Faith Is Obeying God

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

Most people view faith as merely believing God. Though faith involves believing God, not all who believe God have faith in him. For instance, devils also believe there is one God and even tremble before him, but they don’t have faith in him!

James 2:19 You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

So, faith implies more than just believing God. Biblical faith implies obedience to God and his word, as evidence of our belief in him. From the chronicle of men of faith in the Scriptures, we discover that their acts of faith were tied to their obedience to God’s commandments. Noah obeyed God’s command to build an ark and shelter in it for safety against a flood that was promised would destroy the world. That was described as an act of faith. When God commanded Abraham to leave his father’s house and go to a strange land he didn’t know of, Abraham obeyed. That was described as an act of faith. When God commanded Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to him, Abraham obeyed. Bible described Abraham’s obedience as an act of faith. Thus, we see from the heroes of faith in the Bible that faith involves not just believing God, but more importantly, it implies obeying him and doing his commandments.

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went.

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

Hebrews 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall your seed be called:

Hebrews 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from where also he received him in a figure.

Faith as an act of obedience to God’s revealed will or directive is implied in the fact that faith comes by hearing the word of God. Faith may come by hearing the word of God, but mere hearing of God’s word without acting upon it is no faith. Faith may come by hearing God’s word, but biblical faith is demonstrated by obeying God’s word! If a man hears the word of God and acts upon it, he has faith in God. If a man hears the word of God and refuses to act upon it, though he may claim to believe God, but like the demons who believe God and tremble, such a man has no faith in God! Faith is not a feeling we work up in our minds. Faith is the individual’s response to the word of God. If we obey God’s word and act accordingly on it, we have faith. If we hear God’s word and we refuse to obey it, we do not have faith. If we disobey and rebel against God’s word, we are simply faithless! Refusing to obey God’s commandments is evidence of unbelief, even if we claim to believe God!

Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias said, Lord, who has believed our report?

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is preached among men for people to believe and obey, in order to be saved. It is the obedience of faith in the gospel that saves. Jesus said that for a man to be saved, he must repent and believe the gospel. Only those who believe the gospel and are baptised shall be saved. That’s what Jesus said. If a man claims to believe Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, but refuses to be baptised as Jesus commanded, is the man displaying faith? Such a man who repents, but refuses to be baptised will not have his sins remitted, for only those who repent and are baptised are promised remission of sins, according to the Scriptures. True believers are those who obey God’s commandments completely, not those who act otherwise. Jesus likened those who hear his words but do not obey them as foolish people who build their houses on the foundation of sinking sand. That faithless structure is destined for a monumental collapse!

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

The Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.

Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Romans 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

Romans 16:27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

Matthew 7:26 And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be likened to a foolish man, which built his house on the sand:

Matthew 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

In conclusion, faith is an act of obedience to God’s commandment, and is not just believing God, for one can claim to mentally believe God and fail to obey him, like the devils who believe God and tremble, but do not have faith in him. Faith comes by hearing God’s word, and is demonstrated by obeying God’s word. Inward faith is revealed by outward obedience to the word of God. That’s how a man is justified in the sight of God—by hearing the word of God and by believing and obeying it. Anything contrary to this is not faith. Thus, one can believe in God and still perish, if he or she does not obey God’s directive on what to do to be saved.

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The Fallacy Of The Unconditional Love Of God

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

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

St. John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

St. John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

In the passage above, the Lord was emphatic about those the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the Holy Trinity) would love and make their abode in them—those who love the Lord. God will not love everyone in a profound, personal way, to make his abode in them. Only those who love him will have the divine love expressed to them in such a profound, personal way. That much was said by the Lord himself.

God’s general love for humanity is manifested in giving out his only begotten Son as the atonement for sinful mankind. Although all men can benefit from this profound love, not all men will. Only those who accept God’s sacrifice of his Son, believe him as Lord and Saviour and obey his gospel will be personally loved by God. Those who reject God’s salvation, which is the evidence of his love, will experience his wrath and judgement instead. The wrath of God, not his love, will abide on such disobedient people.

St. John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

St. John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

St. John 3:16 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.

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

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

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

St. John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

St. John 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

St. John 3:35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

St. John 3:36 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.

So, only those who love the Lord will experience the extravagant, personal love of God. How does a man love God? The Scripture is very clear about that. Loving God is not a sentimental feeling. It’s not just what we sing or say with our mouths. Loving God is demonstrated in only one way—by obedience to his commandments. Jesus said that if we love him, we should keep his commandments, just as he loved the Father and kept the Father’s commandments. His love for the Father was demonstrated by his obedience to do the Father’s will. Our love for Christ can only be demonstrated by our doing his will and by keeping his commandments. He that claims to love God, but does not keep his commandments, is a liar. The love of God is not in such a person. So, we don’t love God in words, but in deeds, by obeying his commandments.

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

St. John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

St. John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

St. John 14:24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

St. John 14:31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

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

St. John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

St. John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Finally, only those who love the Lord are guaranteed answers to their prayers and God’s blessings. It’s only those who do things that are pleasing in his sight that receive his special favour. Just as the Son did only those things that pleased the Father and thus became his beloved Son in whom he was well pleased, so is it in our relationship with Christ. Only those who obey his commandments, abide in him and do only things that are pleasing in his sight are his well beloved. Only to such people will he manifest himself in profound ways. Those who disobey and rebel against his commandments will not become his well beloved in whom he’s well pleased. Those who do not abide in him are in danger of being cut off, not loved unconditionally.

St. John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

St. John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

St. John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

St. John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

St. John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

St. John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

St. John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

St. John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

St. John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

St. John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

St. John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

1 John 3:19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

1 John 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

1 John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

In conclusion, the love of God, though potentially available to all men, will only be experienced in a personal and profound way by those who receive his love and in return love and obey him. Only those who believe and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and obey his gospel will experience the abiding love of God. Only those who keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight will receive his special love and blessings. Thus, the love of God is not unconditional, to be experienced by all men, however they choose to live in relation to God’s commandments. Those who disobey God and rebel against his will will experience the fullness of his wrath, not his love. That’s what the Scripture teaches.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

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Has The Church Replaced Israel In God’s Eternal Plan?

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

In the Old Testament, God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham and his descendants, to be their God and for them to be his special people. This covenant was passed down from Abraham through Isaac unto Jacob (Israel) and his sons, who became the nation of Israel. From their liberation from captivity in Egypt, Israel became God’s chosen nation and occupied a special place in God’s plan and in God’s heart. In fact, God declared himself to be Israel’s husband, having married the nation to himself. That’s the relationship between God and Israel—that of husband and wife. Thus, in the Old Testament, Israel was portrayed as the apple of God’s eyes, and the centerpiece of God’s redemptive plan for the whole of mankind. The Messiah (Jesus Christ) and salvation came through them and the nation became the first fruits of God’s salvation blessings.

Genesis 12:1 Now the Lord had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.

Genesis 12:2 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.

Genesis 12:3 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.

Genesis 17:2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”

Genesis 17:3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying:

Genesis 17:4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.

Genesis 17:5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.

Genesis 17:6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.

Genesis 17:7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.

Genesis 17:8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

Genesis 17:9 And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.

Genesis 17:10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised;

Genesis 17:11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.

Genesis 17:12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant.

Genesis 17:13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

Genesis 17:14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”

Genesis 17:15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.

Genesis 17:16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”

Genesis 22:15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven,

Genesis 22:16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—

Genesis 22:17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.

Genesis 22:18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

Exodus 19:2 For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain.

Exodus 19:3 And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:

Exodus 19:4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.

Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.

Exodus 19:6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Jeremiah 3:11 Then the Lord said to me, “Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.

Jeremiah 3:12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say:
‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the Lord;
‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you.
For I am merciful,’ says the Lord;
‘I will not remain angry forever.

Jeremiah 3:13 Only acknowledge your iniquity,
That you have transgressed against the Lord your God,
And have scattered your charms
To alien deities under every green tree,
And you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the Lord.

Jeremiah 3:14 “Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.

Jeremiah 3:15 And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.

Jeremiah 3:16 “Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days,” says the Lord, “that they will say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore.

Jeremiah 3:17 “At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts.

John 4:21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.
John 4:22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.

However, Israel as a nation (urged on by their leaders) rejected their Messiah and crucified him. Because of the nation’s unbelief, they were blinded and cut off from God’s blessings and left to wander about in spiritual darkness. Since then, the nation has been visited with one calamity after another, suffering the consequences of rejecting and crucifying their Messiah. The gospel, initially targeted at them, became offered to the Gentiles instead, when they rejected it, leading to the in-grafting of the believing Gentiles into God’s tree of grace, while Israel, the natural branch of that tree, was cut off. Because the predominantly Gentile church, the mystical body of Christ, now occupies the same exalted position as Israel used to occupy in the Old Testament, some have opined that the church has now replaced Israel in God’s plan, and all prophecies meant for Israel as a nation should now be applied to the church. Accordingly, some people apply Biblical prophecies meant for Israel to the church and believe the church has now taken Israel’s place, to carry on with God’s eternal plan. Has Israel ceased to feature in God’s plan because the nation is presently out of favour with God? Is the blindness that has happened to Israel total and permanent? Has Israel been irreversibly cut off from God’s favour? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

The Acts 13:44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.

The Acts 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul.

The Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.

The Acts 13:47 For so the Lord has commanded us:
‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

The Acts 13:48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

Romans 9:1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,

Romans 9:2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.

Romans 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,

Romans 9:4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises;

Romans 9:5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

Romans 9:6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel,

Romans 9:7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”

Romans 9:8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

Romans 9:9 For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”

Romans 9:10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac

Romans 9:11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),

Romans 9:12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”

Romans 9:13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!

Romans 9:15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”

Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

Romans 9:17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”

Romans 9:18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

Romans 9:19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”

Romans 9:20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”

Romans 9:21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

Romans 9:22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,

Romans 9:23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,

Romans 9:24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Romans 9:25 As He says also in Hosea:
“I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved, who was not beloved.”

Romans 9:26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”

Romans 9:27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:
“Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,
The remnant will be saved.

Romans 9:28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.”

Romans 9:29 And as Isaiah said before:
“Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed,
We would have become like Sodom,
And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”

Romans 9:30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;

Romans 9:31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.

Romans 9:32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.

Romans 9:33 As it is written:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

In his parting address to Israel, Moses warned the nation to remain faithful to the laws God had given them through him, in order to continue to retain God’s blessings and favour as his chosen nation. He reminded Israel of the consequences of rebellion against God, which would include plagues, famines and wars, and ultimately displacement from the promised land and dispersion to the ends of the earth, under Gentile dominion. Moses equally held out a way back to God’s favour and blessings to the nation—however far God would disperse them, if they would repent and turn back to him in obedience, God would forgive and bring them back to the promised land and to their exalted position as God’s chosen and favoured nation. The covenant God made their forefathers was an everlasting one that could not be annuled, because God had ratified it with an oath, and had sworn by himself to uphold that covenant forever. For their ancestors’ sake, the nation could not be cut off from the covenantal blessings of God. For sure God would discipline and chastise them for rebellion, but he would not completely destroy them, but would eventually gather them back to fulfil the promises made to their fathers.

Deuteronomy 29:1 These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He made with them in Horeb.

Deuteronomy 29:2 Now Moses called all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land—

Deuteronomy 29:3 the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders.

Deuteronomy 29:4 Yet the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day.

Deuteronomy 29:5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet.

Deuteronomy 29:6 You have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or similar drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 29:7 And when you came to this place, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan came out against us to battle, and we conquered them.

Deuteronomy 29:8 We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh.

Deuteronomy 29:9 Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.

