Tag Archives: The Bible

Does the Bible Instruct Us to Have Childlike Faith

Childlike Faith

Unquestionably, faith is the essence of the Christian life. Faith is exhorted throughout the Bible and is presented as an absolute necessity. In fact, “without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 is about faith and those who possessed it. Faith is a gift from God, as we see in Ephesians 2:8-9 and not something we come up with on our own. All Christians have received the gift of faith from God, and faith is part of the armor of God, the shield with which we protect ourselves from the “flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16).

The Bible never exhorts us to have “childlike” faith, at least not in so many words. In Matthew 18:2 Jesus says that we must “become as little children” in order to enter the kingdom of God. The context of Jesus’ statement is the disciples’ question, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (verse 1). In response, Jesus “called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me'” (verses 2-5).

For I am never lonely

So, as the disciples focus on what constitutes “greatness” in heaven, Jesus provides a new perspective: the way “up” is “down.” Meekness is required (cf. Matthew 5:5). Jesus exhorts the disciples (and us) to seek to possess a childlike modesty in addition to their faith. Those who willingly take the lowest position are the greatest in heaven’s eyes. A young child is destitute of ambition, pride, and haughtiness and is therefore a good example for us. Children are characteristically humble and teachable. They aren’t prone to pride or hypocrisy. Humility is a virtue rewarded by God; as James says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).

Although faith is not mentioned in Matthew 18:1-5, we know that it isn’t just humility that ushers a person into heaven; it is faith in the Son of God. A humble, unpretentious faith could rightly be called a “childlike faith.” When Jesus wanted to bless the children, He said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:14-15). How does a child receive a gift? With openness, honesty, and unbridled joy. That type of happy authenticity should be a hallmark of our faith as we receive God’s gift in Christ.

Of course, children are easily fooled and led astray. In their artlessness they tend to miss the truth and be drawn to myths and fantasies. But that is not what is meant by having a childlike faith. Jesus promoted a humble, honest faith in God, and He used the innocence of a child as an example. Emulating the faith of children, we should simply take God at His Word. As children trust their earthly fathers, we should trust that our “Father in heaven [will] give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:11).

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An Antichrist or The Antichrist

Antichrists are here today

An Antichrist or The Antichrist. The book of Revelation is an enigma to most people.  Many have heard about the antichrist.  Who is the antichrist?  Does the Bible describe the antichrist?  Does the Bible tell us who the antichrist is?  Does the Bible teach where the antichrist will come from?  How can we know who the antichrist is when they come?  What will the antichrist be like so we can realize who it is?

Two Types of Antichrists

Anti means opposed to or someone who is against whatever the prefix is attached.  Anti can also mean in place of as we will find in the book of Revelation.  Thus, to be antichrist means to be opposed to Christ or to place oneself in His place.  The Bible actually describes two different antichrists.  In fact, antichrists are here today.  We don’t have to look toward the future for the arrival of the antichrist because there are in the world today.  But the antichrist is not the same as the antichrist.

The apostle John talks about the antichrist but he differentiates the difference between the two antichrists that exist.  One is the antichrist with the small “a”.   Then, there is the Antichrist.  That is the one that is capitalized.  One is a proper noun meaning it is a specific person.  The non-capitalized antichrist speaks of several who are antichrists.

A Definition of an Antichrist

The small “a” antichrist is only recorded in the Bible three times.  The antichrist is anyone who denies that Jesus came in the flesh or that He was both man and God.  By denying this, they also deny the Father and the Son, as stated by the apostle John in I John 2:22, “Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist denying the Father and the Son.”  As John says in I John 4:3, they were already living in his day as he testified, “but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”  Anyone who denies that Jesus is from God and did not come in the flesh is saying God is a liar (John 1:14).   John says further, “I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist“(II John 1:7).

The Antichrist

The apostle Paul speaks of a specific person as the Antichrist, although not using the name specifically, it is nonetheless the same thing he wrote about in II Thessalonians verses 3 and 8, “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.”

Revelation chapter 13 describes a deceiving imitation of the Trinity that includes Satan, the False Prophet, and the antichrist.  The dragon is what is often referred to as Satan throughout the Bible and is clearly identified as Satan (Rev. 12:9).  The beast and the false prophet who comes next (Rev. 13:11) will be given power by Satan and they will rule the world for 42 months during the time of what is called The Great Tribulation (Rev. 13:5-7).  They will rule over the earth and place themselves in the place of God and demand to be worshipped (Rev.13:4).  The beast of Revelation 13:11 is the third person of the evil trinity that mimics the Holy Trinity of God, performing signs and wonders that will deceive the world (Rev. 13:13-14).

Safely Delivered From the Antichrist

No one that is saved today and has been born again has to worry about the antichrist who lives in the world today or the Antichrist that is to come.  God will pour out His wrath upon the unsaved world in the Great Tribulation but He has not appointed those who are His to wrath (I Thess. 5:9).  Just after Jesus raptures His church out of the world, the world will see such a time that it has never seen before (Matt 24:21).  Daniel 12:1 explains that this will be the worst time that has ever been experienced for humans on earth “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people–everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered.”

The Gospel

If you are not saved, then you may have to go through the Great Tribulation and it will be, as Daniel wrote and as Jesus said, it will be the worst time in human history since there were nations that existed.  I would hope that today, if you are not a Christian, you could be born-again this very moment.  When a person believes in Jesus Christ and places their life in Him and trusts in the atoning work of the cross, they are safe from the wrath of God and will be found worthy to escape the wrath of God in the Great Tribulation.  This free gift of faith came at great cost to Jesus Christ but His blood has paved the way for anyone who wants to be saved to be sparred from eternal judgment and to spend eternity with God in heaven.

Decide today and you will never have such a worry again about your future for you will be placed under His protection.  Then you can warn others of the coming Great Tribulation and tell them of a way to escape the wrath of God and avoid having to worry about the Antichrist.  Then find a Bible-believing church where the cross of Christ is preached and the Bible is taught and join a Sunday school class where you can begin to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


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The Bible, God, Man, Sin

Chapter 1: The Bible

We begin our teaching on foundations of our faith with the Bible, as it is the source of our faith.


Many people feel as if they have no compass for their lives. They are asking themselves questions. Where am I going? Am I lost? Will I ever find the right way? God has heard our questions and He has already given us a Book to guide our lives. Before searching for the answers, let’s look together at the great Book. We will see how it was written and how it was given to us.

This lesson will help you describe the origin and structure of the Bible and understand how and why the Bible was given to us.


The Holy Bible, made up of 66 books, is like a small library that God has given us. The first part of the Bible (the Old Testament) contains 39 books. The second part (the New Testament) contains 27 books.

Over a period of 1600 years approximately 40 men were involved in writing these books. The Bible tells us that these men were holy men of God. They were kings and peasants, poets and merchants, military and religious leaders. They were from different backgrounds, different cities, and of different interests.

The books of the Bible cover many different subjects, like history, prophecy, and poetry. It has songs and wise sayings called proverbs. It contains stories to interest the young and the old. Yet it all fits together because it has one central theme-the relationship between God and man.


Perhaps you noticed what may seem to be a contra­diction in the first part of this lesson. It says that God gave us the Bible, but it also says that men wrote it. How can this be?

The forty men who wrote the Bible were divinely inspired. This means that the Holy Spirit put in the authors’ minds the thoughts that God wanted them to write. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God.” This verse also tells why the Bible was given for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and giving instruction.

God has given us instructions for right living because He desires our highest good. He knows that when we do not live according to His principles we hurt ourselves. Our minds, our bodies, and especially our spirits suffer. The best way to avoid hurting our­selves is to follow His Word closely. Through it we get to know Him personally; we understand that His ways are best for us.

Like a chart or a guide book, His Word was written for us to turn to for help and strength. How wonderful that we can have His personal instructions to us always at our side!

Quiz Instructions

Test your knowledge by taking this short quiz which covers what you just read on this page.

