Arkiv

Not one sparrow shall fall on the ground without the Father’s knowledge

SparvarGod is aware of our sufferings, and even when sparrows fall dead to the ground 

God has never promised us that we will never ever suffer nor die. Sometimes we might think that God is not aware of our sufferings, but the Bible says that not even a sparrow will fall to the ground without the Father knowing about it. He even knows the amount of hairs on our heads.

Matt. 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

In Luke it is phrased ”not one of them is forgotten by God”: 

Luke 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

The price for the above mentioned sparrows was very low (birds were the cheapest animals that you could offer) and sparrows are rather insignificant animals which can often be found in large quantities. Still, God takes interest in the life of each little sparrow because they too are animals and part of God’s creation. Our journeys on earth are sometimes filled with misery and agony, but thankfully we will not have to live in this world for ever. We have something greater to look forward in the life to come, and God’s kingdom will last for ever. When we start to live in the new Jerusalem we will not complain that our struggles on earth was not worth it, because in the new kingdom there will be total bliss, with no tears or sorrow.

Rev. 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Matt. 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

From the beginning animals were not supposed to be for consumption – those animals that were considered nephesh cayah, i. e. living animals as in animals with blood and that can breathe. This was before Adam and Eve sinned and were driven out from the garden of Eden and away from the life-bringing Tree of life. Ever since this incidence, death has ruled over both man and animals, and this is a consequence of sin and the need to get our life spans shortened and ended so that we will not have to live eternally in a cold and hard world affected by much sufferings. The wages of sin is death, and death is considered an enemy that must be conquered (1 Cor. 15:26). Until then, death is something inevitable and even essential in this world (after sin made its entrance)  and can be seen as a gracious gift from God to limit our pain. He has something better in store for us which will be ever-lasting.

It was not until after the flood that God gave the permission to eat meat. (It is quite possible that some people ate meat before then, but in that case it was against God’s will and permission.)

Gen. 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

Gen. 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.

In the teachings of the sparrows we are told that we are even more valuable than they are, and God even knows the number of hairs on our heads. It is natural to fear for our lives if the enemy wants to harm us, but our general attitude should be to not fear people (at least not more than fearing God) because people can at the maximum only kill our bodies. The one we really should fear and respect above everyone else is our Creator because he has the power to do much more than that. In the final Judgement, our Creator has the power to throw people in Gehenna (those who reject him and who want nothing to do with him) which is far more serious than the fact that all human beings will one day die and decay. All that decays can be restored by the power of God, but not the body that is thrown in Gehenna.

The first person who died was killed by his own brother. God does not hinder people to disobey him and commit crimes in this world where man’s free will is a factor, but  God sees everything and does not forget.

Gen. 4:10 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.

Jesus makes yet again a comparison with the birds below. Jesus speaks about faith, which results in security and expectations of what God can do for us. If we allow the troubles of this world overpower us and our spiritual lives, we will have a harder time having faith in that God hears our prayers and sees our needs. The promise is that we must first seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all the rest shall be added to us.

Matt. 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

The peace that Jesus provides is different than the one the world provides:

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Does the Bible say that nature and flesh are SINFUL in Rom. 8:3?

sinCan flesh be sinful?

A sin is something that a person does based on his/her own choices. Also Jesus had flesh just like us, and he was obviously no sinner so this means that flesh cannot be sinful in and of itself or else Jesus too would be sinful.

The term ”sinful nature” cannot be found in the Bible (KJV), but ”sinful flesh” is found once in Rom. 8:3. Since flesh cannot really be sinful in itself (without a person living in it), why can we find this phrase in this verse?

It is a reference to what Jesus did for us when he was born into this world – ”in the likeness” of sinful flesh.

Rom. 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh

According to Blueletterbible, ”flesh” is a translation from the Greek noun σάρξ (sarx, Strong’s 4561) and apart from flesh/meat from man or animal it could also signify the human body as opposed to the soul or spirit. It could also signify the human nature with its frailties (physically or morally) and passions, or simply a human being as such. So the translation could be flesh, body, human nature, carnality or materiality; kindred. 

But why does it then say ”sinful flesh”? Likely to convey that flesh is what human beings use to sin with, as Paul explains below when he is using the words ”mortal body” and ”members” as instruments to perform unrighteousness. If we have no body (or members) we have nothing to sin with. Granted that our minds are involved when we make plans to sin, but with no heart or brain we cannot even have any thoughts.