Deuteronomy 29:10 “All of you stand today before the Lord your God: your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel,

Deuteronomy 29:11 your little ones and your wives—also the stranger who is in your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water—

Deuteronomy 29:12 that you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath, which the Lord your God makes with you today,

Deuteronomy 29:13 that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and that He may be God to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Deuteronomy 29:14 “I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone,

Deuteronomy 29:15 but with him who stands here with us today before the Lord our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today

Deuteronomy 29:16 (for you know that we dwelt in the land of Egypt and that we came through the nations which you passed by,

Deuteronomy 29:17 and you saw their abominations and their idols which were among them—wood and stone and silver and gold);

Deuteronomy 29:18 so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood;

Deuteronomy 29:19 and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’—as though the drunkard could be included with the sober.

Deuteronomy 29:20 “The Lord would not spare him; for then the anger of the Lord and His jealousy would burn against that man, and every curse that is written in this book would settle on him, and the Lord would blot out his name from under heaven.

Deuteronomy 29:21 And the Lord would separate him from all the tribes of Israel for adversity, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this Book of the Law,

Deuteronomy 29:22 so that the coming generation of your children who rise up after you, and the foreigner who comes from a far land, would say, when they see the plagues of that land and the sicknesses which the Lord has laid on it:

Deuteronomy 29:23 ‘The whole land is brimstone, salt, and burning; it is not sown, nor does it bear, nor does any grass grow there, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and His wrath.’

Deuteronomy 29:24 “All nations would say, ‘Why has the Lord done so to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean?’

Deuteronomy 29:25 Then people would say: ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt;

Deuteronomy 29:26 for they went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods that they did not know and that He had not given to them.

Deuteronomy 29:27 Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against this land, to bring on it every curse that is written in this book.

Deuteronomy 29:28 And the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.’

Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 30:1 “Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you,

Deuteronomy 30:2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul,

Deuteronomy 30:3 that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you.

Deuteronomy 30:4 If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you.

Deuteronomy 30:5 Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.

Deuteronomy 30:6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

Deuteronomy 30:7 “Also the Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.

Deuteronomy 30:8 And you will again obey the voice of the Lord and do all His commandments which I command you today.

Deuteronomy 30:9 The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers,

Deuteronomy 30:10 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Deuteronomy 30:11 “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off.

Deuteronomy 30:12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’

Deuteronomy 30:13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’

Deuteronomy 30:14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.

Deuteronomy 30:15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil,

Deuteronomy 30:16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.

Deuteronomy 30:17 But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them,

Deuteronomy 30:18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess.

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;

Deuteronomy 30:20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

The prophets who came after Moses also reiterated this point about Israel’s assured place of eminence in God’s eternal plan. Even when Israel was out of favour with God, they spoke of a glorious time in the future kingdom age when Isreal would be restored to her position of glory as head over all the nations on earth. Under the restored Davidic kingdom to be ruled by the Messiah during the age of regeneration, Israel would once more become a force to reckon with in world affairs. The promises God made to their fathers would eventually be fulfilled. Thus, no prophet in Scripture ever spoke of Israel being totally and irreversibly cut off from God’s favour, to be replaced by another entity. To be sure, the prophets foretold of the Gentiles being admitted into God’s grace and becoming a people called after God’s name. They spoke about Gentiles finding what Israel had sought for centuries (the Messiah) and finally coming to the same place of favour with God as Israel. However, the prophets spoke of God using the Gentiles to provoke backslidden Israel to jealousy, with the ultimate goal of causing the returning of Israel to God and back to her favoured position and blessings. Some people among the Gentiles would become a people called by God’s name, but Israel remains the only nation called by God’s name.

Isaiah 54:1 “Sing, O barren,
You who have not borne!
Break forth into singing, and cry aloud,
You who have not labored with child!
For more are the children of the desolate
Than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 54:2 “Enlarge the place of your tent,
And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;
Do not spare;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your stakes.

Isaiah 54:3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left,
And your descendants will inherit the nations,
And make the desolate cities inhabited.

Isaiah 54:4 “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed;
Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame;
For you will forget the shame of your youth,
And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.

Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband,
The Lord of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.

Isaiah 54:6 For the Lord has called you
Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Like a youthful wife when you were refused,”
Says your God.

Isaiah 54:7 “For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
But with great mercies I will gather you.

Isaiah 54:8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
Says the Lord, your Redeemer.

Isaiah 54:9 “For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
For as I have sworn
That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
So have I sworn
That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.

Isaiah 54:10 For the mountains shall depart
And the hills be removed,
But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,”
Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.

Ezekiel 36:1 “And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, ‘O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord!

Ezekiel 36:2 Thus says the Lord God: “Because the enemy has said of you, ‘Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession,’”’

Ezekiel 36:3 therefore prophesy, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Because they made you desolate and swallowed you up on every side, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you are taken up by the lips of talkers and slandered by the people”—

Ezekiel 36:4 therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, the valleys, the desolate wastes, and the cities that have been forsaken, which became plunder and mockery to the rest of the nations all around—

Ezekiel 36:5 therefore thus says the Lord God: “Surely I have spoken in My burning jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who gave My land to themselves as a possession, with wholehearted joy and spiteful minds, in order to plunder its open country.”’

Ezekiel 36:6 “Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, and the valleys, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and My fury, because you have borne the shame of the nations.”

Ezekiel 36:7 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “I have raised My hand in an oath that surely the nations that are around you shall bear their own shame.

Ezekiel 36:8 But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come.

Ezekiel 36:9 For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown.

Ezekiel 36:10 I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt.

Ezekiel 36:11 I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bear young; I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.

Ezekiel 36:12 Yes, I will cause men to walk on you, My people Israel; they shall take possession of you, and you shall be their inheritance; no more shall you bereave them of children.”

Ezekiel 36:13 ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Because they say to you, ‘You devour men and bereave your nation of children,’

Ezekiel 36:14 therefore you shall devour men no more, nor bereave your nation anymore,” says the Lord God.

Ezekiel 36:15 “Nor will I let you hear the taunts of the nations anymore, nor bear the reproach of the peoples anymore, nor shall you cause your nation to stumble anymore,” says the Lord God.’”

Ezekiel 36:16 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

Ezekiel 36:17 “Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds; to Me their way was like the uncleanness of a woman in her customary impurity.

Ezekiel 36:18 Therefore I poured out My fury on them for the blood they had shed on the land, and for their idols with which they had defiled it.

Ezekiel 36:19 So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds.

Ezekiel 36:20 When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name—when they said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they have gone out of His land.’

Ezekiel 36:21 But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went.

Ezekiel 36:22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.

Ezekiel 36:23 And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.

Ezekiel 36:24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.

Ezekiel 36:25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

Ezekiel 36:28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.

Ezekiel 36:29 I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you.

Ezekiel 36:30 And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations.

Ezekiel 36:31 Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations.

Ezekiel 36:32 Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord God, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!”

Ezekiel 36:33 ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt.

Ezekiel 36:34 The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by.

Ezekiel 36:35 So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’

Ezekiel 36:36 Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken it, and I will do it.”

Ezekiel 36:37 ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them: I will increase their men like a flock.

Ezekiel 36:38 Like a flock offered as holy sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem on its feast days, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”’”

Paul confirmed this message of the prophets in his letter to the Christians in Rome. The apostle to the Gentiles revealed God’s everlasting love for Israel by reminding Gentile believers that though Israel was presently out of favour with God, they would eventually be restored. God may have cut off Israel’s branch from his vine because of their unbelief and grafted the Gentiles in, but being the original branch of that vine, grafting them back in would be much easier than the grafting in of the wild Gentile branch into God’s vine. At the fullness of time, when the fullness of the Gentiles had come in, Israel would be saved and restored back to her glory. That would be at the end of the church age, after the rapture of the church. The gospel would return to the Jews and Israel would come to accept Christ officially as her Messiah. Ungodliness would be taken away from Israel and the nation’s repentance would be national and total, and her full glory and favour with God would be restored. Restored Israel would be the focus of the antichrist during the great tribulation (the period between the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ), and God would help her marvelously to escape the wrath of the antichrist. In the end, all Israel would be saved, and the nation would be restored to her position as God’s own country and the number one nation on earth. Right now, Israel is not where she ought to be, but no entity can take her place in God’s scheme—not the church, and not any nation on earth! Israel may be out of favour with God right now, but she’ll be restored at the appropriate time and she’ll go back to her position and glory as of old. God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants (the Jews) still stands, because it’s an everlasting covenant. Thus, even in her fallen state, God will still bless those that bless Israel and curse those that curse her. That’s why the church needs to be careful how it relates with Israel. Though the nation of Israel is spiritually blind to the things of God and is actually fighting God’s plans in Christ right now and opposing the gospel, Israel still remains God’s covenanted chosen nation, and we should still remember to pray for the nation’s restoration and for God’s mercy upon her. The Church has not taken Israel’s position but is simply sharing in Israel’s blessings. Let us not lose sight of that fact, lest we become arrogant and proud in our own conceit, for then we would be in danger of suffering the same fate Israel is now suffering. Israel is where she is now because of unbelief and pride.

Romans 11:1 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

Romans 11:2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying,

Romans 11:3 “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”?

Romans 11:4 But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”

Romans 11:5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

Romans 11:7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

Romans 11:8 Just as it is written:
“God has given them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes that they should not see
And ears that they should not hear,
To this very day.”

Romans 11:9 And David says:
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
A stumbling block and a recompense to them.

Romans 11:10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see,
And bow down their back always.”

Romans 11:11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.

Romans 11:12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!

Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,

Romans 11:14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.

Romans 11:15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

Romans 11:16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Romans 11:17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,

Romans 11:18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

Romans 11:19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.”

Romans 11:20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.

Romans 11:21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.

Romans 11:22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

Romans 11:23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

Romans 11:24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

Romans 11:25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Romans 11:26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;

Romans 11:27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”

Romans 11:28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Romans 11:30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience,

Romans 11:31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.

Romans 11:32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

Romans 11:34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”

Romans 11:35 “Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”

Romans 11:36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

Zechariah 12:11 In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

Zechariah 12:12 And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves;

Zechariah 12:13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves;

Zechariah 12:14 all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.

Zechariah 13:1 “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.

Zechariah 13:2 “It shall be in that day,” says the Lord of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land.

Zechariah 13:3 It shall come to pass that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who begot him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, because you have spoken lies in the name of the Lord.’ And his father and mother who begot him shall thrust him through when he prophesies.

Zechariah 13:4 “And it shall be in that day that every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies; they will not wear a robe of coarse hair to deceive.

Zechariah 13:5 But he will say, ‘I am no prophet, I am a farmer; for a man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.’

Zechariah 13:6 And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’

Zechariah 13:7 “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
Against the Man who is My Companion,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered;
Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.

Zechariah 13:8 And it shall come to pass in all the land,”
Says the Lord,
“That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
But one–third shall be left in it:

Zechariah 13:9 I will bring the one–third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’;
And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

During Christ’s earthly millennial kingdom, Israel will resume her place as head over all nations, and will be the headquarters of Christ’s kingdom, with Jerusalem as his throne. Israel will again be the centerpiece of God’s plan and will be the pilgrimage site for all peoples, as they bring their offerings of righteousness to the King of king and Lord of lords. Any nation that doesn’t come to worship God at Jerusalem will be cursed. The Davidic kingdom will be re-established, with Christ, the Son of David sitting upon David’s throne to rule Israel and the rest of the world in righteousness. The 12 apostles will sit on 12 thrones with him to judge (administer) the 12 tribes of Israel. Israel will once again be the light of the world and a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden. A reign of righteousness, peace and prosperity like the world has never known will be experienced under the kingship of this Son of David, which was foreshadowed by the rule of peace and prosperity experienced under David’s son, Solomon, but the glory of Christ’s kingdom will surpass that of Solomon a million fold! All the glorious promises made to Israel in Scripture that have not been fulfilled up till now will find fulfilment during this glorious period of Christ’s millennial reign as both King of the Jews and King of kings and Lord of lords. The glory of restored Israel will be thus be unimaginable compared to her former glory under God in the old testament, showing that no one has nor can take Israel’s place in the plan of God! God’s covenant love with Israel is simply everlasting and cannot be broken! God has sworn by himself and will not repent—he will never forsake nor totally abandon Israel.

Zechariah 14:1 Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,
And your spoil will be divided in your midst.

