Etikettarkiv | kingdom

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and things shall be added to you – Matt. 6:33

seekBut SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33) 

In the reformed church you will often hear the teaching that man is not able to seek or come to God unless God first decides to ”wake him up” (something they incorrectly call ”regeneration”) and in this way enables a person to seek and come. They also believe (if they are consistent Calvinists) that God does not show this mercy to everyone but only to those he has decided to save already from the foundation of the world (the elect). In their view, Jesus did not even die for the rest of the people. The Bible however, teaches that God created all men precisely in order TO SEEK HIM, and the promise is that he is not far away from any of us if we should decide to do so. God does not want anyone to perish, and he will forgive us for our past ignorance, provided that we repent from our sins – all men everywhere:

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;27 THAT THEY SHOULD SEEK THE LORD, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, THOUGH HE BE NOT FAR FROM EVERY ONE OF US: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto ALL MEN, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Acts 15:13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:17 THAT THE RESIDUE OF MEN MIGHT SEEK AFTER THE LORD, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Those who seek him and come to him must start out believing that he exists, and that he does respond to our actions and rewards those who choose to seek him:

Hebrews 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.

Luke 12:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

God stands knocking at the door. IF any man open the door, he will come in and provides a wonderful relationship. This is a promise to all of us:

Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Matt. 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

John 1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that ALL MEN through him MIGHT BELIEVE.

We have no excuse for not seeking him, since we CAN:

Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.24 THEREFORE God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.26 FOR THIS REASON God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting (NKJV)

The below is a psalm, and psalms often contain poetic descriptions, or hyperbolic expressions. If Acts 17 claims that God created us to seek him and no one seeks him, then we have a problem. Does he want us to seek him or not? If he prevents people from seeking him, then our disbelief is not our fault but his fault and we would have an excellent excuse for not turning to God. Psalm 14 also mentions that ”no one” seeks God, but on the other hand the psalm contrasts such people with people who DO seek him!

Psalm 14:2 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

You can read more about such psalms quoted by Paul in Rom. 3:10 (”no one seeks God”) in this article.

Other psalms which urge us to seek him:

Psalm 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Psalm 10:4 The WICKED, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after seek GodGod: God is not in all his thoughts.

Psalm 105:4 Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Proverbs 28:5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the Lord understand all things.

We can read about an instance where people do seek God and yet he has withdrawn himself from them, but this is part of a prophetic warning to the house of Israel which would not need to come true if Israel would cease with its pride and start obeying the Lord. Sin often produces serious consequences and it is not certain that God will step in to block such consequences from happening even if people have repented. For instance, King David repented from his serious sin and by doing so restored his life, but his child died anyway.

Hosea 5:6 They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them.

Hosea 7:10 And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek him for all this.

Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

In the Old Testament

Here are some more verses which show God’s expectations on us – that we should seek him. In 2 Chronicles 14:4 we can see that God specifically commands all Judah to seek him (and obey his commandments) and we know that all of them did not always do that. This shows our free will, and our ability to obey or disobey.

Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

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

Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.

1 Chronicles 16:10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. 11 Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.

1 Chronicles 22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD.

1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

2 Chronicles 11:16 And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.

1 Chronicles 12:14 And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.

2 Chronicles 14:4 And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment

 2 Chronicles 15:4 But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.— 12 And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; 13That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

2 Chronicles 19:3 Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.

2 Chronicles 20:3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

2 Chronicles 30:19 That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.

2 Chronicles 31:21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.

Isaiah 51:1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.

Isaiah 56:6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near

Isaiah 58:2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.

Lamentation 3:25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Daniel 9:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

Ezra 6:21 And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat,

Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

Ezra 8:21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.22 For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.

Amos 5:4 For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:-–6 Seek the Lord, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.—8 Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is his name:—14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.

Zephaniah 2:3 Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.

We can clearly see that we both have the ability and responsibility to seek God rather than the temptations of the world:

Numbers 15:39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:

Numbers 24:1 And when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.

Isaiah 9:13 For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts.

Isaiah 29:15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

Isaiah 31:1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!

Zechariah 8:21 And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also.22 Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.

Annonser

Jesus Christ holds the SCEPTER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS as God in flesh

sceptreHebrews 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O GOD, is for ever and ever: A SCEPTRE of righteousness is the SCEPTRE of thy kingdom (KJV)

”Scepter” in the New Testament is a translation from the Greek word rhabdos (Strong’s 4464) which could also be translated as rod or staff.

”Scepter” in the Old Testament is a translation from the Greek word shebet (Strong’s 7626), and can also be translated as per above or as ”tribe” or ”clan”. Other synonymous words for ”rod” in the OT is matteh (Strong’s 4294) and choter (Strong’s 2415).