Rom. 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Angels are living in another realm but they too can appear as physical beings and they can disobey God (as obviously Satan did) which is sinning. When it comes to ”flesh”, it is something that is tied to human beings and animals (created on the sixth day) rather than angels who live in another habitat – even if angels temporarily can take the shape of human beings. The description of Jesus coming in the likeness of sinful flesh is therefore a good description when it comes to what Jesus did for us. He became flesh for our sake, and while ”flesh” is usually used in a negative way we naturally also need our physical bodies/flesh to do the good works which we are called to do. 

Jesus suffered for us in the flesh, and the reason for this is because man has sinned, which he did in flesh. The description of Jesus becoming flesh:

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Phil 2: 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Heb. 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil

1 John 4:3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

1 Pet. 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries

righteous 5Paul describes his choice between living on in the flesh (in his physical body) or to depart from this world into a permanent life with Christ:

Phil. 1:22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 

Jesus had no advantage over us when it comes to sin (he was tempted like we are) and this means that it is a false idea that human beings are born with a sinful nature and Jesus is not. None of us have a sinful nature, and we certainly cannot blame our bodies if we choose to sin. We have been promised that we will not be tempted beyond our ability to say no.

Heb. 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points TEMPTED LIKE AS WE ARE, yet without sin.

1 Cor. 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Paul explains further what it is to live in the flesh vs walking in the Spirit. He makes it clear, that if we choose to live in the flesh (which is the same as living in darkness or living ”in the world”) then we simply cannot please God. That would be impossible, for living in the flesh is the opposite of living after the Spirit. To be carnally minded (to live after the flesh) is death, but to live after the Spirit is LIFE. The choice is ours, and we have no excuse. Paul also provides examples of what it is to live after the flesh:

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, but after the Spirit.

Rom. 8:4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Gal. 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

1 Cor. 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Rom. 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Since the flesh is weak we can make it easier for ourselves if we pray and become stronger spiritually.

Mat. 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Mark 14:38)

In a way we must continue to live in our bodies and ”walk in the flesh” in this particular sense (continue to live in the world). In another sense we must avoid ”walking in the flesh” in the sense of giving in for temptations and sin (living in darkness).

2 Cor.2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ

1 Cor. 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

2 Pet. 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

The order based on James 1 is 1) lust, 2) temptation, 3) sin and 4) death. Not the other way around as many Calvinists would have you believe; where we start off being dead, and due to this predicament we sin due to our weak nature which is easily tempted.

Ja. 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

The Bible does not say that having flesh is a sin, but rather breaking the commandments of God. Sin is transgression of the law, and God is naturally disappointed when we break his commandments which is all about disobeying him.

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

What kind of transgression could it possibly be to have flesh? Why would this hurt or harm God? Would God be upset and disappointed each time someone is conceived and starts to develop flesh? No, the doctrine of the sinful nature is not Biblical. Read more about Romans 5 here.

Is it God’s responsibility to KEEP US, even by force?

John 8.jpegGod and his ”responsibilities”

There are some Christians who erroneously believe that it is God’s responsibility to make sure that born again believers are kept, and some even believe in the concept that God keeps us from falling (sinning). They might suggest that if a true Christian falls away and is no longer a child of God, then God’s power was not great enough to keep him, as though the Bible says it is God’s responsibility to keep people by force.

The truth is that we have a free will and we are therefore able to walk away from God without him preventing it from happening. If we on the other hand repent and come to him (or return back to him) he will accept us (keep us) us rather than rejecting us. Had it been up to God to make sure that we do not fall (sin) then we would of course not sin a single time for the rest of our lives. If we sin, it is always our fault and never God’s fault.

God created us to seek him and come to him, which means that we can. We have also been provided with the ability to repent, which we are all requested to do.

Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;— 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;27That they should SEEK the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though HE BENOT FAR FROM EVERY ONE OF US. — 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent

Clearly not everyone seeks God, nor repents, which means that God has chosen to create us with free will and with the ability to both obey and disobey. This does not hurt his ”sovereignty” (a non-Biblical word – KJV).

But what about verse 2 Thess. 3:3? Does it not suggest that God in fact is the one who keeps us, and does so no matter what we do? No, he can indeed keep us from evil, but he does not promise to do so unconditionally – and he does not promise that we will never be affected by persecution or pain. If we walk our own ways and even seek to be tempted, then we cannot expect to be kept from the snare of the devil since we have chosen to remove ourselves from God and his protection.

