

St. Luke 2:22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord

St. Luke 2:23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord” ),

St. Luke 2:24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Numbers 3:40 The LORD said to Moses, “Count all the firstborn Israelite males who are a month old or more and make a list of their names.

Numbers 3:41 Take the Levites for me in place of all the firstborn of the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites in place of all the firstborn of the livestock of the Israelites. I am the LORD.”

Numbers 3:42 So Moses counted all the firstborn of the Israelites, as the LORD commanded him.

Numbers 3:43 The total number of firstborn males a month old or more, listed by name, was 22,273.

Numbers 3:44 The LORD also said to Moses,

Numbers 3:45 “Take the Levites in place of all the firstborn of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites in place of their livestock. The Levites are to be mine. I am the LORD.

Numbers 3:46 To redeem the 273 firstborn Israelites who exceed the number of the Levites,

Numbers 3:47 collect five shekels for each one, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs.

Numbers 3:48 Give the money for the redemption of the additional Israelites to Aaron and his sons.”

Numbers 3:49 So Moses collected the redemption money from those who exceeded the number redeemed by the Levites.

Numbers 3:50 From the firstborn of the Israelites he collected silver weighing 1,365 shekels, according to the sanctuary shekel.

Numbers 3:51 Moses gave the redemption money to Aaron and his sons, as he was commanded by the word of the LORD.

The Bible teaches that children are innocent and are to be spared from judgements that rebellious adults are to face. God also described babies sacrificed to pagan idols as innocent. David, while lamenting the death of his baby, took consolation in the fact that he would meet the child in the afterlife. David believed in the resurrection of the just to life eternal, so he believed he would meet his dead child in paradise. It makes theological sense for God to admit those he considers innocent to paradise, should they die in their tender ages, before they come to the age of accountability. If God considers infants and little children innocent, why would he allow them to go a place of punishment meant for the guilty, if they die in their innocence?

Deuteronomy 1:34 When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore:

Deuteronomy 1:35 “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors,

Deuteronomy 1:36 except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.”

Deuteronomy 1:37 Because of you the LORD became angry with me also and said, “You shall not enter it, either.

Deuteronomy 1:38 But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it.

Deuteronomy 1:39 And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad —they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it.

Psalms 106:37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods.

Psalms 106:38 They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.

2 Samuel 12:15 After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill.

2 Samuel 12:16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground.

2 Samuel 12:17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

2 Samuel 12:18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”

2 Samuel 12:19 David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”

2 Samuel 12:20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.

2 Samuel 12:21 His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”

2 Samuel 12:22 He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ’Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’

2 Samuel 12:23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

In the New Testament, we read of children being made holy and sanctified by virtue of the covering of Christian parents. The grace of God upon their parents is said to extend to them also. If God would cover such children with his grace, surely, he would accept them into his presence were they to die before reaching the age of accountability? We also see God going to great lengths to care for certain children in the Bible, providing for their needs and defending them from harm. If he could display such care for their material needs, surely he would care for their souls too? Surely, he wouldn’t allow them to perish in hell were they to die before they get to the age of accountability when they’re reasonably expected to make informed choices about the salvation of their souls?

1 Corinthians 7:12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.

1 Corinthians 7:13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.

1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

Genesis 21:14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.

Genesis 21:15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes.

Genesis 21:16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.

Genesis 21:17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.

Genesis 21:18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

Genesis 21:19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

Genesis 21:20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer.

God accepts and honours the praises and worship of babes and sucklings, and uses them to shame and humble proud and arrogant adults who would not praise God. When the Lord Jesus was triumphantly entering Jerusalem, children kept thundering his praises, to the irritation of the Scribes and Pharisees who wanted the children to shut up. The Lord accepted the praises of the children and rebuked the Pharisees for attempting to shut them up. God does not accept praise from anyone he is not at peace with, as even the sacrifice of the wicked (including the fruit of their lips) is an abomination to him. For the Lord to have accepted the praises of children, it means he also accepted their person. Would he accept the praise of such little ones and thereafter allow them to be damned if they were to die at that tender age?

Psalms 8:1 LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.

Psalms 8:2 Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

St. Matthew 21:15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

St. Matthew 21:16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “’From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’ ?”

Proverbs 21:27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination;
How much more when he brings it with wicked intent! (NKJV).

Furthermore, we’re told in the Scriptures that the kingdom of God belongs to children, and that no one should hinder them from coming to the Lord. We’re also told that except we change and be like little children, we won’t enter the kingdom of God. Those aspiring to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven are enjoined to be like little children. The hearts of children are thus God’s standard of purity and innocence for entry into his kingdom. Also, children have their special guardian angels who behold God’s face daily. Thus, we can see that children occupy a special place in God’s heart and in God’s kingdom. Will God allow such people that matter so much to him to perish in hell if they were to die in their infancy or childhood, before they reach the age of maturity, when they can make informed decisions about following the Lord?

St. Mark 10:13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.

St. Mark 10:14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

St. Mark 10:15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

St. Mark 10:16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Matthew 18:2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,

Matthew 18:3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

Matthew 18:6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven (NKJV).

Finally, it will be contrary to the principles of natural justice to punish someone for offences they neither understand nor are aware of, and for which they can neither repent of nor make amends for, by virtue of their immaturity and natural lack of capacity. Human laws absolve minors of responsibility for offences committed, and do not punish them like adults who commit similar offences. Surely, humans cannot be expected to be more just than their Maker? God does overlook sins committed in the days of childhood ignorance, and holds people accountable for their sins only when they come to the age of accountability. Those who do not yet see sin for what it is, and can neither understand the meaning of sin nor its consequences, by virtue of natural immaturity of intellect and lack of capacity, will be forgiven by God during this natural period of ignorance. Children are blind spiritually, and though naked, are unaware of their state and therefore not ashamed of it (like Adam and Eve before the fall) and do not experience the guilt of sin, until they come to the age accountability.

The Acts 17:24 “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.

The Acts 17:25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.

The Acts 17:26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,

The Acts 17:27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

The Acts 17:28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

The Acts 17:29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.

The Acts 17:30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

The Acts 17:31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (NKJV).

Job 4:17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? (AKJV).