A scepter is a special staff/rod carried by a king or a high official, and in our past it was used as a token of authority and power of the king. Scepters are similar to a shepherd’s rod, except they are much fancier and way more valuable. Christ is told to have a kingdom, and his symbolic scepter is told to be of ”righteousness”. Righteousness is doing what is right, just, pure and pleasing to God, and this means that the Lord Jesus will be totally fair and govern his kingdom righteously.

Below we can find some interesting verses where ”scepter”, and also ”rod” or ”staff” are mentioned.

New Testament (KJV)

Aaron’s rod was one of a kind. It was a sign of authority and power:

Heb. 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

Compare the below verse with Jacob’s prophesy in Gen. 49:10, to which the author of Hebrews is referring. It’s interesting that Jacob is said to have been leaning upon the top of his staff when he prophesied about the scepter not leaving Judah until Shiloh comes;”The sceptre shall not depart from Judah—”:

Heb. 11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff

The disciple John saw an extended version of the vision of the future-coming scepter that both Jacob and Balaam saw much earlier in the OT (see further down below). The book of Revelations mentions a man-child who was to rule the nations with a rod of iron, and there are many more descriptions of Jesus Christ:

Rev. 2:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.28 And I will give him the morning star.

Rev. 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

Rev. 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

Rev. 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

Old Testament (NKJV) – using the word shebetdove 2

Below is Jacob’s prophesy about the last days concerning Judah. Jacob (Israel) was prophesying over each of his twelve sons and he places the scepter in Judah’s hands. Jacob was speaking of the lineage from which the Messiah would come. The scepter, the sign of power and dominion shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh (rest/peace) comes;  And to Him shall be the obedience of the people”. People were apparently supposed to be obedient to the one holding the scepter or this ”Shiloh” who is understood to be the Messiah. The prophesy also suggests that people can trust that the scepter will at least remain in Judah until his arrival. (There is no mention of what will take place after his coming.) From David’s time until the exile, the scepter as always been in Judah. The Roman empire affected the area at the time of the birth of Jesus, and in him both the priesthood and the kingship would be synchronized. Around the time of his death the Jews suggested ”We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15).

We also recognize more descriptions of the son of man (Jesus Christ) from Revelations:

Gen. 49:“Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you.9 Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.11 Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes.12 His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk.

Balaam gave numerous prophesies about a star that would come out of Jacob who among other things would be brought out of Egypt.

Numbers 24:1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness. 2 And Balaam raised his eyes, and saw Israel encamped according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him.3 Then he took up his oracle and said:“The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor,The utterance of the man whose eyes are opened,4 The utterance of him who hears the words of God,Who sees the vision of the Almighty,Who falls down, with eyes wide open:5 “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel!6 Like valleys that stretch out, Like gardens by the riverside, Like aloes planted by the Lord,Like cedars beside the waters.7 He shall pour water from his buckets, And his seed shall be in many waters.“His king shall be higher than Agag, And his kingdom shall be exalted.8 “God brings him out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break their bones And pierce them with his arrows.9 ‘He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?’“Blessed is he who blesses you, And cursed is he who curses you.”—17 “I see Him, but not now;I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult. 18 “And Edom shall be a possession; Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession,While Israel does valiantly.19 Out of Jacob One shall have dominion, And destroy the remains of the city.”

Hosea 11:1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.

Matt. 2:13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.

In the book of Esther we find an interesting story involving a king’s scepter. The queen Esther wanted to speak to the powerful king about an urgent matter and she hoped to find favor in his site so that she could continue to live, despite approaching him without first being asked for. The king chose to do his part, holding out his scepter, and Esther did her part by touching the top of it. This fortunate combination meant that Esther would get life instead of death. In comparison, we may all approach the throne of God without fear, because his son Jesus Christ always has his scepter extended to us. Our job is to repent from our sins to become cleansed and righteous:

Esther 4:11 ”All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.”

Esther 5:2 So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.

Ps. 45 is introduced with this information: ”The Glories of the Messiah and His Bride To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Lilies.”A Contemplation of the sons of Korah. A Song of Love”. Psalms/songs in the Bible do not contain any kind of falsehood, but we must be prepared for a certain extent of poetic expressions, comparisons, analogies and metaphors which are not supposed to be understood literally. This particular song seems to be talking about an earthly king, with comparisons with a heavenly king and God himself. V. 45:6 is the source of the famous expression in Heb. 1:8, where God (the Father) is talking to God (the son). Since the long and detailed expression is about God the son in Heb. 1, it is also about God in Ps. 45. We can see references to the Messiah also in Ps. 45 – someone being on the right hand side, a mighty one, being the most fair, riding with righteousness, being anointed with oil, being worshiped, praised, etc. (Read my article about Heb. 1:8 here.):

Ps. 45:1 My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.2 You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.3 Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O MIGHTY ONE,With Your glory and Your majesty.4 And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness; And Your right hand shall teach You awesome things.5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; The peoples fall under You.6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.—11 So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him.—17 I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.