2 Thess. 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

Examples 1

The word ”keep” in the above verse is  a translation of the Greek verb φυλάσσω (Strong’s 5442, phylassō). The same word can also be translated observe, bewaresave, guard and watch.  

When we read the examples below (words in green are based on another verb) where this word is used, we can see clearly that what is ”kept” is not necessarily kept unconditionally or for ever. A choice is involved. We can for instance read that shepherds ”keeping” watch over their flock, but this does not mean that sheep can never ever stray away and be lost. We can also read warnings such as ”Little children, keep yourselves from idols”, which is evidence of that we can not sit back and expect God to take this responsibility instead of us. If some of us do to get involved with idols, then we can be certain of that it is not due to God lacking in power but due to our own choices when we oppose God’s commandments.

Matt. 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

Mark 10:20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. (+ Luke 18:21)

Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

John 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. — 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. — 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. — 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?

Acts 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. — 19 And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.

Acts 16:3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for TO KEEP, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Acts 21:23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

Rom. 2:25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?

Gal. 6:13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

1 Tim. 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

1 Tim. 6:13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: — 20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

2 Tim. 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keepthat which I have committed unto him against that day.13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

2 Pet. 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

2 Pet. 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Jude 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

choiceExamples 2

There is also another verb often translated ”keep”, which is τηρέω (Strong’s 5083, tēreō). This word can also be translated observe, reserve guard, watch, preserve, hold fast, etc – i.e. it is often used interchangeably with the verb φυλάσσω above. The examples show that there is a choice involved in this case as well.

Matt. 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Matt. 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Matt. 27:36 And sitting down they watched him there

Matt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

John 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.— 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. — 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

Acts 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. —24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: — 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

Acts 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

1 Cor. 7:37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

2 Cor. 11:9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

Eph. 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. — 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 Ti. 5:22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

2 Ti. 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Ja. 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Ja. 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. — 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Rev. 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Rev. 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations

Rev. 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. —8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. — 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Rev. 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Rev. 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Rev. 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Rev. 22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. — 9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.  

We also have a noun tied to the the above Greek verb, which is τήρησις (Strong’s 5084, tērēsis):

1 Cor. 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

We also have the verb παρατίθημι (Strong’s 3908, paratithēmi), and in this verse we can clearly see that the righteous are not forced to remain righteous by God as though they would lose their ability to sin. It is true that it is not likely that a born again Christian would like to return to the world and his/her old vomit, but once in a while it still happens:

1 Pet. 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Looking at a woman to lust after her means adultery and sin? Matt. 5:28

lustIt is not possible to commit adultery unless you’re married

If a man looks at a woman with the precise aim ”to lust after her”, it is a sin according to the teaching of Jesus Christ. However, Jesus does not say that it is a sin to simply look at a woman and find her attractive. The sin in question is adultery, and it is not possible to commit adultery unless you are married.

Matt. 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman TO LUST AFTER HER hath committed ADULTERY with her already in his heart. (KJV)

The sixth commandment: ”Thou shalt not commit adultery”

Based on the verse Matt. 5:28, a man commits adultery (is unfaithful to his wife) if he looks at a woman to lust after her. This means that this verse is in reference to those who are married and who still choose to look at a women with the aim to lust after her. This statement was a surprise to many of the pharisees since they likely were of the view that you could only be an adulterer unless you actually committed the physical act of adultery and/or broke up a marriage.

What about those who are not married? Are they free to look at women with the aim to lust after them, and particularly if the women are unmarried, in order to not break the 10th commandment which says ”Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s”? No, even though Matt. 5:28 is in reference to married men, the fact is still that our thoughts and intentions reveal our inner thoughts and our true intentions. Do we stay away from temptations as much as we can, or do we seek to be tempted? This is how we will be judged:

Rom. 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

We can read in the Bible that one man and one woman are meant to be one flesh (Mark 10:8), and that a marriage is supposed to be for life. (At least this is the ideal situation.) In order to achieve this goal, we are created to be attracted to the opposite sex, but also with the possibility to be in power over our own bodies. Since 1+1=2, it is not good for a man to purposely look for tempting situations with other women which could easily lead to sin.

