Thursday, 18 May 2017

Why Had There to be Twelve Apostles?

In the period between Christ's resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter gathered the believers together to choose a new twelvth apostle. Because Judas Iscariot betrayed  Jesus and hung himself, there were only eleven left. But why did that matter?

Acts 1:25 (KJV) explains part of the reason for choosing a twelvth apostle. "That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place."

The reason for needing twelve apostles is spelled out by Christ in Matthew 19:28 (KJV)  "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." Therefore, there had to be twelve apostles.

In picturesque language, Saint John wrote in Revelation 21:14 (KJV),  "And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." Since Judas Iscariat was chosen from before time began to betray Christ, he had no part in the kingdom of heaven.

Neither were these apostles wrong in choosing a replacement, as I was taught in an errant house church. In Acts 1:21-22 (KJV), we see the criteria for choosing the twelvth apostle. "Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

All this proves the consistancy of Holy Scripture. I'll be writing more about why we can trust the Bible in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven. Trust is the key to understanding all that the Lord has done and will do in the future for those who love him.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Why Was Power Given to the Disciples?

Now that I've established that it's belief which separates disciple from willful doubter, I must explain why signs and wonders were done by Christ's disciples. It wasn't for show but to bring God glory and validate his message.

The job given to the apostles was to go into all the world and preach the gospel as well as baptizing and teaching disciples. John 15:26 (KJV) records Christ's explanation of the Spirit's work. "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"

Furthermore, the Spirit gave the apostles prophecies, both foretelling events and forth-telling the Word of God. Look at what Christ told them in John 16:13 (KJV), "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come."

Additionally, God sent the Holy Spirit to confront error and those who preached it. 1 John 4:6 (KJV) explains, "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."

As we read in Matthew 9:8 (KJV), after Christ healed a paralyzed man, the miracle was done for God's glory. "But when the multitude saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men."

I was once a member of a church that was obsessed with signs and wonders. We all wanted my eyes to be healed but they weren't. I left after fifteen and a half years because congregants blamed me for not being healed. My How I Was Razed book chronicles those years and how the heavenly Father led me out of that cruelty and into his glorious truth.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Why Didn't Christ Appear Publicly?

Having written about Christ's post-resurrection appearances, I suspect that some folks are wondering why Christ didn't show himself publicly to prove that he was alive. I've given this much thought and here's what I've found.

In my previous post, I wrote about Christ and his forty days of instruction to his disciples. I believe that he didn't want to waste time with willfully-blind individuals like the Pharisees.

We can see just how determined those religious leaders were to disprove the resurrection in Matthew 28:11-15  (KJV). "Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and showed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, 'Say ye, "His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept." And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.' So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."

I've also written previously about how people wouldn't believe even when God did great miracles. The deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage is a case in point. God sent ten plagues on the land and spared his people. When Moses raised his staff, God parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross on dry land. Then he made the waters to come together to drown the Egyptian army.

God led the Israelites through the desert with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He gave them manna and when they craved meat, he sent them quail. He even made water come out of a rock. After all those miracles, people still grumbled and wanted to return to Egyptian bondage.

I'm in the process of writing my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? I once thought that if God healed me of my poor vision, people would be convinced and believe in Christ. Now I know that it's the work of the Holy Spirit which brings people to salvation.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

What Do We Learn From the Emmaus Discourse?

Continuing on with the theme of discipleship, we often miss key points of Christ's teaching because we're too familiar with the gospel. It's like when a person hears a piece of familiar music and suddenly a lyric or instrument surprises the listener.

I've had that experience with songs like "Are You Experienced" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. On it, Jimi pressed the A key on a piano repeatedly. Until recently, I hadn't noticed that a few of his notes weren't on time.

In the same way, we all hear seemingly-new things when we study Scripture. One point I missed for years is what Christ did on the Emmaus road.

In Luke 24:25-27 (KJV), we read how Christ chastised two disciples for not understanding that the scriptures, what we call the Old Testament,  spoke of him. "Then he said unto them, 'O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?' And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."

