The purpose of this eBook is to present a concise and impactful exposition on the identity of Jesus Christ as the incarnated Son of God and the critical precondition for entering the Kingdom of God.
THE SOURCE OF ALL THINGS
The predominant realm of existence in the Universe is the eternal spiritual realm. At the helm of this realm is a being known as the Most High God, commonly and reverently referred to as God – a Holy God. It is this Holy God Who, by His Word and His Power, brought into existence the physical Universe which, in essence, forms part of the expanse of His spiritual realm and over which He is the Sovereign Owner and Ruler. In other words, the physical Universe belongs to, is permeated by and ruled over by the spiritual force of God’s existence.
There is a very special place in this physical Universe, called Planet Earth, which God prepared and set aside for habitation by the human race which He created in His image and after His likeness. This human race – the crown of God’s creation – is supposed to be fully conscious of the reality of the existence of God and His sovereignty over all of His creation, because everything there is to know about Him is fully chronicled by God in a Book called, the Bible. But, these human creatures have fallen into a pit of spiritual darkness where they have become blind to the truth of the source of their existence.
God so loved these human creatures He created that He “foreordained before the foundation of the world” that He would send His Word, His “only begotten Son” to set them free, as recorded in Col 1:13-17.
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
This Son, the Word of God, Jesus the Christ, duly fulfilled His mission before returning to the Father and commissioned and empowered all those who would choose to believe in Him to build His Church (the Body of Christ) until the day of His return. The mission of Jesus was to bring about the salvation of God’s beloved human race before He would provide a new heaven and new earth for them.
This then, is the gist of the story of redemption for the human race and a great many have been reconciled to God through the cross of Jesus Christ, but there is more to salvation than meets the eye.
The strait gate
According to the words of Jesus, the gift of salvation offered through His death on the cross is not to be taken lightly. He stressed, in no uncertain terms, that mere mental assent and ongoing indifference to this awesome truth spell destruction and death for those who are apathetic in their observance of the commands of Jesus.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:13,14)
The fact that “few there be that find it” appears to indicate that many would ‘embrace’ the truth of the cross, but not necessarily follow the conditions that would secure eternal life and they would simply continue their worldly – the broad way. Then there are those who end up perverting the truth, using it as a means for personal gain and the fame that goes with it. They actually remain on the “broad way” of the world. Then there are those who are absolutely awestruck at the revelation of the truth and not only become true followers of Christ, but also make a beeline for the strait gate and the narrow way to gain greater understanding of their newfound freedom from captivity to a very dark world. These would be those who become born again, the “chosen ones” out of the “many called” as per Matt. 22:14.
It is obedience to the commandments of Jesus that draws one to the strait gate and not just a fleeting awakening to an event of such importance, i.e. the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is stressed in Matt.7:22-24.
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” (Matt. 7:22-24)
There is much more to it, but to expand on this we need to first look at the significance of the deity of Jesus Christ in order to understand such judgment upon those who neglect to navigate to the strait gate.
The Son of God – The Son of Man
Jesus was foreordained before the foundation of the world to be both the Son of God and the Son of man. We will examine the ‘how’ of it in the sections to follow.
Firstly, in order to understand (to a certain extent) the fact of the humanity of Jesus we need to take into account the fact that God is not subject to or bound by space, matter and time and that He is omnipotent (infinite in power), omniscient (infinite in knowledge) and omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time). These attributes made it possible for God to have had foreknowledge of everything that has ever happened and will still happen in the spiritual or physical realm He created – all under His control for the fulfilment of His will.
We also have to realise that although we live in the physical realm we are all spiritual beings operating within physical bodies and that God, Who is Spirit, is actually observing the spiritual nature of our activities expressed through our flesh as made clear in Gen. 6:3. “And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”
We are “also flesh”, meaning that we are primarily spiritual beings. The only way we, as spiritual beings, can live on this earth is through a body of flesh. We, as spirits, actually live in our bodies and portray the personality (soul) of our spirit through our body to others, who, of course, are also spiritual beings. The fact that our spirits are living through our bodies is borne out by what we read in 2Cor. 5:10. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
The “everyone” refers to our spiritual identity and as such we act through our physical bodies, thereby revealing our works, good or bad.
The entire history of the world, from Adam to the new Heaven and new Earth, has already played out in the infinite ambit of God’s realm of existence. God knows every thought; word and deed of every human creature that ever lived or will still live. We could say that God has one single snapshot of the earth’s history and that if we blew up the size of that snapshot to billboard size and then blew up the size of a pinprick spot on that billboard a thousand times and a video was played of transpired during that period of time, then we would see the history of that minute time period alone, but God has seen the ‘video’ of the entire snapshot, all of which played out beforehand in line with God’s will. Of course, the full measure of God’s attributes and capabilities are totally beyond our comprehension. Man’s puny mind can only speculate as to the awesome greatness of our Almighty God. And we need to be careful not to present our assumptive conjecture as positive truth.
There is a clear allusion in the Bible to the concept of the predestined fate of every individual on this planet, meaning that God has predetermined who would spend eternity with Him and who would not. If so, would that be fair of God to favour some and condemn others? Well, there is perhaps only one answer to that question. God has given every human creature to enter this planet, a free will. Therefore, if God can see the end from the beginning, then He will know who will use their freedom of choice to either accept or reject Christ as their Saviour. It is, therefore, from this perspective that predestination is a reality – some were chosen to be saved and others condemned from the foundation of the world purely because of God’s foreknowledge. “… According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,…” (Eph 1:4,5)
A great many have heard the Gospel of Jesus, but only those who have believed and have become born again have become the “predestinated” chosen ones. “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matt. 22:14)
Through God’s omniscience He foreknew who would respond positively to the call through Jesus Christ. Those who choose to be regenerated, therefore, are predestined to grow in Christ.“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Rom. 8:28
It should also be realised that the physical universe is a product of God’s realm – the spirit realm. We, therefore, exist within the spirit realm of God where God’s angels and dark spiritual forces move freely to manipulate the minds of men either for or against the will of God. Of course, God is always in control and His angels as well as Satan’s forces are only able to perform to the extent that God allows.