St. John 9:39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

St. John 9:40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

St. John 9:41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

In conclusion, the Scriptures support the fact that children are included in God’s redemptive plan, and that they have a special place in God’s heart and in God’s kingdom, being God’s standard of purity and innocence. Until they come to the age of accountability when they become responsible for their actions and accountable for their sins, children’s sins are overlooked and covered by God. However, from the age of accountability, children become responsible for their sins and are treated as adults in terms of personal responsibility for their salvation. Thus, from birth till the age of accountability, any child who dies is presumed innocent and will go to paradise. However, because the age of accountability varies from person to person and only God knows when an individual attains that age, it’s important that parents introduce their children early to the Lord, as we do not know exactly when each child comes to his/her age of accountability and becomes responsible for his/her sins/actions before God. No wonder the Scriptures admonish us to bring up our children in the ways of the Lord, so that when they get to the age of accountability, they won’t depart from the Lord.

Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Thanks for visiting and reading. God bless you!

What Happens To People After Death? A Biblical Exposition Of The Fate And Destiny Of The Soul Following The End Of Life On Earth.

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

Hebrews 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death —that is, the devil —

Hebrews 2:15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Death is the most dreaded event by humans, partly because of the uncertainties surrounding it. The fear of the unknown makes the thought of dying the most traumatic experience imaginable for any human being. Is death the end of all things concerning a person? Is there life after death? And if there is, what kind of life should people expect to have after dying? These are some of the questions that haunt people throughout life. The Bible provides answers to most, if not all, of these questions, and we would be wise to take time to find out the Biblical facts about the fate of the soul after death, for it’s something that concerns all of us, as the certainty of death is the only reality all men share in common.

When God made man, he made man’s body from the dust of the earth, and then breathed into him the breath of life, and the man then became a living soul. Man thus has two components- his body, which is made of dust of the earth, and the breath of life in him, which is his spirit/soul. When man sinned and death was pronounced upon him, God made it clear that at death, the body, which is dust, would go back to dust. It would decay and decompose and turn back to the very elements that it came from. But, what happens to the breath of life contained in that body at death? Since it’s not part of the dust that must return to dust, where does it go? The answer lies in understanding what death itself is. According to the Scriptures, physical death is simply the separation of the body from the spirit/soul (the breath of life). Once the breath of life permanently leaves a person, physical death is said to have taken place. Thus, physical death is the state of the body without the spirit or breath of life in it.

Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;

Genesis 2:17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Genesis 3:17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ’You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.

Genesis 3:18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

Genesis 3:19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

The Lord Jesus told us to fear only God, who alone can destroy both body and soul of man in hell. Thus, the concept of the dead ceasing to be aware of happenings around them speaks only of the dead bodies of people, not of their departed spirits/souls. The body decays and decomposes after a few days following death, and eventually disintegrates into its elemental components, going back to the dust from which it was made. The physical body thus becomes lifeless and loses consciousness and awareness at death. But, that doesn’t mean the individual has ceased to exist. He or she may no longer be in contact with the physical world, by virtue of the disintegration of the physical body, but the spirit/soul of the person lives on, in a new abode. Thus, the miracle of raising people up from the dead in the Bible was simply calling back their departed spirits to return into their lifeless bodies. The departed spirit would now leave its new abode and return back to the body, and the body would literally receive the breath of life again and live! That’s a preview of the final resurrection!

St. Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

St. John 11:17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

St. John 11:18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem,

St. John 11:19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.

St. John 11:20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

St. John 11:21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

St. John 11:22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

St. John 11:23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

St. John 11:24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

St. John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

St. John 11:26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

St. John 11:27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

St. John 11:28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.”

St. John 11:29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.

St. John 11:30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.

St. John 11:31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

St. John 11:32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

St. John 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

St. John 11:34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

St. John 11:35 Jesus wept.

St. John 11:36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

St. John 11:37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

St. John 11:38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.

St. John 11:39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

St. John 11:40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

St. John 11:41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.

St. John 11:42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

St. John 11:43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

St. John 11:44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

St. John 11:45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

What exactly happens to the spirit/soul of the dead when they depart from this earth? Where do souls of dead people go to? The Lord Jesus told us, from the story of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus, that when people die, their souls either go to paradise or to hell, depending on the relationship they had with God while alive on earth here. If a person was saved and was in right standing with God, at death, their spirits/souls go to paradise, where they rest, while awaiting the resurrection of their bodies. Those who were not in right standing with God and were not saved go to hell or hades, a place of torment and sorrows, while awaiting the second resurrection and God’s judgement, and would eventually be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. The soul’s destiny after physical death is thus contingent on its relationship with God while alive on earth. The wicked are cast into hell, as well as all the nations that forget God, while those who believe and trust in God and serve him faithfully end up in paradise. Paul talked about being absent from the body (physical death) and being present with the Lord as being a far better experience than being alive on earth. Death is simply the soul removing its garment of corruptible flesh, and putting on an immortal spiritual body.

St. Luke 16:19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.

St. Luke 16:20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores

St. Luke 16:21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

St. Luke 16:22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.

St. Luke 16:23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

St. Luke 16:24 So he called to him, ’Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

St. Luke 16:25 “But Abraham replied, ’Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.

St. Luke 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

St. Luke 16:27 “He answered, ’Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,

St. Luke 16:28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

St. Luke 16:29 “Abraham replied, ’They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

St. Luke 16:30 “’No, father Abraham,’ he said, ’but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

St. Luke 16:31 “He said to him, ’If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Psalms 9:16 The Lord is known by the judgment He executes;
The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.
Meditation. Selah

Psalms 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell,
And all the nations that forget God (NKJV).

St. Luke 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

St. Luke 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?

St. Luke 23:41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

St. Luke 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. “

St. Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

2 Corinthians 5:2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,

2 Corinthians 5:3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.

2 Corinthians 5:4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

2 Corinthians 5:6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Philippians 1:20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

Philippians 1:23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;

Philippians 1:24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

Philippians 1:25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,

Philippians 1:26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

We can thus see that the souls of the dead do not sleep with the body at death. The souls of the dead are alive and active after death, in their various locations. They are conscious, feel pain and torment, as well as enjoy peace and happiness. The souls of the dead are knowledgeable and aware of their surroundings and recollect things that happened while in the body. The concept of soul-sleep (the souls of the dead being asleep and unconscious in death, along with the body) as propagated by some Christian groups is therefore wrong and unbiblical.Though the physical natural body disintegrates in the earth and turns to dust, the real individual (the soul) is alive, conscious and will eventually answer for the deeds done in this body. But first, the soul of each person will go to a resting place (paradise for the righteous, and hell/hades for the unrighteous), while awaiting the resurrection of the body and final judgement for those imprisoned in hell. The saints in paradise will rise first in the first resurrection, and will reign with Christ, while the rest of the dead will continue to remain where they are in hell/hades, and will arise in the second resurrection to face God’s judgement and be sent to their final and eternal destination in the lake of fire.

