Mankind’s Future Reality
The Bible holds a truth that is sure to be experienced by all who had lived before us, a truth for us all now and a truth for all who will live after us: – “…[mankind] is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) The Apostle Paul laid it out clearly for Christians, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) This is the judgment for those who truly know Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord. The Bible says our, “…work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15) For non-Christians there will be the White Throne Judgment were the dead, those who died with out Jesus Christ being their true Savior and Lord will be judged. (Revelations 20:11-15; Hughes, R. B., & Laney, J. C. (2001). Tyndale concise Bible commentary (p. 747). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.; Evans, W., & Coder, S. M. (1974). The great doctrines of the Bible (Enl. ed., p. 255). Chicago: Moody Press.) It is imperative, we must understand, now we have the privilege of grace, once we enter the river of death, then the judgment. There is going to be an accounting for every careless word spoken (Matthew 12:36), for every sinful action lived out (1 Corinthians 6:10), everything done for or against Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:30). Every unjust killing will face a God who is Just, the God who hands out Justice in His time. (Genesis Flood; Continents in Collision; Psalm 103:6; Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., & Harrison, R. K., Thomas Nelson Publishers (Eds.). (1995). In Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc. ) Every unjust death of a child, every act of the sinful nature will be dwelt with by a God who says, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)
Most everything in this world reflects the fact of a judgment. For example; It is base ball season, it is the last game of the World Series, the score is tied, it is the bottom of the ninth, the bases are loaded, it is a full count, three balls – two strikes. The pitcher throws the ball – the batter hits the ball to center field. The man on third base heads for home plate, the man in center field throws towards home – it is going to be close – the third base runner slides into home, the catcher makes the catch and moves for the tag out. Then the judgment, the crowd waits for the umpire’s call, safe or out. There is going the be an eternal call made by God, He never miss’s a call, are you safe from the judgment to come, do you know Christ’s as Savior and Lord?
“There is great danger in misunderstanding God’s essential character. He is a God of justice as well as of love. He will inflict punishment where punishment is due. There is mercy available through Jesus Christ, but that mercy becomes effective only to those who appropriate it, who accept it.” – (AMG Bible Illustrations. (2000). Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.)
The Ultimate Cost for Our Religious Freedom
The Bible says, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:7-8)
The song sung by Lee Greenwood, “God Bless the USA” has a stanza which fall in-line with the truth proclaim by the author of the Book of Hebrews, “I am proud to be an American. Where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died. Who gave that right to me. And I’d gladly stand up next to you. And defend Her still today. Cause there ain’t no doubt, I love this land. God bless the USA.”
During the time of the Founding Era of laying the foundation of the Declaration of Independence there were mighty men whom the British called “The Black Rope Regiment.” The American clergy who made up that group were courageous and fearless, they boldly proclaim the Word of God as it applied to life, whether spiritual or addressing the issues of the day such as, life in Christ, taxes, education, public policy, good government, or the military. During the Revolutionary War preachers fulfilled their Biblical call to publicly teach what the Bible says and they set the example on how to live out what they believed. Historical writings tell us: “There was a class of clergymen and chaplains in the Revolution whom the British, when they once laid hands on them, treated [the preachers] with the most barbarous severity. Dreading them for the influence – they wielded and hating them for the obstinacy, courage and enthusiasm they infused into the rebels, they violated all the usages of war among civilized nations in order to inflict punishment upon them” (T. Headley, The Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution (New York: Charles Scribner, 1864), p. 58.)
The preachers of the time of the Revolutionary War paid the high cost for their obedience to their call and for living out what they believed. There were great men of God like the Rev. Naphtali Dagget, President of Yale:
- “When the British approached New Haven to enter private homes, to desecrate property and belongings, Rev. Daggett offered stiff and at times single-handed resistance to the British invasion, standing alone on a hillside, repeatedly firing his rifle down at hundreds of British troops below. [After being] captured, over a period of several hours the British stabbed and pricked Pastor Daggett multiple times with bayonets. Local townspeople secured [Pastor] Daggett release, he never recovered from the wounds, which eventually caused his death.”(National Black Robe Regiment, History of the Black Regiment; William Buell Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit: Trinitarian Congregation, (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1857), p. 482.)
- When the Rev. James Caldwell offered similar resistance in New Jersey, the British burned the church building he oversaw for the Lord, he and his family were murdered. (B.F. Morris, Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, Developed in the Official and Historical Annals of the Republic (Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1864) p. 350.)