TIME DOES NOT EXIST IN THE SPIRIT REALM, BUT WHEN THE SPIRIT REALM ENGAGES WITH HUMANITY IN THE PHYSICAL REALM, TIME ENTERS THE EQUATION WHERE THE INFLUENCE OF THE SPIRIT REALM SLOWS DOWN IN LINE WITH THE TIME AND SLOW PROCESS OF HUMAN HISTORY AS DICTATED TO BY THE SPIRIT REALM
There is the teaching that nothing happens on earth unless it happens in Heaven first. The fact is that what happened on earth at any time was foreseen in Heaven before the creation of the world and every move of the human race had God’s hand on it. Take, for instance, the advent of Adolph Hitler. Hitler could do nothing beyond what God would allow. So, because of God’s foreknowledge and in that sense, the Hitler saga happened in Heaven first. This principle applies to everything that happens on earth.
It should be borne in mind that we have life only because of God’s Breath of Life in us, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” (Acts 17:28 ). If we live and move and have our being within Him, then He certainly knows our every thought and action that we perform.
Now that we have established that all that are saved were predestined to be saved because of God’s foreknowledge, then we can apply the same factor to the existence of the Son of God prior to the Word being incarnated into flesh to live on earth fully human and fully God. Jesus, as the Word of God, was foreordained to be ‘readied’ as the Son of God before He entered the earth through the womb of a human mother, but He never ceased to be the Word of God on the divine side of his human existence. We note this truth in the following verses of Scripture.
“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)
“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,…” (1Peter 1:19,20)
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8)
Therefore, while existing as the Word of God within the triune Godhead, Jesus also held the title and pre-existence as the only begotten Son of God before the foundation of the world, as illustrated in John 1:18. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
So we see then that, just as we were chosen “before the foundation of the world” so too Jesus was “foreordained before the foundation of the world…” by the Father to be the Son of God, “but was manifest in these last times for you.”
Jesus repeatedly stated that He was sent of the Father as if He existed as the Son of God prior to being born of a woman, as in the following verses.
“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38)
“What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” (John 6:62)
God acted from His position in the timeless, borderless expanse of eternity as Himself, His Word (the Son) and His Power (the Holy Spirit) to create the universe. But they are as one God, making up the operative and executive might of the Godhead.
In His image
Man was the crown of God’s creation (Psalm 8:5) in that man was created in the image of and after the likeness of God. It would appear that God made man to be a very special creature to have the same – but finite – operative ability and encased the spirit of man in a body of flesh for habitation solely on earth and within the realm of time. Likewise, Jesus took up the form of flesh and as such had to be baptised and anointed before commencing His ministry as the Son of man and withholding his full power as the Word of God.
“Although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:6-8).
As explained earlier, every human being born into this world has to have a spirit in order have consciousness as a living creature. The ‘pilot light’ of that spirit is the Light – Jesus Christ, the very Word of God. This Light is infused by the Breath of Life which ‘kick starts’ the process of life in every human being.
Jesus Christ was deity engaging with humanity through a human body.
In John 1, verse 1, – referring to Jesus – we read that, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” And verse 9 defines the Light. “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
Jesus was born into this world and like any human being He had to have a spirit. And that spirit was His very own Light, infused by His very own Breath of Life. In other words, Jesus had the Spirit of the Godhead in Him – and that made Him God in the flesh. The very source of our Light was now also clothed in flesh and walked among us. The One who created us was now one of us – sent of the Father to reconcile the fallen human race to Him. When a human body dies the spirit departs and returns to God. Likewise, the Spirit (the Light) that was in Jesus and was Jesus, departed from His human body – for His flesh became sin for us. His deity could not become sin for us. After three days and three nights He raised His body (now glorified) from the dead.
The proof that Jesus was God in the flesh is contained in His words in John 20:22. “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:”
Only God can impart the Holy Spirit in this manner.
Jesus, God in the flesh, was born to die as a substitute for the human race He created and to carry the sin burden of everyone who would repent and believe in Him.
Adam was created in the image and after the likeness of the “three who testify in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.” (1 John 5)
Jesus was not created – He was born as the incarnated, express image of God’s Person – the Word of God made flesh. (Hebrews 1:3)
“Forthere are three who testify in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.” 1 John 5
The divine side of the man, Jesus, was God’s Word with Holy Spirit power. Thus, God’s Word is God and God’s Spirit is God. And that made Jesus fully God.
Now we will see how Jesus, the Word of God, “the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father” became flesh and imposed a human experience upon His being. God was in His human Son, that’s why Jesus said He only did what He saw His Father do or say what His Father said. “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (Joh 12:49,50)
Jesus was actually saying that He was the Word of God.
If Jesus were not born of a woman, to walk the earth fully human, He could not have died on the cross as the sacrificial Lamb of God in place of animal sacrifices as used during Old Testament times. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life.” (Lev.17:11)
It is “by reason of the life” that is in the blood that made it possible for Jesus to become the final and eternal atonement for the sin of man. The blood of Jesus was pure, not tainted by sin.
If Jesus, the Word of God, merely manifested Himself on earth in the form of a human being without being born here – like angels appeared during Old Testament times – He would not have lived as a human; suffered as a human and neither would He have had the blood in His veins to shed as the final sacrificial Lamb. Moreover, he would have been purely God and as God it would have been impossible for Him to die. It is the human body (flesh) of Jesus that died on the cross and not His deity. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” (1Peter 3:18)
He needed to be born as a man of flesh, without sin, making it possible for Him to be mediator between God and man, as affirmed in 1Tim. 2:5. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
It is the human body (flesh) of Jesus that died, but was made alive by the Spirit of the Father and Christ – for they are one. This is further illustrated in John 10:17,18. “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
The above verse of scripture is absolutely remarkable. Here we see the union of the human side and the divine side of Jesus expressing a truth. Jesus is laying down His human side (as the sacrificial lamb of God) and His divine side will raise His human side again, never having to restrict His divine attributes again as He did prior to His resurrection. He is now the Lord of lords, the King of kings and will forever remain so.