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.

Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.

Revelation 20:2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.

Revelation 20:3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

Revelation 20:4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Revelation 20:5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

Revelation 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

Revelation 20:13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.

Revelation 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

Revelation 20:15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

In conclusion, physical death, which is the separation of the body from the soul, is a necessary end for all humans. The fear of death is universal, and mostly stems from the uncertainties surrounding death and the fate of the dead. The devil uses this fear of death to torment and hold many in captivity, subjecting them to a lifetime of fear and bondage. This need not be so. Death is not the end of a person, but an exit from this world into another. There is life after death, for the soul of man is eternal and does not die with the body at death, being made in the image and likeness of the eternal God. Each person’s destiny after death depends on the life one lived here and the relationship the person had with God. The souls of those who had a right standing with God in this life go to paradise after death, while the souls of the wicked who did not know God nor feared him end up in hell/hades, a place of sorrow and torment. The soul of man does not go to sleep after death, but is alive, conscious, active and relates with its new surroundings, capable of feeling both happiness and sorrows, depending on its location. Life therefore continues after death, as well as the opportunity to give an account of the lives we lived here on earth, and to receive the reward/ punishment for our labours.

Romans 14:7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone.

Romans 14:8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

Romans 14:10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister ? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

Romans 14:11 It is written: “’As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ’every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

Romans 14:12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Give No Offense To Jews, Gentiles Or The Church Of God: Living In Peace With All Men Is Key To Winning Lost Souls For Christ.

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New Revised Standard Version)

Isaiah 42:1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.

Isaiah 42:2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.

Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

Isaiah 42:4 he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” (NIV).

Today, it’s common to see some Christians (including ministers of the gospel) deliberately displaying rank hostility towards people of other faiths, as well as other not-so-conservative Christians. These “firebrands” are hailed by their fellow travellers as uncompromising Christian warriors, as they aggressively confront nonconformists and freely throw flames and bombs around, in their reviling and denunciation of people of other faiths. To such people, living at peace with infidels and unbelievers is a sellout and a sign of compromise and weakness. What does the Bible say about our relationship with people of other faiths? Is seeking peaceful coexistence with all men (as much as it lies with us) a sign of compromise and a selling out of the faith? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,

1 Corinthians 10:33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved.

The Apostle Paul, one of the greatest soul winners in the history of the Church, left some hard words for some Christian hardliners in Corinth who appeared to favour a more confrontational approach to the practice and spread of Christianity. Paul was quick to make these provocative firebrands realise that Christianity is fundamentally a religion of peace that seeks reconciliation with both God and man. The gospel we preach is called the gospel of peace, not of war, and the Lord we serve is the Prince of Peace. True Biblical Christianity does not stoke divisions and wars, but promotes peace and harmonious coexistence with all, in order to create a conducive environment for the preaching and acceptance of the gospel. Paul admonished the Corinthians (and by extension all Christians) to desist from practices that deliberately offend Jews, Greeks (heathens) and other members of the body of Christ. His reason was simple- to avoid roiling up non-believers and other believers unnecessarily, especially in the non-essential grey areas of the faith and matters of conscience, so that we can have the opportunity to access them easily and win them for Christ. Paul was seeking, not his own good, but the good of others. We see that view elaborated further in another portion of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them.

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 9:23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.

Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (NKJV).

Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

Ephesians 6:15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (NKJV).

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (NKJV).

Paul further exhorted Christians to pursue peace with all men, as much as it depends on us. Following peace with all men and living sober righteous lives was seen by the original apostles as a necessary prerequisite for the successful preaching of the gospel. Even in the face of extreme provocations and malicious attacks, the apostles enjoined Christians to hold their peace, and not retaliate or return fire for fire. Like the example set by the Lord Jesus himself, when abused we’re not to return abuse, but we’re to commit all things to God who judges righteously. We’re told in the Scriptures that the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome, but must be kind and gentle, correcting with patience unbelievers who do not yet understand spiritual truths. After all, we were once like them, and we’re are what we are today by the grace of God. That same grace is available to all men to bring them into a saving knowledge of God.

Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.

Romans 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Romans 12:20 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled.

2 Timothy 2:22 Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

2 Timothy 2:23 Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

2 Timothy 2:24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient,

2 Timothy 2:25 correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth,

2 Timothy 2:26 and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.

1 Peter 2:22 “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

1 Peter 2:23 When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.

Christians do not win other people over by hurling verbal insults and missiles at them, or by demeaning others and making them feel little. We do not win people to Christ by displaying a holier-than-thou attitude. What convicts and converts unbelievers to the Christian faith is not provocative and demeaning utterances, but a Christ-like life of love, meekness and gentleness, and the use of words seasoned with salt that minister grace to the hearers. It is the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit in our lives and words that win the hearts and minds of unbelievers and turn them to Christ.

Colossians 4:5 Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.

1 Peter 3:1 Wives, in the same way, accept the authority of your husbands, so that, even if some of them do not obey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wives’ conduct,

1 Peter 3:2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

1 Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 3:10 For
“Those who desire life
and desire to see good days,
let them keep their tongues from evil
and their lips from speaking deceit;

1 Peter 3:11 let them turn away from evil and do good;
let them seek peace and pursue it.

There was a time when some of the apostles of the Lord displayed such intolerant attitude towards opposition and resistance. In their misguided zeal for the Lord, these apostles were ready to call down fire from heaven to consume and devour all opposition and adversaries, like Elijah of old. They thought they were still operating under the old testament anointing of tit-for-tat and fire-for-fire, like a lot of Christians today still believe. But, did the Lord put them in check! What a stern rebuke they got from the Lord Jesus, who promptly made them realise that they were under a different covenant from the one Elijah operated under, and that the spirit he came with, which should now operate in his disciples, was different from the spirit upon Elijah! Jesus did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them! We need to take heed to that rebuke of the Lord more than ever today, because that incendiary spirit of those sons of thunder has possessed a lot of Christians! A lot of Christians today are operating under the spirit of Elijah rather than the Spirit of Christ!