Note Ps. 45:7 about joy ”Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of JOY NASB, and compare with Hebrews again:

Heb. 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God

John 3:29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of thebridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.

Is. 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

”It despises the scepter of my son” according to a prophesy of Ezekiel:

Ez. 21:8 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9 “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ Say:A sword, a sword is sharpened And also polished!10 Sharpened to make a dreadful slaughter, Polished to flash like lightning! Should we then make mirth? It despises the scepter of My son, As it does all wood.—13 “Because it is a testing, And what if the sword despises even the scepter? The scepter shall be no more,”says the Lord God.14 “You therefore, son of man, prophesy, And strike your hands together. The third time let the sword do double damage. It is the sword that slays,The sword that slays the great men, That enters their private chambers.

ros (1)Old Testament  (NKJV) – using the word matteh

There was a lot of focus on the rod that Moses (and Aaron) used during Exodus. Moses had great use for it when he showed others the power of God, and proved that he himself had been given authority to be the leader of the Israelites on their journey:

Ex. 4:1 Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’”2 So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”He said, “A rod.3 And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand),5 “that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”8 “Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign. 9 And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land.”

Ex. 7:19 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in buckets of wood and pitchers of stone.

Ex. 14:16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

Num. 20:Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.”So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him.

Each tribe also had rods, but their rods cannot be compared with the rod that Moses possessed:

Num. 17:2“Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father’s house, all their leaders according to their fathers’ houses—twelve rods. Write each man’s name on his rod.

Jonathan was involved in a dramatic story where he dipped his rod into honey in order to eat from it:

1 Sa 14: 26 And when the people had come into the woods, there was the honey, dripping; but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his countenance brightened. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed is the man who eats food this day.’” And the people were faint.—42 And Saul said, “Cast lots between my son Jonathan and me.” So Jonathan was taken. 43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”And Jonathan told him, and said, “I only tasted a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand. So now I must die!”

A psalm by David replete with references to the Messiah Jesus Christ, such as ”The Lord said to my Lord”. Jesus Christ is called Lord of Lords and he is a priest forever, just like it says in Heb. 7:21-24. It is out of Zion from where the rod of strength will come. :

Ps. 110:1 The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”2 The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!3 Your people shall be volunteers In the day of Your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth.4 The Lord has sworn And will not relent,“You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”The Lord is at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.6 He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries.

Heb. 7:21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “The Lord has sworn And will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’”),—24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.

Old Testament (NKJV) using the word choter 

A rod shall come forth out of the stem of Jesse (king David’s father), and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The Messiah would come from king David’s blood line:

Is. 11:1 There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God! Jesus kingdom or his Father’s kingdom?

kingdomSeeking the kingdom of God should be our highest priority

We are not supposed to be careless about our needs and do nothing while we expect God to provide for us by letting someone regularly knock on our door and hand over money and a few bags of groceries. The general idea is that if we don’t work in order to provide for ourselves and our families, then neither should we expect to get something to eat. In Matt. 6:31-34 Jesus point is that miracles can indeed happen (we can get food, clothes or a sum of money) if we end up in severe circumstances and if we seek the kingdom of God first. If we seek the kingdom of God first, it results in us having the main goal to stay faithful to God, and also to be eager to keep a close contact with him and spread the gospel to others.

Matt. 6:31 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.

2 Thess. 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Jesus reason for making his statement (to not worry about what to eat or drink), is to warn us from serving two masters. In this day and age it’s a risk that we live too much in the world and think about worldly agendas and problems instead of focusing on God and his kingdom. We can’t serve both God and mammon and still survive.

Matt. 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.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?

The final return of Jesus will definitely be apparent for everyone, but when it comes to the kingdom of God it can be said to be within us and will not be able to be observed in the same way. It’s also something that we can look forward to in the future. Thanks to the holy Spirit who is within us, we can get a foretaste of the love that we can expect in God’s kingdom.

Luke 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

The kingdom of God is of course GOD’s kingdom, so why does Jesus often say it’s his (Jesus) kingdom? 

The above question must of course be addressed to anti-Trinitarian. Jesus talks about ”MY table in MY kingdom”, and why does he do that if the kingdom belongs to his Father alone? Isn’t it particularly unfortunate to express oneself in such a way that takes honor away from his Father, and to confuse so many honest readers to believe that Jesus has a kingdom of his own as though he would be God? Anti-trinitarians would of course respond that the only reason for Jesus to have a kingdom is because his Father had given it to him, which would be further evidence for the Father’s superiority (they say). I’ve already addressed Jesus free will subordination here, but on top of this it would make more sense if Jesus made sure to always give all honor to his Father (who doesn’t share his honor with anyone according to Isaiah) by always referring to his kingdom as ”my Father’s kingdom” or just ”God’s kingdom”. Surely the kingdom doesn’t cease to be God’s kingdom also after having given it to Jesus? So it would never be wrong to consistently use the terms ”my Father’s kingdom” or ”God’s kingdom”, but Jesus often calls it his own.