But this isn't a fault peculiar to those men. It's too easy for us to miss key points in the midst of the gospel story. John 5:39 (KJV) clearly states, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." We become so engrossed in the squabble Christ had with the Pharisees that we miss the truth that the Old Testament foretold what would happen to him.

Another point which is lost to the minds of most people is that God commands us all to be under the rule of his Son. That's partly why I'm writing my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven. Being a Christian isn't just keeping rules or not committing serious crimes, as some folks think. We must all have a relationship with Jesus who died in our place and rose to give us new life. If only people could grasp the ramifications of that.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Why Wasn't "Doubting Thomas" Chastised?

One story which Christians are all too familiar with is the account of "doubting Thomas." He became labeled a doubter because of what happened when Christ appeared to the disciples eight days after the first appearance. Thomas wasn't there at that time, therefore the reports of Christ's resurrection seemed too good to be true to him.

John 20:26-27  (KJV) describes what happened. "And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, 'Peace be unto you.' Then saith he to Thomas, 'Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.'"

Jesus knew Thomas well, as he knows us all. This much-maligned disciple loved the Lord so much that he felt willing to lay his life on the line for him. Look at what John 11:16 (KJV) records him as saying. "Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, 'Let us also go, that we may die with him.'"

When Jesus spoke of going away, meaning his ascension into heaven, Thomas longed to follow him but he didn't know how. John 14:5 (KJV) shows the extent of his devotion. "Thomas saith unto him, 'Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?'"

Jesus often said, "O ye of little faith," to his disciples when they didn't comprehend his trustworthiness. But Thomas adored the Lord. When he realized that he had indeed risen, John 20:28 (KJV)quotes him as exclaiming, "And Thomas answered and said unto him, 'My Lord and my God.'"

The whole point of discipleship is to trust the Master implicitly. Yet Christ's disciples had a hard time doing it. Even so, we can learn from their mistakes and strive to accept whatever he leads us into.

I'll be dealing with this crucial subject extensively in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven. Our access to paradise depends on us fully trusting in Christ and relying on his righteousness. Anything else falls far short of salvation and dooms us to eternity in hell.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

What Did Christ Do After He Rose?

Easter is over and it's on to the next event, or so it is with many people. In North America, it's Mother's Day. And as important as it is to recognize the hard work these women do in raising children, so should those folks who make disciples of all nations be recognized.

Christians are familiar with The Great Commission. Mark 16:15 (KJV) says, "And he (Christ) said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." We understand the "go" part but many missionaries in the past have forgotten about discipleship.

Luke recorded what Christ was busy doing before his ascension. Acts 1:3 (KJV) states, "To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:"

And it wasn't just a handful of disciples who our Lord met after his resurrection. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:6 (KJV)  "After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep." The word "sleep" in this case means death.

Jesus had many things to teach his disciples before he ascended. They couldn't understand at first that his kingdom was spiritual in nature and that he came to save all who would repent and follow him throughout space and time. John 12:16 (KJV) explains, "These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him."

I also had many misunderstandings of what Christianity entailed. For this reason, I plan on writing my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? My hope is that I may save my readers from missing the mark and ending up in hell because of false teachers.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

What Does Christ's Resurrection Mean for Humanity?

Christians certainly rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus. But why should the rest of the world care? A day will come when unsaved folks will have to give an account of why they didn't believe Christ and those who he sent to proclaim his plan of salvation.

The Apostle Paul wrote of the terrible price peopl will pay for rejecting the Lord in 2 Thessalonians 1:8 (KJV) when he warned of Christ returning, "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:"

The Bible also contains this warning in 2 Peter 2:9 (KJV). "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out  of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment  to be punished:"

Jesus also warned in a metaphorical way about the final judgment in Matthew 25:32 (KJV) when he said, "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:" The sheep are believers and the goats are those who rebel against God.

And just as there will be people from every nation sent to hell, there will be members from every country and tribe in heaven. Revelation 7:9 (KJV)declairs, "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;"

I could write so much more on this topic but I'll save it for my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Eternity awaits us all and it's the most important subject for each and every person to consider. We only have a short time to decide before we die or Christ returns. My hope is that my writing will save somebody from an eternity of agony in hell.