Luke 9:51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,

Luke 9:52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him.

Luke 9:53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.

Luke 9:54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

Luke 9:55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.

Luke 9:56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village (NKJV).

In conclusion, Christianity seeks to reconcile men to God and to one another, through the preaching and the out-living of the gospel of peace. As carriers of the gospel of peace, we should strive to be at peace with all men. Biblical Christianity does not seek to unnecessarily provoke, antagonise or ridicule people of other faiths. Christians are not rabble-rousers or bomb-throwers who delight in stoking divisions and encouraging strife. Our aim is to direct men to the Saviour and convince them, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to save themselves from the wrath to come, by embracing the Saviour Jesus Christ. Only a peaceful coexistence with our neighbours and a humble and godly interaction with unbelievers will bring them to Christ. Let us therefore seek peace with all men and ensure it. Let’s stop provoking one another. Instead, let’s follow the things that will promote peaceful coexistence with our neighbours. Like the Scripture says, let us give no offense to Jews, Gentiles or the church of God, for the sake of Christ and his gospel. There is a blessing to being peacemakers, and that is what children of God are!

St. Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Is Christian Nationalism A Scriptural Means Of Propagating The Gospel And Defending God’s Kingdom?

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

Christian nationalism is the belief that a nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way (Paul D. Miller). A troubling trend among some Christians is an increasing reliance on the use of political/social activism to enforce the practice of Christian values in the public space. This has sometimes resulted in hate speeches and xenophobic attacks against people of other faiths, as well as against other Christians not considered conservative enough. Christian nationalism is thus seen by some Christians as the only way to prevent the take over of Christian nations by liberalism and worldliness.

From the biblical point of view, is it lawful to use such means as political activism and coercion/intimidation in the evangelisation of the world and the discipling of men for Christ? Is the kingdom of God on earth to be established and expanded through political and cultural revolutions? We shall examine the Scriptures to understand the nature of God’s kingdom and how to occupy and carry on with the work of the Great Commission as we await the return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

St. Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.

St. Matthew 28:17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

St. Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

St. Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

St. Matthew 28:20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The Great Commission the Lord Jesus Christ gave his disciples was to go into the world, preach the gospel of salvation to all people, and make disciples for him among all nations. The means to achieve this mandate was clearly and unambiguously spelt out by the Lord. Winning souls from all nations for Christ is to be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, Christ forbade his disciples from launching out on this mission without first getting filled with the Holy Spirit. Only the gospel preached with the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit will produce the kind of disciples Christ desires. Biblical Christianity is not to be grown or propagated by oratorical skills, humanistic psychology or by the use of force or threat of it. World evangelism is not to be achieved by activism or through political pressure groups. The Lord intended Christianity and its influence to permeate the world through only one means-the out-living of a gospel preached and vindicated by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit!

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.”

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.”

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 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.

We need to understand that the kingdom of God is not of this world’s system. No country on earth is God’s country (with the exception of Israel that God chose in the Scriptures as his own nation and an example of a theocracy). Christians are not called to build theocratic Christian nations on earth that will form the kingdom of God. Our Commission is to get men and women saved out of all the corrupt and doomed nations on earth, and make them citizens of the heavenly country. We’re not to fight physically to take hold of earthly nations and turn them into the kingdom of God, either through activism or by force. We’re to save ourselves and others from the wrath of judgement coming upon the whole world and the whole nations on earth. One of the greatest evangelists of all times, DL Moody, captured this so wonderfully with his famous quote: “I look upon this world as a wrecked vessel. God has given me a lifeboat and said, ‘Moody, save all you can”. That’s what we’re called to do- to save all we can, and not to try to build “holy empires” for God on the foundations of condemned nations!

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.”

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.”

1 Thessalonians 1:8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia —your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,

1 Thessalonians 1:9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

1 Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead —Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Hebrews 11:9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

Hebrews 11:10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Hebrews 11:13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

Hebrews 11:14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.

Hebrews 11:15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.

Hebrews 11:16 Instead, they were longing for a better country —a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

The danger of Christian nationalism is in assuming an earthly kingdom of God already in existence, within defined physical boundaries of Christian nations, that must be defended and protected at all costs from satanic invasion. Christian nationalists see their countries of sojourn as the kingdom of God already, and thus use all manner of unscriptural means to “occupy them for Christ”. They fight off every other group of people not adhering to the Christian faith, to silence and make them irrelevant. They think that by using any and every means to suppress others not believing in the Christian faith, they’re promoting the kingdom of God. Like the misguided Peter before the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Christian nationalists believe it’s okay to use the power of the sword and other carnal weapons to enforce the Great Commission and protect Christ’s interests. I’m sure the Lord’s response to Peter’s zeal without knowledge, as well as his response to Pilate, will help reveal his mind about his Kingdom and how not he intends to bring it about.

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.

St. Matthew 26:53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

St. Matthew 26:54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

St. Matthew 26:55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me.

St. Matthew 26:56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

2 Corinthians 10:4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

As long as the Lord has not returned to take over the kingdoms of this world and to rule and reign over all nations in righteousness, we can only pray and labour in soul-winning, to harvest and prepare citizens of the kingdom, while waiting for the coming of the Kingdom. As long as the kingdoms of this world have not become the kingdom of our God and his Christ, our reign on earth is still futuristic. The earth the Lord promised the meek for an inheritance is not this present sin-cursed world that’s headed for destruction. All we’re seeing now will be burnt up with fire, including all our beloved nations, simply because this is not yet the kingdom of God. All these kingdoms must give way first before the kingdom of God is established on earth. It’s not for us to know the times and seasons which the Father has set by his own authority to bring about his kingdom. Our task is to receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit and to witness for Christ, not by activism but by evangelism; not by political revolutions, but by the preaching and the living out of the Gospel. That’s how we’re to occupy till the Lord comes back!

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.

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.

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.

To fight to seal off our “Christian nations” from infiltration by non-Christians does not promote the reaching out of all nations for Christ. In fact, that would amount to denying ourselves the opportunity of reaching out to people whom we could never have been able to make contact with. To seek to subdue all dissenting voices by force and intimidation is to miss the opportunity of engaging and converting unbelievers by the love of God and by the preaching of the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. What will secure our nations for Christ is not violent political activism, hateful bigotry or xenophobic attacks on foreigners of other faiths, but a revival of true religion. It was the great revival in Wales (1904-1905), midwifed by Evan Roberts, that led to the voluntary closure of pubs and night clubs, and their conversion to worship centres. That heaven-sent revival also resulted in a 50% reduction in cases of drunkenness recorded by the police during this period in Wales. This was not achieved through the carrying of placards or by physically attacking and harassing people inside pubs and clubs. The same revival emptied police cells and kept police men idle for a long period of time, because criminals had been converted to Christ and criminality had dropped significantly.