Zechariah 14:2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
The city shall be taken,
The houses rifled,
And the women ravished.
Half of the city shall go into captivity,
But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Zechariah 14:3 Then the Lord will go forth
And fight against those nations,
As He fights in the day of battle.

Zechariah 14:4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south.

Zechariah 14:5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley,
For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal.
Yes, you shall flee
As you fled from the earthquake
In the days of Uzziah king of Judah.
Thus the Lord my God will come,
And all the saints with You.

Zechariah 14:6 It shall come to pass in that day
That there will be no light;
The lights will diminish.

Zechariah 14:7 It shall be one day
Which is known to the Lord—
Neither day nor night.
But at evening time it shall happen
That it will be light.

Zechariah 14:8 And in that day it shall be
That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem,
Half of them toward the eastern sea
And half of them toward the western sea;
In both summer and winter it shall occur.

Zechariah 14:9 And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.
In that day it shall be—
“The Lord is one,”
And His name one.

Zechariah 14:10 All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin’s Gate to the place of the First Gate and the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses.

Zechariah 14:11 The people shall dwell in it;
And no longer shall there be utter destruction,
But Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.

Zechariah 14:12 And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem:
Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet,
Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets,
And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths.

Zechariah 14:13 It shall come to pass in that day
That a great panic from the Lord will be among them.
Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor,
And raise his hand against his neighbor’s hand;

Zechariah 14:14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem.
And the wealth of all the surrounding nations
Shall be gathered together:
Gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance.

Zechariah 14:15 Such also shall be the plague
On the horse and the mule,
On the camel and the donkey,
And on all the cattle that will be in those camps.
So shall this plague be.

Zechariah 14:16 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

Zechariah 14:17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain.

Zechariah 14:18 If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

Zechariah 14:19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

Zechariah 14:20 In that day “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar.

Zechariah 14:21 Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the Lord of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.

Luke 1:26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,

Luke 1:27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

Luke 1:28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

Luke 1:29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.

Luke 1:30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

Luke 1:31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.

Luke 1:32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.

Luke 1:33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Matthew 19:27 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?”

Matthew 19:28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Matthew 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.

Matthew 19:30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

In conclusion, the position of Israel as God’s chosen nation is firmly fixed in Scriptures. The covenant God made with Abraham and his descendants (the Jews) is an everlasting covenant that cannot be annuled, because God swore by himself to uphold that covenant forever. For sure, God promised to chastise Israel for disobedience and rebellion, and he has been unwavering in punishing the nation for their rebellion, allowing their enemies to subdue and rule over them, and blinding the nation to the truth of the Gospel, for rejecting and crucifying their Messiah. However, God’s cutting off of Israel from his favour is temporary and not forever. Israel will still be restored to her position of favour and glory, after the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled. All Scriptures concerning Israel will be fulfilled by Israel at the appointed time. The church now may be enjoying the same favour with God that Israel enjoyed exclusively in the old testament. However, the church has not replaced Israel in God’s plan. No entity can take the position and love God has reserved for Israel, his covenanted wife. Israel may be out of favour with God right now, but she will be restored after the rapture of the church. Israel will regain her position as the centerpiece of God’s government in the kingdom age, and will be the headquarters and seat of government of the Messianic kingdom of Christ in the millennial reign. Let no one therefore attempt to substitute Israel with the church, for Israel is the apple of God’s eye, and the centrepiece of his plan for the redemption of mankind. Therefore, let no one contemptuously look down on blind and backslidden Israel, nor gloat over her misfortunes, for she shall be healed and restored. Instead, let all who love the Lord pray for the good of Israel and bless the nation, for whoever blesses her is blessed and whoever curses her will be cursed.

Psalms 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.

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At What Point Do Believers In Christ Get Filled With The Spirit Of Christ To Become Christians?

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

The New Testament teaches that only those who have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them belong to Christ. The corollary is stated unequivocally by Paul—if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his! Such a man devoid of the Spirit of Christ is not a Christian, and cannot lay any claim to Christ, nor sonship to God! For, it is only those who are led by the Spirit of God (who dwells within them) that are called the sons (and daughters) of God (Note that the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost or the Spirit of God are one and the same).

Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Romans 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

Romans 8:13 For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Romans 8:15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Thus, according to the Scriptures, having the Spirit of Christ resident in someone is the only evidence of being a Christian. That makes receiving the Holy Spirit the most important issue for those who have believed the gospel and placed faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour. This view was corroborated by Paul, who, on meeting certain disciples in Ephesus, asked them only one question concerning their faith—if they had received the Holy Spirit after believing in Christ. And when these sincere (but ignorant) believers confessed not to have even heard of the Holy Spirit, Paul was taken aback, and must have wondered how they were led to Christ. He finally discovered that they had known only the baptism of John! He thereafter led them to Christ properly, by preaching faith in Christ Jesus and baptism in his name, as a prerequisite for receiving the Holy Spirit. After Paul had baptised them in the name of Jesus Christ and had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them. They were then filled with the Spirit of Christ, and could now legally lay claim to belonging to Christ! They were now full sons of God, having been filled with the Spirit of God.

The Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

The Acts 19:2 He said to them, Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? And they said to him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

The Acts 19:3 And he said to them, To what then were you baptized? And they said, To John’s baptism.

The Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John truly baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

The Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.

The Acts 19:7 And all the men were about twelve.

So, if being being filled with the indwelling Holy Spirit is the seal of Christianity, at what point do believers in Christ get filled with the Holy Spirit? Is every believer in Christ automatically filled with the Holy Spirit? Let’s examine the apostolic writings to answer these questions.

Jesus told his disciples that those who believed in him would have the indwelling Holy Spirit abiding in them and flowing from their hearts like rivers of living water. He said this would happen after he had been glorified (crucified, resurrected and ascended back to heaven to resume the glory he had with the Father before his incarnation). Thus, none of his followers had the Holy Spirit dwelling in them until after his ascension. Then, 10 days after his ascension (on the day of Pentecost), Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit upon his disciples, and they were baptised with the Holy Spirit who now became resident in them. The disciples now had the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them and now fully belonged to Christ. They were now full sons and daughters of God, being now sealed and led by the Spirit of God.

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink.

John 7:38 He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

John 7:39 (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

The Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

The Acts 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen:

The Acts 1:3 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:

The Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me.

The Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

The Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

The Acts 1:7 And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.

The Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.

The Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

The Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

The Acts 2:3 And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them.

The Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

John 1:11 He came to his own, and his own received him not.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will:

Ephesians 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption.

Having been baptised with the Holy Spirit, the apostles now had Christ’s full mandate to lead other people to the Lord and enable them get filled with the Spirit of Christ, in order for them to become Christians too and sons of God. Thus, on the day of Pentecost when Peter preached his first sermon after being baptised with the Holy Spirit himself, he instructed his listeners on how to get filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter’s instruction in this regard was clear and succinct: “repent and be baptised everyone, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. That’s the apostolic formula for receiving the Holy Spirit—repenting and getting baptised in water, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins. Only those whose sins have thus been remitted are qualified to receive the Holy Spirit, according to the original apostolic doctrine.

The Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made the same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

The Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.

Thus, we find that, when the gospel was taken to Samaria by Philip, the deacon-turned evangelist, those who believed and received the gospel were immediately baptised in water, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, in accordance with Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost. Now, having repented and been baptised in water, the people’s sins were remitted. However, the Holy Spirit did not automatically come upon them, to fill and indwell them. Peter and John had to come from Jerusalem to lay hands on these water baptised believers for them to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It was when the apostles had laid hands on them, that they were filled with the Holy Spirit. That’s when they were baptised into Christ and sealed in him, for it is by the infilling of the Holy Spirit that we’re baptised into Christ! That’s when we put on Christ and become Christians indeed! That’s when we get the Spirit of Christ to become truly his.

The Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ to them.

The Acts 8:6 And the people with one accord gave heed to those things which Philip spoke, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

The Acts 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.

The Acts 8:8 And there was great joy in that city.

The Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:

The Acts 8:10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.

The Acts 8:11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.

The Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

The Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

The Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John:

The Acts 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

The Acts 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen on none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

The Acts 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

1 John 3:24 And he that keeps his commandments dwells in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he stays in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.

From the apostolic writings then, we find that the Holy Spirit does not come automatically upon those who repent and believe the gospel. Even after repenting and being baptised in water in the name of Jesus Christ, some people had to wait for some time to receive the Holy Spirit. While some people received the Holy Spirit immediately after water baptism (following repentance), for others (like the Samaritans quoted above), there was a gap between water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That’s why Paul asked the disciples he met at Ephesus if they had received the Holy Spirit since (or after) they believed. Thus, we do not receive the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Christ (they are one and the same, for there is only one Spirit) automatically when we believe. We receive the Spirit after believing and being baptised in water. Therefore, preachers of the gospel must be deliberate and intentional in ministering the baptism of the Holy Spirit to people, after believing and being baptised with water. Like the Samaritan believers, it’s possible to believe and get water baptised and still not be filled with the Holy Spirit. And if, as we’ve shown from Scriptures, the indwelling Holy Spirit is the means of our getting into Christ and belonging to him, then every believer must seek the face of God for the infilling of the Holy Spirit, after believing and being water baptised, to complete the salvation process. That’s what Jesus and the original apostles preached and taught. According to Paul, the most important question to pose to any believer we meet is this: “have you received the Holy Spirit after (since) you believed?”. The answer to this question will define our Christianity and our standing with God.

The Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

The Acts 19:2 He said to them, Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? And they said to him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

In conclusion, the New Testament teaches that only those who have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within them belong to Christ and are truly Christians. We’re also taught that it’s the baptism of the Holy Spirit that puts believers into Christ (and Christ in them) and seals us in the body of Christ. Hence, the apostles of Christ made the baptism of the Holy Spirit the most important issue of the faith, on meeting new believers. Also, we saw that being filled with the Holy Spirit is not automatic after believing in Christ, for some people were known to be baptised in water without receiving the Holy Spirit immediately, with some time interval elapsing before they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, preachers of the gospel need to be deliberate and intentional in ministering the baptism of the Holy Spirit to people who have repented and have been water baptised, as the Holy Spirit does not come automatically on such people. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is too important an issue for Christians to treat with levity, for the Holy Spirit is the seal of our salvation. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, no one can become a Christian, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, without which no one can belong to Christ.

Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

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The Baptism Of Repentance For The Remission Of Sins

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

The place and relevance of water baptism for salvation in the New Testament is hotly contested. Some see baptism as a sacrament that literally regenerates, and can be used on its own to wash away sins, the same way a bath washes away dirt from the body, while others see it as just an after-thought ritual that doesn’t really affect salvation, by this meaning that one can be saved without the ordinance of water baptism. What’s the scriptural view on water baptism with respect to salvation? Is the practice necessary for salvation? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

The first instance of water baptism we encounter in the New Testament involved the ministry of John the Baptist. John was Christ’s forerunner, sent to prepare the way of the Lord. As a way of preparing the people of Israel to receive the Messiah, John preached the need for people to repent in order for their sins to be remitted. As a sign of their inward repentance, the people who heeded John’s message were required to be baptised by immersion in water. John’s baptism was called “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins”. John did not teach that his baptism on its own remitted sins. What remitted people’s sins was God’s pardon following their repentance, but that repentance and obedience had to be demonstrated by submitting to John’s baptism. Even the Lord Jesus Christ, though he had no sin to repent of and didn’t need any remission of sins, still subjected himself to John’s baptism, to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus recognised John’s baptism as ordained of God, and submitted to it, though he had no need to.

Matthew 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

Matthew 3:2 And saying, Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Matthew 3:4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.

Matthew 3:5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,

Matthew 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

Mark 1:2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before your face, which shall prepare your way before you.

Mark 1:3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Mark 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Mark 1:5 And there went out to him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

Matthew 3:13 Then comes Jesus from Galilee to Jordan to John, to be baptized of him.

Matthew 3:14 But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of you, and come you to me?