Bruce Atchison, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 2 Peter 2:9, Matthew 25:32, Matthew 25:32, Revelation 7:9, You Think You're Going to Heaven

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

What Does the Resurrection Prove?

Christians around the world have celebrated Christ's resurrection for millennia. Though Christ's rising from the dead is  certainly a wonderful event, what does it mean for Christians?

Our faith isn't in a defeated Lord. If Jesus didn't rise, then everything preached about his resurrection is wrong. And if what we believed is wrong, our hope in being raised to new life is also gone. As the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:19 (KJV), "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."

Additionally, Christ fulfilled all the prophecies concerning him. Look at what he said to two discouraged disciples. Luke 24:25 (KJV) reads, "Then he said unto them, 'O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?' And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."

And because Christ lives, his followers shall live in incorruptible bodies when he returns. 1 Corinthians 15:42 (KJV) states, "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:" We don't become disembodied spirits floating around forever, as some false preachers teach.

This is such a blessed hope for all of us who trust in Christ, especially for those of us whose bodies are chronically in pain. As Paul aptly put it in 2 Corinthians 5:4 (KJV), "For we that are in this tabernacle do  groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but  clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life."

How wonderful that Christ led the way by being the prototype of resurrection to eternal life. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:10 (KJV), "But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:"

Paul also comforted mourners in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 15:54 (KJV) by writing, "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."

My earnest hope is to expand upon this awesome promise of resurrection to eternal life in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Only Christianity promises new, immortal bodies because of Christ's rising from the dead. How I wish people who condemn the faith would come to accept and embrace it.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

What Must We Do to Have Eternal Life?

I've shown in past posts that surrendering our wills to Jesus is the only way we can spend eternity in Heaven. But what must we do to inherit eternal life?

Jesus gave the answer in John 3:15 (KJV) when he said of himself, "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." The word "believe" means to have implicit trust in Jesus and his gift of salvation.

We must realize that we are hopeless sinners and ask the Lord for forgiveness of our rebellion against him. Then we must become Christ's disciples, following and obeying everything he commands. As the Apostle Paul pointed out in Romans 6:23 (KJV), "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

But merely believing about Jesus isn't enough. We must be a hundred percent devoted to following him and to do so every day. Look at what Paul wrote to his protege, Timothy. He said in 1 Timothy 6:12 (KJV), "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."

We can also see the guarantee of our entrance into heaven in 1 John 5:11 (KJV). "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son."

And as it says in Jude 1:21 (KJV), "Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."

We can therefore put our full trust in Christ because he is God. Peter realized this when he said to Jesus in John 6:68 KJV), "Then Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.'"

There was a time when I thought that just believing about God would get me into heaven. Then I learned at a vacation Bible school meeting that I must repent and place my trust totally in Jesus Christ. This is what I'll emphasize in my upcoming book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Far too many people claim to be Christians but they haven't yet placed their lives in his hands. My goal is to let as many people know about true salvation in Christ alone as I can through my writing.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Why Didn't Christ Save Himself?

Speaking of naive believers, I used to wonder why Jesus didn't save himself from being crucified. When I was a child, I thought that he was Pilate's victim. How wonderful it is that the Lord had everything under his sovereign control.

Jesus himself knew that he would die on the cross and rise again. He said to his disciples in Matthew 26:2 (KJV), "Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified."

As I pointed out in a previous post, he had power to lay down his life and take it up again. He wasn't the hapless victim of the Romans and Jews as some people believe.

We can see this truth of the Lord's sovereignty in his answer to Pilate which is recorded in John 19:11 (KJV). "Jesus answered, 'Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.'"

Jesus could have easily defeated the Romans. He knew it too since he said in Matthew 26:53 (KJV), "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?"

Consider what one angel did in 2 Kings 19:35 (KJV). "And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses."

Being human as well as divine, the prospect of the cross and taking the filthy sins of his people upon himself terrified Christ. Matthew 26:39 KJV) reads, "And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, 'O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.'"