Luke 22:28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;30 That ye may eat and drink at MY TABLE IN MY KINGDOM, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Matt. 20 20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedees children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in THY kingdom. 22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

Matt. 26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

John 18:36 Jesus answered, MY kingdom is not of this world: if MY kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is MY kingdom not from hence.

Ps. 45:6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of THY kingdom is a right sceptre.

Acts 20:25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.

The kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven are the same

Example concerning the rich young man who sought eternal life.

Matt. 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?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?21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Example, when Jesus explained to his disciples why he spoke in parables

Matt. 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Mark 4:9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

Luke 8:9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

Example, when Jesus explained the parable about the mustard seed

Matt. 13:31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Mark. 4:30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:

Luke 13:18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

Example, when John the Baptist and Jesus urged people to repent in order to be saved

Matt. 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matt. 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

Mark. 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

See more examples by reading Matt, 5:3 + 10 Luke 6:20-22, and by reading Matt. 11:11 + Luke 7:28, and by reading  Matt. 19:14 + Mark. 10:14

 The famous THRONE of God that is in heaven is sometimes referred to as Jesus throneright side of God2

Unless we’re talking about the twelve thrones of the patriarchs in the new Jerusalem, the throne of God in heaven is always stated in singular form. God sits on this throne, but Jesus is often depicted as sitting on his right hand side. Both the Father and the son are capable of being in several places at the same time (Jesus is for instance able to be in the midst of groups of 2-3 people who pray in his name) so nothing is out of line with the idea that they are separate individuals on this particular throne. (The trinity contains three ”persons” in one and the same God.) Sometimes the throne in heaven is referred to as being Jesus’ throne.

The four beasts around the throne called the one sitting on the throne ”God almighty”, and they declare that the reason for him to be worthy and to receive glory, honor and power is because he has created all things. As we will remember, both God the Father and Jesus are referred to as having created all things, which indicates that they are one and the same God. Similar expressions, and more, are attributed to the lamb (Jesus) ”Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing”, and they all worshiped him.

Rev. 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: FOR thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Rev. 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. —5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;—11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down andworshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

Daniel 7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

It’s a common Biblical expression that ”the throne of David” shall endure for ever, even though everyone naturally understands that King David’s reign naturally won’t last for ever in a literal sense. Jesus Christ, however, is from the seed of David and his throne is promised to be established for ever. ”His throne” can be applied to both God the Father and Jesus Christ.

1 King. 2:45 And king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the Lord for ever.

2 Chron. 18:18 Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.

Ps. 9:7 But the Lord shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.

Ps. 45:6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

Hebr. 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Ps. 89:3 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,4 Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.5 And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.6 For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.—13 Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.—28 My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.29 His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.-–35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.36 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.37 It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.

Ps. 103:19 The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

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:  

Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

Acts 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

Hebr. 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

The ”thrones” in plural seem to be related to the thrones in the new Jerusalem – the thrones of judgment. More specifically, the twelve tribes of Judah who will be judged from twelve thrones belonging to the apostles. But we can also read a psalm about thrones prepared for those who keep God’s covenant.

 

Ps.132:12 If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.

Ps. 122:5 For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

Jer. 1:15 For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith theLord; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.

Jer. 17:25 Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.

Matt. 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 

Paul makes it clear that nothing and no one was before Jesus since he created ”all things” in heaven and on earth. Whether we’re talking about visible or invisible things, or whether we’re talking about THRONES, dominions, principalities, powers, etc. NOTHING existed before Jesus Christ since he was absolutely FIRST. This means that God the Father couldn’t have existed one single second prior to Jesus existence, but he could certainly have existed simultaneously as him. God is eternal, and God the Father and Jesus Christ both belong to the eternal Godhead.

Col. 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20)

woe

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

Something in this world that is considered evil must surely be SIN, and sins are committed by individuals. SINS are related to darkness, and darkness is the opposite of light. If we try to teach others that sinners are still considered righteous in the eyes of God – as long as they are born again believers – because he can only see the blood of Jesus and not their sins, then the woe above is actually addressed to us. Then we are in fact saying that sin is not evil enough to make us lose our salvation over it and that we are still labeled righteous (because ”Jesus paid for our sins and we are already forgiven” or ”once saved always saved” – or some other unbiblical terms).