Paul’s effective Spirit-led evangelism in Ephesus also led to people giving their lives to God and subsequently destroying all tools of their previous devilish trades. No political activism or use of pressure groups was involved. No fighting with carnal weapons was needed in subverting the kingdom of darkness and liberating the souls of men here, just effective evangelism in the power of the Holy Spirit. Rather than carry placards and guns to threaten doctors and nurses in abortion clinics, let’s call down revival from above that will convert the hearts of men and women and make them stop patronising such clinics. Our prayers of faith, coupled with the preaching of the word in the power of the Spirit, will achieve more for the kingdom of God than the million-man marches and demonstrations against evil we often see in the streets. The early church were a minority with no political voice in the land, but they had a powerful voice in heaven, as well as the power of the Holy Spirit, through which they turned their world upside down for Christ. That’s the way the original gospel was intended to change the world!

The Acts 19:11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul,

The Acts 19:12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

The Acts 19:13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”

The Acts 19:14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.

The Acts 19:15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?”

The Acts 19:16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

The Acts 19:17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.

The Acts 19:18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done.

The Acts 19:19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.

The Acts 19:20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

2 Chronicles 7:12 the LORD appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.

2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,

2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

James 5:17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.

James 5:18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

In conclusion, the mandate of the Great Commission the Lord gave the Church is to be carried out only through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The Christian’s task on earth here, while awaiting the return of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, is to preach the gospel to all creatures, win as many souls as possible for Christ and prepare those souls to be worthy disciples of Christ and citizens of heaven. We’re not called to use political activism or the power of the state to enforce Christian values on others who don’t believe in our faith. We’re not called to create theocratic Christian nations on earth that must be secured and defended by carnal means, to ensure unbelievers don’t come in or thrive inside. All we’re called to do is use the power of the Spirit to persuade men and women of every colour and race to turn from darkness to light, and from Satan to the living God, in order to escape the wrath of God coming upon the world of unbelievers. Christian nationalism (that leans on the state to enforce Christian values in the public space and seeks to create Christian theocratic societies) is thus not a scriptural means of propagating the gospel and spreading Christianity, because it relies on means not approved or endorsed by the Scriptures.

Lord, What Will You Have Me To Do?

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the American King James Version).

The apostle Paul is, arguably, one of the greatest ministers of the gospel, being the chief of the apostles, and the most distinguished preacher, evangelist and teacher in the history of the church. He lived an amazing life as a believer and as a servant of Jesus Christ, and did great exploits for the kingdom of God, eventually dying as a martyr. But, there was a time when Paul (then Saul) was a murderer of christians and a terror to the church of Christ. The turning point in his life occurred while on his way to persecute Christians at Damascus. His dramatic arrest by Jesus Christ, and his subsequent conversion to Christianity, shook him profoundly and set the stage for the life of total obedience and service to the Lord that followed. As dramatic as his conversion was, it was the question that Paul (then Saul) asked the Lord, after getting to know him, more than anything else, that set the tone for the great life and ministry he had in Christ.

The Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,

The Acts 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

The Acts 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

The Acts 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why persecute you me?

The Acts 9:5 And he said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute: it is hard for you to kick against the pricks.

The Acts 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what will you have me to do? And the Lord said to him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told you what you must do.

The Acts 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

The Acts 9:8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.

The only question Paul (then Saul) asked the Lord, after getting to know him, was what the Lord would have him to do. Paul’s question revealed a profound understanding of the sovereignty of God and his predetermined purpose and plan for his intelligent creatures. God is not so much interested in what we want do for him as he is in our obedience to his will, to do what he has predetermined for us to do. If we recognise the fact that Christianity is intended to make people know and do God’s will, and not a means of getting divine backing for our own will, our perceptions and orientation will change. We will become more kingdom-minded and less self-centered. We will be praying more for God’s will to be done, rather than for us to have our ways.

God has a plan and purpose for each of us. That purpose for our life was conceived in the eternal mind of God even before we were born. God told Jeremiah that before he came out of his mother’s womb, he had already sanctified and ordained him as a prophet to the nations. Paul would later acknowledge the fact that God called him from the womb and separated him to be an apostle of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, before he was born. God told the Israelites who were about to go into captivity in Babylon that he had plans for them, which would bring them peace and prosperity, even in their captivity. For that reason, they were not to resist going into captivity, however unpalatable it looked. Recognising that God has a plan and purpose for each of us is key to living a fulfilled and successful life. Until we grasp that revelation, we’ll continue to insist on our own will and ways, which will ultimately lead to disaster. Our ways may appear right in our eyes, but they don’t always end well for us.

Jeremiah 1:4 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet to the nations.

Galatians 1:13 For you have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

Galatians 1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,

Galatians 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

Galatians 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

Jeremiah 29:4 Thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon;

Jeremiah 29:5 Build you houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;

Jeremiah 29:6 Take you wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that you may be increased there, and not diminished.

Jeremiah 29:7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray to the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall you have peace.

Jeremiah 29:8 For thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the middle of you, deceive you, neither listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed.

Jeremiah 29:9 For they prophesy falsely to you in my name: I have not sent them, said the LORD.

Jeremiah 29:10 For thus said the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:12 Then shall you call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Jeremiah 29:13 And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:14 And I will be found of you, said the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places where I have driven you, said the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place from where I caused you to be carried away captive.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD.

Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Like Paul, we must intentionally seek the Father’s will for our lives, in all circumstances we find ourselves. We must ask for what he’d have us do, and not try to force God to approve and bless our self-willed plans. We must come in humility to the Father who has the blueprint and masterplan for our lives, and inquire what he has foreordained for us to do, for only God’s eternal purpose for our lives will bring peace, joy and fulfilment to us. Jesus said his food was to do the Father’s will, and to finish the work the Father gave him to do on earth. To identify the Father’s will for us, and to accomplish that will, should be our food too, as children of God. Christ did not come to do his own will, but the Father’s, and likewise, we are not sent by Christ into the world to seek to do our own will, but his. Thus, until we are able to identify what our God-apportioned callings and purpose on earth are, we will only be doing our own will. Until we ask God and receive a definite answer to the life-defining question, “what will you have me to do, Lord?”, we will be living at cross purposes with God. Until Paul asked that question and got a definite answer, he was living contrary to God’s will, being a persecutor and destroyer of God’s church, while thinking he was doing some great service to God, in his misguided zeal. But, when he asked and received from God what he was born to do, the fiercest persecutor of the church turned around to become its greatest masterbuilder ever! Destiny was finally discovered and fulfilled!!