And because Christ submitted himself to the Father's will, he suffered physical, psychological, and spiritual agony. Look at what the prophecy in Isaiah 52:14 (KJV) says of him. "As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:"

Because of these scriptural proofs, we can be assured that Jesus was the victor and not the vanquished. He rose on the first day of the week and ascended up to heaven after forty days of instructing his disciples.

I'll be writing much more about this in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? The resurrection of Christ gives us hope that we too shall rise to live in his kingdom.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Was Judas Substituted for Christ?

Here's another incorrect doctrine. According to The Bible Answer Man, some Muslims believe that Judas was substituted for Christ and was crucified. They claim that Allah tricked the Roman soldiers and the Jewish officials into crucifying the wrong person.

This is manifestly wrong. The whole plan was for Christ to be the Christian's substitute on the cross. Jesus himself said in Luke 18:31 (KJV), "Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, 'Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished'.'"

Jesus also described what would happen to him in Mark 10:33 (KJV). "Saying, 'Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles':"

One of the clearest prophesies showing that it was Christ who would suffer is Isaiah 53:3 and 4 (KJV). "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted."

Nobody treated Judas like that. In fact, it was he who betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Matthew 27:5 (KJV) clearly states, "And he (Judas) cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself." So how could he be Christ's substitute if he hung himself?

No, it was Christ who, like the Passover lamb, shed his blood for us who believe in him. Romans 5:11 (KJV) says, "And not only so, but we also joy in God  through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." No mere mortal could have accomplished that.

Christ's substitutionary atonement is one of many doctrines I'll feature in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? As Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians 15:19 (KJV), "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." If Jesus didn't pay the price for our sin, we would be facing eternity in hell and been found to be liars.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Was Christ really dead for three days?

I wrote in a previous post about scoffers who made fun of the descriptions of hell in the Bible. Just as wrong-headed is the notion that Christ wasn't crucified on Good Friday. People who hold to that view say that Jesus was in Joseph's toomb for seventy-two hours. What they don't realize is that first-century people told time differently than we do.

In all four gospel accounts, Christ was crucified on the day before the sabbath. After the sabbath was the first day of the week. And as you can read in the first chapter of Genesis, sundown was reckoned as the beginning of the new day.

The Jews also were told not to leave a dead body unburried on the sabbath. As John 19:31 and 32 (KJV) explains, "The Jews therefore, because it was the  preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on  the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought  Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken  away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him." Since Jesus was already dead, a soldier shoved a spear into his side to make sure he was deceased.

These things were done before sundown to fulfil the law. Not yet being the sabbath, the day was claimed as a full day without any fussing about  hours and minutes. This meant that Christ was put into the tomb on that first day, his body was there on the sabbath, and he rose early on the third day.

Assuming that it had to be exactly seventy-two hours and zero minutes is foolish at best and prideful at worst. Misapprehensions like that come from ignorance of the customs, laws, and regulations of the time in which the scriptures were being written. This is why Bible readers must learn all about the times and ways of the folks to whom the books of the Bible were written.

When I get out of debt and save up enough money, I want to publish my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Many people mistakenly claim various ideas as biblical when they actually arent. Additionally, naive believers fall for these blasphemous lies. My hope is that my writing will prevent them from falling for spiritual scams.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Why Was Christ Crucified?

Continuing on with this month's theme, I need to explain why Christ was crucified. Jesus himself explained why in John 3:16 (KJV). "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

From the beginning, God's plan of salvation called for his son to be the substitute to take the punishment of those who would put their lives in his hands. He promised this way back in Genesis 3:15. The King James Version reads, "And I (God) will put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman, (Eve) and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." This "seed" is none other than Jesus Christ. The "him" in that passage is the Devil.

Isaiah 53:5 (KJV)foretold Christ's atoning work.  "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

Furthermore, Jesus was no hapless victim, as some folks believe but a willing saviour who died and rose to save his followers. John 10:18 (KJV) reads, "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."