The best example of someone calling evil ”good” is when Satan managed to fool Eve into believing that eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would be a GOOD and wise thing to do even though GOD had declared that it was BAD to eat of this tree and against his commandment.  Satan suggested that Eve could be as GOD if she ate of this tree and Eve decided to give it a try thanks to the assurance from Satan that she would NOT DIE if she DISOBEYED GOD! So what God declared wrong – and therefore EVIL – Satan declared GOOD. God prohibited Adam and Eve from eating of this tree and this means that acting to the contrary of his command would be a SIN. God assured Adam and Eve that they would DIE if they ate from it and Satan said the exact opposite. Isn’t it rather common today that pastors and evangelists repeat Satan’s lie and teach others that sins will NOT separate us from God (as long as we are christians)? Satan’s lie can be presented in many forms so be on your guard!

Genesis 2:17 [God says] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof THOU SHALT SURELY DIE.

Genesis 3:4 [Satan says] —YE SHALL NOT SURELY DIE: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

It was of course not the fruit in itself that was bad. The reason why eating of this fruit was bad was because God forbade it, likely because this rule would actually force Adam and Eve to make a stance on whether or not trust and obey God each time they passed this tree – just like a simple test which wasn’t difficult to obey at all. This means that the sin they ended up being guilty of was that they DISOBEYED GOD and by doing so REBELLED against him. So it was DISOBEDIENCE that was the SIN, and God said that SIN leads to DEATH. In Adam and Eve’s case it was both a physical death (no longer access to the tree of life) as well as a spiritual death, and we will all die spiritually if we sin. Teaching the opposite (for instance trying to exempt christians from this rule) is to repeat Satan’s lie.

Perhaps you have been in a church where the pastor in a similar way assures you that you shall NOT DIE if you SIN because you are eternally and unconditionally secure in your salvation once you’ve become a child of God (+ if you sin ”habitually” it shows that you’re ”not saved to begin with”). Have you ever heard someone declaring to you that ”sinning will only make a true christian lose his RELATIONSHIP with God but will never risk his soul” and ”God will not see a true christian’s sins but only the blood of Jesus”? Then this pastor is deceived and at risk for being a person who calls evil ”good”. Malachi 2:17 tells us that we can dissatisfy our Lord by suggesting that a person who sins is still GOOD in the sight of God and that God still delights in him and that he will not judge him for his sins. The opposite is true:

Malachi 2:17 Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

It’s actually rather common for pastors to declare that a christian is fine and off the hook (from the risk of being judged and punished) as long as he is a born again christian. There is of course FORGIVENESS to get for a person with a truly repentant heart – because our Lord is mighty and always ready to take us back into his arms – but it’s dangerous for the soul to be told that sins will not separate us from God. Instead we should encourage each other to not give into temptations, and to not stray from the road to Heaven by sinning. Temptations can be hard enough as they are and we don’t need anyone patting us on our backs, assuring us that everything is well with our soul despite our sins:

James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way SHALL SAVE A SOUL FROM DEATH, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

I’m aware of that pastors could have been fooled about this (major) issue just like Eve was, and just because a pastor is wrong about this he could still be right in many other areas and even lead many people to God (praise God for that), BUT the fact remains that this pastor needs to be taught about the true ways of God so that he can repent from his false teachings and be an even more useful tool to spread the gospel. Many of us (like myself) have incorrectly believed all kinds of false teachings and even taught them to others, but we have also chosen to stay corrected by scripture and amended our ways. Unfortunately, there are pastors who are not willing to listen and learn but they prefer to close their ears and continue to deceive people into believing that we can have our sins and our salvation too, because this is what people out there would like to hear.

Example of a person who teaches that evil is good

If someone claims that what Satan did to Eve (fooling her to sin by assuring her that she would not die) was actually something GOOD and even predestined by God, then this person is definitely a person who calls evil ”good”. To claim that an activity that God calls wrong and evil for something ”good” is simply dangerous. John Calvin taught that Adam and Eve were predestined BY GOD to fall and that means that in order to be consistent with his own teaching he must call EVIL for ”GOOD” since God’s own actions couldn’t be evil. I’m sorry if you dislike that I bring him up, but we are told to expose false teachers now when souls are at stake.

“God NOT ONLY foresaw the FALL of the first man, and in him the RUIN of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure ARRANGED it” .(John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, XXIII)

“The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 8)

“Creatures are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly DECREED” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 3)

“We hold that God is the disposer and ruler of all things, –that from the remotest eternity, according to his own wisdom, He decreed what he was to do, and now by his power executes what he decreed. Hence we maintain, that by His providence, not heaven and earth and inanimate creatures only, but also THE COUNSELS AND WILLS OF MEN are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 8)

thieves and murderers, and other evildoers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the Lord himself to execute judgments which HE has resolved to inflict.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 5)

The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, are in all directions, held in by the hand of God as with a bridle, so that they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how muchsoever they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as he permits, nay unless in so far as HE COMMANDS, that they are not only bound by his fetters but are even forced to do him service (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 11)

“But since he foresees future events only by reason of the fact that he decreed that they take place, they vainly raise a quarrel over foreknowledge, then it is clear that all things take place rather by his determination and bidding.“ (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

King David says:

Psalm 38:18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.19 But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.20 They also that render evil for GOOD are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is. 