God knows if we happen to end up in a tempting situation with no fault of our own, and he knows what we do to get out of the situation (if anything). He knows our possibilities and our limitations and he does not demand the impossible from us but what is possible. We are human beings with free will, and no robots:

1 Cor. 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

God created man to be attracted to the female body and this means that women would do well to not tempt men by dressing too revealing. When it comes to such female temptations, the attacks from the devil can perhaps be viewed as more severe today compared with Biblical times, because many women unfortunately dress themselves as though they were prostitutes (encouraged and normalized by the current world view) and there are loads of pornographic material available. Many men have confessed to be addicted to pornography, so the best way is to not even start watching such material in the first place. Watching pornography is usually optional (if we do not count the times when they are forced upon someone, such as in a liberal class room) and can therefore be avoided. It is harder to get away from other types of temptations – for example if your class mates or colleagues at work do not dress modestly. Each individual can still do his best to skip as many spiritual attacks as possible, even if he cannot avoid all tempting and awkward situations. During the time of Paul, people married at an early age so they did not have to wait that long to be husband and wife, and they were generally not affected by the same pressure and sex propaganda as today’s school children.

It is important to remember that temptations are not sins in themselves. Also Jesus was tempted just like us, and he never sinned. It is giving in for temptations which is a sin. To involve even more people in one’s sinful behavior is of course even worse. If someone is guilty of sin, he must confess his sins, ask for forgiveness and start walking in the light. There is hope for everyone!:

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. —-9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The Bible does not say that it is a sin for an unmarried man to fall in love with another unmarried woman, and to feel mutual love and attraction for each other. It is enough to read in the song of Solomon to realize this much. This Biblical book also concerns God’s love for Israel, but it still involves a romantic communication between two unmarried individuals who feel an attraction for each other. We are created to be two in one union. Adam initially lacked something in his life when he was alone on earth, and Eve was created for him to make their union perfect. It is natural for a young person to seek a soul mate in his/her life and to long for a life long companionship where even the bed is shared. We generally do not feel complete without the other half, just like in Adam’s case, and that means that it is natural to look for our other half. This is not a sin!

A life long relationship is of course not only about a physical attraction but about being attracted to a special person who shares the same moral values and outlook on life. If we do find this someone and there is mutual attraction, it is not a sin to also feel a physical attraction. Paul says The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife”.  

1 Cor. 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

Paul’s advice for singles is not ”Simply avoid having an attraction for each other, because it is a sin. Just stop having such feelings!”. Instead his advice is actually to get married, for it is better to marry than to burn … With other words, such normal feelings are hard to just shut off based on a decision because we are created into sexual beings and even to replenish the earth. This does not mean that we are unable to control our bodies.

1 Cor. 7:8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

It would rather be unnatural for a young engaged couple to not have any physical/sexual attraction for each other. Both still have the responsibility to not tempt the other person, but to save the gift of a physical union until the wedding. I believe that a young couple will be very blessed if they decide to wait until the marriage with their intimate relations. This is also a sign of true love for each other, and that each person places God first in his life.  Eccl. 4:12 ”—  a threefold cord is not quickly broken”.

More from the same chapter lust 2

Understanding Matt. 5:28 is important since loads of men (particularly young, single men) erroneously believe that they are sinners just because they happen to meet a woman on the street who they find extremely sexy and attractive. They might also believe that they are sinners because they happen to see a billboard with an attractive woman that they would like to take a second look at. Still, this does not mean that it is a good idea to make room for further fantasies about these women without making any attempts whatsoever to halt the thoughts.

God is always willing to forgive a humble heart.

Unfortunately many Christians view Matt. 5:28 as support for man’s inability to be faithful to God and to obey his commandments. Maybe their erroneous thoughts go something like this:

”Since Matt. 5:28 tells me that I am failed human being no matter what I do, I can just as well give into other sins once in a while, as long as I don’t overdo it – like watching pornographic films, like going to the beach and look at half dressed women to lust for them in my mind, and even go to bed with a woman. I’m saved anyway, and even my pastor at church tells us that God doesn’t see our sins but only the blood of Jesus, and that no one can stop sinning and that this is precisely why Jesus died for us, that faith + nothing saves us, that it’s man’s sinful nature that makes him sin, that God accepts us if we only confess our sins every day and do our best, once saved always saved, Jesus is our righteousness and that means that we don’t have to be righteous too, etc. In fact, there is only one detestable sin that could jeopardize your salvation and that is if you start teaching that there is something you must DO to stay saved and that it is possible to obey God’s commandments. God gets very upset with that type of legalistic pharisaical attitude, but other than that you’re good to go. Sinning is natural, and not sinning is unnatural. We will not die because we’re Christians!”