Being human as well as divine, Jesus still had his qualms about being our spiritual whipping boy. John 12:27 (KJV) records him as saying, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour:' but for this cause came I unto this hour."

Jesus could have easily chickened out but he staid the course. John 18:37 (KJV) describes how he was resolute in his purpose. "Pilate therefore said unto him, 'Art thou a king then?' Jesus answered, 'Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.'"

Christ knew what his sacrifice would eventually accomplish. Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) explains, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

In addition to having all power and authority in heaven and earth, Christ is our go-between, advocating our case to his heavenly Father. As Hebrews 9:15 (KJV) explains, "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."

Additionally, Christ always had the long view in mind. 1 Corinthians 15:28 (KJV) shows this when Paul wrote, "And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all."

What an awesome truth this is! From before creation, the Trinity agreed on this mighty plan to provide Christ a gift, meaning those who would believe in him, so he could lay us at the Father's feet as a token of his love.

I hope to write much more on this mind-boggling rescue mission and gift of love in a book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? If people could have even a glimpse of how comprehensive the Lord's plan is, it would astonish them and even cause them to surrender to Christ's will.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Do Our Souls Sleep Until Christ's Return?

This month, I'd like to move on to the subject of the resurrection. It's the most important factor in our lives and our eternal destination. But I first want to clear up the matter of what happens before we believers rise from the dead.

I read a blog post recently which claimed that Christians don't go to heaven when they die. This sounds like the doctrine of soul sleep to me.

One scripture passage which the post claimed to prove soul sleep is 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 17 (KJV). "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

It's obvious from the passage that this is speaking of resurrection at the last day. Even so, some people think that the word "sleep" in the previous verses means that the souls of Christians remain in the ground.

But what about John 11:11 to 14? The King James Version renders the words of Christ this way. "These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, 'Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.' Then said his disciples, 'Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.' Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead.'"

And what of Revelation 6:9 to 11? The Bible in Basic English reads, "And when the fifth stamp was undone, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been put to death for the word of God, and for the witness which they kept. And they gave a great cry, saying, 'How long will it be, O Ruler, holy and true, before you take your place as judge and give punishment for our blood to those on the earth?' And there was given to every one a white robe, and they were ordered to take their rest for a little time, till the number was complete of the other servants, their brothers, who would be put to death, even as they had been."

Any clear-thinking person can understand from the contexts of those verses that sleep is a euphemism for death. It's also obvious that the souls of departed believers are in the presence of God. As Paul pointed out in 2 Corinthians 5:8 (KJV), "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." He never said he or we would rest in the ground.

Because I was grossly misled by wicked phoneys, claiming to be advanced teachers of spiritual revelation, I wrote How I Was Razed. This glorious testimony shows how the Lord led me out of a toxic church and into his awesome truth.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

What Can You Do to Escape Hell?

Bearing in mind what I've written in the past few posts, the answer is obvious. God is calling everybody through Christ and his followers to turn from their rebellion against him.

Paul and Barnabas gave the right answer which is recorded in Acts 14:15 (KJV). After healing a lame man, local people jumped to the conclusion that their gods had come down to them in the fashion of men. The priests of the false gods were ready to sacrifice animals to them.

Paul restrained their misguided actions with these words, "And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:"

The next step is to follow Christ, obeying his teachings. The first step of obedience is being baptized as a public display for  the world to see. Christ said in Mark 16:16 (KJV), "He that believeth and is baptized shall be  saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." This shows that baptism is for those who trust in Christ and want to obey his commands.

But the  work of following the Saviour doesn't end there. Romans 12:2 (KJV) states, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

One thing I never was told about when I was a new believer was the need to gather with fellow Christians. Hebrews 10:23-25 explains why. Here's how the Bible in Basic English renders these verses:

23  Let us keep the witness of our hope strong and unshaking, for he is true who has given his word:
24   And let us be moving one another at all times to love and good works;
25   Not giving up our meetings, as is the way of some, but keeping one another strong in faith; and all the more because you see the day coming near

Discipleship is highly important for new believers. Had I been mentored by mature believers, I wouldn't have ended up in a toxic house church which taught blasphemous doctrines. I wrote how the Lord led me out of error and into truth in a book called How I Was Razed. Follow that link to learn more about this wondrous miracle.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

What About People Who Were "Good" All Their Lives?