- The British in their zeal to protect the British Anglican Church, abused, killed or imprisoned many other clergymen. (Daniel Dorchester, Christianity in the United States from the First Settlement Down to the Present Time (New York: Phillips & Hunt, 1888), p. 265.)
- Those faithful men of the Lord who Biblically guided the people they served “often suffered harsher treatment and more severe penalties than did ordinary imprisoned soldiers.” (T. Headley, The Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution (New York: Charles Scribner, 1864), p. 58.)
- In the effort of persecuting freedom of religion, the British also burned churches in New York, Virginia and other parts of the country. (Daniel Dorchester, Christianity in the United States from the First Settlement Down to the Present Time (New York: Phillips & Hunt, 1888), p. 266. – p. 267)
America needs clergy who are courageous enough to publicly teach what God’s has to say about the issues of the day, whether it is popular or not. We need mighty Bible teachers who will take their stand, rebuke, correct and guide Americans to understand, “Thus says the Lord.”
Act 1:9-11 Holds a truth not spoken of much these days, “He [Jesus] was taken up before their very eyes… they were looking intently up into the sky as He [Jesus] was going up, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee.’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus… will come back…” (Acts 1:9-11) The two men dressed in white are angles (New American Commentary; Matthew Henry Commentary) sent by God to give the worshipers of Christ a reasonable message of a coming event, the Lord will return. Different Bible studies teach us there are 370 New Testament verses with 23 of the 27 New Testament Books referring to the Lord’s second coming. With this much Biblical truth on the second coming of Christ, Christians should have a joyful expectation of the Lord’s return.
The second coming of Christ is a Day sure to come, however, it is not for us to speculate in any way when that Day shall be. Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back… If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” (Mark 13:32-37) The Apostle Paul tells us, “Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2)
God moved Luke to write about the message given through two angels and the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to tell us that we do not need to be writing about “times and dates” of His return. Jesus set the guide on which we are to live by regarding the promise of His inmate return, “be on guard, be alert, keep watch.”
Truths worth grasping about the Scriptures we have just looked at are 1.) They are not just for the time of the ascension of Christ. 2.) They are more than just about the future event of Jesus’ return. 3.) The key thrust is about today. Christians are to be about the assigned task the Lord has called them to right now. The fact is there will be no Christian’s whom will know about any times and dates of the Lord’s return. Christians are always to be prepared, expecting the Head of God’s work to return at any time. The servants of the Lord had better be busy, faithful and steadfast in reaching out to the lost, ministering to the needy and exercising Spiritual gifts through sacrificial love. Spiritual lethargies are real danger to Christians. The teaching of Jesus about staying steadfast in our callings along with the teaching about keeping ourselves filled with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 25:1-13) are exhortations to not become lazy. Many have become lazy in their work with the Lord and relaxed in their relationship with Him. Christians who keep watch are productive in the Lord’s work and they give testimony of His empowerment to overcome life controlling sins.
Are you on your guard, alert and watching for His eminent return?
Most people who live in a rural small God fearing town find it difficult to understand how people can literally hate Jesus. After all He did nothing wrong, He was kind, healed the sick, raised the dead and stills shows love to all who receive Him. Yet Jesus said, “[The world] hates Me because I testify that it’s work’s are evil.” (John 7:7b) There is a Greek word for hate (μισέω miséō) which means to love less. While we are called to love our wives as Christ loves the church, love our families and are told to love one another, there is a difference in love for them compared to the love we are to have for the Lord. Matthew 10:37 makes the meaning clear on what it means to love the Lord above all else. “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Anyone who places anything or anyone higher than the Lord is living out what is in their heart, which is loving the Lord less than someone or something else. Loving the world view more than Christ sets people lives on a course that intrigues them to live in a way which brings guilt because of sinful lifestyles.