The Bible consists of ________ books written by ________ men of different backgrounds.

a) 40, 66

b) 60, 46

c) 66, 40

d) 46, 60

The Bible was written over a period of _______ years.

a) 1200

b) 1400

c) 1600

d) 1800

When we say that the Bible is divinely inspired we emphasize that __________.

a) it tells us about God.

b) God gave the authors the thoughts they should write.

b) it contains valuable religious history.

The authors wrote on the same theme and did not contradict each other because _________.

a) God was the real author and they wrote the thoughts He gave them.

b) each one left instructions for the following writers.

Select all of the TRUE reasons why God has given us the Bible.

a) He wants our highest good.

b) He wanted to give instructions for right living.

c) He wanted us to realize that He is too great for us to know Him.

d) He wants to establish His relationship with us.

Chapter 2: God


Some people fear God and others love Him-depending on what they have been told and what they do about it. You cannot see God, but you can study what He does. In Lesson I we learned that it is the Bible that tells us all about God-about His qualities and how He deals with mankind. In this lesson we will look into the Bible and explore a few of the many things it has to say about God.

This lesson will help you name several attributes of God and explain what your attitude toward God should be.


Objective 1. Name at least five attributes of God

The Bible says in John 4:24 that God is a Spirit. The dictionary says that a spirit is the vital principle that gives life. Since God is the Creator, this means that He is the supernatural force that gives life to all of His creation. Because He is a Spirit, He cannot be seen unless He chooses to show Himself in some visible form.

He did show Himself through His Son. John 1:14 says, “The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son.”

God has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three Persons which are called the Godhead or Trinity. The three are referred to in many places, one of which is Matthew 28:19: “Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the HolySpirit.”

One good way to learn more about God is by studying His attributes or qualities. God is good, holy, just, all-powerful, all-knowing, and eternal. Let’s look at a series of verses that mention these qualities and others as well.

Exodus 34:6 states, “I, the Lord, am a God who is full of compassion and pity, who is not easily angered and who shows great love and faithfulness.”

Leviticus 11:44 says: “I am the Lord your God, and you must keep yourselves holy. because I am holy.”

The fact that He is all-powerful can be seen in Daniel 4:35. It says. “No one can oppose his will or question what he does.”

God knows everything.

There is nothing that can be hid from God; everything in all creation is exposed and lies open before his eyes. And it is to him that we must all give an account of ourselves (Hebrews 4:13).

Revelation 10:6 tells us that God is eternal. An angel “took a vow in the name of God, who lives forever and ever, who created heaven, earth, and the sea, and everything in them.”

The few verses that we have read, verses that give a little description of God, help us to realize how great He is. He is powerful and He is strong-but He is also merciful and kind. And He wants to have a close relationship with us, His creation.


Objective 2. Recognize that your first responsibility is toward God.

In Matthew 22:37 Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

There are various ways of showing God that we love Him. Our worship and praise can put our love into words said directly to Him. But we should also show our love. Now listen to what the Lord your God demands of you:

Have reverence for the Lord and do all that he commands. Love him, serve him with all your heart, and obey all his laws (Deuteronomy 10:12 13).

“But whoever obeys his word is the one whose love for God has really been made perfect” (I John 2:5).

If we want to show our love to God, we will follow the instructions He gives us in His Word.

Another way to show our love to God is by giving and sharing with others. I John 3:17-18 says: If a rich person sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against his brother, how can he claim that he loves God? My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action. The love that is obedient and sharing will be a satisfying and rewarding love.

Jesus says in Luke 10:28 that if we love God above all else we “will live.” Some people think that “real living” is wealth, power, and position. But these things in themselves will never satisfy because we were made in God’s likeness and for His glory. Our spirits must be satisfied with the spiritual. Real living is loving God. Jesus said. “Be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things” (Matthew 6:33).

Don’t limit yourself to the less important things. Love God with all your heart.

Quiz Instructions

You will need to read verses in the Bible to answer most of the questions in this short quiz. Test your knowledge of what you find in the Bible and in the teachings on this page.

1. Read Matthew 6:9-11 and choose the correct words for the following statement: God is likened to a loving _______________ who provides for ___________________ .

a) father, his children

b) employer, their employees

c) king, his servants

2. Read Isaiah 66:13 and choose the correct words for the following statement: God comforts even as a __________ comforts _______________ .

a) father, his children

b) mother, her children

c) grandparent, a grandchild

3. Look up the Scripture 2 Kings 4:42-44. Choose the attribute of God that it most closely suggests to you:

a) merciful

b) forgiving

c) all-powerful

d) holy

e) all-knowing or all-seeing

4. Look up the Scripture Genesis 9:13-17. Choose the attribute of God that it most closely suggests to you:

a) merciful

b) forgiving

c) all-powerful

d) holy

e) all-knowing or all-seeing

5. Look up the Scripture 2 Chronicles 7:13-14. Choose the attribute of God that it most closely suggests to you:

a) merciful

b) forgiving

c) all-powerful

d) holy

e) all-knowing or all-seeing

6. Look up the Scripture Exodus 3:7. Choose the attribute of God that it most closely suggests to you:

a) merciful

b) forgiving

c) all-powerful

d) holy

e) all-knowing or all-seeing

7. Look up the Scripture Psalm 97:10-12. Choose the attribute of God that it most closely suggests to you:

a) merciful

b) forgiving

c) all-powerful

d) holy

e) all-knowing or all-seeing

8. Above all else, you should love

a) power so that you are in control of your life.

b) God, and put that love into practice.

9. Read the Bible verses listed below and click on the ones that tell you what your first responsibility toward God is.

a) Deuteronomy 6:5

b) Deuteronomy 10:12

c) Deuteronomy 13:3

d) Joshua 22:5

e) Mark 12:30

f) Jude 21

Chapter 3: Man


There is a children’s story about a famous wood carver who one day carved the figure of a little boy. It was a beautiful carving and the man called it Pinocchio. He was proud of his work but there was no way the carving could love him in return.

What would have happened if the carver had put a little talking-machine inside the wooden boy? Maybe he could have made the little figure move and say, “I love you.” Would that have satisfied the carver? Would he have been thrilled and said, “Now I know my carving loves me?” No, because that would not be an expression of love. It would be only a mechanical phrase with no real feeling.

The story says that somehow the wooden boy came alive. He had a mind of his own and when he would say, “I love you,” it did thrill the carver. Why? Because the wooden boy wasn’t forced to say it-he said it with love.

We know the story is just a fable, but it gives us a little picture of how God felt when He made man. He made him beautifully and, most important, with the power to make his own choices.

God made man, but not carved from a block of wood. How did He make him? What qualities did He put in man? In the last lesson we studied some of the qualities of God and our attitude toward Him. Now let’s look at how God made man and the responsibility He gave him.

In this lesson you will study

Man’s Condition at Creation
Man’s Condition Now

This lesson will help you

  • State how and why God made man.
  • Understand the cause of man’s sinful condition.


Objective 1. State how man was made and identify a reason for his being created.

God created a beautiful world with trees, flowers, and animals. The Bible says that God was pleased with what He saw. But it wasn’t complete. There were no people to enjoy and share that beauty.

Genesis 1:26-27 tells us:

Then God said, ‘And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all the animals, domestic and wild, large and small.’ So God created human beings, making them like himself.

Man was different from the animals already created because he was made in God’s likeness. He was a glorious creation, perfect in body, soul, and spirit. Further details of the story are given in Genesis 2 where it tells how God formed man out of the soil of the ground. Then He breathed life-giving breath into man’s nostrils and the man began to live.

With life came responsibility. Man could make his own decisions. He could glorify God in his everyday living. Isaiah 43:7 gives us God’s words, “They are my own people, and I created them to bring me glory.”

The Bible says that in the cool of the evening God would walk and talk with man in the beautiful garden where they lived. God loved those first people, Adam and Eve, and wanted their perfect fellowship to continue forever. But He knew it could not be perfect if it were forced, if Adam and Eve had no choice but to fellowship with Him.