“Forasmuch then as Christ suffered in the flesh, arm ye yourselves also with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that ye no longer should live the rest of your time in flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” (1Peter 4:1,2)
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” (Romans 8:3)
1Peter 3:18. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Romans 8:3. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Col. 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
It is clear, Jesus, the Son of man, died in the flesh as the sacrificial Lamb of God, thereby imparting (not imputing) permanent, everlasting atonement for sin to the human race.
The penalty for sin
The first man, Adam, disobeyed God and died spiritually. His blood was tainted by sin. He could not pay the penalty for his sin and then raise himself from the consequence of that penalty – which was death.
The last Adam, the human Jesus, had blood untainted by sin. He was, therefore, not subject to the penalty of death and could die in the flesh, as the sacrificial Lamb of God and raise again his human side by His own Spirit.
It was by man (Adam) that spiritual death came upon the human race – and it was by man (Jesus) that spiritual life was restored to the human race.
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1Cor. 15:21,22)
“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Rom. 5:18,19).
Jesus, the Son of God “foreordained before the foundation of the world…” was sent by God to take the form of the “earthy” through which to transform the “earthy” to the “spiritual” by the divine power of the spiritual which was in Him, because corruptible flesh could not enter the spiritual Kingdom, which is without corruption – as made clear by the following:
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” (1Cor. 15:45-50)
The Son of Man
God, the Father, was the biological Father of the human side of Jesus in the same way as a human male is the biological father of a human child.
Jesus the Christ, the life-giving Light, was expressing His deity through a human body that belonged solely to Him and He would retain His human body, once glorified, for eternity. The Spirit of the Godhead would be vested in Him forevermore. Just prior to that moment before Jesus breathed His last on the Cross He cried out to the Father with these words. “… Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” (Luke 23:46)
Jesus knew that the moment had arrived for the sin of the world to come upon His flesh and that His deity (Spirit) would be detached from His sin-laden body
Be reminded that the spirit within Jesus was His very own Light. He was the owner of the human body in which He resided. And He was about to voluntarily surrender His human body for the sin of the world to permeate that body. And for that moment the Father withdrew Jesus’ human connection to the Godhead, causing Jesus to cry out, “…My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matt. 27:46).God had abandoned the human side of Jesus because of the sin of the world drawn into His body of flesh. ”For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2Cor. 5:21)
It would have been impossible for the divine side of Jesus to be forsaken by or separated from His own deity which formed part of the Godhead. God cannot die. Jesus, the Word of God, gave the human side of His life on the cross. The body of Jesus lay in the tomb while He “descended first into the lower parts of the earth”. After three days and three nights He entered and raised His human body, now glorified, to forever be God in that human form of being.
If the God side of Jesus had died (an impossibility) on the Cross, all of creation in its entirety would simply have disappeared – angels, humans, planets, stars and even darkness would have been no more – for all things were created and are held together by the God side of Christ.
In Matthew 17:5 we read that Peter, James and John heard the words, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” If Jesus is the Word of God, then why did Jesus not speak these words? Well, He did. The human side of Jesus stood close by while the divine, Word side of Him was both with Him and in the bosom of the Father The divine side of Jesus was (and is) omnipresent. When God speaks, His Word, Jesus Christ speaks. Jesus is one with the Father. God created all things through Jesus, the Word of God. Jesus existed eternally as God and with God as the Word of God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1)
“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (Col 1:15-17)
Jesus is life itself.
The Breath of Life
As previously covered, Jesus is the Light of life – the Light that makes it possible for us to be living creatures. When we received the breath of life that Light entered us and we became living souls. The breath of life is not the air in our lungs. We are able to breathe air into our lungs because of the breath of life – the Light – empowering our bodies to start functioning as conscious, living human beings.
Liken this to the electrical appliances we use in our homes. Without them being plugged in to power they are dead and useless.
Without Jesus Christ, the Light, we are non-functioning mounds of wet clay shaped in the form of human creatures with no purpose.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7)
And to think that today we have billions of Light-given mounds of clay believing that they evolved from the apes and rejecting the Truth of the source of their lives. They are actually dead while they live.
Jesus was sent by God to regenerate what was dead in the human race because of sin and to reconcile us to God the Father.
Jesus brought the fullness of the Godhead to the earth that He created, but lived like one of us to draw us to the Father for the purpose of salvation of man that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit loved so much.
And it needs to be made absolutely clear – the deity of Christ did not suffer on the Cross. The deity of Christ ascended to the Father after being put to death in the flesh of His human body as the sacrificial Lamb of God, but the fact of the incarnation of God in the Son since He was conceived remains a foundational truth. Jesus, the Word of God, gave the human side of His life on the cross and took it again by the power of His deity and walked out of that tomb fully incarnated as God in a now glorified body, no longer suppressing the fullness of the power of His being as an equal member of the Godhead. “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Col. 2:9)
The crucial significance of the fact that Jesus died in the flesh as the consummate sacrificial LAMB of God “slain from the foundation of the world” for the sin nature of man is magnified in the last book in the Bible. It was the shed blood of the LAMB of God that brought redemption to man and this same LAMB will impose His wrath upon those who rejected His act of redemption.
The import of this mystery is that the Word of God, Jesus, had a human body, without sin, which He sacrificed on the Cross for the redemption of the human race and so restore spiritual life to them.
Re 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a LAMB as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Re 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the LAMB, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
Re 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the LAMB that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Re 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the LAMB for ever and ever.
Re 6:1 And I saw when the LAMB opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
Re 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the LAMB:
Re 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the LAMB, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
Re 7:10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the LAMB.
Re 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the LAMB.
Re 7:17 For the LAMB which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Re 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the LAMB, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Re 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the LAMB slain from the foundation of the world.
Re 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, 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.
Re 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the LAMB whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the LAMB.
Re 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the LAMB:
Re 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the LAMB, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
Re 17:14 These shall make war with the LAMB, and the LAMB shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
Re 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the LAMB is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Re 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the LAMB. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Re 21:9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the LAMB’s wife.
Re 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the LAMB.
Re 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the LAMB are the temple of it.
Re 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the LAMB is the light thereof.
Re 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the LAMB’s book of life.
Re 22:1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the LAMB.
Re 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the LAMB shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
God is triune – and so are we
We have noted that Jesus, the Word of God was sent of the Father and yet the Word remained with God. We were created in the image and after the likeness of God. God is His Word with Power. Likewise, we are our word with power.