Matthew 3:15 And Jesus answering said to him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, see, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting on him:

Matthew 3:17 And see a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

The Pharisees and teachers of the law (the lawyers) rejected John’s baptism and did not submit to it, and Jesus called them out for that, making it clear to them that by rejecting John’s divinely ordained baptism, they had closed the door of salvation to themselves. The Pharisees made light of John’s baptism, but it was the way God had ordained to remit the sins of those who had listened to John’s preaching and had repented. If you claimed to repent but refused John’s baptism, it simply meant your sins were not remitted. That’s how God ordained it and the people had the choice of either accepting the entire package of salvation as designed by God (repentance followed immediately by baptism) or rejecting everything. They couldn’t repent alone and expect to be saved, without being baptised. Total obedience to God’s command was required for God to remit their sins, and this entailed repentance and water baptism. Thus, those who rejected the baptism of John actually rejected the counsel of God against themselves, for it was God that sent John to baptise with water following repentance, for the remission of sins. Are those who treat water baptism today with levity any different from those rebellious Pharisees of John’s time? Are those who try to take baptism out of the salvation equation (as proposed by the Lord himself) any better than the obstinate and self-willed Pharisees who would rather have their own traditions than accept the commandment of God? Let the word of God be true, and every man a liar!

Luke 7:24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak to the people concerning John, What went you out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

Luke 7:25 But what went you out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.

Luke 7:26 But what went you out for to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and much more than a prophet.

Luke 7:27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before your face, which shall prepare your way before you.

Luke 7:28 For I say to you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

Luke 7:29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.

Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.

Matthew 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority do you these things? and who gave you this authority?

Matthew 21:24 And Jesus answered and said to them, I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.

Matthew 21:25 The baptism of John, from where was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say to us, Why did you not then believe him?

Matthew 21:26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.

Matthew 21:27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said to them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

Matthew 21:28 But what think you? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.

Matthew 21:29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

Matthew 21:30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.

Matthew 21:31 Whether of them two did the will of his father? They say to him, The first. Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

Matthew 21:32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and you, when you had seen it, repented not afterward, that you might believe him.

Jesus too preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. He and his disciples also baptised people immediately they repented and believed the gospel. That was before Jesus was crucified! Thus, even before his death, the Lord preached and taught the necessity of water baptism following repentance, for the remission of sins.

John 3:26 And they came to John, and said to him, Rabbi, he that was with you beyond Jordan, to whom you bore witness, behold, the same baptizes, and all men come to him.

John 3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

John 3:28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.

John 3:29 He that has the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 3:31 He that comes from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaks of the earth: he that comes from heaven is above all.

John 3:32 And what he has seen and heard, that he testifies; and no man receives his testimony.

John 3:33 He that has received his testimony has set to his seal that God is true.

John 3:34 For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God: for God gives not the Spirit by measure to him.

John 3:35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.

John 3:36 He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God stays on him.

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, he committed the preaching of the gospel to his apostles, who were to take the gospel to all nations, and to baptise all who believe, in order for them to be saved. Here again, Jesus coupled salvation to believing the gospel and being baptised: “he that believes and is baptised shall be saved”. Thus, according to Jesus, water baptism is not an afterthought or an unnecessary part of the gospel message that could be ignored. It is not something to be done much later, if at all, after salvation. Jesus taught that water baptism was part and parcel of the salvation process. Without it, no repentance could lead to remission of sins! Without being baptised after one has repented, no one will be saved! That’s the gospel according to Jesus Christ! This informed Jesus’ message to Nicodemus that to be saved, one had to be born of water and of the Spirit. Being born of water refers to the remission of sins that follows water baptism, after repentance. Being born of the Spirit refers to the baptism of the Holy Spirit that follows repentance and water baptism. Water baptism (after repentance) together with the baptism of the Holy Spirit makes one to be born of both water and the Spirit. Only such a person can see/enter the kingdom of God (that is, be saved).

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.

Matthew 28:19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.

John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

John 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with him.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:4 Nicodemus said to him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

John 3:7 Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again.

The apostles of Jesus Christ understood his views on salvation perfectly and so emphasised water baptism immediately after repentance. On the day of Pentecost, when Peter’s convicted audience asked what they needed to do to be saved, Peter told them: “repent and be baptised everyone of you, for the remission of sin, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost”. And, the thousands who repented were baptised the same day, fulfilling Jesus’ command that “he that believes and is baptised shall be saved”. When Philip preached the gospel in Samaria, all that believed and repented were immediately baptised for the remission of their sins (born of water). Peter and John later came to lay hands on them to receive the Holy Ghost (to be born of the Spirit). Even people who received the Holy Spirit before water baptism (an exception to the rule) had to be immediately baptised by water, to be fully born again (born both of water and the Spirit). That’s how important the apostles viewed water baptism!

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

The Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.

The Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

The Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

The Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John:

The Acts 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

The Acts 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen on none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

The Acts 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

The Acts 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

The Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

The Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

When Paul himself repented after meeting Christ on his way to Damascus, Ananias was sent to him to tell him to arise and wash away his sins (be baptised), calling upon the name of the Lord. Thus was Paul (then Saul) baptised immediately by water, following his repentance, for the remission of sins. Paul too applied the same formula of salvation to all those he preached to, baptising people immediately they repented— he even had to baptise some people at midnight, to show the urgency and immediacy of water baptism, after one has repented and believed the gospel! That’s how important the issue of baptism was taken by the apostles! They didn’t see baptism as an afterthought, something to be postponed to a convenient date, after salvation. They saw it as part and parcel of the salvation process that couldn’t be delayed. No wonder Philip baptised a man on his way from church, in the same clothes he wore to church! Philip didn’t care he was going to soil the man’s clothes and make him go home drenched! The man’s baptism was too vital and too urgent to be put off till a more convenient time when a change of clothing could be arranged!

The Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared to you in the way as you came, has sent me, that you might receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight immediately, and arose, and was baptized.

The Acts 22:12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelled there,

The Acts 22:13 Came to me, and stood, and said to me, Brother Saul, receive your sight. And the same hour I looked up on him.

The Acts 22:14 And he said, The God of our fathers has chosen you, that you should know his will, and see that Just One, and should hear the voice of his mouth.

The Acts 22:15 For you shall be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.

The Acts 22:16 And now why tarry you? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

The Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises to God: and the prisoners heard them.

The Acts 16:26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

The Acts 16:27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

The Acts 16:28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do yourself no harm: for we are all here.

The Acts 16:29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

The Acts 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

The Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.

The Acts 16:32 And they spoke to him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

The Acts 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

The Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

The Acts 19:2 He said to them, Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? And they said to him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

The Acts 19:3 And he said to them, To what then were you baptized? And they said, To John’s baptism.

The Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John truly baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

The Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.

The Acts 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached to him Jesus.

The Acts 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what does hinder me to be baptized?

The Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

The Acts 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

The Acts 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

In conclusion, water baptism in the New Testament is an integral and inseparable part of the salvation process, being coupled to repentance, for the remission of sins. It was ordained of God in the baptism of John and in the post-resurrection great commission Jesus entrusted to his apostles. Thus, according to Jesus, “he that believes and is baptised shall be saved”. It is only those who have repented and have been baptised by water that are qualified to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which completes the salvation process, making the person to be born of both water and the Spirit. Baptism is thus not a trivial afterthought to be conducted at a later date for those who have repented, but a necessary part of the salvation process, without which there would be no remission of sins. That’s what Jesus and his original apostles taught and practiced.

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Abraham Was Not Justified By Faith Alone, And Neither Are We!

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

Abraham is often said to be justified (made right with God) by faith alone, just by believing God. By this, it is meant that Abraham just believed God, without doing anything further, and that was counted to him for righteousness. Following this line of reasoning, it is argued that to be justified and saved, one only has to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and do nothing else, as faith alone is sufficient to justify us before God. Is that really what the Scripture teaches? Are we justified by faith only? Was Abraham, the father of faith, justified by faith alone? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

It’s usually said that Abraham, the father of faith, was justified by faith alone. That he just believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. There’s no doubt that Abraham believed God and was justified by faith, and not by the works of the law, like the Jews under the law tried to do. Abraham didn’t work on his own to earn his right standing with God. He didn’t earn his salvation through good works, just like no man can, for we are all inherently sinful and can’t please God by our works of righteousness, which are just like filthy rags before him. But, was Abraham Justified by faith alone? Did he just believe God and was thus justified, without doing anything further? The apostle James does not believe so. In his epistle, James, one of the pillars of the early church in Jerusalem, pointed out the fact that Abraham was justified by faith alright, but not by faith alone! James taught that Abraham’s faith was proved by his works, and that it was after Abraham demonstrated his faith by his works that he was justified, not before! Abraham’s faith in God was tested by God’s command to Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to him. When Abraham passed this test, by his readiness to kill Isaac on the altar of sacrifice, in obedience to God, God approved his faith as real and living, and declared him righteous. Thus, it wasn’t just faith alone that justified Abraham, but faith plus works of faith! Abraham’s work of faith was in obeying God’s commandment after he had believed God.

James 2:17 Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

James 2:18 Yes, a man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

James 2:19 You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

James 2:20 But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son on the altar?

James 2:22 See you how faith worked with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which said, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

James 2:24 You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Genesis 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said to him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

Genesis 22:2 And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of.

Genesis 22:3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him.

Genesis 22:9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood.

Genesis 22:10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

Genesis 22:11 And the angel of the LORD called to him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

Genesis 22:12 And he said, Lay not your hand on the lad, neither do you any thing to him: for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son from me.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went.

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

Hebrews 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall your seed be called:

Hebrews 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from where also he received him in a figure.

That’s the same way Rahab the prostitute was justified—not by faith alone, but by faith coupled with works of faith. Rahab believed Jehovah, the God of Israel, was the true God, and that the spies were his servants. She had heard of the miracles of God in parting the red sea for his people to pass over, and of the victories of Israel over the Amorites. Therefore, Rahab believed Jericho would fall before the Israelites. Simply put, Rahab believed in the God of Israel as the omnipotent God. She didn’t witness those wonderful signs and miracles, but she heard and believed (faith comes by hearing, not seeing). If that was not faith, then what was it? However, Rahab demonstrated her faith by taking the personal risk of hiding the spies and lying to preserve their lives. If she had just believed alone, without helping the spies, her faith would have been useless, or dead, as James called such faith. Such dead faith cannot justify anyone. It cannot save anyone! Rahab couldn’t have saved herself and her family by just believing without acting to save the spies!

Joshua 2:1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

Joshua 2:2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in here to night of the children of Israel to search out the country.

Joshua 2:3 And the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to you, which are entered into your house: for they be come to search out all the country.

Joshua 2:4 And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men to me, but I knew not from where they were:

Joshua 2:5 And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: where the men went I know not: pursue after them quickly; for you shall overtake them.

Joshua 2:6 But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.

Joshua 2:7 And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan to the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.

Joshua 2:8 And before they were laid down, she came up to them on the roof;

Joshua 2:9 And she said to the men, I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that your terror is fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.

Joshua 2:10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when you came out of Egypt; and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.

Joshua 2:11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

Joshua 2:12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear to me by the LORD, since I have showed you kindness, that you will also show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token:

Joshua 2:13 And that you will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brothers, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

Joshua 2:14 And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if you utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.

Hebrews 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

James 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Now, let’s turn our attention to the requirements of justification for the believer in the gospel age, now that we’ve shown Abraham wasn’t justified by faith alone. Does the Bible teach that the believer is justified by faith alone, without doing any works to prove his faith? Is believing and confessing Christ as Lord and saviour enough to save anyone, without doing what Christ and the apostles said we must do after believing? Well, faith alone didn’t justify Abraham before God, like we saw from the Scriptures, and faith alone isn’t going to justify or save anyone in the gospel age. To be saved, our faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour must be demonstrated by our works of faith. The works of faith required of us, after believing, is to repent and be baptised by water in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins. Christ said only those who believe and are baptised shall be saved. Thus, believing alone, without getting baptised in water, makes our faith dead, for without works, faith alone is dead! Only an active, living faith in Christ can save us, and a living faith is simply faith coupled with works of faith. Like Abraham had to demonstrate his faith by obeying God, and was justified thereby, we too must demonstrate our faith, by obeying Christ in getting baptised after repentance, for us to be justified, otherwise our faith is dead, standing alone! The one who believes, repents and obeys Christ’s command to be water baptised is given the Holy Spirit as a seal of his faith, and is truly born again, being born of water and the Spirit. That’s how to be born again!