John 4:31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.

John 4:32 But he said to them, I have meat to eat that you know not of.

John 4:33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Has any man brought him ought to eat?

John 4:34 Jesus said to them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me.

Hebrews 10:5 Why when he comes into the world, he said, Sacrifice and offering you would not, but a body have you prepared me:

Hebrews 10:6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have had no pleasure.

Hebrews 10:7 Then said I, See, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do your will, O God.

Hebrews 10:8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin you would not, neither had pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;

Hebrews 10:9 Then said he, See, I come to do your will, O God. He takes away the first, that he may establish the second.

Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Luke 22:39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.

Luke 22:40 And when he was at the place, he said to them, Pray that you enter not into temptation.

Luke 22:41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.

1 Corinthians 7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

Too many Christians there are who are busy imagining their life’s work and just feeling their way through life, without a definite word from God as to what their specific work and mission on earth are. Too many of God’s children are wandering aimlessly through life, lurching from one self-willed decision to another, just trying out anything that feels good and that seems to work, without a definite knowledge of God’s purpose for their lives. Until we have a clear revelation of the specific work we’re called to do in the kingdom, we will fail to fulfill destiny. Until you discover what your destiny is, how can you fulfill it? Thats why we frequently find a hand in the body of Christ struggling to be a leg, or an ear trying so hard to be an eye. But, if we discover who we are, and our position and place in Christ, we will fulfill God’s purpose for our lives in our generation. Thus, the greatest question, after salvation, is to ask God to reveal to us his will and purpose for our lives. That must be the starting point for whoever wants to live a fulfilled life in Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.

1 Corinthians 12:15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

1 Corinthians 12:16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

1 Corinthians 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

1 Corinthians 12:18 But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him.

1 Corinthians 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

1 Corinthians 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

1 Corinthians 12:21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

1 Corinthians 12:22 No, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

1 Corinthians 12:23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

1 Corinthians 12:24 For our comely parts have no need: but God has tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked.

1 Corinthians 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

1 Corinthians 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.

1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

1 Corinthians 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

1 Corinthians 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I to you a more excellent way.

In conclusion, deliberately seeking to know and to do God’s will for our lives, like the apostle Paul did on his first encounter with Christ, is key to living a fulfilled Christian life. God has a specific will and plan for all his children. He has a specific role and function for each member of his body to perform in his church and in his kingdom. Like parts of the human body, each member of the body of Christ has his/ her unique position and function in the body. The onus is on every believer to find out their position and role in the body of Christ, and to play that role accordingly, for the edifying of the church and the advancement of God’s kingdom on earth. Locating our place and purpose in God’s plan requires asking the Lord the same question that Saul asked him when he encountered Christ on the way to Damascus—”Lord, what will you have me to do?”

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The Unpardonable Sin: What Is It, And Who’s In Danger Of Committing It?

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

There is a sin which is unpardonable, and it behooves us all to know what it is, as committing it will not be forgiven, both in this life and in the next. Many Christians are puzzled and troubled by what the unpardonable sin is, and they should be, because of its mortal consequences. In this article, we’ll try to throw some light on the nature of the unpardonable sin, highlighting what it is, who’s susceptible to committing it, and whether or not it can be committed in ignorance. We’ll explore relevant portions of the Scriptures in order to address these issues.

St. Matthew 12:31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

St. Matthew 12:32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

In the passage above, the Lord Jesus Christ gave a hint as to what the unpardonable sin is. He told us it’s blasphemy (slander) against the Holy Spirit. What the Lord Jesus was saying at that time that he had not been glorified was that anyone who spoke ill of him, including calling him a devil, would be forgiven. But, as soon as he was glorified (died for sin, resurrected and ascended to heaven) and the Holy Spirit sent down to take his place among believers, anyone who would speak evil of the Holy Spirit would be in danger of committing the unpardonable sin.

Thus, insulting or reviling the Holy Spirit is a sin that should be dreaded. But, is it all categories of people who blaspheme or speak ill of the Holy Spirit that are in danger of committing the unpardonable sin? It doesn’t appear to be so, as the Scripture makes room for forgiveness for those who blaspheme as ignorant unbelievers. God overlooks and readily forgives all sins committed by unbelievers in their days of ignorance, once they repent when they come to the knowledge of the truth. That’s what makes God just and fair. Paul, before his conversion, was a blasphemer who reviled and spoke ill of the Holy Spirit, the risen Christ and the church, yet he was forgiven and received grace to be the chief of the apostles.

St. Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

The Acts 17:29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone —an image made by human design and skill.

The Acts 17:30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

The Acts 17:31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.

1 Timothy 1:13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

So, if a prominent blasphemer and persecutor of the risen Christ and of the church such as Paul could be forgiven, because he did it ignorantly as an unbeliever, it only means that the unpardonable sin cannot be committed by unbelievers! It means people who have not come to the knowledge of the truth cannot commit the unpardonable sin! This view is corroborated by Scriptures which link the unpardonable sin to those who have once been enlightened and have come to the knowledge of the truth, who have tasted of the good word of God and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit. These are the people who cannot be brought again to repentance if they abandon the faith, revile or insult the Holy Spirit and tread underfoot the blood of the holy covenant by which they were previously sanctified.

Hebrews 6:4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,

Hebrews 6:5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age

Hebrews 6:6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Hebrews 10:26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,

Hebrews 10:27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Hebrews 10:29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 10:30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”

Hebrews 10:31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Peter made the same point in his second epistle, stressing the fact that those who had previously escaped from the pollution of the world may backslide and get entangled therein again. Such people are compared to dogs who go back to their vomit, or washed pigs who return to wallowing in the mire. They are in danger of committing the unpardonable sin because, having had a previous knowledge of the truth, if they blaspheme or revile the Holy Spirit, it would be unforgivable. Paul also spoke of some believers whom he handed over to Satan, so that they would learn not to blaspheme, as the consequences of blasphemy for someone who once knew the truth are grave.