Most people cannot get a grip on the concept of a Triune God and yet we ourselves portray this very image in our own make-up.
We were a creation in the mind of God before He formed us from the “dust of the ground”. God was speaking His mind just like we speak our mind before embarking on whatever intent we have with our words. And just like God, we seem to have “companions” with whom we share the announcement and intent. After all, we are made in the image of and after the likeness of God and so we have a tendency to talk to “ourselves” most of the time.
And just like God we create within our minds and then go ahead to form that creation as per the mental blueprint. Depending on what our talents are, it might be a garden layout, the making of a piece of furniture or costume jewellery.
But who are we talking to and for what reason?
By sitting or lying around and keeping quiet we achieve absolutely nothing. The moment we start thinking creatively we are in conference with our personal companions who stand at alert for their roles in the process to follow. Those companions are our WORD and our POWER. So there are three “persons” involved in the trinity of your make-up – you, your word and your power – and the three of you are one. But who are you?
You and your spirit
YOU are your spirit. You are a spirit-being just like God (and angels), but you are covered by a physical body designed to keep you “glued” to the earth by gravity so that you remain here in order to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” You are a finite being, that is, you are limited to perform as a God-created being on a scale associated with earthly things. God is infinite and there is no limit to what He can do.
You and your word
Your WORD is the database of your knowledge and intellectual abilities. Your WORD is your beginning and your end. You (your SPIRIT) and your WORD are absolutely one with each other – just like God and His Word are one. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
Your WORD also identifies who you are. People know you by your WORD – and so does God. We know God by His Word. His Word is Jesus Christ.
God sent His Word (Jesus Christ) while God’s Word remained with Him. Can you send your word while your word still remains with you? Of course you can. You do it every day of your life. Imagine sitting in a restaurant. You SPEAK to the waiter and after some time the waiter brings your order. What did you do? You sent your WORD to the kitchen for the production of your order, but your WORD remained with you.
Likewise, when you send someone (by your WORD) to the shop or wherever with instructions, then you are sending your WORD – and it does not return to you void of accomplishing the content of your WORD. This is the creative power of your WORD in action. Your Word is the express image of your Person. Of course, you cannot create another human being to be the express image of your person – only God can do that. But you can procreate in a human way.
You and your executive power
Your POWER is the executive component of your SPIRIT and your WORD. Something happens when you speak your WORD. It has an effect on those listening to you and they will react or respond to the POWER of your WORD – such as the waiter that took your order. People might not like what you have to say, but it has an effect on them. Your own thoughts (unspoken words) can also have an effect on yourself. The POWER of your creative thoughts will get you to perform a physical task, such as laying out a garden around your home. God’s executive power is the Holy Spirit.
So there you have it. You are a triune being – just like God in whose image and likeness you were created.
God sent HIs Word, Jesus Christ, to accomplish what He had set His Word to do while the Word remained with God, just like you did in that restaurant. God was also the biological Father of the human side of Jesus Christ in whom was the sent Word of God. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14). This not only made Jesus Christ the Word of God, but God Himself – just like you sending your word is like sending yourself. By God sending His Word, He was sending Himself.
God, through His Word, created Adam inclusive of the bodily ability to procreate. This same procreative process, created by God in the first place, was used by God in that He provided the male seed to mingle with the egg in the womb of Mary. Jesus was the Son of Man (the human side) and the Son of God (the divine side)
Jesus was the biological, human Son of God just like Isaac was the biological, human son of Abraham, but Jesus was God manifest in the flesh. “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Col 2:9)
The Pure Blood of Jesus
A foetus developing and growing inside the uterus produces its own blood and it is the male sperm that provides the foetus with the properties to produce its own blood. The placenta and the umbilical cord attached to the foetus only provide oxygen and nutrients to a growing baby. It also removes waste products from the baby’s blood. Therefore, no blood from the mother flows in the veins of the baby.
The blood of Jesus, therefore, came from God. His blood was pure, untainted by sin. For this reason and the fact that He was God in the flesh, Jesus was able to live a pure and holy life, keeping the commandments, despite the influence of wickedness within the environment in which he moved and operated.
Now that we know Who Jesus really was, we should be able to understand why the LAMB of God expects us to follow and obey Him.
The Strait Gate and the Narrow Way
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:13,14)
We now come to the heart of the matter. For Christians to make sure that they are on the pathway to Heaven they need to enter through the strait gate and remain on the narrow way. It is not only a matter of believing in and following Christ, which is of crucial importance, but also a matter of actions as a result of that belief. So what are those actions? Simply expressed, it is obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ. Jesus declared in Matt 5:17,18 that, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
This means that God’s law remains in force for those who do not believe and also for those who do believe, but have not entered the strait gate.
We read in Hebrews 12:6-8 that God scourges those that become His children. “For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives. If ye endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons.” (Heb 12:6 – 8)
Now why would God punish believers after their spiritual rebirth and having become followers of Christ? Well, obviously, new Christians need to be spiritually prepared for the role they are to play on earth and also need to have their garments cleansed for that great day of the marriage supper of the Lamb. Christians form the Bride of Christ and their conduct here on earth will determine whether or not they will even have access to Heaven, let alone sit at the table with Christ.
It is absolutely crucial for believers to understand that entrance to the Kingdom of God is not a foregone conclusion and unless they are of the “few” that strive to find and enter the strait gate they will not even make it to Heaven because of indifference, self-righteousness, laziness and hypocrisy.
Does the following sound like it is an easy ride into Heaven?
Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Col 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Col 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Col 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Col 3:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
Gal. 5:16. “I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Gal. 5:17.”For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Gal. 5:18. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Gal. 5:19. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Gal. 5:20. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Gal. 5:21. Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal. 5:22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal. 5:23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Gal. 5:24. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Gal. 5:25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Gal. 5:26. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
Verse 18 states that we are not under the law should we live under the leading of the Spirit, meaning that it is by choice that we apply the law to ourselves should we ignore the work of the Holy Spirit, even if the law was fulfilled by Christ. If we live for, trust in, are in obedience to and follow Christ, then we are, in effect, obeying the law – for Christ is the law.