Because God has the freedom to choose and He made man like Himself, He gave man the freedom to decide whether that fellowship should continue as it had – unbroken and beautiful. Perhaps Adam and Eve wanted to keep it that way, but they wanted some other things too. One day they would come to a place of having to decide what they wanted most of all.


Objective 2. Recognize the condition of man as a result of man’s fall.

What a joy the heart of God must have felt having communion with His creation. Then Adam and Eve chose to break that precious fellowship with God.

That is how man fell from his perfect state.  He made the wrong choice and became sinful. Romans 5:19 says, “All people were made sinners as the result of the disobedience of one man.”

The justice of God could not ignore sin. God cannot lie and go against His word. He had said that dis­obedience would cause man to become mortal. Adam and Eve had to leave that paradise garden of Eden and be separated from the presence of God.

Man’s condition today is still sinful. Romans 3:23 says, “Everyone has sinned and is far away from God’s saving presence.” Man has never lost the ability to choose. Wrong choices still keep people away from God.

Quiz Instructions

Test your knowledge by taking this short quiz which covers what you just read on this page and some Bible verses.

1. Select each TRUE statement.

a) Man was made for God’s glory.

b) God created man out of nothing.

c) God’s breath made man a living soul.

d) Man was created perfect in body, soul, and spirit.

e) Man was created with a freedom to choose.

2. Memorize Revelation 4:11. After you have memorized it, select the words that are ordered properly to fill in the blanks below. Our ……………………………….. and ………………………………….! You are …………………………. to receive……………………………., and………………………………..For you………………………………… all things, and by your will they were given …………………………. ……………………… and, …………………………………………………..

a) Lord, God, worthy, power, created, existence, life, glory, honor

b) Lord, God, worthy, glory, honor, power, created, existence, life

c) Lord, created, God, worthy, glory, honor, power, existence, life.

d) Lord, God, worthy, glory, created, honor, power, existence, life.

e) Lord, God, worthy, glory, honor, power, created, existence, life.

3. Choose the correct completion for the following statement. Man was made to be

a) oppressed and overworked.

b) forced into service to God.

c) a glory to God.

4. Zephaniah 3:17 says that when you are in communion with the Lord He

a) feels it is the least that you can do.

b) sings and is joyful over you.

c) knows man will soon disobey Him again.

d) will give you new life.

5. Job 8:3 says “God never twists justice; he never fails to do what is right.” Because of this God had to be true to His character and

a) man lost the ability to choose right or wrong.

b) carry out His word by punishing sin.

c) Adam and Eve had to leave the garden of Eden.

d) decided Adam and Eve hadn’t really under­ stood His instructions.

6. Man’s condition now is one of

a) separation from God.

b) a sinful nature.

c) no responsibility for his sins.

And BeholdChapter 4: Sin


Let’s imagine a friend has given you a palace full of beautiful things. It is yours to enjoy. The only request he makes is, “Please don’t jump from the tower because you will die.”

Then an enemy comes to your palace. He says, “Who told you not to jump? Go ahead. You’ll feel wonderful! You will know how it feels to fly. You will be able to see your palace from a different view. Don’t worry about what happens when you hit bottom; just think about all the new things you’ll learn on the way down.”

Would you run to the top of your tower and jump? Of course not. It would be stupid to trust your enemy and do as he says.

Adam and Eve had a similar experience. God put them in a beautiful garden and made them masters over everything. He gave them permission to eat of every tree but one. Along came the enemy, Satan, who told them to eat the fruit of the tree anyway-that it wouldn’t hurt them. They trusted his word instead of God’s. How foolish!

As we studied in the previous lesson, man was made perfect but through disobedience sin entered his life. How would we define sin? Did Adam bring it into the world? What is the punishment for sin? Is there any escape? The Bible verses in this lesson will give us the answers.

This lesson will help you describe the nature and consequences of sin and appreciate the work of Christ in removing man’s sin.


Objective 1. Recognize descriptions of sin.

Sin is disobeying God’s laws. It is saying to God, “I am more important than You. I don’t take Your Word as my final authority.” Sin is rebellion.

“No one has a right to limit me,” you might say. “I’ll do what I please.” The limits God has set for us were made for one reason-our highest good. For instance, God knows that bitterness and hate can cause severe headaches; a desire for revenge can cause ulcers. These attitudes hurt other people too. God showed His love for us by setting certain limits, or laws, as protection. For us to go outside these limits is to sin. First John 3:4 says, “Whoever sins is guilty of breaking God’s law, because sin is a breaking of the law.”

“Is it all right then to do anything that doesn’t hurt me or others?” No, everything is lawful ONLY if it is inside the limits that God has set. We might think that something doesn’t hurt us or others and be mistaken in our belief. For example, there were parents who thought they shouldn’t obey God’s law of correcting their children because that would frustrate or confuse them. Now a recent magazine article informs us, “It’s time to discipline our children.” Man’s opinions change. For a while he thinks one thing won’t hurt us and later he says it will. The only safe conduct for us is obedience to the laws that God has set, whether we understand the reason for them or not.


Objective 2. Identify statements showing how sin entered the world.

Satan tempted man to sin, and man yielded to that temptation. First John 3:8 says. “Whoever continues to sin belongs to the Devil, because the Devil has sinned from the very beginning.” It was Satan that brought sin into the world, but this does not free man from blame. Man is responsible too.

Adam did not have to yield to temptation from Satan. We know that temptations do not come from God. James 1:13-14 tells us:

If a person is tempted by such trials, he must not say, “This temptation comes from God.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one.

It is not sin to be tempted. Even Jesus was tempted by the devil. But it is sin to yield. How different the world would be if Adam had not yielded.

What happened to man when he sinned? God said that if he disobeyed he would die. He didn’t die immediately as we know death, but he immediately became mortal. Death began to work in his body, soul, and spirit.

Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it. As a result, death has spread to the whole human race because everyone has sinned (Romans 5:12).

Yes, all people are sinners. “Everyone has sinned and is far away from God’s saving presence” (Romans 3:23).

The penalty for sin today is the same penalty that was given to Adam and Eve-death. Romans 5:12 expresses it this way: “Death has spread to the whole human race.” In Romans 6:23 we read: “For sin pays its wage-death.” No. the sinner doesn’t physically die the moment he commits sin. Sometimes it even looks as though he prospers. But death is working there nevertheless, and eventually he will not only die physically but spiritually also. Spiritual death means eternal separation from God.


Objective 3. Explain how a sinner can escape the penalty of sin.

Do you remember the story that I told you at the beginning of this lesson? The person who jumps from the palace tower will surely die. But what if a friend was near and stretched out a strong net just below the window? If the one who jumped caught the net, his life could be saved.

God has given us a way to escape the punishment of sin which is spiritual death and everlasting separation from Him. The way is through accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior. In a future lesson we will learn the verses that tell us how to reach out and be saved. For now, it would be good to memorize two verses that show us how to escape the punishment of sin.

God has shown us how much he loves us-it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8).

If we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing (1 John 1:9).

Quiz Instructions

Test your knowledge by taking this short quiz which covers what you just read on this page and some Bible verses.

1. Sin is __________ .

a) whatever you feel is wrong.

b) whatever others tell you is wrong.

c) being discovered doing something wrong.

d) rebellion and disobedience to God’s laws.

2. God set limits to man’s conduct because He __________ .

a) wanted to frustrate Adam and Eve.

b) doesn’t want man to enjoy himself or be free.

c) loves man and wants the best for him.

3. To step outside the limits God has set is __________ .

a) all right if no one gets hurt.

b) permissible as long as we are not discovered.

c) sometimes necessary to get us out of trouble.

d) never to be done.

4. Sin entered the world __________ .

a) through Satan who sinned from the beginning.

b) because Adam yielded to Satan’s temptation.

c) when Adam deliberately disobeyed God.

5. Since sin entered the world __________ .

a) Satan no longer has to tempt anyone.

b) everyone is a sinner and can be tempted.

c) there is both physical and spiritual death.