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.

Matthew 28:19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.

John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

John 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with him.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:4 Nicodemus said to him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

John 3:7 Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again.

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?

Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.

Matthew 7:24 Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house on a rock:

Matthew 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell not: for it was founded on a rock.

Matthew 7:26 And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be likened to a foolish man, which built his house on the sand:

Matthew 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

The Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.

The Acts 8:34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray you, of whom speaks the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

The Acts 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached to him Jesus.

The Acts 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what does hinder me to be baptized?

The Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

The Acts 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

The Acts 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

We see the same scenario in the story of the prodigal son. In the pigsty, he came to his senses, when he couldn’t even get enough husks to fill his hungry belly! Adversity is indeed a better teacher than prosperity, for it crushed the pride of the prodigal one and enabled him come to the realisation that he needn’t continue suffering as he was, when the servants in his father’s house had plenty to eat and to spare, while he had to wait for husks to fall from swine’s tables! He decided he was going back home to ask his father for forgiveness. That is the blessedness of adversity to the transgressor! It makes his way hard and compels him to amend, like nothing else can. The prodigal son believed his father would forgive him, even if it meant treating him as a servant rather than a son. Now, that’s faith. But he didn’t just sit there and fantasise with such beliefs. He got up and started going back home. He repented and made a U-turn. Now his faith was being put to work. When the father sighted him afar off, he ran and embraced him and wept over him. The father ordered a change of clothing for him, and for a ring (his seal) to be put on his finger. He was literally washed and his garment changed (a type of water baptism), and the father’s seal (ring) put on him. That’s a type of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that comes upon those who repent and get water baptised—those who obey Christ’s gospel in totality. Believing and remaining in the foreign land couldn’t have gotten him justified or saved. After believing, he had to repent, make a U-turn and come back home. Following repentance and coming to the father, he was washed, clothed with new garments and sealed. If that’s not repenting, getting water baptised and being sealed with the Holy Spirit (being born again), what is?

Luke 15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:

Luke 15:12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me. And he divided to them his living.

Luke 15:13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

Luke 15:14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

Luke 15:15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

Luke 15:16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave to him.

Luke 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

Luke 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you,

Luke 15:19 And am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of your hired servants.

Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Luke 15:21 And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight, and am no more worthy to be called your son.

Luke 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

Luke 15:23 And bring here the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

The Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey him.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption.

In conclusion, we’ve seen from the Scriptures that Abraham was justified, not by faith alone, but by faith accompanied by works of faith. His works of faith proved his faith as being genuine, and brought about his justification by God. Believers in Christ too are not just justified by believing, but must go on to repent and get water baptised to be saved, for Jesus taught that only those who believe and are baptised shall be saved. No wonder the apostles preached that to be saved, one must repent and be baptised for the remissions of sins and the person will then receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the seal of God, for only those sealed by God will be saved. There’s no other way to be saved in the gospel age. That’s what Jesus meant by being born of water and of the Spirit. That’s what it means to be born again!

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The Error Of The Salvation By Faith Alone Doctrine

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the American King James Version).

The doctrine of salvation by faith in Christ Jesus, outside of works, has been greatly misunderstood. The papists, like the Jews, go to one extreme to insist we must earn our salvation by good works, while some protestants, in rejecting the heresy of earning our salvation by good deeds, go to the opposite extreme of insisting salvation is by faith alone in Christ Jesus, by this, meaning that a man needs only believe in Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour, without doing anything further, to be saved. Thus, we find in many protestant circles that all the sinner is required to do to be saved is believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and recite the “sinner’s prayer”, without doing anything further! Does the gospel of Jesus Christ require that men only have faith in him and make a confession to be saved? What were men required to do to be saved in apostolic times? We shall examine the Scripture to answer these questions.

After his resurrection and before his ascension, the Lord Jesus gave his apostles the great commission to preach his gospel to every creation in order to get men saved. In the great commission, the Lord told us how men were to be saved— by believing the gospel and by being baptised, Jesus said men shall be saved. The Lord was emphatic about this—”he that believes and is baptised”, he said, “shall be saved”. Thus, the Lord made it clear that believing alone was not sufficient for salvation, and that those who believe in him as Lord and Saviour must be obedient to his command to be baptised by water to be saved. Therefore, any gospel of salvation must include the necessity of water baptism, immediately after believing the gospel.

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

Matthew 28:17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.

Matthew 28:19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.

Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

We find this formula given out to the Jews during the first evangelistic message of the apostles on the day of Pentecost. After a stirring message that pricked the heart and conscience of his listeners and convicted them of sin, the people cried out to the apostles, under the weight of their convictions, asking what to do to be saved. Peter’s response provides the formula for salvation for all sinners in the gospel age—”repent and be baptised, everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost”. To be saved, sinners, on hearing the gospel, need to first believe it and repent. To believe is to acknowledge that they are sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God. Thereafter, they must repent— have a change of mind and turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness of their sins, acknowledging him as Lord and Saviour and confessing him as such. Then, they must be baptised by immersion in water, which together with their repentance and faith in Christ, will allow God to forgive and blot out their past sins. After this, they are qualified to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is God’s seal of approval of their faith.

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

The Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.

The Acts 22:12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelled there,

The Acts 22:13 Came to me, and stood, and said to me, Brother Saul, receive your sight. And the same hour I looked up on him.

The Acts 22:14 And he said, The God of our fathers has chosen you, that you should know his will, and see that Just One, and should hear the voice of his mouth.

The Acts 22:15 For you shall be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.

The Acts 22:16 And now why tarry you? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

The Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

The Acts 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

The Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

The Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

This process was exactly what Jesus explained to Nicodemus on how to be born again. The Lord taught that, for a man to see and enter the kingdom of God (that is, for a man to be saved), he must be born of water and of the Spirit. To be born of water simply means to be water baptised (which can only come after one has repented and believed the gospel). After that, one needs to be born of the Spirit—simply meaning receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, which comes after one has repented and has been baptised in water. One must be born of both water and the Spirit to be saved! That’s the only way to see/ enter the kingdom of God! That’s what Jesus himself taught!

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:4 Nicodemus said to him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

John 3:7 Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again.

The error of the ‘faith in Christ only’ movement is in taking the words of Paul in Romans chapter 10 in isolation. Here, Paul taught the necessity of faith, as against works of the law, for salvation. He underscored the fact that it’s only by believing in Christ as Lord and Saviour, and confessing him as such, that salvation can be possible. But Paul did not teach that that alone was sufficient for salvation! Paul went ahead to immediately baptise every one who so repented and believed the gospel, and prayed for them to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, just like Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, and just like Jesus commissioned the apostles to do! Thus, we see that faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour must be coupled with water baptism in Jesus’ name, and the baptism of the Holy Sprit, for one to be saved! That’s how the apostles preached the gospel of salvation, and that’s how they led people to Christ!

Romans 10:8 But what said it? The word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

Romans 10:9 That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.

Romans 10:11 For the scripture said, Whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich to all that call on him.

Romans 10:13 For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

The Acts 16:27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

The Acts 16:28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do yourself no harm: for we are all here.

The Acts 16:29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

The Acts 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

The Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.

The Acts 16:32 And they spoke to him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

The Acts 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

It’s not enough to tell people to repent and confess Christ. Having done that, they need to be immediately baptised by immersion in water in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then, they need to go on and receive the Holy Spirit, for it is by the Holy Spirit that we are baptised into the body of Christ. Whoever does not have the Holy Spirit does not belong to Christ, for the Spirit is the seal of our salvation. Just as Abraham believed God and was then given the seal of circumcision as the evidence of the approval of his faith, the Holy Spirit is the evidence of God’s approval of our faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour. No wonder the apostles were so concerned about people receiving the Holy Spirit after believing and being baptised. The apostles had to come specially to lay hands on the baptised Samaritan believers to receive the Holy Spirit. When Paul met a group of believers in Ephesus, the first thing he asked was whether they had received the Holy Spirit, meaning one can believe and be water baptised and not receive the Holy Spirit. After rebaptisng them properly, Paul laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. That’s the apostolic way of being saved and of being born again. We must return to that, as that is the only way to fulfill Jesus’ command in the great commission. Like Jesus said, except a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot see/enter the kingdom of God!

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption.

The Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John:

The Acts 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

The Acts 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen on none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

The Acts 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

The Acts 19:2 He said to them, Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? And they said to him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

The Acts 19:3 And he said to them, To what then were you baptized? And they said, To John’s baptism.

The Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John truly baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

The Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.

Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Romans 4:9 Comes this blessedness then on the circumcision only, or on the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

Romans 4:10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed to them also:

Romans 4:12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

In conclusion, the doctrine of salvation by faith alone in Christ Jesus, without incorporation of repentance, water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as integral parts of the salvation process, is erroneous. Jesus taught that to be saved, a man must be born of water and of the Spirit. Being born of water refers to water baptism, which is to be done immediately after repenting and believing the gospel; and being born of the Spirit refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit that is to be received by those who have repented and have been baptised by water in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins. That’s the formula for salvation Peter gave on the day of Pentecost, for whoever would be saved in the gospel age. Therefore, faith in Christ must be demonstrated by obedience to his command to repent and be baptised in order to be saved, and to be born both of water and of the Spirit. That’s the only way salvation was preached in apostolic times.

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

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The Permissive Will Of God And Its Consequences

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the American King James Version).

Despite God being sovereign and having his perfect will and desires for his intelligent creatures (angels and men), he doesn’t force his will down our throats. Because we’re free moral agents with the capacity to make informed choices, God simply presents his perfect will/plan before us and asks us to obey him so that we would receive the benefits of his good will towards us. If we refuse to obey him and follow our own ways, God will allow us to continue in our ways, and may even continue to allow his providential blessings to fall on us. But, that doesn’t mean he approves of our choices, and in the end, if we don’t mend our ways, we will reap the whirlwind, having sown to the wind. In the long run, the consequences of operating under God’s permissive will will catch up with us, as anything we do under permissive will doesn’t carry divine protection. God will abandon us to the consequences of our actions if we abandon his ways to follow our own. We shall now examine some instances in Scripture where God allowed people to operate under permissive will, and behold the end of such people.

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:

Deuteronomy 30:20 That you may love the LORD your God, and that you may obey his voice, and that you may hold to him: for he is your life, and the length of your days: that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

The first instance we’ll consider here is with respect to unbelievers who choose to continue to walk contrary to God’s will, after having been made aware of the truth of God’s word. People who know the truth of God’s perfect will, but reject that truth, and choose to walk in their own contrary ways, eventually end up being abandoned by God. God will give such people over to their delusions, and will allow them to believe a lie and be damned by it, since they have no love for the truth. God will abandon them to the vile affections of their reprobate hearts, allowing them to do freely those things which are not proper, giving free rein to their vile passions and affections which will eventually consume and destroy them. Such reprobate hearts lose all sense of morality and humanity and become worse than brute beasts, becoming totally controlled by the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. As they wander farther away from the truth, all godly restraints in their lives become removed and they end up becoming the very antithesis of godliness. Such is the fate of those who reject truth and light, to walk in error and darkness. They end up as children of wrath, for whom the wrath of God is reserved. God permits people to exercise their freewill as free moral agents. Humans are permitted by God to either accept his perfect will or reject it. If we reject God’s will, God will permit us to continue in our ways, but we will end up in darkness. If we reject light, we automatically end up in darkness, for darkness is the absence of light. The more we wilfully wander away from light, the deeper into darkness we descend. And if we don’t get off that course before we die, we will end up in the darkest place ever known, the fiery darkness of hell!