In reality, it was the Serpent (Satan) who persuaded Eve that she could be saved despite sinning and he said ”Ye shall not surely die”. God does not give us commandments he knows we cannot obey. The problem is if we add to the commandments and make them impossible to follow, like the pharisees did. Read this passage from the same chapter (Matt. 5), and try to think which category fit you the best? The description in blue, or the the description in green? Which one are you? Do you break the commandments and teach others that it is impossible to obey God, or do you obey the commandments and teach others that it is possible to obey them?

Matt. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus does not teach us to give up, but that we can be perfect the way our Father in heaven is perfect. This mean that we can. In the same chapter we are told to love and pray for those who persecute us. Are we to believe that this is also impossible for us to follow, and that Jesus can obey this commandment for us and instead of us?

 Matt. 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. 

The question should not be if we can be perfect (we can indeed according to Jesus) but what it means to be perfect. We know that it does not mean ”to never ever having sinned”, because Jesus said this to his disciples and they already had sin on their accounts. We can choose to repent and start walking in the light, and we do not get only one single chance to do it right.

Evangelist Torben Søndergaard flees Denmark due to religious persecution

love4Persecution against Christians is getting worse also in the West

See Youtube film below. 

Atheists and agnostics tend to not believe the Bible, and particularly not when it says that Christians are supposed to be eager (1 Cor. 12:31) to get the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues, cast out evil spirits and heal the sick. In fact, not even all Christians believe that the gifts are for today (cessationists), and consequently many of them conclude that evangelists such as Torben Søndergaard must therefore be a false teacher, and that all those who claim to have been healed must therefore be liars.

Mark. 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

1 Cor. 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

Ja. 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 

Torben has been attacked big time by Danish TV and mainstream media in his country, and typically mainstream media in Sweden and elsewhere joins the choir and calls Torben a cult leader. Maybe Danish TV was even ordered from its superiors to target Torben in order get a suitable foundation for a new Danish law, which among other things says that children are not allowed to witness people getting healed (or getting healed themselves). The law goes even further than that, and since Torben has also been harassed in his home (getting visits by various authorities), he has now fled to the US, hoping to get asylum for himself and his family. He is afraid the Danish authorities might be coming for his children, even though this is not the 1880’s but the year 2019!

When it comes to the Danish film team, they have cut and pasted film pieces together and painted Torben and his organisation in a very bad light. There is likely a law against slander in Denmark, but Torben would likely fail miserably if he attempted to make use of it, because no one would be interested to pursue such a case.

Matt. 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Mark. 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

2 Cor. 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed

With the help of this new law, the authorities in Denmark could very well take the step to take the children away from their own parents. They themselves (journalists, politicians, etc) might believe they are on the good side, but they are doing something very evil to Torben and his family. In a wider perspective, they are also threatening all Christians to cease healing people (God is naturally the Healer and where the gift of healing derives from), or else they might find themselves be prosecuted and even lose their own children.

Those who are persecuting Torben sound a lot like the pharisees who objected to Jesus and his ability to heal people, charging him for doing it with the help of the devil.

Matt. 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

The other day, Swedish Television (SVT) criticized the Jehovah’s Witnesses due to their films regarding Armageddon and the earth’s near cataclysm, which could potentially scare and harm children. This is rather hypocritical since Swedish Television (sadly among others) constantly present scaremongering programs about the earth’s eminent extinction due to ”man made climate change” (previously ”global warming”) which naturally could scare both children and adults and cause depression. According to mainstream media, in form of Svenska Dagbladet, 80% of all young people in Sweden suffer from anxiety due to the climate change. Why is that a ”good” form of anxiety, and why is Torben targeted when there has been no complaint concerning children in his movement, apart from mainstream media and his opponents?

Man made climate change is a hoax just like the Big Bang theory, Evolution, the moon landing, etc, but it is the global elite who runs Youtube, Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc, and this means that they decide what is true or false for our sake so that we do not have to worry about it … We just have to sit back and trust the official stories presented to us – through mainstream media. Sadly many people (even Christians) cannot imagine that the authorities might stoop to such a great level of deception, and maybe such lies can therefore reach the masses with ease.