6. Read I John 4:9 and choose the right answer to fill in the blank: God showed how much he loved us by __________ his one and only Son into the world so that we might have __________ through him.

a) sending, eternal life

b) birthing, hope

c) allowing, forgiveness

7. Read I John 4:10 and choose the right answer to fill in the blank: This is __________ – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our __________.

a) truth, mortality

b) hope, doubt

c) real love, sins

8. Complete this statement: a sinner can escape the penalty of sin only by __________ .

a) accepting Jesus Christ as Savior.

b) doing what is right regardless of the circumstances.

c) being baptized by full immersion.

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Esoteric Keys to the Bible

“Esoteric” knowledge is that which is accessible only to a select group of people. This may be due to their particular interest, special permission, or unique aptitude. For all of human history, people have claimed to know secrets of spirituality and religion to which other people have no access. This includes the ancient mystery religions, the Gnosticism of the New Testament era, and spiritualist religions in the modern world. Some associate their esoteric knowledge with concepts such as numerology, astrology, sacred geometry, and so forth.

Some people claim that the Bible contains esoteric keys that “unlock” hidden knowledge and allow a person to understand what the Bible “really” means. Naturally, this belief assumes that every other scholar, theologian, believer, and skeptic has been totally ignorant of these possibilities. In most cases, such claims are paired with the assumption that all religions have a common source and have been modified over time for political reasons.

Biblically, there is no reason to believe in Esotericism or search for esoteric keys. In fact, a major aspect of the gospel is its accessibility to all people, regardless of knowledge or experience (Matthew 11:25). Those things that are hidden belong to God (Deuteronomy 29:29); that which can be known is accessible to all people, not a select few (Matthew 10:26). “The grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people” (Titus 2:11), not just to those with special insight into mysterious meanings. “[God] commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30), not to look for arcane knowledge or obscure interpretations.

Esoteric-Keys-whatshotnOne commonly referenced pop culture presentation of Esotericism was the June 22, 1995, radio broadcast of William Cooper on his show The Hour of the Time. Cooper was a conspiracy theorist who broadcast his ideas on this shortwave radio program for eight years prior to his death, when he was killed by police after shooting a sheriff’s deputy. In the 1995 broadcast, Cooper claimed that all religions taught people to do “good things,” that Paul had no concept of an incarnate, crucified Jesus, that the Gospel of John had been changed and modified many times, and that most Christians were unaware of the esoteric nature of the Bible, which, according to Cooper, is essentially a vessel for hidden meanings.

Of course, archaeology and history, as well as Christian theology, flatly contradict all of these points. Religions such as that of the Aztecs taught human sacrifice, for example, so not all religions have taught love and goodness. We have copies of the Gospel of John from little more than a century after the original writing, not to mention thousands of early copies of other biblical texts. Paul’s summary of the faith in 1 Corinthians 15 can be traced to within three years of the crucifixion. This statement includes a reference to Jesus’ death and resurrection as something Paul learned at his own conversion.

Like any other ancient work, the Bible needs to be carefully considered in historical and language contexts. There are aspects of Scripture that require some advanced knowledge in order to fully understand. This, however, is not information hidden or obscured for all but a select, cabalistic few. The Bible is extremely clear about the core of the gospel, and knowledge of other points is not necessary for a faithful, spiritual life. There is no legitimately “secret” knowledge in Scripture. We do not need any esoteric keys to the Bible in order to truly understand it.

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How many wings do angels have?

We’ve all seen the pictures and statues of angels with a lovely set of bird like wings, but when you go to the Bible they are described as having 4 or six wings. In 1 Kings 8:7. For the Cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the Cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
They are described as having two when crafted upon the arc of the covenant.
In 2 chronicles 3:11. And the wings of the cherubims were twenty cubits long: one wing of the one cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was likewise five cubits, reaching to the wing of the other cherub.

20 cubits would be 30 ft, however it then says that each wing was only 8 ft. so the cherubin they were fastened to must have been 14 ft. wide where the wings were attached.
In Ezekiel1:6. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
They gain an extra two wings.
But then we get to the book of isaiah and we find 2. Above it stood the seraphims each one had six wings with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

These angels which he saw before the throne of God, have six wings, with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he did fly. Now lets look at this from a practical view point. How would you like to go flying, with two wings covering your face, be kind of rough trying to see where you’re going, wouldn’t it? now think about those two wings covering his feet, they might make landing a touch dangerous don’t you think? there has to be another meaning, a parable that isn’t explained here. First off, what was the purpose of the wings? The rationale was that God was above us in the third heaven, in order to report to God, they had to be able to fly up to the throne of God. God does not need the angels to fly where He is to report to Him, the Holy spirit takes care of that. The Holy Spirit is God’s internet and telephone system. If humans can figure out how to do something, God knew how to do it thousands of years ago. The angels communicate with each other through the Holy Spirit, this is also how God communicated with His prophets. O.K. the angels don’t need the wings to fly with, because there are billions of angels covering the earth, they have the Holy spirit to communicate with so they don’t need to fly anywhere. the two that cover the face are a parable for the fact that we can be standing right next to an angel, and not recognize them for who they are. Remember Jesus’ words, Matthew 25: 40. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Do angels have wings, Are they Men or Women, or Both?There are two major theological points in that verse, but the one I’m dealing with here is the fact that Jesus can say that because one of His angels received that treatment, which was sent straight to God, and by the way, if you say Jesus, you are saying God, if you say God, you are saying Jesus, because they are one and the same. The wings covering the face are a parable for your not being able to recognize them as an angel of God, unless they reveal themselves. The wings that cover the feet are a parable for the fact that no one can track them, if an angel does something you will never be able to track them down and tell them, you’re responsible for this, they can’t be traced, because they do their work through the Holy spirit which is the only part of God that is invisible. We see Him every day in the presence of His angels that walk among us, which is what Jesus meant by what He said in verse 40.

So how many wings do angels have? 0, nada, none, no wings on angels. they don’t need them to do their work for God. the wings aren’t a myth, there are no myths in the Bible, only parables, a parable is a false story that tells a truth. For instance Jesus’ story of the good Samaritan, was a parable, everybody knows that and no one has a problem with the fact that there really was no good samaritan who took care of the stranger. It was a false story used to tell a truth, we are to help those who are in need, whether we know them or not. the wings of angels were a parable designed to tell a truth about God and his angels, while they can’t fly, they are everywhere God sends them and they know everything God tells them!

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Filed under Angelology: The Doctrine of Angels, Demons and Satan, House of the Nazarene's Posts

The Doctrine Of Angels #3

In this series the nature of angels has been examined. To review, the angels are created beings, spiritual beings, personal beings, super-human in strength and intelligence. Angels are an order of being that is distinct from man, separate from man, entirely different from man. Angels constitute a company rather than a race. They’re not a race as each one was created separately and individually. There are tremendous numbers of angels and they are highly organized, both God’s holy angels and the satanic order of beings.

It was also previously noted that there are different orders of spiritual beings, that not all beings in heaven are angels. There are other orders of created beings such as the cherubim, who bear some similarities, yet are quite different from the angels. The cherubim possess unusual features in that they had four faces and four wings. It was the prophet Ezekiel’s record of them (chapter 1) that described them as possessing four faces and four wings. Yet in a later chapter (chapter 41), he mentions the cherubim again, but in this account he observed only two faces and four wings.

Does that mean there is a biblical error?

People are always ready to say, “You see, the Bible contains a mistake! The Bible contradicts itself. Over there they’ve got four faces while here they have two.” Beloved, all one need to do is look at these things with a little spiritual wisdom and one readily perceives that there are different kinds of cherubim. Some have four faces while others have only two faces. There are things in heaven that are just beyond man’s comprehension and grasp. God allows only modest glimpses into the spiritual realm and the created beings. As much as I’ve studied, my mind still has a difficult time picturing a four-faced being with four wings who never turns around to change direction. We can, however, agree that these are impressive creatures, endowed with special abilities. Perhaps they are so designed in order to more quickly respond to and carry out God’s orders. That’s precisely what the cherubim do, in addition to acting as the divine guardians of God, guardians of His holiness.