In past posts, I've established that the Bible says that people who refuse to repent and ask Christ to save them are bound for hell. I've also established that we can't go to heaven on our own merits since no person is without sin. Even so, some folks seem to have lived such righteous lives that they ought to be in heaven after they die.

The Pharisees appeared likely candidates for Heaven. According to their outward show of piety, they must have seemed like extremely holy people to the general public of Christ's day.

But Jesus wasn't fooled by their outward religiosity. Look at the parable he gave them in Luke 18:9-15. Here's how the Bible in Basic English renders the story:

9   And he made this story for some people who were certain that they were good, and had a low opinion of others:
10   Two men went up to the Temple for prayer; one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-farmer.
11   The Pharisee, taking up his position, said to himself these words: God, I give you praise because I am not like other men, who take more than their right, who are evil-doers, who are untrue to their wives, or even like this tax-farmer.
12   Twice in the week I go without food; I give a tenth of all I have.
13   The tax-farmer, on the other hand, keeping far away, and not lifting up even his eyes to heaven, made signs of grief and said, God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
14   I say to you, This man went back to his house with God's approval, and not the other: for everyone who makes himself high will be made low and whoever makes himself low will be made high.

Tax collectors were the most hated people in Jewish society since they worked for the occupying Roman empire and they extorted extra money for themselves. Pharisees were thought of by the public as being the most holy temple members. Jesus pointed out that it's penitent sinners who are justified by God, not self-righteous people who place their heavenly hope in what they do.

Self-righteous attitudes are what condemn people, even ones who seem to be doing many good works. It's the intent of their hearts which God knows and he's not fooled by outward acts of charity.

This is why I'm writing my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? No matter how laudable people's deeds are, they're only for show if their lives aren't given over to serving Jesus Christ.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Is Hell Really on Fire?

This is a question which scoffers use to make fun of hell. They do so because the torments described in the Bible seem to contradict each other. For example, the words "fire" and "darkness" are used to depict the way hell is. But how can fire be black? That seems illogical upon the face of it.

What critics of the Bible miss is that these words are metaphors. Additionally, they barely convey the horrific conditions suffered by its occupants.

The most graphic depiction of hell is recorded in Luke 16:19-31. Christ told a parable to show the people listening to him the horrific nature of hell.

This is how the Bible in Basic English renders the story:

19 Now there was a certain man of great wealth, who was dressed in fair clothing of purple and delicate linen, and was shining and glad every day.
20   And a certain poor man, named Lazarus, was stretched out at his door, full of wounds,
21   Desiring the broken bits of food which came from the table of the man of wealth; and even the dogs came and put their tongues on his wounds.
22   And in time the poor man came to his end, and angels took him to Abraham's breast. And the man of wealth came to his end, and was put in the earth.
23   And in hell, being in great pain, lifting up his eyes he saw Abraham, far away, and Lazarus on his breast.
24   And he gave a cry and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus, so that he may put the end of his finger in water and put it on my tongue, for I am cruelly burning in this flame.
25   But Abraham said, Keep in mind, my son, that when you were living, you had your good things, while Lazarus had evil things: but now, he is comforted and you are in pain.
26   And in addition, there is a deep division fixed between us and you, so that those who might go from here to you are not able to do so, and no one may come from you to us.
27   And he said, Father, it is my request that you will send him to my father's house;
28   For I have five brothers; and let him give them an account of these things, so that they may not come to this place of pain.
29   But Abraham said, They have Moses and the prophets; let them give ear to what they say.
30   And he said, No, father Abraham, but if someone went to them from the dead, their hearts would be changed.
31   And he said to him, If they will not give attention to Moses and the prophets, they will not be moved even if someone comes back from the dead.

I intend on writing much more about this important subject in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Hell is nothing to joke about or to consider it of being no consequence. As the above scriptures show, there's no escape from hell.