According to Jesus, He is hated because He exposes false teachers and hypocrisy. As matter of fact Jesus said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Everyone takes note of the preacher who is not hungry to live out what he teaches. (Matthew 23:13-14; Matthew 7:18-20) Those ministry outreaches that touch many, but do not lead people to the holiness of God. (Matthew 23:15) Jesus detest blind guides. (Matthew 23:17) Ministries seeking givers, but neglecting justice, mercy and righteousness. (Matthew 23:16-22) Teacher who outwardly look Godly but the reflection of their lives is self-indulgence. (Matthew 23:23-24; Matthew 7:15) Teacher who were the clothes, but inwardly they are spiritually dead. (Matthew 23:25-26) Lastly, the climax, the killing, dishonoring and degrading of God’s true teachers of God’s Word. (Matthew 23:29-31) To such false teachers Jesus said, “You are of the father the devil…” (John 8:44)
According to Jesus he is hated in certain areas were He has done a work for His Father in heaven. The Lord’s response to those whom He has made His power, authority and love known. The Message Bible tells us, “Jesus, [denounces] the cities where He had worked the hardest, but whose people responded the least, shrugging their shoulders and going their own way.”
A Biblical Truth About Ghost and Haunting
1 Timothy 4:1 – “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”
There are a lot of people who have an interest in the paranormal, but most feel like they cannot seek answers in the church. Halloween is the perfect season to address the spiritual world and give a Biblical response to what people are seeing and experiencing in a world that have forces that can deceive them. If Christians are not going to give an answer to what is going on in the unseen world, then someone else will. That answer may come from someone who has no real foundation of Biblical truths about spiritual forces of demons and angles who are around us at all times. (Ephesians 6:12) Biblically as a whole, what we do know is, that sightings of ghost and other paranormal incidents should not be ignored. Coming to the wrong conclusion about what people are seeing or experiencing can have eternal consequences which affect young and old alike. The question about ghost, the paranormal and the after life is drawing real interest, of which the Bible has answers.
What Is A Ghost: There are as many theories about what a ghost is as there are people who are active investigators of ghost sightings. The most popular American view on ghost, “they are spirits of humans who have died, but not yet crossed over to heaven or hell.” (Emily McFarlan Miller; What Does the Bible Say About Ghost; Answers In Genesis; Do You Believe In Ghost) The Greek word for “ghost” (φάντασμα phántasma) means to make appear, spirit. (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.) Ron Rhodes writes, “When people encounter a genuine spirit, it is not a dead human’s spirit, but rather a demonic spirit with the intent on deceiving living human beings.” (The Truth Behind Ghost, Mediums, and Psychic Phenomena) The whole of Scripture teaches, yes there are ghost, fallen created spiritual beings, they will be around on this earth until Jesus Christ throws them into hell forever. However, as we look to the whole of Scripture, there are no ghost, the spirit of dead people lingering upon this earth.
Dead People’s Souls: The writer of the Book of Hebrews declares a person dies once and then is placed, waiting for judgment. (Hebrews 9:27) People who are not living for and loving the Lord are placed in hell, not leaving. (Matthew 25; Luke 16:19-33) Christians go home to be with the Lord. (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, Philippians 1:23) Scripture has no indication of anyone’s soul lingering on this earth after death. After God departed from King Saul, we read of Samuels Ghost being allowed to be brought up. Samuel’s message for Saul was not a good one. (1 Samuel 28:7-20) In the New Testament we read of Peter, James and John seeing Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. These were specific situations that fulfilled God’s plan, there is no indication of them lingering. Samuel, Moses and Elijah had a clear mission, they did not stay. No confusion of their purpose.
Biblical Haunting: In Daniel Chapter 10 we read that demons can be around specific geographical locations. It is very likely, those who are seeing and hearing from paranormal activity, are being exposed to demon entities. (Ephesians 6:12) Emanuel Swedenborg, famous eighteen century writer of the spirit world, warns us not to believe any spiritual entity, their leader is the father of all lies. (John 8:44) They have a purpose which is to deceive and seduce. The truth the Apostle Paul taught Timothy is for us to day. “Deceiving” (πλάνος plános) referring to spirits who are seducing and imposters. There is another Greek word for “deceiving” (phrenapátēs) associated with spirit’s who deceive the mind. Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers
It is like this, there is a Christian magician, Kirby, who was able to captivate the entire audience to see what he wanted them to see. After his performance, he would explain to us how there was no such thing as real magic, there was a explanation for everything that had taken place during his show. If a mere human can captivate an entire audience, then deceiving (πλάνος plános or phrenapátēs ) spirits can deceive people’s minds, especially people who are undisciplined at taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ.
The Bible warns in the last days there will be doctrines taught by false teachers who are in fact being influenced by deceiving spirits and they are effective at captivating and deceiving many. In the last days, Christians will take their teaching about the unseen world from the whole council of God’s Word.