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has showed it to them.

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Romans 1:23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.

Romans 1:24 Why God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:

Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Romans 1:26 For this cause God gave them up to vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

Romans 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

Romans 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

Romans 1:31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Romans 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only he who now lets will let, until he be taken out of the way.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

2 Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all delusion of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

2 Thessalonians 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next, we shall consider the case of God’s servants who reject God’s perfect will to pursue their own lusts. We will now turn to Balaam, a prophet of God who shunned God’s perfect will for his own ways. Balaam was warned by God not to go with the messengers of Balak to curse Israel. Yet, despite such a clear-cut expression of God’s perfect will to Balaam, he still went back to God to ask for permission to embark on that journey, when a more honourable offer was made to him by king Balak. Balaam, who knew that God could not change his mind about his perfect will, still desired permission to go ahead on a journey forbidden by God! Balaam’s mind was made up to go anyway, as Balak’s offer of greater inducement had turned his head and swayed his heart. When God saw that Balaam desired to go with the messengers of Balak at all cost, God permitted him to go, despite having warned him earlier not to go with them! Having rejected God’s perfect will, Balaam was now operating under God’s permissive will. God didn’t want him to go, but he wanted to go by all means, so God allowed him to go anyway. But, by choosing to operate in God’s permissive will, he had no assurances of God’s protection for this journey. In fact, an angel of God met him on his way and would have killed him, if not for his donkey! This journey on permissive will would eventually cost Balaam his life, as he ended up offering Balak the recipe to curse Israel (because the offer of money made to him was too much to resist), and Moses ordered the army of Israel to kill him for that. That’s the danger of operating in God’s permissive will for any child of God—God will withhold his protection and mercies and the way of such a person will become hard!

Numbers 22:1 And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho.

Numbers 22:2 And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites.

Numbers 22:3 And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel.

Numbers 22:4 And Moab said to the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field. And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time.

Numbers 22:5 He sent messengers therefore to Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me:

Numbers 22:6 Come now therefore, I pray you, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.

Numbers 22:7 And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam, and spoke to him the words of Balak.

Numbers 22:8 And he said to them, Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the LORD shall speak to me: and the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.

Numbers 22:9 And God came to Balaam, and said, What men are these with you?

Numbers 22:10 And Balaam said to God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying,

Numbers 22:11 Behold, there is a people come out of Egypt, which covers the face of the earth: come now, curse me them; peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out.

Numbers 22:12 And God said to Balaam, You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people: for they are blessed.

Numbers 22:13 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said to the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the LORD refuses to give me leave to go with you.

Numbers 22:14 And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went to Balak, and said, Balaam refuses to come with us.

Numbers 22:15 And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honorable than they.

Numbers 22:16 And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus said Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray you, hinder you from coming to me:

Numbers 22:17 For I will promote you to very great honor, and I will do whatever you say to me: come therefore, I pray you, curse me this people.

Numbers 22:18 And Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more.

Numbers 22:19 Now therefore, I pray you, tarry you also here this night, that I may know what the LORD will say to me more.

Numbers 22:20 And God came to Balaam at night, and said to him, If the men come to call you, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say to you, that shall you do.

Numbers 22:21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.

Numbers 22:22 And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding on his ass, and his two servants were with him.

Numbers 22:23 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.

Numbers 22:24 But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side.

Numbers 22:25 And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself to the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall: and he smote her again.

Numbers 22:26 And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.

Numbers 22:27 And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.

Numbers 22:28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said to Balaam, What have I done to you, that you have smitten me these three times?

Numbers 22:29 And Balaam said to the ass, Because you have mocked me: I would there were a sword in my hand, for now would I kill you.

Numbers 22:30 And the ass said to Balaam, Am not I your ass, on which you have ridden ever since I was your to this day? was I ever wont to do so to you? And he said, No.

Numbers 22:31 Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.

Numbers 22:32 And the angel of the LORD said to him, Why have you smitten your ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand you, because your way is perverse before me:

Numbers 22:33 And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain you, and saved her alive.

Numbers 22:34 And Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that you stood in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease you, I will get me back again.

Numbers 22:35 And the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak to you, that you shall speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

Numbers 31:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Numbers 31:2 Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shall you be gathered to your people.

Numbers 31:3 And Moses spoke to the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves to the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the LORD of Midian.

Numbers 31:4 Of every tribe a thousand, throughout all the tribes of Israel, shall you send to the war.

Numbers 31:5 So there were delivered out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.

Numbers 31:6 And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand of every tribe, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand.

Numbers 31:7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.

Numbers 31:8 And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.

Numbers 31:9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.

Numbers 31:10 And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelled, and all their goodly castles, with fire.

Numbers 31:11 And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.

Numbers 31:12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, to Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the children of Israel, to the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.

Numbers 31:13 And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp.

Numbers 31:14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.

Numbers 31:15 And Moses said to them, Have you saved all the women alive?

Numbers 31:16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.

2 Peter 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

2 Peter 2:13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;

2 Peter 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

2 Peter 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

2 Peter 2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbade the madness of the prophet.

Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication.

Next, let’s examine the case of Jonah, another prophet who rejected the perfect will of God to embark on his own self-willed journey. God permitted him to start this rebellious voyage, but made his way difficult and hard, like that of any transgressor. Jonah suffered a great loss in that misadventure, and almost lost his life in the process, regaining God’s favour only by repenting and turning back to God in the belly of a whale! That’s the same fate that awaits every child of God who rebels against God’s perfect will to walk in his own chosen ways. God will not spare such a one from chastisement and scourging. He will hedge such a rebel on every side and frustrate all his ways. The heaven above him will be closed and become like brass, while the ground underneath him will become like iron. God will withdraw his blessings from such a one and curses will invariably follow him. God will ultimately hand such a rebellious child over to satan, if he refuses to repent and come back to the path of obedience.

Jonah 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

Jonah 1:2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

Jonah 1:3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

Jonah 1:4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

Jonah 1:5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man to his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

Jonah 1:6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said to him, What mean you, O sleeper? arise, call on your God, if so be that God will think on us, that we perish not.

Jonah 1:7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is on us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.

Jonah 1:8 Then said they to him, Tell us, we pray you, for whose cause this evil is on us; What is your occupation? and from where come you? what is your country? and of what people are you?

Jonah 1:9 And he said to them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which has made the sea and the dry land.

Jonah 1:10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said to him. Why have you done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

Jonah 1:11 Then said they to him, What shall we do to you, that the sea may be calm to us? for the sea worked, and was tempestuous.

Jonah 1:12 And he said to them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm to you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is on you.

Jonah 1:13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea worked, and was tempestuous against them.

Jonah 1:14 Why they cried to the LORD, and said, We beseech you, O LORD, we beseech you, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood: for you, O LORD, have done as it pleased you.

Jonah 1:15 So they look up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

Jonah 1:16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the LORD, and made vows.

Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah 2:1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly,

Jonah 2:2 And said, I cried by reason of my affliction to the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and you heard my voice.

Jonah 2:3 For you had cast me into the deep, in the middle of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all your billows and your waves passed over me.

Jonah 2:4 Then I said, I am cast out of your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.

Jonah 2:5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

Jonah 2:6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet have you brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.

Jonah 2:7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in to you, into your holy temple.

Jonah 2:8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

Jonah 2:9 But I will sacrifice to you with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

Jonah 2:10 And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah on the dry land.

Proverbs 13:13 Whoever despises the word shall be destroyed: but he that fears the commandment shall be rewarded.

Proverbs 13:14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Proverbs 13:15 Good understanding gives favor: but the way of transgressors is hard.

1 Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

1 Corinthians 5:2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that has done this deed might be taken away from among you.

1 Corinthians 5:3 For I truly, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that has so done this deed,

1 Corinthians 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on you, that you by them might war a good warfare;

1 Timothy 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

1 Timothy 1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered to Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Hebrews 12:5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to children, My son, despise not you the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of him:

Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and whips every son whom he receives.

Hebrews 12:7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not?

Hebrews 12:8 But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons.

Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live?

Hebrews 12:10 For they truly for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them which are exercised thereby.

Deuteronomy 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if you will not listen to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day; that all these curses shall come on you, and overtake you:

Deuteronomy 28:16 Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field.

Deuteronomy 28:17 Cursed shall be your basket and your store.

Deuteronomy 28:18 Cursed shall be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your land, the increase of your cows, and the flocks of your sheep.

Deuteronomy 28:19 Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.

Deuteronomy 28:20 The LORD shall send on you cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that you set your hand to for to do, until you be destroyed, and until you perish quickly; because of the wickedness of your doings, whereby you have forsaken me.

Deuteronomy 28:21 The LORD shall make the pestilence stick to you, until he have consumed you from off the land, where you go to possess it.

Deuteronomy 28:22 The LORD shall smite you with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue you until you perish.

Deuteronomy 28:23 And your heaven that is over your head shall be brass, and the earth that is under you shall be iron.

Deuteronomy 28:24 The LORD shall make the rain of your land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down on you, until you be destroyed.

As children of God, we must be careful then to always seek to follow God’s perfect will and not insist on having our ways or our lustful desires. If we insist on our lusts, God may allow us to have them, but that will not augur well for our souls. The Israelites lusted after flesh in the wilderness, and God allowed them to have what they desired, but sent leanness to their souls. Israel desired a king against God’s will in the time of Samuel. God gave them a king in his anger, when they insisted on having one, but took him away in his wrath. The bottom line is this: whatever God angrily allows us to have by his permissive will will bring disaster to us in the end, for the permissive will of God can never be as God’s perfect will for his children. The permissive will of God does not have God’s blessings upon it, for it is man’s lust and self-will permitted by God, with dire consequences to follow!

Numbers 11:4 And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?

Numbers 11:5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic:

Numbers 11:6 But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.

Numbers 11:12 Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that you should say to me, Carry them in your bosom, as a nursing father bears the sucking child, to the land which you swore to their fathers?

Numbers 11:13 From where should I have flesh to give to all this people? for they weep to me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat.

Numbers 11:18 And say you to the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and you shall eat flesh: for you have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and you shall eat.

Numbers 11:19 You shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days;

Numbers 11:20 But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome to you: because that you have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?

Numbers 11:31 And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high on the face of the earth.

Numbers 11:32 And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp.

Numbers 11:33 And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.

Numbers 11:34 And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.

Psalms 106:13 They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel:

Psalms 106:14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.

Psalms 106:15 And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

1 Samuel 8:4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel to Ramah,

1 Samuel 8:5 And said to him, Behold, you are old, and your sons walk not in your ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

1 Samuel 8:6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed to the LORD.

1 Samuel 8:7 And the LORD said to Samuel, Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

Hosea 13:9 O Israel, you have destroyed yourself; but in me is your help.

Hosea 13:10 I will be your king: where is any other that may save you in all your cities? and your judges of whom you said, Give me a king and princes?

Hosea 13:11 I gave you a king in my anger, and took him away in my wrath.

In conclusion, the permissive will of God is God simply allowing man to walk in his chosen ways that are contrary to the perfect will of God. God respects the free will of his intelligent creations, as well as the informed choices they make, but they must face the consequences of their actions. We’re free to reject God’s perfect will for us, but we’re not free from the consequences of such decisions of our free will. The permissive will of God does not carry God’s blessings and protections, and will eventually lead us towards the wrath of God. For God’s children who choose to walk in his permissive rather than his perfect will, God will make our ways hard, and will chastise and scourge us as necessary, to get us back to the path of perfect obedience. He will withhold his blessings, then allow curses and hardship to follow us, and finally hand us over to the enemy (Satan) for the destruction of the flesh, that our souls may be saved. Truly, the way of a transgressor is hard (God makes sure it is!). It is then to our benefit to seek and follow God’s perfect will at all times, for walking in the permissive will of God is dangerous!

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Is The Use Of Musical Instruments In The Worship Of God A Sin?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the American King James Version).