To state this plainly, we are free from keeping the law provided we obey the commandments of Jesus Christ. And those commandments are clearly spelt out in the four gospel accounts – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
In Ecclesiastes 12:13,14 we are given a bottom line affirmation on the purpose of life because of our condition of sin. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
Of course, keeping the commandments of Jesus, who is the law, is the whole duty of man.
Believing is not enough
There are several “shall be saved” verses in the Bible. Let’s look at just one of them. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom 10:13).
Why should anyone call upon the name of Jesus? It can only be that a person who calls upon the name of Jesus does so because he has heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and has become fully persuaded in his heart that he is a sinner needing salvation through no other way but through Jesus Christ. And such a person should have no qualms about confessing his belief, for that is the way salvation is attained and manifested. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (.Rom 10:10)
Few are chosen
It should also be noted that conviction comes through the Holy Spirit. At the right place, at the right time, a person can be called by God. It could also be that others have prayed for the salvation of a certain person and that that person, inexplicably, has found himself at a certain place and at the hearing end of a preacher’s message about salvation, leading to conviction and salvation. That, then, becomes the place and time of his calling. However, we are told that “many are called, but few are chosen.” (Mt 22:14). The “few are chosen” should read, “few are choice ones.”
So although many are called and confess their belief in Jesus Christ, only a few are truly gripped by the truth of the message. These few then continue their pursuit of a deeper knowledge of the word of God. They are the “choice ones”. We read in 1Tim 2, verses 3 and 4, that it is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” What comes first? Here we see that salvation comes first, followed by the need to gain further knowledge of the truth. Coming to the knowledge of the truth should be the immediate desire within the heart of all who are saved. The many who are called initially take in the word of salvation, but they do not have much enough “earth” or have too many “thorns” in their lives as is made clear in Matthew 13. The attraction of the pleasures of this world is too strong for them and although they never forget the day they called “upon the name of the Lord”, they would rather focus on the things of the world than to worship God like they should. The name of Jesus becomes no more than a magic fairy, a genie in a bottle for them and they would occasionally boast that they prayed about this or that, but we are told that only those who do the will of God are heard. “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” (John 9:31)
Knowledge is essential
Once we are saved it is God’s will for us to grow in knowledge and stature as His children – and we can only do that by immersing ourselves in His Word. The choice ones have no problem with this. God desires us to become like Jesus in order for us to be a light to those in need of salvation. The Apostle Paul was a choice one and he had this to say about the need for knowledge. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Eph 4:13).
He says the same thing in Rom 8:29. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” It is impossible for a lukewarm Christian “to be conformed to the image of his Son.”
Only by gaining knowledge of the Word of God are we able to speak the Word, think on it and obey it. It is called God-consciousness. “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Jos 1:8). J
Jesus fulfilled the law on our behalf. Now we only need to study what the Bible has to say about Him and follow the Author and Finisher of our faith until we grow to be more and more like Him.
We need to be worthy of the calling of God and not follow the ways of the world. Dead, lukewarm ‘Christians’ who cavort with the world (enslaved to worldly interests) are, in effect, worshipping Satan – for he is the god of this world.
Sadly, should they live until Judgement Day – which is virtually upon us – they will not escape the wrath to come, for God will “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2Thess 1:8-12)’ (emphasis mine)
And should they die before Judgement Day, they are already judged. Clearly, it is a matter of knowing and obeying. It is a most terrible thing knowing that one (a parent, a brother or sister, a spouse) close to you is destined for hell should they not even come close to being “conformed to the image of his Son.” Pray, pray and pray and do not let go until God draws them in.
2Thess 1:8-12 speaks of two different groups of people – those “that know not God,” and “that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:”They are different because those who do not know God will, logically, not obey something they do not know. Therefore, those that know not God are unbelievers and those that do not obey the gospel are professing, but disobedient, worldly Christians.
If I find a gold nugget in my back yard and I know for certain that it is a gold nugget, the stark reality of the find will stay with me no matter what anyone says to convince me otherwise. It’s the same with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Once you are persuaded that it is a reality that cannot be argued against, then you will embrace it, love it, cherish it and follow the One who is the Author of it – until you become just like Him or as close as possible to being like Him while you still breathe air on this planet.
The fruit bearers
Bearing fruit is the logical consequence of following Jesus Christ. The fruits that we bear consist of the works of our faith. If we are of the choice ones then we will obey the commandments of Jesus. Basically, it is only one commandment, and that is to become one with Him. All the rest will follow, for it will be Him that does the works through us. “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.” (John 14:21)
In James 2:14 we read, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?”
It seems clear that declaring that one believes in Jesus Christ while following the ways of the world is not enough to secure entrance to the Kingdom. Even the spiritual forces of darkness believe, but they certainly aren’t bound for heaven. Belief is dead if it stops at the initial point of God’s call upon one’s life. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:19,20)
And the fact that those who light-heartedly called upon the name of the Lord – but immediately returned to their worldly ways while proclaiming to be Christians – are destined for hellfire is borne out by the following: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 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. 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. 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. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 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. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:1-11)
Even in the secular world your employer will fire you should you go to work and sit there all day and do nothing.
The place where we exist
The entire universe and all the life therein, including the human race, can be likened to the contents of a gigantic fish bowl with Jesus being the bowl holding it all. All life therein exists because of Him. All life therein exists by Him. All life therein exists within Him. All life therein exists for Him. If you are sitting in a pub drinking yourself into a stupor, you are doing it within Him. If you are out doing shopping you are doing it within Him. If you are driving around in your car you are doing it within Him. Whatever you are doing and wherever you are you are within Him, “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28).
If Jesus, the Word of God, decided to withdraw His word of creation concerning man, all of us would simply disappear, as if we never existed. “If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” (Job 34:14,15).
We are all sinners saved by God’s grace though faith in Jesus Christ. How can anyone consider himself to be above and better than others; self sufficient and not needing God? Our very existence is founded by Him and depends on Him.
Jesus is God’s Word and He is God’s Word of Creation. And when He died on that cross, everyone died on that cross. That’s why He said, before going to the cross, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (I John 12:32). However, freedom of choice is involved. We either follow Him or we follow Satan for the duration of our lives on earth. The day of separation comes when we die.