Who will be greatest in heaven?

Those who say that it’s impossible to obey the ten commandments and that we have no option but to sin once in a while until we die? Those who say that a person can only be righteous if God declares him righteous in the midst of his unrighteousness? Those who claim that too much obedience to Jesus is legalism, pharisaism and salvation by deeds and something to flee from? Those who teach that we are saved by faith ALONE? Those who teach that we should not expose false doctrines but compromise with the scriptures in order to not cause division? No, those who DO (obey) the commandments and who also teach others to do the same will be called GREAT in the kingdom of heaven.

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.

Those who do the opposite – teach men that it’s hard or impossible to obey God’s commandments – will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. Note that Jesus doesn’t teach here that sinners will at least GET IN to God’s kingdom despite their sins. He continues to say that our righteousness must EXCEED the righteousness of the scribes and the pharisees in order to get into the kingdom of heaven. So why does it appear as though we can enter the kingdom of heaven in v. 19 (albeit being called LEAST) despite acting in the wrong way? There might be evangelists who are deceived and who teach the wrong doctrines once in a while without being aware of it, and they might NOT live as they teach. A deceived pastor might for instance teach that we are born with a sinful nature and ”once saved always saved” without being a filthy sinner himself, and he might do a lot of good deeds for the kingdom of God through evangelism and hard work. The question is how interested he will be to change his doctrines once being shown from the Bible that he is in error? Will he be open for correction or will he close his ears and continue to spread errors? God can see our hearts and our intentions. Just pray that God will show you the truth and that you live your life so that you won’t risk to be called LEAST in the kingdom of God, or even worse; that you won’t enter the kingdom at all due to sin.

I can add that it’s just as bad (or worse) to know the right doctrines and still be very lazy when it comes to sharing the gospel to others and rather sit at home and complain about the failures of other christians.

What is The Law of Christ?

Paul said,  “Bear one another’s burden, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  (Gal. 6:2)

What is the law of Christ?  The law of Christ is the body of commands and teachings He taught to His disciples and they in turn were to teach every new disciple.  (Matt. 28:20)

Paul equated Christ’s law to God’s law.  (1 Cor. 9:21)

“To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.”

Paul told the Christians in Galatia to carry each other’s burdens, and in doing so they would fulfill the law of Christ.  (Gal. 6:2)

Paul also said such things as “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”  (Col. 3:16)

What is the word of Christ?  

It has to do with everything Jesus taught and commanded! I have heard people try to get away with what Jesus taught by claiming it belongs to another dispensation in the future; that what Christ taught cannot be applied doctrinally to the Christians in the Church Age.

The word “doctrine” simply means “teaching or instruction.”  It is not some mystical word that is hard to grasp.  Whatever Jesus taught applied to the apostles, to those at that time, and to us!  If one does not abide in the doctrine of Christ, he does not have God.

2 John 1:9 says,
“Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.”

As one author has well stated,

“It seems strange that men should forbid Jesus the privilege of teaching, during His earthly ministry, and great principles governing man’s relation to God – not only during the few remaining days of His brief earthly ministry, but throughout the age to follow, for which He was even then preparing His disciples.  It seems even stranger that men who so easily reject much of our Lord’s later teaching as ‘not applicable to the present dispensation’ do not hesitate to accept much of His earliest teaching (to Nicodemus, for example) as being fully applicable to the present age.  (One friend, in conversation with the author, even denied that our Lord’s words in John 15 have any bearing on the question of our relation to Christ today, since they were spoken ‘before Calvary’ – a few hours!  What delicate, fragile hairs skilled ‘rightly dividers’ can sometimes neatly split with one swift, sure stroke of their hermeneutical broadaxe!)

It is true that Jesus made reference to certain legal and ceremonial aspects of the Mosaic economy which are not applicable today.  But it is also true that He enunciated cardinal principles governing man’s spiritual relation to God which are as valid today as the moment of utterance.  One of these principles, according to His teaching in the Parable of the Law of Forgiveness, is that true repentance toward God is inseparably associated with our attitude toward our fellow men and cannot exist apart from a charitable, forgiving spirit toward others.