The use of musical instruments (including the clapping of hands) in the praise and worship of God is frowned upon by some Christian denominations who see mechanical aids to worship as carnal and unspiritual, especially since Jesus and the original Apostles were not recorded to have used them. To such Christians, God may have grudgingly allowed the use of musical instruments in worship in the Old Testament (even though he wasn’t pleased with them), but Christians in the New Testament are to only sing songs of worship with their mouths, as even clapping of the hands is not permitted. It’s usually claimed by these advocates of non-instrumental worship that the use of musical instruments in worship originated from David’s self-will, especially as the practice is widespread among pagans. Is God against the use of musical instruments in worship? Does the New Testament forbid Christians from using musical instruments in the worship of God? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

To begin with, let’s address the fallacy that the use of musical instruments in worship in the Old Testament was initiated by David. Long before David, prophets in Israel used musical instruments during their acts of prophesying and in the praise and worship of God. In the book of Exodus, we read of Miriam the prophetess, Moses’ sister, leading the women with musical instrument in praise and worship following the destruction of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. This was in the time of Moses, with whom God readily spoke face-to-face to give laws and instructions to his people. If God was displeased with this practice, no doubt he would have legislated against it in the Mosaic law which regulated all aspects of the lives of the Jews, including their worship of God. But, we find not a single verse of scripture in the law forbidding the use of musical instruments in worship. Not one!

Exodus 15:20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dances.

Exodus 15:21 And Miriam answered them, Sing you to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider has he thrown into the sea.

During the time of the Prophet Samuel, the use of musical instruments in worship was a widely accepted practice among prophets. They would sing and praise God with musical instruments, and the Spirit of God would come upon them. Also, we see another notable prophet in Israel, Elisha, relying on the use of musical instruments by a minstrel, to enable him get into the Spirit of prophecy and prophesy. David was called upon to play on the harp inorder to subdue the evil spirit upon Saul and restore his sanity. If the use of musical instruments in worship is carnal and unspiritual, would it activate the Spirit of prophecy, bring down the Holy Spirit and cast out evil spirits?

1 Samuel 10:5 After that you shall come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when you are come thither to the city, that you shall meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy:

1 Samuel 10:6 And the Spirit of the LORD will come on you, and you shall prophesy with them, and shall be turned into another man.

2 Kings 3:14 And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward you, nor see you.

2 Kings 3:15 But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came on him.

2 Kings 3:16 And he said, Thus said the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches.

2 Kings 3:17 For thus said the LORD, You shall not see wind, neither shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that you may drink, both you, and your cattle, and your beasts.

2 Kings 3:18 And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.

2 Kings 3:19 And you shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.

1 Samuel 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the middle of his brothers: and the Spirit of the LORD came on David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

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

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

1 Samuel 16:16 Let our lord now command your servants, which are before you, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play with his hand, and you shall be well.

1 Samuel 16:17 And Saul said to his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me.

1 Samuel 16:18 Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him.

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

1 Samuel 16:20 And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son to Saul.

1 Samuel 16:21 And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armor bearer.

1 Samuel 16:22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray you, stand before me; for he has found favor in my sight.

1 Samuel 16:23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was on Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

The use of trumpets to usher in the presence of God is well documented in the Scriptures. When God descended on Mount Sinai, the sounding of angelic trumpets heralded his coming. The Feast of Trumpets was a special and sacred festival of the Jews, and was to be celebrated by the blowing of trumpets in the presence of God. Even on the Day of Atonement during the year of Jubilee, which is one of the most sacred days in the Jewish calendar, the trumpet of jubilee is to be sounded throughout the land of Israel. Lest we forget, trumpets are musical instruments too! If God would specifically order their use in the celebration of these sacred festivals, surely, that’s sufficient testimony that musical instruments are allowed during solemn feasts in which God’s presence is expected? Trumpets were also to be blown to summon Israel to worship, as well as to invite them to arise from their camps and follow God’s leading in the wilderness.

Exodus 19:16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightning, and a thick cloud on the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.

Exodus 19:17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.

Exodus 19:18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.

Exodus 19:19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice.

Leviticus 23:23 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Leviticus 23:24 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.

Leviticus 23:25 You shall do no servile work therein: but you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.

Leviticus 25:8 And you shall number seven sabbaths of years to you, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty and nine years.

Leviticus 25:9 Then shall you cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall you make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.

Leviticus 25:10 And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee to you; and you shall return every man to his possession, and you shall return every man to his family.

Leviticus 25:11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be to you: you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of your vine undressed.

Leviticus 25:12 For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.

Leviticus 25:13 In the year of this jubilee you shall return every man to his possession.

Numbers 10:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Numbers 10:2 Make you two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shall you make them: that you may use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.

Numbers 10:3 And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to you at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Let’s address the issue of David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, the composer of most of the Psalms and the man who took great pains to set up the Levites in their service of God in the Temple. It’s true that David as king of Israel set up the various divisions of the singing Levites and their use of musical instruments in the worship of God. But, what is not known by many people is that David was simply carrying out a divine instruction. David was guided by both Prophets Gad and Nathan, in the reforms he spearheaded concerning worship in the Temple. It wasn’t David imposing his carnal desires upon the house of God as king. David sought to do the will of God and to set up a befitting Tabernacle and order of worship for his God, and he received inspiration from God’s prophets to do exactly that. So, David’s organisation of the Levites into various singing divisions, with their instruments of music, wasn’t an act of self-will. It was simply an expression of the divine will. We will do well to remember that despite David’s many faults (which were readily rebuked by God), David was a man after God’s heart and a prophet too! He always sought the mind of God (either through the urim and thummim or through God’s prophets) before taking most of his actions. The few instances where he acted from self-will are recorded in the Scriptures, along with their consequences, leaving us no room to assume that God would overlook any act of self-will from David in matters of instrumentation in music, in both the Psalms he composed and among the Levites. God never shied away from rebuking David and setting him right when he strayed from divine order.

2 Chronicles 29:25 And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets.

The Acts 2:29 Men and brothers, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us to this day.

The 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;

The Acts 2:31 He seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

In the New Testament, we’re enjoined to sing hymns and psalms and spiritual songs, making melody in our hearts unto the Lord. The psalms our Lord and his apostles sang were the same ones penned by David. Those psalms were Holy Spirit-inspired, like all other Scriptures, and were frequently quoted by our Lord and his apostles. They were not just songs of praise and worship, but prophetic writings as well, detailing great prophecies concerning the Messiah and endtime events concerning Israel. Those who insist we must only sing hymns, psalms and spiritual songs, without use of musical instruments (and clapping of hands), forget that all the psalms were set to musical instruments! The Holy Spirit-inspired psalms were set to various musical instruments and were so sang throughout Israel’s history. The psalms were not just hymns to be sang vocally; they were to be accompanied with various musical instruments. Although they could be sang without musical instruments (if such were unavailable), the biblical psalms were designed to be played with musical instruments. That the Lord and his apostles authenticated the psalms meant they also approved the facts that they were set to musical instruments. We cannot accept one aspect of the psalms as divinely inspired and reject their other aspects (set to musical instruments). The inspiration upon the book of Psalms means everything about them, including their being set to musical instruments, was inspired. Inspiration is either total or not at all. It’s either the psalms were totally inspired, including the instructions setting them to musical instruments, and the use of musical instruments within them, or they were not inspired at all! We cannot have it both ways. The psalms are inspired Scripture, including the worship of God in them with musical instruments.

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Colossians 3:16 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.

Psalms 4:1 To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer (NKJV).

Psalms 5:1 To the Chief Musician. With flutes. A Psalm of David.
Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my meditation (NKJV).

Psalms 6:1 To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. On an eight-stringed harp. A Psalm of David.
O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger,
Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure (NKJV).

Psalms 8:1 To the Chief Musician. On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David.
O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!(NKJV).

Psalms 12:1 To the Chief Musician. On an eight-stringed harp. A Psalm of David.
Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men (NKJV).

Psalms 54:1 To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Contemplation of David when the Ziphites went and said to Saul, “Is David not hiding with us?”
Save me, O God, by Your name,
And vindicate me by Your strength (NKJV).

Psalms 55:1 To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Contemplation of David.
Give ear to my prayer, O God,
And do not hide Yourself from my supplication (NKJV).

Psalms 61:1 To the Chief Musician. On a stringed instrument. A Psalm of David.
Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer (NKJV).

Psalms 76:1 To the Chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.
In Judah God is known;
His name is great in Israel (NKJV).

Psalms 81:1 To the Chief Musician. On an instrument of Gath. A Psalm of Asaph.
Sing aloud to God our strength;
Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob (NKJV).

Psalms 84:1 To the Chief Musician. On an instrument of Gath. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.
How lovely is Your tabernacle,
O Lord of hosts!(NKJV).

For those who argue that the Psalms are part of the Old Testament anyway, and that the use of musical instruments in them may be okay then but has expired now, I have news for you! Even in heaven, there is and will be musical instruments used in the worship of God. Angels will use blaring trumpets to herald the coming of the Lord in the rapture and the resurrection of the saints. And resurrected saints will use harps in worship to the glory of God, singing with their harps right before the throne of God! Yes, the redeemed will sing with musical instruments in heaven! So, those Christians averse to the use of musical instruments in worship right now had better prepare and hone their skills on how to use them, because heaven will be full of them! Believers will not just sing with their mouths in heaven—we will also use musical instruments like harps to sing to God’s glory!

1 Thessalonians 4:16 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:

1 Thessalonians 4:17 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.

1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

1 Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Revelation 14:1 And I looked, and, see, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

Revelation 14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

Revelation 14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

Revelation 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb.

Revelation 14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

Revelation 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are your ways, you King of saints.

Revelation 15:4 Who shall not fear you, O Lord, and glorify your name? for you only are holy: for all nations shall come and worship before you; for your judgments are made manifest.

Finally, let’s address the issue of clapping of hands in worship. According to the Bible, we’re to present our entire bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable or sensible service. As people who are redeemed from the bondage of sin, we’re to present our members as instruments of righteousness unto godliness. Our bodies are the temple of God and we should glorify God with them. That includes our hands too. The Scripture enjoins us to lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting unto God in prayers. If we can sing and dance and shout praises to God and use musical instruments to glorify him, surely, we can clap our hands to his glory? In the Psalms, we’re enjoined to clap our hands and shout to God with the voice of triumph. Even inanimate objects like hills and floods are commanded to clap their hands to God’s glory! How much more then should intelligent and reasonable humans who have hands clap them to the glory of God! All our members (body parts) are to be used in the praise and worship of God, including our hands!

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

1 Corinthians 6:20 For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?

1 Timothy 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

Psalms 47:1 O clap your hands, all you people; shout to God with the voice of triumph.

Psalms 98:5 Sing to the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.

Psalms 98:6 With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.

Psalms 98:7 Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

Psalms 98:8 Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together

Psalms 98:9 Before the LORD; for he comes to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.

In conclusion, the use of musical instruments (including the clapping of hands) in worship, though frowned upon by some Christian groups, was sanctioned by God in the Old Testament and is nowhere condemned in the New Testament. Even though there is no record of Jesus and his apostles using musical instruments in worship, they sang from the Psalms which are set to musical instruments. As the New Testament never expressly forbade the use of musical instruments in worship, their use can never be sinful, because sin is the transgression of an extant law—where there is no law, there is no sin. Furthermore, we see redeemed saints in the Book of Revelation singing and harping with harps in heaven, showing that the use of musical instruments in worship is allowed in heaven. If God approves and allows the use of musical instruments during worship in heaven, then no man should disallow them during the worship of God on earth! What God has sanctified and accepted, let no man call impure!

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The Role Of Women In The Church—Ministries Open To Women In The Body Of Christ

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the American King James Version).

In an earlier article, we showed from the apostolic writings that women are not to be ordained into the five-fold overseership ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, as that leadership ministry is exclusively for men. Just as Christian women cannot legitimately head or lead their homes (by exercising dominion over their husbands), they cannot also lawfully exercise authority over men in the church, which is a collection of different Christian homes. However, there are myriads of other ministries women can legitimately undertake in the church. There are other roles women can lawfully play in the body of Christ, just as there are legitimate roles they can play in the home, even though they cannot head it. In this article, we shall examine the legitimate ministries women can pursue in the church, as members of the body of Christ.