The wedding garment
Hearken to the words of Jesus in the parable He spoke to the multitude. It refers to the many that were called, but some were not interested in following Jesus after being called, basing their salvation on the fact that they responded positively to the call, but did not bother to “come unto the knowledge of the truth” thereafter, preferring to live their lives in a worldly fashion. “And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: (not prepared, having no knowledge of the truth)
And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Mt 22:1-14)
From death to life
All of those who were called and have come to the point of believing have done so because they came to the realisation of the following: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;).” (Eph 2:1-5)However, some take it lightly and do not go on to “come unto the knowledge of the truth” and then return to their worldly ways to once again follow Satan. They did not earn their wedding garments and presumed that “once saved always saved
By writing this article I am not trying to portray myself as a super Christian, far from it. I have had many a temptation and have fallen hard over the years. I’ve had to clean my wedding garment many a time as per 1John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Living in this world and working in a secular environment exposes one to constant pressure from the living dead operating as the human agents of their master, Satan.
Also, many “Christians” are deceived – especially those who have not “come unto the knowledge of the truth” and they are easy game for the wiles of the devil. They, too, can be used to ridicule and belittle the “choice ones”.
Are you a “Christian” or are you a Christian in the true sense of the word? Do you have a foul mouth and are you a teller of dirty jokes? Can you say, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Ps 19:14) and mean what you say?
The things we do
Are you partial to the idea of adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness and revellings?
Did you know that you are actually a participant if you are addicted to movies and soap operas, for they portray nothing else but all the things listed above and more? God’s word makes it clear that you will not make it to heaven if you participate (in effect, idolise) these things.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal 5:19-25)
As a child I faithfully attended Sunday school at our church. And then, finally, as a young teenager, I was “confirmed” as a Christian. I got out of there and never went back. The world beckoned and I immersed myself in the ways of the world. I thought I was saved because of that commitment I made at church and that, one day, I would go to heaven. After all, I fell into the category of “Christian”. Only years later, as a mature adult, did the Gospel of Jesus Christ hit me when I, reluctantly, attended an evangelist meeting held in a school hall. I did it purely to please a friend who asked me to go with him. That was the defining moment of my life. I became a “choice one”, having fully realised the reality of the truth of Jesus Christ. From that point onwards I could not get enough of the Word and I strove to “come unto the knowledge of the truth”.
So I guess the bottom line question is, are you a “choice one” or are you of the many who were called without going on to “come unto the knowledge of the truth”?
The first one will get you to heaven, the second one won’t. We need to have a clean wedding garment – not one that has been immersed in the ways of the world and soiled to the point of no return.
We need to humble ourselves…..or God will bring us to the point of humility – even if it takes sickness, strife, trauma, financial loss and even tragedy to get our attention.
Should we fail to heed the words of Jesus, then we will have procured the wrath of God upon us
Jer. 2:17 “Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when he led thee by the way?”
Jer. 2:19 “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.”
It could get to the point where we have become so hardened that, as in the case of the Pharaoh of Egypt, God would let us have our way so that we enter the realm of no return.
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2Thess. 2:11,12)
The bottom line
Now here’s the bottom line to the matter concerning the continued influence of God in this world.
Heb 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Heb 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Heb 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
What exactly is that bottom line? It is the fact that Jesus, although He is now seated at the right hand of God in His glorified human form (the Word of God made flesh) – and as such is absolutely one with the Father – God is still speaking “unto us by his Son”. Jesus is still here on this earth inside of every person who believes in and follows Him.
It is an incredible reality. It is a spiritual reality.
And that spiritual reality is the fact that, as born again believers, we are spiritually seated together with Christ in heavenly places while we remain on the earth in physical form.
We have already died on the Cross in Christ. We are now spiritually alive in Christ and we are in two places at once – in Heaven and on earth in Christ. And Jesus is in two places at once – in Heaven and on earth in us.
Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
So we see, when we speak here on earth, we are speaking in the presence of Jesus, because we are seated in heavenly places in Christ. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” (Phil. 3:20)
And if we are seated in heavenly places in Christ and our conversation takes place right in front of Him, then when we speak here on earth we need to realise this. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1Peter 1:15,16)
We speak to each other as if we are speaking to Christ, for Christ is in each of us who believe. And we speak to the unsaved as if it is Christ speaking to them, for we are the body of Christ here on earth.
Our commission, as the Body of Christ, is to continue what Jesus started. That commission is, “… Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
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.
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (Mark 16:15-20)
Jesus was sent and now we are sent. We are in heavenly places and on earth. It is “the Lord working” with us and through us. He is in Heaven and on earth. The signs that follow us are His signs working through us. Our hands are His hands when we lay hands on the sick.
John 20:21. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
Therefore, God is still speaking to the world by His Son, through us, as per Heb 1:2. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; And all we have to do is to obey the Son. Our obedience is observed right in front of Jesus in heavenly places where we are seated together with Him.
For a deeper understanding of just why we should seek salvation through Jesus Christ and be born again, here are two articles I wrote some time ago that should also clear up some questions readers might have concerning our human make-up.
Are You Well Pleased with your Word?
We go about our business each and every day, not realizing that all the events, circumstances and experiences attached to our lives are determined by a single factor.
The key that unlocks tomorrow
What happens for the rest of this day, tomorrow and all your tomorrows will depend on the image factor in your life. Undoubtedly, the image that you already possess within was deposited by the mindset of a world that has been in turmoil since the beginning of human existence.
Ever since you took your first breath as a newborn you’ve been absorbing sights and sound responsible for shaping your own mindset. Just like everyone else has been doing, you’ve lived your life in compliance with the “norms” of the world for the sole purpose of achieving one thing only, and that is survival. Your idea of survival might be associated with wealth or it may cover only the basic necessities. Either way, it is called survival. The latter years of your life will be dependent on the image factor of your former years.
The identity of the image factor
What is that image factor? That image factor is your word. The sole asset of your life is your word. Without it you are merely a shape of animated clay. Your word started forming the day you were born and it was shaped by all the other “words” in the world. Your word is deeply embedded within the heart of your spirit, where it takes on the identity and individuality of the very nature of your personality and character. You and your word are absolutely one. And, to reiterate, your word was shaped by the words of the world. You are a child of the word of the world.