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.

2 Peter 2:17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.

2 Peter 2:18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.

2 Peter 2:19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity —for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”

2 Peter 2:20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

2 Peter 2:21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

2 Peter 2:22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

1 Timothy 1:18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well,

1 Timothy 1:19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.

1 Timothy 1:20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

The Lord Jesus made the context of the unpardonable sin very clear. He wasn’t talking to unbelievers or heathens who didn’t know God, when he made the remark about the unpardonable sin. He was talking to the Scribes and the Pharisees who were leaders of God’s people, and therefore well informed about spiritual truths and the things of God. Unfortunately, the Pharisees and the Scribes who should have known better were the ones who were busy attributing the works of God through Christ to demonic powers, out of envy and jealousy. They knew Christ was of God, for no man could do the things he did if God wasn’t with him. Though they knew it was the power of God at work in Christ’s life and ministry, they deliberately and maliciously attributed the wonderful works of God he did to satanic powers! To deliberately and knowingly attribute an act of God to Satan is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit doing those works. To maliciously speak evil of the Holy Spirit working through any servant of God is to revile the Holy Spirit. Jesus referred to such acts of blasphemy as constituting the unpardonable sin.

St. John 3:1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council.

St. John 3:2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

St. Matthew 12:22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.

St. Matthew 12:23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

St. Matthew 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

St. Matthew 12:25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.

St. Matthew 12:26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?

St. Matthew 12:27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.

St. Matthew 12:28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

St. Matthew 12:29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.

St. Matthew 12:30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

St. Matthew 12:31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

St. Matthew 12:32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

St. Matthew 12:33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.

St. Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

St. Matthew 12:35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.

St. Matthew 12:36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

St. Matthew 12:37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The unpardonable sin is actually a sin against the atonement, for those who had once been saved. When we despise and revile the atonement, after getting to have a knowledge of it, there is nothing else that can save such a person. Like the sons of Eli (priests of the Lord) who despised the atonement by desecrating the sacrifice and God’s temple, nothing could atone for their sins. They had trampled upon the atoning sacrifice which alone could save them, so they were eternally doomed. Their sins could not be forgiven nor atoned for, for all eternity. They had committed the unpardonable sin! It’s the same as those who trample underfoot the son of God and count the blood of the covenant whereby they were sanctified an unholy thing, and have reviled or insulted the Spirit of grace.

1 Samuel 2:22 Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

1 Samuel 2:23 So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours.

1 Samuel 2:24 No, my sons; the report I hear spreading among the LORD’s people is not good.

1 Samuel 2:25 If one person sins against another, God may mediate for the offender; but if anyone sins against the LORD, who will intercede for them?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the LORD’s will to put them to death.

1 Samuel 2:26 And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with people.

1 Samuel 2:27 Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the LORD says: ’Did I not clearly reveal myself to your ancestor’s family when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh?

1 Samuel 2:28 I chose your ancestor out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your ancestor’s family all the food offerings presented by the Israelites.

1 Samuel 2:29 Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’

1 Samuel 2:30 “Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ’I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the LORD declares: ’Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.

1 Samuel 2:31 The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age,

1 Samuel 2:32 and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, no one in your family line will ever reach old age.

1 Samuel 2:33 Every one of you that I do not cut off from serving at my altar I will spare only to destroy your sight and sap your strength, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.

1 Samuel 2:34 “’And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you —they will both die on the same day.

1 Samuel 2:35 I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house, and they will minister before my anointed one always.

1 Samuel 2:36 Then everyone left in your family line will come and bow down before him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread and plead, “Appoint me to some priestly office so I can have food to eat.”’”

1 Samuel 3:11 And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle.

1 Samuel 3:12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family —from beginning to end.

1 Samuel 3:13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them.

1 Samuel 3:14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ’The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”

In conclusion, the unpardonable sin is blasphemy or slander against the Holy Spirit. It involves insulting or reviling the Holy Spirit and attributing his works to Satan, by people who should know better. The unpardonable sin is not a sin that’s committed in ignorance or unbelief, and so cannot be committed by unbelievers. God readily forgives all sins committed by unbelievers in their days of ignorance, when they eventually repent after coming to the knowledge of the truth. It’s therefore believers who are in danger of committing the unpardonable sin. If such people who once knew the truth and were partakers of the Holy Spirit now turn to revile and maliciously slander the Holy Spirit and tread underfoot the blood of the covenant that once saved them, there’s no more sacrifice to atone for their sins, since they have sinned against the atonement. There’s no forgiveness for such people in this age or in the age to come. Such people have committed the unpardonable sin. May we then, as believers, be careful how we speak and respond to works of the Holy Spirit, for our words concerning the Holy Spirit and his works can lead us to commit the unpardonable sin and to eternal condemnation.

Can A Spirit-Filled Born-Again Christian Be Possessed With An Evil Spirit?

Within pentecostal and charismatic circles, it’s common to see Spirit-filled born-again Christians undergoing deliverance or exorcism on account of demon-possession. These evil spirits are thought to be responsible for inducing born-again Christians to commit various sins. Is it possible for someone filled with the Holy Spirit to be possessed by evil spirits at the same time that the Holy Spirit is dwelling within the person? Can the Holy Spirit coexist with evil spirits within the same person? What’s responsible for making born-again Christians to commit sin? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these pertinent questions.

James 3:11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?

James 3:12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water (NIV).

The Apostle James asked these rhetorical questions above to point us to the fact that it’s against the law of nature for two diametrically opposite entities to coexist in the same place at the same time. Salt water and fresh water cannot flow from the same spring. A fig tree cannot bear olives, neither can a grapevine produce figs. It’s just not natural and it’s therefore impossible for such occurrences to happen.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He is holy and divine. He fills and indwells believers in Christ. Evil or vile spirits are spirits of demons who are unclean and impure. They possess people who are unholy and impure. These are people who do not know God, who have not experienced the new birth, or people from whom the Holy Spirit has departed, having previously dwelt in them. Because these two spirits are diametrically opposed to each other (one is holy and the other unholy; one is from God and the one from demons), they both cannot co-exist simultaneously inside the same person.

1 Samuel 16:11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, Are all your sons here? And he said, There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep. And Samuel said to Jesse, Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.