The magnificent seraphim with their six wings were also discussed. Although they are somewhat similar to men in bodily appearance, yet they are also quite different. The seraphim are winged creatures that fly over the throne of God declaring God’s majesty, rejoicing in His attributes — leaders in the worship and glory.


D. The Moral Character of Angels.

All of the angels were created holy.

God saw everything that he had created, and, behold, it was very good…. [Gen. 1:31]

All that God created was perfect, holy and good in the beginning. God, being perfect, possessing all of His attributes in perfection, is incapable of producing evil or creating anything evil. All that He created was good; it was right. The angels were created good, i.e., moral and pure. When God created man, man was good. He wasn’t defiled, fallen or sinful. God, however, did not create robots.

As expressed in earlier studies of some of these doctrines, God created both men and angels as free moral agents, giving them the right to make choices. Whom does one serve? One can obey God or disobey God. God did not create man as a robot who lacks the ability to make choice(s). Robots are controlled by their operator and follow what they’re programmed to do. God didn’t make the highest form of His creation into objects unable to make choices, but made them free moral agents with the ability to choose to serve God or rebel. Man can choose to obey God’s Word or disobey.

The same situation was true with the angels in that they were given freedom to choose. They could be holy; they could obey God or they could follow the example of Lucifer and some did. All of the angels were created holy and there were none that were not created good. They had a choice to obey or disobey just as man did, but some of them made unwise choices and sinned, falling from their state of innocence.

Theologians like to talk about the state of innocence because when man began with Adam and Eve, man was innocent. He didn’t even know he was naked. His mind was not polluted, defiled or corrupt. The same was true with angels; they were innocent and undefiled. All the angels were originally holy, righteous, pure and just. All that God created was good, but some angels fell from their state of innocence, with Lucifer being the first. The Bible says that Lucifer yielded to the temptation of pride. He exalted himself above God and in his rebellion, some of the angels followed him. That topic will be dealt with later in this study. Suffice it for now to look at this passage:

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (the Greek word there is tartarus which is some sort of prison for fallen angels), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment…. [2 Pe. 2:4]

This scriptural passage speaks of the angels that sinned. Some sinned, some fell with Lucifer. Another passage found in the small book of Jude also speaks of those angels that sinned, who did not keep their own beginning but they left their proper habitation.

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. [Jude 1:6]

These angels fell from the state of innocence and sinned. It is their moral character being considered. While all were created holy, some did sin. Let’s also point out, however, that most maintained their innocence. The vast majority remained faithful to God. Both good and evil groups of angels now exist.

E. The Ministry of Angels.

Angels exist and live among us; one might say they’re right alongside. The angels interact with men, far more than most realize. Someone has said that our closest neighbors are the angels, not the people next door or in the apartment upstairs. It’s an intriguing thought and the Bible appears to confirm that the angels are always present, interacting with men. The appearance of angels appears far more often in the Bible than men take note of. It appears to be something one is prone to overlook. One usually tends to think of angels as an Old Testament phenomenon but in reading the New Testament, one notes that angels put in frequent appearances. Angels are at work far more often than one realizes and many times their ministry is overlooked.

The Employment of Angels — What’s Their Job?

Just what do the holy angels actually do? As frequently depicted in artistic interpretations, do they simply lie about on clouds and play harps? Fortunately, knowledge concerning their activities is available to us through God’s Word. It is known that they worship God and always stand in His presence. The angels extol God’s greatness and continually declare His attributes and His perfection. Day and night, the seraphim declare, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.

From previous studies, it is known that the angels rejoice with God. They rejoice with God when He rejoices because their hearts are united to the heart of God. They rejoice with God over the sinner that repents.

…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. [Lk. 15:10]

The angels rejoiced when God created the world.

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? [Job 38:7]

As God flung the stars and the planets into space, at this display of His omnipotence, the angels rejoiced.

It is beyond man’s ability to imagine that God who is spirit, Jesus Christ the eternal Son of God that the book of Colossians says created all things, simply spoke the worlds into existence. That’s very difficult for man’s small, finite mind to conceive but that’s precisely what the Bible says happened. God said, Let there be…. and there was! He said, Let the earth exist…. and there it was! The angels were present when God spoke the entire universe into existence and they rejoiced at this display of divine omnipotence, (BTW do you think God Needed to speak for everything to come into existence? Or could the Almighty have done it with pure thought.) That the angels rejoice with God is known, however, there is more to be examined concerning their varied ministry.

1. The angels often appear as spokesmen for God.

The angels often appear as divine messengers, i.e., spokesmen for God, messengers from God. This is particularly true in the New Testament. For example, in Luke, chapter 1, an angel appears to Zacharias, the husband of Elisabeth, both of whom are well along in years. As Zacharias goes about his priestly ministry in the temple, the angel Gabriel appears to him. Let’s take time to note that this Gabriel is one and the same angel that appeared to Daniel in the Old Testament. He now appears in the New Testament, hundreds of years later but unaffected by age. The angels never age; they don’t die.

Gabriel has been dispatched to bring God’s message to Zacharias, saying that God has heard his prayers and that he will father a son. Now Zacharias is an old man at this time and questions saying, How is this going to be? In the natural, Zacharias and his wife were well beyond their childbearing years. In response to the doubts of Zacharias, the angel said:

And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. [Lk. 1:20]

God’s word is certain and Elisabeth bore a son whom the couple named John as the word of God had directed through the angel. Known to all as John the Baptist, he grew to be a mighty prophet of God. The point here is that angels serve in the role of messengers. As spokesman for God, Gabriel appeared to Zacharias and told him, This is what is going to happen. God sent me here to tell you this — to give you this message.

An angel also appeared to Mary, giving her a message concerning the child she was going to bear. Now it took an angelic appearance to present such a message. One can only imagine the impact on a young unmarried woman who has never been with a man. Then suddenly this angel appears telling her:

…The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. [Lk. 1:35]

Mary’s response to the angel’s announcement was quite different from Zacharias’ response. Zacharias wanted explanation as to how this was going to happen, but Mary’s response was:

… Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. [Lk. 1:38]

Mary’s submission to the will of God was immediate. That’s the way one’s response should be when God makes profound promises. One’s response should never be, “What! How’s He going to do that? Explain that to me.” One’s response should always be, “Lord, let it be unto me according to thy word. Just as you said it — let it be.” That’s the response that God desires.
The angel also had to appear to Joseph because one can imagine what his response was when he found that his future wife was going to have a baby and he knew that he wasn’t the father. He was going to put her away, the Bible says. He was going to privately break their engagement because he was a just man and didn’t want to make a public display of her. The angel came to Joseph in a dream giving him assurance that Mary had not been unfaithful to him.

… behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. [Matt. 1:20]

Here again,

the angel appears in the role as spokesman, a bearer of divine tidings.

Another passage where an angel appears as spokesman or messenger from God is found in Luke, chapter 2. At the outset of this series of messages, we said that the Greek word angelos (angel) actually means messenger. It can mean either a divine messenger or a human messenger, depending on the context.

In Luke 2, the account is that Joseph had to go to his home town in order to be taxed. Mary accompanied him, but when they got to Bethlehem, there was no room available at the inn so they have to stay in the stable. Use your imagination to picture what the stable was like. The Christmas nativity scenes make everything appear so clean and unblemished, etc., but have you ever been in a stable? Have you ever been in a stable at night when it’s full of horses, donkeys and camels, etc.? If the inn was filled and packed with people, be assured that the stable was filled with their animals also.

There were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. [Lk. 2:8]

It is also obvious that the time wasn’t December 24th or 25th because the shepherds wouldn’t have been in the fields that late in winter. Both shepherds and sheep would have frozen to death. At any rate, I don’t want to preach that now. Suffice it to say it’s not wrong to celebrate Jesus birth at some time in the year…

…the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. [Lk. 2:9]

The scene depicts shepherds in the fields watching over their sheep. Sometime during the night an angel suddenly appears to them.