You will carry this ever-increasing word of yours as a personal database forever by means of your spirit, that is, even beyond the death of your body of clay. This database is known as your soul.
Your great master of ceremonies
Forming part of the substance of your spirit is a “thinking mechanism” called the mind. This is the operator, and also the dictator, of your soul. It determines the output from the content of your soul and presents it to the world, through your mouth, as your word. Of course, what comes out of your mouth will not differ much from what comes out of the mouths of others in the world. We are all birds of a feather. The only difference will be the degree of greed behind the mode of survival you have decided upon, courtesy of your chief executive officer – your mind.
However, this mind of yours, just as it could be your fiercest enemy, can also turn out to be your greatest ally on the road to your salvation from the world of like-minded followers of followers. It is your mind that opened up your spirit to the receipt of all the words churned out by the world, which turned your soul into a clone of everyone else. Yes, we are all databases differing only in the intensity of the category our survival direction falls under, as processed by our minds.
Many words (people) are sitting in correctional institutions as a result of like-mindedness, regardless of whether they come from wealthy or poor backgrounds. Many words (people), depending on their chosen paths of survival, have either succeeded or failed in life. The quest for supremacy in the wealth stakes by the minds of survival-seeking, word-powered people have led to new and modern technology. Now everyone is attempting to follow suit by attempting to improve upon these inventions – for the same reasons.
Change to another source
The words of the world are so ingrained in us that we have been meditating therein day and night and have been making all our decisions based thereon.
Imagine if we could start listening to new words – words so immense in power and wisdom that it would alter our thinking to the point of turning us into a brotherhood of super humans, all working together for the common good, desiring to help each other with all that is needed to live without shame and despair. These would be the words that add a brand new dimension to the personality of the word of our soul.
Minds need to be transformed into new thinkers. Minds need to process a different set of words to the spirits within. Minds need to start listening to the Word of Words. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom 12:2)
Transformed to what? Transformed to a new being altogether and able to function as the creative being you were designed to be by following the Word of the Word of words.
The Word was sent
Assuming you already know that Jesus Christ was the Word of God, and as such He was God in the flesh, then perhaps you wonder, like so many do, that if Jesus Christ was God, then why did God say, “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”? (Matt 17:5)
God was saying that He was well pleased with His own Word and that we ought to listen to His Word, namely, Jesus Christ. But how could Jesus be God if God spoke about Jesus as if He was a different person? Even Jesus said, “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” (John 14:24)
Let me explain.
When you order a cup of coffee in a restaurant you do so by speaking out your word. Pretty soon the coffee is delivered to you. What happened? Your word went to the kitchen and brought you the substance of what you requested while the source, your word, remained with you. Now watch this. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
God sent HIs Word, Jesus Christ, to accomplish what He had set His Word to do while the Word remained with God, just like you did in that restaurant. God was the biological Father of Jesus Christ in whom was the sent Word of God. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14). This not only made Jesus Christ the Word of God, but God Himself – just like sending your word is like sending yourself.
You had a tiny little word to start with when you were born, which established your individuality, but instead of being fed with the Word of God (“hear ye Him”), your personality was formed by the word of the world, thereby alienating you from the Word you should have received and the creative power you would have had in line with the creative power of God, in whose image you were created. But now you possess the image and the weakness of the world.
Prosperity and good success
It is time to be transformed by the renewing of your mind to the Word of God so that you can start sending your word to do greater things. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12)
We’ve been meditating in the words of the men of the world day and night to make us what we are. It’s time to meditate day and night in the Word of words so that your prosperity and success may be void of greed and a need to merely survive. “This book of the law (Word of God) shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)
By His death on the Cross Jesus fulfilled the law for us and now all we have to do is follow Him by studying and obeying His commands, for He is the law.
While there is a lot more to be said on the subject, suffice to say that this is a starting point. And pretty soon you, too, will be well pleased with your word and it will not return unto you void of accomplishing what you set it out to do. It shall be the kind of word that moves mountains for yourself and others, laden with ‘prosperity’ and “good success” as per Joshua 1:8 quoted above.
The Reason for and Purpose of Human Life
Why would God, who is Spirit, create a physical universe within His spirit realm and bring about physical life on just one of the planets and then give a choice between heaven and hell for everyone who has life? What makes Planet Earth so important to God? These questions raise even more questions and the need to know the answers is of vital importance to every human being still breathing air on this planet.
To begin with, we have to understand that God’s spirit realm is the very core of reality and that the physical realm would not have materialised without the existence of the Supreme Being of the spirit realm. And if the physical realm and all of us – as physical creatures – are products of the spirit realm, then our planet is actually ‘hanging’ in the spirit realm and held in position like all the rest of the celestial bodies in the entire universe as clearly explained in the Bible. “Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26)
And as far as our own planet is concerned, “He stretches out the north over the empty place, and hangs the earth upon nothing.” (Job 26:7)
The point I’m trying to make is that the earth and the rest of the physical universe exist within the spirit realm and are permeated by the spiritual realm. Physical bodies, therefore, present no obstacles for the movement of spiritual entities, such as angels and demons. God, angels and demons have spiritual bodies not unlike our own physical bodies (in appearance) and they can move through our physical earth as if it were no less spiritual than they are.
As mere human beings we find it impossible to believe that the solid physical earth was made from nothing, yet it would appear so when we read Heb 11:3 “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
It is clear that the substance for our physical earth (and the entire universe) came forth out of the creative, faith-filled words of God. And out of that earthy substance God formed the physical body of man. Planet Earth, therefore, came out of the mouth of God and is held together by His word.