Such true repentance, like sincere faith and the faithful retention of the saving word of the Gospel, is necessary, not merely for a fleeting moment at the occasion of one’s conversion, but continually and habitually, as an essential condition of forgiveness and salvation.  ‘So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you,’ warned Jesus, ‘if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.’  It is possible, warned Jesus, that Peter and others who have known the forgiving grace of God might forfeit that forgiveness.  The forgiving grace of God cannot dwell in bitter, unforgiving hearts.  He who refuses to forgive his brother has no real sense of need for the forgiveness of God and no just claim on His gracious forgiveness.  ‘Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.’”

What does Jesus expect from us? 

Jesus expects us to obey Him.  He was not suggesting it, nor did He say it was for another dispensation.  Jesus said true believers are those who obey Him.  Jesus said if you love Him, keep His commandments (John 14:15).

We are to abide in the doctrine of Christ.  When we abide in the doctrine of Christ, we are fulfilling the law of Christ and it shows that we have both the Father and the Son.   (2 John 1:9)

God’s will is expressed in the Law of Christ. 

The law of Christ is anything Jesus taught in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and is considered the will of the Father.  (Matt. 12:50)

Jesus said whoever hears these sayings (of Jesus), and DOES THEM, is likened to a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matt. 7:24)

The teachings of Jesus come from the Father. 

Jesus said His teaching were not His own, but came from the Father.  (John 7:16-17)  Everything Jesus taught and commanded came from God. (John 8:28; John 12:49-50; John 14:10; John 14:24; John 14:31)  Jesus obeyed the Father perfectly. Everything Jesus did was the will of God.

Jesus said to His disciples, “Teach them to obey all that I commanded you”.  By teaching others to obey all that Jesus commanded, is teaching the will of God.

The law of Christ is a law of the heart and mind. 

When one starts talking about how we should obey Jesus, immediately the cry is, “You are teaching a works salvation!”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Bible never says one can earn his salvation, but what the Bible does say iS to WORK OUT your own salvation (Php. 2:12).  You can’t work out what you don’t have!  On the other hand, all they teach is that one can’t help but sin every single day in thought, word, and deed.  Throughout both Testaments God wants people to forsake wickedness.  Jesus told people to “go and sin no more,” and Paul said, “Awake to righteouness and sin not!”  But on every side we are attacked by Satan’s followers who say you can keep sinning and never die (the same lie from the Garden).  Just listen to this clip ”Today’s Gospel”  of what is being taught out there, and hear how God’s word refutes them!

The secret to living a holy life, free from the bondage of sin, is LOVE.  The purity of your actions is not only from the mind, but from the heart. What is in your heart will fill your mind as well. Jesus called the teachers of the law and Pharisees hypocrites.  They were beautiful on the outside, but inside were full of dead men’s bones.  People, from the outside, can appear as righteous but inside are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Matt. 23:28)  It is from out of the heart that proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies (Matt. 15:19).  Jesus is not looking just for external actions to be pure, but his desire is for us to be pure in heart and mind as well.

 Will the Holy Spirit be given to those who do not obey Jesus – who claim to continually sin everyday in thought, word, and deed?

Jesus said the Holy Spirit will only be given to those who obey Him.

If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.”  (John 14:15-16)

This is corroborated by Peter.

And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”  (Acts 5:32) 

John tells us,

“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 3:24)

The Holy Spirit whom God has given abides in those who keep the commandments of Jesus!  For those who claim to sin everyday in thought, word, and deed cannot have the Holy Spirit, for they do not obey God.  They even write off what Jesus said as for another dispensation and therefore it doesn’t apply to them doctrinally!  Why?  Because it will knock down the wall of a false teaching called Unconditional Eternal Security!  When you listen to all these false teachers, and get rid of all the fluff in their sermons, it all boils down to one thing…..you can keep on sinning and you won’t die!  It’s the same lie the Serpent told Eve in the Garden.

The Bible is clear that if you don’t obey and abide in the doctrine of Christ, you do not belong to Christ, nor do you have the Holy Spirit. (2 John 1:9; Rom. 8:9)

Jesus said whoever obeys His commands, he is the one who loves Him.  And He who loves Jesus loves the Father.  Again, if anyone loves Jesus, he will obey His teachings. (John 14:21; John 14:23)

The reverse side is true just as well.  Jesus said those who do not love him do not keep His words. (John 14:24)

Jesus’ love is conditional as long as we continue to obey. 

Jesus’ love is NOT unconditional.  Note the condition in the words of Jesus,

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.   (John 15:10)

Being friends with Jesus is also conditioned upon our obedience.

“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”  (John 15:14)

If we hold to the teachings of Christ, we are the real disciples of His. 

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

We are assured by Jesus we will never see death if we keep His word.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” (John 8:51)

It is obedience to the teachings (keeping His word) that causes the blessings.  Just as blessings were promised for obedience to the law of Moses, so are the blessings promised to us based on our obedience to Christ.