The elite often uses their concern for children as a reason for changing laws and/or applying censorship, but in reality they only use children as a weapon. (Involving children in false flag attacks/psy ops is also common, to prevent people from criticizing the events or asking questions.) Censorship and persecution might sound so loving and caring even though it is nothing more than silencing people with opposing views (this from Youtube):

”We’ll begin reducing recommendations of borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways—such as videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the earth is flat, or making blatantly false claims about historic events like 9/11″/Youtube, January, 2019

Those who do not believe that the spiritual gifts are for today might not be too concerned that Torben and other evangelists are risking to be for ever censored and silenced. However, today it might be ”9/11 Truthers, Flat Earthers and Miracle Cures” but tomorrow it might expand to include films/articles about ALL forms of criticism against ANY official story about a terror attack or large accident.

I believe we have just seen the beginning when it comes to censorship and persecution, and maybe the reason why the elite has not yet started a large campaign against evangelists/pastors for their skepticism about LGBT issues, might be because also Muslims are skeptical about it – and the elite seldom wants to interfere with Muslim interests. Christianity is an easier target.

loveNaturally there was a severe persecution also during the time of the apostles, and Saul (later Paul) was one of the participants before his conversion:

Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

Gal. 1:13 For ye 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:

Acts 11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.

Acts 13:50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.

Acts 26:11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.

2 Tim. 3:10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Rom. 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Acts 7:52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:

Persecution can even make us spiritually stronger. We will certainly rise up from our comfort zone, :

2 Cor. 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

2 Tess. 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

1 Cor. 4:12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

Gal. 4:28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

1 Tess. 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

See Torben’s testimony in the below Youtube film, and pray that his films will be able to remain on Youtube. His popular Last Reformation Movie was blocked by Facebook recently.

The thief on the cross who did not do any work?

thieves crossFaith without works can save?

On the quest to find Bible support for the idea that we can be saved without works, it is not uncommon to make a comparison with the thief on the cross. The saying goes: He did not do any work, and since he could be saved without works, then so can we!

But is this so certain? Is it really safe to make a comparison with a person who in a figurative sense is on his deathbed with only moments left to live? He could not very well step down from the cross to do ”work”. Still, the thief actually did some good works despite his predicament. He confessed his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as well as confessing his sins, and he rebuked the other thief due to his unfair judgment concerning Jesus. His words were likely heard by others since he must have shouted to the other thief who was crucified on the other side of Jesus – and we do have his words recorded by the gospel writers.

Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

The thief died ”during old testament time”, but repentance and righteousness were required for salvation also during past times. Since Jesus informed the thief that he would end up in Paradise, we can be certain of that it was due to his repentance, his new heart and his faith in Jesus and his kingdom. Ezekiel says: REPENT, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin”. This did not only apply for Israel, but for everyone. We can also read:But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall NOT DIE”. 

Ez. 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. —5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, — 9 Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall NOT DIE.22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that HE HATH DONE he shall live.23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. REPENT, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Naturally the thief did not have lots of time to show his brand new life style (apart from the good fruit that he had already shown) but that is because he was nailed to a cross and had no chance. He was on his death bed, and it happens from time to time that people are converted on their death beds (not applicable for those who die suddenly). God knows our hearts, and he i also knows what we are able/not able to accomplish due to time limits, shortcomings or other restrictions.

Who is worthy to be a disciple of Jesus?

Jesus says that if we want to follow him, we must bear our cross. This cross is not light as a feather, but it means that we must be faithful to him. If we love him, we obey his commandments.

Matt. 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

Luke 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Matt. 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.15If ye love me, keep my commandments.

We are often told that we are saved by faith alone, but the Bible says the opposite:

Ja. 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and NOT by faith only.

Even demons believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah (Luke 4:41) and the holy son of God (Matt. 8:29, Mark 1:24), but they are not saved. Some might comment that demons cannot be saved per se since they are not human beings, but while this is true this is not the point that James is making. He is making the case that faith without works is dead, and since even demons believe that Jesus is everything he claims to be (the son of God, the Messiah, able to perform miracles, etc) then having faith in all this does not necessarily save us. Only if faith is combined with repentance, a new heart and good works. Again, if we love Jesus we follow him and show good fruit. We treat others the way we would like to be treated ourselves.