10…the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly (As the angel makes his announcement — he’s a spokesman for God — as he announces the great tidings) there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men. [Lk. 2:10-14]

As the angel finishes his message to these shepherds, all of heaven appears to open with a gigantic angelic choir joining in the praise. Just try to picture this scene for a moment. Back in the 1700’s when Charles Wesley was reading this passage of scripture, it became the inspiration for the song which he wrote, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” Today people have adapted it for a Christmas carol but it wasn’t written as a Christmas carol. The words and melody came to Wesley by divine inspiration. It’s a blessed song. “Hark, the herald angels sing! Glory to the newborn King. Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled. Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies. With angelic host proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

I can just picture the heavens rolled back and angels everywhere rejoicing at the birth of Christ. Here again, the angels appear as spokesmen, i.e., divine messengers bringing great tidings, glad tidings that will be to all people. “God and sinners reconciled.” The multitude of angels appears rejoicing and praising God.
In Matthew, chapter 2, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, warning him to take Mary and Jesus and flee into Egypt. Herod was plotting to kill the one born King of the Jews as he wanted no one becoming a threat to his throne. It was at that time that he ordered all the children in Bethlehem less than two years of age to be killed. An angel brought the message to Joseph to flee to Egypt with the child. Joseph wisely obeyed and remained in Egypt until Herod died. Once again, the angel appeared as a messenger with tidings from God.

Another passage found in Acts, chapter 10, reveals that an angel appeared to the Roman soldier, Cornelius. The Bible describes him as a man who prayed always. Cornelius was very devout, seeking God in his heart. Although he was an unsaved heathen, Cornelius had a heart after God. He wanted to know God and diligently sought God through prayer. An angel appeared to Cornelius telling him, Send to the city of Joppa for Peter. Send for Peter and he will come to you and give you the message of eternal life. Cornelius complied and immediately sent men to Joppa to obey the angel’s direction. The angel appeared as a spokesman for God with the result being that Peter came to Cornelius’ house and preached the word to him and all his family and household. As Peter preached, the Holy Spirit fell on them, baptizing them with the Holy Spirit. As they began to speak in tongues, Peter was astonished because these were Gentiles receiving the Holy Ghost! Peter was under the impression that this message was only for the Jews, but an angel gave him direction.

This passage in Acts 10 is a good response to all those who come saying, “Well, I think God’s unfair because He’s going to send those people in India, Timbuktu, or Indonesia, or Pango-pango, He’s going to send them to hell and they’ve never had an opportunity to hear the gospel. They’ve never heard the name of Jesus preached to them and God’s just not fair to send them to hell.” The Bible reveals that if people have a heart for God, if people truly seek after God, if they search for Him with all their heart, God says that they will find Him. If He has to send an angel to them, He will. God will do whatever it takes. If they have a heart for God, they’ll find God. If they want to know God, God will send an angel if that’s what it takes to give them the gospel. God will send them where they can get the gospel or send for a modern-day Peter. Perhaps He will send for you. This I know, God is not unfair. God is righteous and just in all that He does and if people want to know God, He’ll make a way for them to know Him. Of that one can be assured. Again, the angels appear as spokesmen, divine messengers, who came to Cornelius with the message, Here’s how you can be saved. Send for Simon Peter.

A few chapters over in Acts, chapter 27, an angel appears to Paul while he’s on a ship — a sinking ship at that. They’ve been on board a ship for some two weeks and the ship is in the midst of a storm. The ship is sinking in spite of their efforts. In order to lighten the load, the crew has thrown everything overboard, all cargo, etc. Yet the ship is going down, when an angel appears to Paul, saying:

Be comforted, the ship is going to sink but everybody who stays with you is going to be saved. Paul’s response was, 25Be of good cheer; an angel of God has spoken to me and said we’d all be safe even though the ship is going to sink. And Paul says, I believe God. I’m just going to believe God’s word that even in the midst of all this storm and rough seas and even though it looks like we’re perishing and the ship’s sinking…. [Acts 27:25]

Natural circumstances would appear that Paul and all on board were “done for.” But Paul said, I believe God. Again, the angel appeared as a spokesman with a very comforting message to Paul at precisely the right time.

The employment or ministry of the angels is that of spokesmen for God, bearers of divine messages. That’s how they appear throughout the Bible.

2. The angels minister to the saints.

The angels offer protection, give assistance, bring deliverance, and provide aid or help. The role of the angels includes ministry to the saints. The Bible has this to say about the role of angels:

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? [Heb. 1:14]

Angels are sent forth by God to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, or as Williams translates it:

They are sent forth to serve for the sake of the elect. [Heb. 1:14, Wms.]
That’s a powerful verse revealing that God dispatches His angels to minister to those who shall inherit eternal life. They minister for God to those who will inherit eternal life, offering protection and preservation. Many can remember personal past experiences of having had a narrow escape, possibly even barely missing death. In retrospect, we wonder how we missed being killed in some near tragedy. These incidents could have even occurred in the days before salvation, but remember:

Known unto God are all of his works from the beginning of the world. [Acts 15:18]

God knows the end from the beginning. He knows. You were chosen for salvation from before the foundation of the world. God knows who is going to be saved and He preserved us even back in B.C. (Before Christ) days. It should not surprise us that angels are dispatched to shield and protect the elect of God for they are sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.

Only recently I read an article in a popular Christian magazine where a couple was relating an experience they’d had. They were wallpapering an upstairs bedroom and they had their little toddler crawling around on the floor. The couple was busy — cutting, pasting and hanging the paper and had opened a window for ventilation. Their young toddler was having a good time taking little strips of the wallpaper and dropping them out the window, watching them flutter down in the breeze. The baby climbed higher and higher onto the window sill so that he could watch the paper flutter all the way to the ground. The parents had just turned to check on the baby only to see him topple out the window. They began screaming, running down the stairs as fast as they could. The article described the feelings the parents experienced in their hearts, i.e., the fear that the baby had fallen down onto the concrete that was just under the window. As they got downstairs and ran out onto the porch, the baby was sitting down on the steps with its arms crossed – just sitting there! Mom and Dad grabbed the baby so thankful that it was all right. Then the toddler said, “The big man caught me.” Mom and Dad were so thankful, so grateful. They considered, “What a coincidence that a big man was standing out under our window.” They lived in a rural area, surrounded by countryside. This was not a suburb where someone might happen to pass on the sidewalk. The parents began to look all about for “the big man.” Where is this big man? Where could he have gotten to so quickly? Have you guessed? There was no big man to be found. Undoubtedly, God sent His angel to preserve the life of this young child.

Be assured that the angels are at work! Sometimes I think that our children keep them working overtime. Each can no doubt think of experiences where God has preserved and kept. It could very well be that it was the angels at work because God sends them forth in that type ministry. They work as God’s agents in that capacity.
Some years ago we were living in an old house with very high ceilings. The chandelier fixtures were extremely heavy, made of leaded glass. Our daughter, was just a newborn. My wife’s custom was to place the baby in one of those travel seats and position it on the dining table, right under that big, heavy chandelier. As my wife worked in the kitchen, she could see the baby all the time. On one particular occasion as my wife was in the kitchen, the baby started screaming. It wasn’t just a little whimper, but enough of a scream to get my wife in there to minister to her. When a baby screams like that, parents know something is wrong. My wife went to the table, picked up the baby, walked out of the dining room through the kitchen when she heard a loud crash, sounding like an explosion. When she turned to see what had happened, that huge chandelier had fallen. It had come loose from the ceiling and had fallen right onto the table where the baby had been. No more than 30 seconds had lapsed since my wife had removed the baby from the exact spot where that chandelier crashed. I shudder to think what would have happened had the baby been there when the chandelier fell. This I know, and I don’t care what people say or think, I sincerely believe that it was an angel of God who got the baby to cry. God moved and got my wife’s attention so that she got the baby out of danger and just in the nick of time, too. The Bible clearly states that the angels are at work. A familiar passage is:

There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. [Ps. 91:10]

…He will give His angels charge over you…. that’s what God says. There shall no evil befall thee…. Why? Because the angels are all about. Praise God! They minister on behalf of believers …for the heirs of salvation…. That’s not to say that men can command the angels to do their bidding; the angels do God’s bidding. It’s a blessing to have that comfort to know that God says the angels are not only His guardians but also guardians of the believers. The cherubim stand guard over the throne of God, the holiness of God, and God’s given His angels charge over believers as well. What a blessed assurance!