One cannot have salvation without repentance followed with obedience.

The Scripture says,

“And having been perfected, He (Jesus) became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,”  (Heb. 5:9)

It doesn’t say salvation is given to those who sin every day in thought, word, and deed.  God does not want people to sin.  He tells people to forsake their sins and follow Him.  Jesus commanded that all men to repent, but modern man will tell you repentance is not part of the Gospel. It’s a lie.  God wants repentance preached (Luke 5:32; Luke 24:47; Acts 20:21, etc. etc.).

There is a “godly sorrow.”  “For godly sorrow worketh repentance TO SALVATION not to be repented of;”  (2 Cor. 7:10)

Jesus said of the Holy Spirit,

“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” (John 16:8)

And as we read above, God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. (Acts 5:32)  When a person feels the conviction of the Holy Spirit about his sinful condition, he can shrug it off, or he’ll come to God to forgive him of such a sinful life style.  He will want pardon through the mercy of God.  He knows his only hope is through Jesus who provided a way for his salvation and freedom from sin.  He will hate his sin because he can see what it has done to him and where it will send him.  He will not have a desire to do it anymore.  At that point of repentance, he wants to give up sin and not do it again.  Some people may be bothered for weeks under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, some may be a few days, and for some it may be on the very day (process of repentance).  He will not have rest until he comes to that crucial point of “godly sorrow” that leads to salvation.  He has to believe (faith) that God is able to forgive him of all the sins he has committed up to that point in his life, and his heart must be dead set against sinning again, which it would be if he is truly under godly sorrow.  Jesus came to set us free from sin, that it no longer has to have dominion over us.  His repentance will be proven by his deeds (Acts 20:26).  One’s deeds (obedience – NOT disobedience) will prove his repentance!  God will give that person strength if he will obey Him.  He gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him.  From there, as he reads the Scriptures (needs to grow in the faith), he will be warned not to go back to the way he once walked.  He can quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19).  The Scripture shows us certain sins will not let one inherit the kingdom of God, but instead lead one to eternal doom (Gal.5:19-21; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Eph. 5:3-6; Rev. 21:8, etc.).  The Bible doesn’t say we work FOR our salvation, but it does say to WORK OUT our own salvation, and that with fear and trembling! (Php. 2:12).

Salvation is conditional upon the fact that we continue to abide in Jesus.  One who abides in Jesus will not sin.  Remember, Jesus said if you love Him you will obey Him and His teachings.  The Scriptures tell us,

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.  And His commandments are not burdensome.”  (1 John 5:3)

The Scriptures also say,

“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4)”

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:”  (2 Thess. 1:8) 

And you want to claim that you SIN everyday in thought, word and deed? This is simply being disobedient!

Which one is it – believing or obeying? 

Some Scripture passages say salvation is a result of obedience while other texts say salvation is through faith.  Is this a contradiction?  No.  Paul said,

“By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:  (Rom. 1:5)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” (Eph. 2:8)

Faith comes first and obedience is the evidence of the faith.  The Gospel is to be obeyed for salvation sake.

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:”  (2 Thess. 1:8)

Disobedience is manifested in unbelief.

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)

“And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them thatbelieved not?  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Heb. 3:18-19)

So if you are disobedient, sinning everyday in thought, word, and deed, you are walking in unbelief. Among the sins that will send one into the Lake of Fire, the “unbelieving” is one of them.

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
(Rev. 21:8)

The Bible is clear that a past moment of acceptance of Christ does not guarantee anyone eternal salvation regardless how they live afterward.  If they don’t continue in the faith they will suffer the consequences in Hell for all eternity.

Scriptures say that there will be Christians who will depart from the faith (departing from the faith doesn’t happen to lost people!) (1 Tim. 4:1).  The widows turned from Christ and started following Satan (1 Tim. 5:11-15). Demas is another example. He was a traveling companion of Paul (Col. 4:14; Phm. 1:24). They worked together and endured various troubles and persecutions preaching the kingdom of God. But what happened to Demas? Paul said, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;…”  (2 Tim. 4:10). Demas, a saved man, fell away and went back to loving this present world.  He loved the world more than God. The god of this world is Satan! (2 Cor. 4:4). Demas got deceived and it affected his behavior. In his unrepentant state, he lost his salvation for he did not endure! (1 John 2:15; James 4:4)

Those who obey Jesus’s commands live in him.  Paul said to examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5).  John corroborates Paul by saying, “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 3:24)

Those who have a true saving faith in Christ will obey His teachings and commands.  Obedience is natural evidence of saving faith.  Those who are disobedient display their lack of saving faith.  Jesus NEVER asks us to do something we cannot do. If you love Jesus, you will obey Him, and to obey Him is fulfilling the law of Christ.

(Thanks to Sandra)