Ja. 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

Compare with the sheep and the goats (or the parable of the 10 maids in the same chapter, who were all waiting for the bridge groom). None of the sheep and the goats had any problems believing in Jesus, but they were separated based on their work/fruit, or lack thereof:

Matt. 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

God is love and we are not offered only one single chance to do right, but neither should we fool ourselves and start believing that we can serve two Masters and still be saved. We must carry our cross.

An EVIL report about Canaan, but not false concerning the GIANTS – Numbers 13-14

giant 4”They brought up an evil report of the land” (Num. 13:32)

The term ”evil report” is a translation from the Hebrew word dibbah (Strong’s 1681) and apart from ”evil report” it could mean whispering, defamation, slander, infamy or unfavourable saying. The word does not necessarily mean incorrect/false report even if it could be translated as such (or a report including half truths), but at least it is a negative description about something.

Moses asked a group of his men to investigate the land of Canaan and he gave them instructions how to go about it. Among other things he wanted to know whether the people in Canaan were strong or weak and their number. He also asked them to bring back some fruit of the land.

Num. 13:17 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: 18And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; 19And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds; 20And what the land is, whether it befat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.21So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath. 22And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)23And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs. 24The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence.25And they returned from searching of the land after forty days. 26And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. 27And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. 28Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.29The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.30And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. 31But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. 32And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. 33And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the GIANTS: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

Notice above that Caleb is described as being able to still the people of Israel and  encouraged them to go up against the Canaanites because they would certainly be able to be successful despite the children of Anak. Caleb is not the one bringing up an evil  report back to Moses, but the other men, who went with him, did. We can read ”But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. 32 And THEY brought up an evil report of the land”. What is at focus here is the incorrect claim that the Israelites would not be able to conquer the people in Canaan because of their strength. The claim that their defeat would be inevitable was the exact opposite of the message that God wanted to give his people.

The people (the sons of Anak) were described as huge giants, and in comparison the Israelites felt like grasshoppers. The fact that two men carried one cluster of grapes is also an indication of that the sons of Anak were indeed huge people who needed large amounts of food (and preferably genetically modified in order to enlarge it). Why else mention this cluster of grapes and the information that two men carried it between the two of them with help of a stick?

The people of Israel unfortunately believed the evil report, and this is why Caleb and Joshua were highly disappointed (they even rent their clothes) and instead tried to tell the people about the good land that Canaan indeed was, and that God would give it to them as long as they did not rebel against him or feared the current inhabitants:

Num. 14:6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.8 If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.

However, the people of Israel did not listen to Caleb and Joshua and instead the two men were attacked. The people provoked the Lord by not believing in his consistent promises about the land, which they really should have considering the many miracles that God performed among them:

Num. 14:10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.11 And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?

The inhabitants of Canaan, and other nations, had already heard about the God of Israel, and the many miracles that he did among his people so their arrival was expected. The Israelites did not always obey their God despite of the many miracles, but Moses communicated with God and the Israelites got another chance.

God spoke well of Caleb and described him as a servant who obeyed him fully:

Num. 14:12 I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.13 And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;)14 And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.15 Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying,16 Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.17 And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,18 The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.19 Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.20 And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word:21 But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;23 Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went;and his seed shall possess it.25 (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.)

The problem was again the slander which the spying men (not Caleb and Joshua) made about the land and which made the people of Israel murmur against their God. Those men who brought up the evil report about the land died by a plague:  

 30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.31 —36 And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land,37 Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the Lord.38 But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still.

nephilimExamples of giants

Here you can read bout the giants before and after the flood. Examples of references in the Bible:

Amos 2:9 Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath.

Deu 2:10 The Emim lived there in days gone by, a great and plentiful people, and tall as the Anakim 11 they are reckoned to be giants (rephaim), they too, like the Anakim; but the Moabites call them Emim.

Deu 2:20 That also is accounted a land of Rephaim: Rephaim dwelt therein aforetime; but the Ammonites call them Zamzummim 21 a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakim; but the LORD destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead

Deu 3:11 For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the Rephaim; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbah of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man. (15 feet! – or 9 feet depending on if you use the standard cubit or lower forearm cubit) 4,6 meter or 2,7 meter

Deu 9:2 a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, Who can stand before the sons of Anak?

False report:

Pro 25:10 Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy H1681 turn not away.