1 Samuel 16:12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him, for this is he.

1 Samuel 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

1 Samuel 16:14 Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.

1 Samuel 16:15 And Saul’s servants said to him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.

1 Samuel 16:16 Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.

1 Samuel 16:17 So Saul said to his servants, Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.

1 Samuel 16:18 One of the young men answered, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the LORD is with him.

1 Samuel 16:19 Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.

1 Samuel 16:20 And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul.

1 Samuel 16:21 And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer.

1 Samuel 16:22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.

1 Samuel 16:23 And whenever the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him (ESV).

The Scriptures present us with an interesting story in the passage quoted above. The moment David was anointed by Samuel to be king in Israel, God’s Spirit (the Holy Sprit) came upon David. At about the same time, God’s Spirit that was upon Saul (who was previously anointed king by the same Samuel) departed from him, and an evil spirit came upon Saul from that moment. Let’s note something important here: before an evil spirit could come upon Saul, the Spirit of God previously upon him had to depart from him. The evil spirit could not possess Saul while the Spirit of God was still upon him. The Holy Sprit and evil spirits are diametrically opposed and cannot coexist in the same person at the same time. One must give way for the other to take hold of a person.

We’re told in Scriptures that when an evil spirit is cast out from a demon-possessed person, such a spirit has the potential to come back to inhabit that person, if the person is not filled with a contrary spirit (in this case, the Holy Spirit). This means that evil spirits cannot possess or fill someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and evil spirits cannot coexist at the same time in the same person. For the Holy Spirit to come into a person, every evil spirit in that person must depart first. For an evil spirit to come upon someone previously filled with the Holy Sprit, the Holy Sprit must depart from that person first. One cannot serve two masters at the same time. It’s either one is filled with the Spirit of God and is a servant of God, or one is filled with vile spirits and is a servant of the devil. We cannot serve God and the devil at the same time!

Matthew 12:43 When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none.

Matthew 12:44 Then it says, I will return to my house from which I came. And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order.

Matthew 12:45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation (ESV).

Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (NKJV).

If the Holy Spirit and evil spirits cannot coexist in the same person at the same time, what then is responsible for a Spirit-filled believer sinning? If it’s not evil spirits residing in the Spirit-filled believer that inspires him to sin, what is at work? What we must understand about the Spirit-filled believer is that he has a dual nature. Every born-again Christian who’s filled with the Holy Spirit also have their own innate sinful nature still resident in them. We all have our flesh or “old man” still alive in us. It is the flesh or the “old man” in us, the sinful nature, that induces us to sin, not evil spirits inhabiting us. That sinful nature or the “old man” in us is what we all struggle with in our sanctification process. Sanctification is mortifying the flesh or carnal nature in us, and allowing the Holy Spirit and his fruits to dominate and control our lives. The daily battle for believers is between the Holy Spirit and the flesh in us. When we fail to mortify the flesh, through the Holy Spirit in us, we become overwhelmed by the flesh, and it will manifest his works, which are sinful. Sin then is not the work of evil spirits in us, but the manifestations of the flesh or old nature still resident in us, which will only be removed when we’re glorified and clothed with our immortal bodies. That’s when we will have and manifest sinless perfection.

Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

Romans 7:19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

Romans 7:20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.

Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members (NKJV).

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (NKJV).

Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,

Galatians 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,

Galatians 5:21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Galatians 5:23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another (NKJV).

So then, it’s not deliverance that will make a born-again Christian to stop sinning, because there are no evil spirits possessing him or her. To stop sinning, a Christian needs to deal with the sinful nature (the flesh or the “old man“) which is still alive in every Christian, despite our new birth experience. And, dealing with the “old man” or the flesh is not a one-off thing. Crucifying or mortifying the “old man” is a lifelong process of sanctification. It involves filling our hearts and minds with the word of God, meditating on the word of God, praying, fasting, separating ourselves from sinful associations and sinful environments, etc. We’ll never be sinless on this side of eternity, because the “old man” will never completely die, until we’re glorified. However, we’re expected to sin less and less as we grow more and more in grace. It’s as we discipline and pummel the flesh that the Holy Spirit is allowed to dominate and guide and lead us in the path of righteousness and holiness. Working out our sanctification involves working on the flesh to subdue it and bring it into subjection to the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, however high we rise in our sanctified walk, we’re all still capable of falling and sinning. And when we fall and sin, it will not be because we’re possessed by evil spirits; it will just be because the flesh which has always been there in us was released from its suppression by the Holy Spirit and broke through, because we allowed it. What we need to do at such times is not to undergo deliverance, but to repent and rededicate ourselves to God, and continue with the daily work of mortifying the flesh.

Psalms 119:9 How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.

Psalms 119:10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!

Psalms 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You (NKJV).

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (NKJV).

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 (NIV).

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (NKJV).

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.

Colossians 3:7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.

Colossians 3:8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices

Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (NIV).

1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall (NKJV).

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us (NKJV).

In conclusion, the Holy Spirit and evil spirits cannot co-exist at the same time in an individual, just as fresh and salt water cannot flow from the same spring. It’s impossible. It’s therefore unscriptural and incongruent to be conducting exorcism on Spirit-filled born-again Christians for whatever reasons. When Holy Spirit-filled Christians sin, it’s not because they were induced to do so by evil spirits residing in them. Christians sin simply because every born again child of God still harbours the sinful nature (the “old man” or the flesh) in them, despite the new birth experience. As long as the “old man” still remains in us (and he will continue to remain in us until we’re glorified and clothed with our immortal bodies), we will still be susceptible to sin. The “old man” in every Christian can be tempted to sin, and it will succumb every now and then. In fact, those who rise the highest in their walk with God and think they’re now standing should take heed, because they can fall at any time if they’re not careful. The safeguard against sin is to mortify the flesh and its lusts, through the Holy Spirit residing in us. This is done by filling our hearts and minds with the word of God and meditating on it day and night, through prayer and fasting, and by separating ourselves from sinful companions and environments. This sanctification process is lifelong and will never be complete on this side of eternity, as we can never achieve sinless perfection in these vile bodies of ours. However, we’re to sin less and less as we grow in grace and in our walk with the Lord. When we sin and fall short of God’s glory (which will happen every now and then), what we need is not deliverance or exorcism, but repentance, confession of our sins and a rededication of our selves back to God. A Spirit-filled Christian doesn’t need to undergo deliverance each time he sins, simply because he is not possessed by evil spirits!