Women have manifold ministries and roles to play as Christians. They have ministries for both believers in the church and for unbelievers outside the church. Within the church, women can be involved in ministries that support the five-fold ministers, ministries to other women, ministries to children and ministries to the entire church. Outside the church, Christian women have the same mandate like their male counterparts to preach the gospel to every creation. This ministry to the world can be in the form of one-on-one evangelism and special-needs ministries. We shall now look at these ministries in details.

With regards to the support of ministers of God, women in biblical times featured prominently in this ministry. During the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, believing women were a bulwark of support to him and his disciples. They contributed financially to keep Christ’s ministry going, and also provided Jesus and his disciples with food and material comfort when they visited their homes. It was a woman that anointed and prepared the Lord for burial with a costly perfume and spices. Though no woman was part of his apostles, women provided unwavering emotional support for the Lord during his journey to Calvary, never abandoning him in his hour of trial. Even after his death, women never abandoned his dead body, seeking it out to give him a befitting burial. Because of this love and concern for the Lord (even in death), it was no surprise that women had the privilege of witnessing his resurrection first, and it was no wonder that a woman first carried the news of Jesus’ resurrection to even his apostles! When the apostles were no where to be found, women stood up for the Lord, and they were adequately recognised and rewarded in the Scriptures.

Luke 8:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,

Luke 8:2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,

Luke 8:3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered to him of their substance.

Matthew 8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.

Matthew 8:15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered to them.

Luke 10:38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

Luke 10:39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.

Luke 10:40 But Martha was encumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

Luke 10:41 And Jesus answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things:

Luke 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Mark 14:3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she broke the box, and poured it on his head.

Mark 14:4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?

Mark 14:5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.

Mark 14:6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble you her? she has worked a good work on me.

Mark 14:7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you will you may do them good: but me you have not always.

Mark 14:8 She has done what she could: she is come beforehand to anoint my body to the burying.

Mark 14:9 Truly I say to you, Wherever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she has done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

Mark 15:15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas to them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.

Mark 15:16 And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band.

Mark 15:17 And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,

Mark 15:18 And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!

Mark 15:19 And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit on him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.

Mark 15:20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.

Mark 15:21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.

Mark 15:22 And they bring him to the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.

Mark 15:23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.

Mark 15:24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots on them, what every man should take.

Mark 15:25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.

Mark 15:26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Mark 15:27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.

Mark 15:28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which said, And he was numbered with the transgressors.

Mark 15:29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, you that destroy the temple, and build it in three days,

Mark 15:30 Save yourself, and come down from the cross.

Mark 15:31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.

Mark 15:32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

Mark 15:33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Mark 15:35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calls Elias.

Mark 15:36 And one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.

Mark 15:37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.

Mark 15:38 And the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom.

Mark 15:39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.

Mark 15:40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;

Mark 15:41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered to him;) and many other women which came up with him to Jerusalem.

Mark 15:42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,

Mark 15:43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honorable counselor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly to Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.

Mark 15:44 And Pilate marveled if he were already dead: and calling to him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.

Mark 15:45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

Mark 15:46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulcher which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone to the door of the sepulcher.

Mark 15:47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.

Luke 24:1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

Luke 24:2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher.

Luke 24:3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

Luke 24:4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

Luke 24:5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said to them, Why seek you the living among the dead?

Luke 24:6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spoke to you when he was yet in Galilee,

Luke 24:7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

Luke 24:8 And they remembered his words,

Luke 24:9 And returned from the sepulcher, and told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest.

Luke 24:10 It was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things to the apostles.

Luke 24:11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.

With regards to the apostles of the Lord and other ministers of the gospel, women in the New Testament played significant roles to help further their ministries. The Apostle Paul, whom many people erroneously consider a woman hater (because of his teaching forbidding the ordination of women into the five-fold ministry and his admonition to women to submit to their husbands at home), had many women he described as his partners in ministry, who laboured with him in the gospel. Those women provided shelter for him and his entourage, fed them, prayed for them, supported them financially and provided their homes as centres of worship and church meetings. The support ministry of these women was celebrated by the apostles (especially by Paul, the supposed woman hater) who singled them out for commendation and praise. No doubt, their services to the Lord and his gospel will never go unrewarded, as the Bible teaches that those who receive prophets in the name of prophets will receive the same rewards as those prophets. Thus, these women who received and supported the apostles of the Lord and other ministers of the gospel will receive the same rewards as those servants of God. Therefore, this support ministry of women is as important as that of the preachers of the gospel themselves. We should therefore not underestimate the contributions of the support ministries of women to the furtherance of the gospel. Rather than covet the five-fold ministry which is forbidden to them, women should delight in their help/support ministries, as they will receive the same rewards as the members of the five-fold ministry whom they support.

The Acts 12:11 And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the LORD has sent his angel, and has delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.

The Acts 12:12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.

The Acts 12:13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to listen, named Rhoda.

The Acts 12:14 And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.

The Acts 12:15 And they said to her, You are mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.

The Acts 12:16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.

The Acts 12:17 But he, beckoning to them with the hand to hold their peace, declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go show these things to James, and to the brothers. And he departed, and went into another place.

The Acts 16:12 And from there to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

The Acts 16:13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spoke to the women which resorted thither.

The Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended to the things which were spoken of Paul.

The Acts 16:15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she sought us, saying, If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

The Acts 16:40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brothers, they comforted them, and departed.

Romans 16:1 I commend to you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:

Romans 16:2 That you receive her in the Lord, as becomes saints, and that you assist her in whatever business she has need of you: for she has been a succorer of many, and of myself also.

Romans 16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:

Romans 16:4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

Romans 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia to Christ.

Romans 16:6 Greet Mary, who bestowed much labor on us.

Romans 16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Romans 16:8 Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.

Romans 16:9 Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.

Romans 16:10 Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household.

Romans 16:11 Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.

Romans 16:12 Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which labored much in the Lord.

Romans 16:13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

Romans 16:14 Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brothers which are with them.

Romans 16:15 Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.

Romans 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

Philippians 4:2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

Philippians 4:3 And I entreat you also, true yoke fellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life.

2 John 1:1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

2 John 1:2 For the truth’s sake, which dwells in us, and shall be with us for ever.

2 John 1:3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

2 John 1:4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of your children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

2 John 1:5 And now I beseech you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

2 John 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have worked, but that we receive a full reward.

2 John 1:9 Whoever transgresses, and stays not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that stays in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son.

2 John 1:10 If there come any to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

2 John 1:11 For he that bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

2 John 1:12 Having many things to write to you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come to you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

2 John 1:13 The children of your elect sister greet you. Amen.

Matthew 10:41 He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

Matthew 10:42 And whoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, truly I say to you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

Women also have significant ministries to other members of the church. The older women are to teach the younger ones to love their husbands and children and to take good care of their homes. In that regards, the women have a teaching ministry to other women as well as to children. This is very important because the mentorship ministry of older godly women is desperately needed to guide the younger ones towards having godly and fulfilled homes with well-brought up children. Ministering to children and youths, as teachers in children and youth ministries, is also a ministry women can engage in legitimately in the church. As mothers, women are best equipped emotionally and otherwise to train children and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They are the first teachers and guides children are blessed with, and they should be encouraged to play that role in the church with respect to children and young people. Mothering children in the church is thus a very significant role women can play in the house of God.

Titus 2:1 But speak you the things which become sound doctrine:

Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

Titus 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Women can also minister to the entire church in many ways. In fact, apart from the five-fold ministry, Christian women can participate in all other ministries in the church. From being prophetesses who can prophesy in the church (like the daughters of Philip the Evangelist), to singing, praying, helping, administration, giving, edifying, exhortation, comforting and showing mercy, women can exhibit all the gifts of the Holy Spirit less those of the five-fold ministry. Just like a woman in the home has myriads of functions to perform to make the home front a success (despite not being the head of the home), the same is expected of her in the church. That women are not to be overseers in the church doesn’t mean they are to be idle and jobless in the church. As members of the body of Christ, they have important roles to perform. For sure, they are not to be the head in the church, but they can be every other parts of the body, and no part is less important than the others. In fact, those parts of the body we consider uncomlely and less visible actually have greater honour and glory bestowed on them!

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Romans 12:7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches, on teaching;

Romans 12:8 Or he that exhorts, on exhortation: he that gives, let him do it with simplicity; he that rules, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; hold to that which is good.

1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

1 Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all.

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit with.

1 Corinthians 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

1 Corinthians 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

1 Corinthians 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

1 Corinthians 12:11 But all these works that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Acts 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

The Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

The Acts 2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

The Acts 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came to Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and stayed with him.

The Acts 21:9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

Outside the church, women have the same role to play in the great commission as their male counterparts. We’re all required to preach the gospel to all around us, one-on-one, by inviting unbelieving kith and kin to church, as well as by living godly lives and doing good works, in order to win souls for Christ, for we are all ambassadors of Christ, whether male or female. There are myriads of ministries to the unsaved, which include prison ministry, hospital/care ministry, ministries for people with special needs—drug addicts, prostitutes, victims of sex abuse, the LGBTQ community, orphans, the elderly, single mothers, displaced persons, immigrants, the homeless, destitutes, the bereaved, the physically and mentally challenged, people in need of counselling and emotional support, etc. All these ministries can be legitimately undertaken by women. Thus, opportunities abound for women in ministry! They may not be members of the five-fold ministry, but they have awesome ministries to engage in. Rather than fight for positions that are not available to them, women should appreciate the great opportunities God has made available to them in his service and in the service of humanity.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.

Matthew 28:19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.

Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not from now on live to themselves, but to him which died for them, and rose again.

2 Corinthians 5:16 Why from now on know we no man after the flesh: yes, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now from now on know we him no more.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God.

The Acts 9:36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and giving of alms which she did.

The Acts 9:37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.

The Acts 9:38 And for as much as Lydda was near to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent to him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.

The Acts 9:39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.

The Acts 9:40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.

The Acts 9:41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.

The Acts 9:42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.

1 Peter 3:1 In like manner, wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; so that, even if any do not obey the Word, they may be won by the behavior of their wives without a word;

1 Peter 3:2 seeing your pure behavior in fear.

1 Peter 3:3 Let your beauty be not just the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on fine clothing;

1 Peter 3:4 but in the hidden person of the heart, in the incorruptible adornment of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God very precious.

1 Peter 3:5 For this is how the holy women before, who hoped in God also adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands:

1 Peter 3:6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose children you now are, if you do well, and are not put in fear by any terror (NHEB).

John 4:28 The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and said to the men,

John 4:29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

John 4:30 Then they went out of the city, and came to him.

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

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

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

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

John 4:35 Say not you, There are yet four months, and then comes harvest? behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

John 4:36 And he that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to life eternal: that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together.

John 4:37 And herein is that saying true, One sows, and another reaps.

John 4:38 I sent you to reap that where on you bestowed no labor: other men labored, and you are entered into their labors.

John 4:39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

John 4:40 So when the Samaritans were come to him, they sought him that he would tarry with them: and he stayed there two days.

John 4:41 And many more believed because of his own word;

John 4:42 And said to the woman, Now we believe, not because of your saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.

In conclusion, though women are excluded from the five-fold ministry and leadership/overseership of the church, they have myriads of ministries to fulfill in the body of Christ. Apart from the fact that they can support ministers of the gospel, mentor other women and groom children in the church, women can operate all other gifts and ministries of the Spirit (less the five-fold ministry). They can also operate several ministries to people outside the church, helping to meet special needs and propagate the gospel thereby. Women may not be the head in the body of Christ, but they’re certainly parts of the body, and have useful functions to perform, like all other parts of the body, without which the body would be dysfunctional. Therefore, rather than covet the overseership of the church which is an exclusive preserve of men, women should focus on discovering their myriads of gifts, which are needed to bless the body of Christ and the world in general.

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