It stands to reason that if God had to withdraw his word of creation of the physical universe it would simply disappear – and so would our physical bodies. However, our physical bodies already contain God-given spiritual life, which will return to God. “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” (Job 33:4) “If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” (Job 34:14,15)
What or who is God’s word? God’s word is Jesus Christ, who existed with God as the second member of the Godhead in the eternal realm before He was manifested in the flesh as a human being and only then received the name by which we know Him, as made clear in John 1 and supported by Col. 1:16,17. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
It is, therefore, Jesus Christ by whom we all exist and in whom we all exist. Let’s make this abundantly clear. We all exist within the being of Jesus Christ and that is why everything we think, say or do is known by Him. There is nothing about ourselves that escapes Him. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” (Acts 17:28)
And apart from this we also carry a witness to our words and deeds within our spiritual souls. Our inner spirit records and stores our every thought, word and deed like a video recorder, which simply confirms what Jesus already knows. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matt. 12:36)
Now to come back to the initial question, namely, why would God, who is Spirit, create a physical universe within His spirit realm and bring about physical life on just one of the planets and then give a choice between heaven and hell for everyone who has life? Firstly, let’s affirm the fact that we, as physical human beings, have spiritual life within us. “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.” (Zec 12:1)
Nothing, whether physical or spiritual, could have come into existence without being created by God, who is Spirit. “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Ps 24:1) “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Rev 4:11)
Every creature that has life has to have a spirit in order to live. Better still, everything that lives must be a spirit regardless of the physical or spiritual form it has been given by God. Angels, who are spirit beings, were created by God and have spiritual bodies. Likewise, human beings are spirit beings with the addition of a physical body and were created as such by God.
Angels, because of their spiritual make-up, have freedom of movement in the vast spiritual realm (including the space taken up by the earth and all the galaxies in the universe) but they do not wander off independently. They go where their assignment takes them and they certainly are not affected by gravity.
Man, who is no less spirit than an angel, is “stuck” to the earth by the earth’s gravitational pull only because of the physical body that covers his spirit. Man was made to be a terrestrial creature and will remain so while he is in retention of a physical body. Man lives by means of his spirit, but has to express that spiritual life through his physical body. It is perhaps for this reason that he cannot see into the spiritual realm – although God can open his vision to the spirit realm if it is called for. Many people can testify to this.
Now this is important. When man sheds his physical body (when he dies physically) he has no control over the movement of his spiritual body like an angel on assignment would have. Man’s spirit (his real life) belongs to God and is immediately dispatched to either heaven or hell. However, as paradoxical as this may sound, man, himself, assigns his spirit to its eternal destination while still in his physical body and before the latter part of him succumbs. God merely honours his choice – if I may put it that way.
This is a subject for discussion on its own, but I need to bring in here the fact that heaven-bound human spirits will in due time once again have their former human bodies integrated, but in glorified form and have freedom of movement not unlike that of angels.
Man’s consummate purpose on earth has changed completely from what was originally intended. Believe it or not, man’s only purpose is to focus on where he wants to spend eternity and when he has discovered that true purpose he is to live accordingly. In other words, his conduct in life should match up with the requirements of that eternal place. No cynicism intended, but this means that both places – heaven and hell – reserve the right of admission.
So what are the respective qualifications needed for heaven and hell? As far as ensuring a passage to hell is concerned, all one has to do is to ignore God and either ignore or avoid anyone who has anything positive to say about God and heaven and carry on living as if God has nothing do with one’s life. This is a sure-fire qualification for hell. It is a one-way ticket.
Zealously aspiring to live righteously after having been born again through Jesus Christ is all it takes to qualify for a passage to heaven as well as securing accommodation in the new heaven and earth after the current earth is destroyed by fire. This is the ticket we all need and it is only provided at the “strait gate” entrance point.
Unfortunately, there is a grey area. Many have tasted of salvation but have reverted to a lifestyle in total contrast of what is expected of them as Christians. They make reference to their “Christianity” only when it suits the occasion, but they are deceived and no longer possess that “ticket” to heaven – unless they come to their senses and abort their ways.
The daily experiences of our lives are purely incidental. What do I mean by that? Well, our lives have no meaning whatsoever until we find the purpose for our lives and until we do we remain members of the living dead going through the motions of pretending to be alive when we are actually quite dead. Does this sound confusing? Let me put it in plain and simple terms.
As growing children we lived in wonderment of our surroundings and gave thought to only the happy moments we experienced from day to day. When we finally approached adulthood certainly realities became apparent. We discovered that life had many downsides with only a sprinkling of happy moments. As we grew older problems seemed to increase. Money became the core requirement of our lives. Without it we could do nothing. Our comfort zone and personal contentment in life depended on this one commodity. Then there was the other factor – the people factor. People would gossip about you and you would gossip about them. Human relations seemed to be made up of strife, slander, revenge and unforgiveness. We had problems to overcome, sicknesses to deal with and bills to pay while filling our empty moments with various forms of entertainment, such as many hours of television fare and the tapping of fingers on a smart phone device..
Does all of this make any sense and are we just to live this way and then die without explanation for any of it?
Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Acts 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Acts 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Acts 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
It is clear. We either start realising that life comes from God and that we need to live that life His way or suffer the consequences. The point is, we cannot do it. It is impossible. We are dead and condemned already, but Christ died and paid that penalty (of death and condemnation) on our behalf – in our place – so that we might live through Him and with Him for eternity.
Repentance means “to change one’s mind”. It is, therefore, a matter of changing one’s mind, accepting and believing this Truth and to make it clear to God that you do. How? By confessing to Him that you believe. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9,10)
The alternative is too horrendous to even contemplate.
The Bible gives a full explanation for all of it and makes it absolutely clear that without Christ we are lost and condemned forever.
The road to redemption by repentance
The following prayer would be an act of repentance.
“Dear God in Heaven, I now realise that I am a sinner in need of forgiveness and redemption. I believe that Jesus died in my place to pay the penalty for my sin nature and that He was resurrected from the dead so that I may live for eternity with you. Jesus, please come in to my heart and life and be my Lord and Saviour. Please guide me and grant me wisdom each and every day for the rest of my life on earth. Amen.”
And the Lord’s response to such a prayer?
“Because you have made the LORD, which is your refuge, even the most High, your habitation; there shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” (Ps 91:9-11)
Angels are given charge over us. To think that while you are washing dishes in your kitchen those angels are delighted with your happy face. While you are driving your car those angels can see far ahead of you and take action to avert any mishap. And your boss does not know why he suddenly feels that he should give you a promotion and a substantial raise.