I could not begin to tell the many reports of protection, of preservation by angels that have come from almost every part of the globe. Believers relate their testimonies, events of things that have happened in their lives where they knew that angels were present to preserve or protect them. More than once I’ve heard testimonies of people who knew they were accompanied by angels when in some critical or dangerous situation. Reports include such instances as seeing the fright in the faces of the malefactor(s) as they were thwarted in attempts at robbery, etc. Although the believer could not visibly see any angelic being(s), apparently the culprit(s) could because they suddenly turned and ran.

Angelic BattleAn interesting report concerned a missionary who had been dispatched to an uncivilized part of the world. It was an area of head hunters who practiced cannibalism and apparently they had decided to practice their craft and have the missionary as the main course for dinner. Drumbeats were sounding and the missionary knew that he was in trouble. As the natives approached to capture the missionary, they were suddenly frightened away. Although the natives got within sight of him, they never approached. They just stood, looking and eventually dispersed back into the jungle again. Later one of the head hunters got saved, and he asked the missionary where the army on white horses came from, the army that was standing all around the missionary on the night they came to attack. The natives planned to boil him — have missionary stew. When the natives approached, they were amazed to find an army surrounding them. Now the missionary did not see the army but obviously, the natives did. Again, God had given His angels charge over the missionary to protect him.

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. [Ps. 34:7]

The Bible contains numerous accounts of angelic protection. As early as Genesis, chapter 19, when God is about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, He sent angels into the city to get Lot and his family. Now that’s grace, because in previous studies we learned that Lot was a compromiser and backslider. Also to be seen here is the power of intercessory prayer as Abraham prayed for Lot. I’m convinced in my own mind that it was because of Abraham that God sent the angels to get Lot and his family out of the city, (Just as when you pray for your family, it moves God, maybe not for their sake but for yours.) The angels tarried a long time with Lot just to get him to leave Sodom. There’s a case where God uses the angels to minister as servants. God sent them to bring Lot and his family out of Sodom before He destroyed the place. I also believe God is going to notify His people before He puts the hammer down on this city or our nation. Even if He has to send an angel to do it, I believe that God will notify His elect.
The angels protected Daniel when he was cast into the den of lions (Daniel, chapter 6). Daniel was a separated, holy living, righteous man, a just man and God saw to it that this man of faith was protected. He was never evilly spoken of in the scriptures. Daniel was a man who refused to compromise and God was not going to abandon him. God dispatched angels to encamp around this man and preserve him. That’s precisely what the angels did when the king cast Daniel into the den of lions.

A scriptural passage in 1 Kings, chapter 19, relates how an angel ministered to Elijah. After he had killed all the prophets of Baal, Queen Jezebel declared she was going to have Elijah’s neck. Elijah feared for his life and ran and hid in the midst of the wilderness. He was in a state of exhaustion, fell to the ground, even despairing of life. An angel had been dispatched by God and said, Get up and eat this. An angel fed Elijah out in the middle of the wilderness. Eat this, the angel said, because you’re going on a long journey and you’re going to need this food. The power, the energy that Elijah received from eating that special food enabled him to go forty days without tiring or without hungering. Undoubtedly, this was special food that God fed Elijah through the angel. While it is not known what the food was, we do know with assurance that God will take care of His people. In times of famine God’s people will be satisfied.

9O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. 10The young lions do lack and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. [Ps. 34:9-10]

All the people in the world, including the princes and kings of the world, might lack and suffer hunger

but God promises He will feed His own. If that means He has to send an angel with some of that special food, He will do it. Or if He has to multiply the cruse of oil and the meal, He will do that as well. God will multiply the bread and fishes or give us manna or even send an angel. Rest assured, God will feed us! That much I’m sure of — God will feed His people. We’ll not suffer. I’m committed to standing on the promises of God:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. [Matt. 6:33]

If one will just seek first His kingdom, it won’t be necessary to worry about, What shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or wherewithal shall we be clothed? Jesus says that if one will seek first the kingdom then those things will not be objects for concern or anxiety. The kingdom has to be first though and one’s priorities in order. If one is unwise, seeking to reverse the order of priorities, then one cannot trust the Lord for provision.

Another passage (Acts, chapter 12) where God sends an angel is the account of Peter being miraculously delivered from prison. Most are familiar with that account as it’s been a topic of discussion in the past. Peter is imprisoned, chained and locked behind iron doors. Suddenly, an angel walks through the iron bars and walls, sets Peter free, bringing him out of the prison.

Acts, chapter 5, contains yet another passage. Again, God sends His angel into the prison and brings out the apostles.

There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. [Acts 5:16]

The apostles were praying for the sick and multitudes were being healed. Demons were being cast out; the oppressed were being set free.

Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,)…. [Acts 5:17]

The high priest and those who were in authority were generally Sadducees and this religious sect denied anything supernatural. They didn’t believe in angels, demons, spirits or the afterlife.

…and were filled with indignation. [Acts 5:17]

Or as the margin reads, they were filled with envy because the people were flocking to the apostles.

Here’s a group of fishermen, tax collectors, uneducated people. Today they’d be termed “laymen.” Many of the common people were going to hear the laymen preach and multitudes were being healed and delivered. These pompous, arrogant priests were filled with envy.

18And (they) laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. 19But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth…. (just set them free), and said, 20Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. [Acts 5:18-20]

Go preach, go teach in the temple and teach them everything — all the words of life.

21When they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, 23saying, the prison truly found we shut with all safety…. [Acts 5:21-23]

The lock was still securely on the door, the prison door was closed and the guards were standing outside before the doors. The guards were still at their posts but when the doors were opened, the apostles simply weren’t there — no explanation. It’s an interesting passage but the point is God obviously sent the angels to deliver the apostles from imprisonment. If God wants His people free, no prison door will hold them — no jail, no rope, no chain, no fiery furnace, and no lions’ den. If He has to send an angel to free His servants as He did to the apostles or as He did for Peter in Acts 12, He will do it. If God has to send an earthquake to free His own from jail as He did in Philippi (Acts 16), God will not hesitate to do so. The angels are ministering spirits; they offer protection. They minister preservation to the children of God.

3. The angels guide us.

God uses the angels to bring guidance as when they guided Joseph and the holy family from Judea. The angelic messenger came to Joseph, telling him to get out of the jurisdiction of Herod and go to Egypt for the safety of the child, Jesus. The angel gave Joseph words of guidance.

Acts, chapter 8, contains the account of how an angel guided Philip who was engaged in preaching a revival in Samaria. People were being saved, healed and miracles were occurring when an angel arrived and said, I want you to leave this place and go out into the desert of Gaza.

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. [Acts 8:26]

As Philip obeyed the angel, he met the Ethiopian eunuch who was reading from the scroll of Isaiah. Philip joined himself to the chariot, and preached Christ to the Ethiopian. As a result, the Ethiopian was saved and brought the gospel of Christ back to his home in Ethiopia. In so doing, the gospel message was spread yet farther. Again, the angels were used to bring guidance as God directed Philip.

4. The angels minister comfort.

The angels aid, bring comfort, strengthen and encourage the believer. Acts, chapter 27, tells of Paul who was being sent to Rome because he had appealed to Caesar to hear his petition. Paul gave a word of warning to those in authority about sailing at a time that was considered dangerous.

9Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, 10And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. [Acts 27:9-10]

When events began to occur just as Paul had said and the ship and those on board were sinking, God sent an angel to bring words of encouragement and comfort. God’s word through the angel was:

23For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, 24Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. 25Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it should be even as it was told me. [Acts 27:23-25]

Angels also came and ministered to Jesus after His temptation in the wilderness (Matthew, chapter 4). As Jesus resisted the devil, He was in a time of genuine spiritual warfare as the devil tempted Him in every possible way. It was following that time that the angels arrived to minister not only to Jesus’ physical needs, but also bringing comfort and encouragement.

The account of Jesus’ time of anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane was a time of intense mental and emotional suffering. As Jesus submitted to the will of the Father and to the cross, an angel appeared to Him.

And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. [Lk. 22:43]

Jesus was in a time of wrestling with the flesh as He realized that He had to go to the cross. Jesus had a human nature as well as His divine nature. It is important to realize this. The biblical account goes on to tell how that Jesus’ perspiration became great drops of blood during this time of great suffering. It was at that time that an angel arrived to strengthen Him.

This account should be encouraging to every believer because during those especially trying times that come to everyone, God will send an angel to strengthen and uplift. Perhaps this has happened in the past without your being aware, but saints, God will stand with believers when they go through the trials, the rivers and the floods. God is with His own and will send an angel, if necessary, to minister, strengthen and bring comfort. The Bible says:

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? [Heb. 1:14]

Heirs of salvation — that’s you and me! Hallelujah!

5. The angels also watch over the church.

There is a sense in which the angels not only watch over the believer but they also watch over the church. The angels are concerned about the church, the assembly. The angels are concerned about the ministry of the church, its message. The angels are concerned about the order in the church. Let’s look at a passage in 1 Corinthians, chapter 11, which is quite interesting. In order to understand what’s being said, we need to read the context. Paul says:

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. [1 Cor. 11:1]

Follow me as I follow Christ is what Paul is saying.

Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. [1 Cor. 11:2]

The church is supposed to observe the ordinances. That’s a topic on which we’ve had previous teaching.

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. [1 Cor. 11:3]

Paul is talking about order in the church. The Corinthian church had allowed some things to get out of order. There was chaos and confusion when it came to the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit. People were prophesying out of order, with no one interpreting. Things were out of order and part of this epistle is to set things in biblical order, in divine order, the proper form for the church. Paul does not rebuke the Corinthians for manifesting the gifts and prophesying, he is simply saying that everything needs to be done in order.

31For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted…. 39Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40Let all things be done decently and in order. [1 Cor. 14:31, 39-40]

Praise God for the tongues! Paul is setting the order for the church, and in these scripture passages, he’s speaking about divine order.

Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. [1 Cor. 11:4]

When a man prays, when a man prophesies, his head should not be covered. Now that’s just the opposite of the Jewish custom which imposed that a man covers his head during prayer. When the Jewish male went into the temple, his head was covered. Now in Christianity it’s quite a bit different. A man should not have his head covered but Paul says in verse 5:

But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth (Bear in mind he’s talking about in the church — order in the church.) with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. [1 Cor. 11:5]

For a woman to not have her head covered when she prayed or prophesied in the church, Paul said was a disservice to her head, which is her husband, i.e., her man. It was the same as having her hair cut off which for a woman was considered shameful.

6For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn (Let her cut her hair off if she’s not going to wear her head covering.), but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. (Let her cover her head.) 7For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. (Woman wasn’t made first, man was. God created Adam and then woman from Adam.) 10For this cause (Now let’s see this. Remember, woman was created from Adam’s rib. She was man’s helpmeet and since this is the case, since man is the head of the woman) ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. [1 Cor. 11:6-10] (PS. don’t shoot the messenger!)


the word power here is an unfortunate translation in the Kings James. The marginal reading in the Bible says, “That she ought to have a covering on her head, a sign that she is under the authority of her husband. She ought to have her head covered as symbolic of her submission to her husband’s authority because the head covering is a sign of submission. It’s a sign of being in submission to God’s order.”

Why should the woman be covered? This is what Paul brings out …because of the angels. Now that’s unusual, isn’t it? Yet farther along in the passage, Paul says that it’s uncomely that a woman pray to God with her head uncovered and that even nature teaches us that a man should not have long hair. If the man has long hair it’s a shame but if a woman have long hair, it’s a glory unto her. Long hair is a glory for a woman …for her hair is given her for a covering. Now it’s not the artificial covering that Paul was talking about in earlier verses of chapter 11.

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. [1 Cor. 11:16]

Again, that’s an unfortunate rending because it actually reads:

16If anybody is disposed to be argumentative about this, I want you to know that the churches don’t have any other custom other than this — that a woman’s head should be covered when she prays or prophesies in the church. [1 Cor. 11:16]

On the other hand, a man’s head should be uncovered. A man should have short hair. He should look like a man and a woman should have long hair — she should look like a woman. The point here is pointing out what Paul said about the angels. A woman’s head should be covered …because of the angels. The angel of the Lord went out by night and smote the army of the Assyrians, leaving 185,000 soldiers dead. Punishment of the wicked as the Assyrians gathered themselves against Judah to bring death and destruction, and God destroyed them instead.

Another interesting passage is found in Acts, chapter 12. In this instance, angels were used as divine instruments to smite the wicked.

21And upon a set day Herod (now this is the king), arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. (This must have been quite a speech because look at what the people said.) 22And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. 23And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. [Acts 12:21-23]

Josephus, the Jewish historian, brings out some points about this event. According to Josephus, this occurred during a time of some of the Roman games. The Romans literally lived for their gatherings in their coliseums where these games took place. Great multitudes gathered for these events. The account tells that Herod arrived, decked out in array the likes of which had never been seen before, with silver embedded in all his clothing.

When the sun shone on him, there was a glow all over him. When Herod spoke the people said, “We thought he was a man, but he’s a god to speak like that.” Herod was one of the most wicked men who ever lived, yet he spoke with such opulence that the people thought he was a god. “He’s more than man — he’s a god!” Because he received all this worship and adulation, God smote him. God sent an angel and struck him dead. Josephus said that Herod was stricken with tremendous pains in his abdomen and had to be carried out of the coliseum. He writhed in pain for days before he finally died. Here’s an example of an angel of God being sent as an instrument to punish the wicked.

Another scriptural passage relates that God will use the angels in the last days to sever the wicked from the just.

49So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. [Matt. 13:49-50]

The angels will gather the people, separating the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats, the just from the unjust. The just will receive their due reward and the unjust will be cast into the lake of fire.

6. The angels accompany the righteous in their transition from this world into the next.

Most are familiar with the passage about the rich man and the poor man. The rich man died and woke up in torment but the poor man, who was a righteous man….

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom…. [Lk. 16:22]

The angels accompany the righteous as they make the transition at death from this life into the next life. The angels come for the believer, accompanying him into glory.

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Filed under Angelology: The Doctrine of Angels, Demons and Satan, House of the Nazarene's Posts

The Nature Of Angels #1


This message is the first in a series of studies of angels, demons and Satan. It will be an interesting and very profitable study, and an important subject on which to concentrate.

Much has been said about angels over the past few years. Books have been written on the subject and unfortunately, not all that has been said has been correct. When it comes to this particular aspect of study, as any study in theology, the Bible has to be our final guide. What is understood about angels is known only because of what the Bible reveals.

Church history reveals that early church leaders held many different opinions and arguments concerning angels. They pondered such things as how many angels could stand on the head of a pin. A variety of such considerations were discussed and debated. Much of what was deliberated was so absurd that it doesn’t bear mentioning and could not be backed up with Scripture.

It’s surprising how little Christians know concerning the subject of angels, demons, Satan, etc. There are many misconceptions in this particular area of study. We’ve all heard the comment when someone dies, “Well, God wanted another angel,” implying that God took the individual because He needed another angel. This is particularly true when it is a child that dies. The fact is that people do not become angels; children do not become angels. That’s a popular misconception. While such comments may bring comfort to someone who is grieving over the loss of a loved one or child, it is nevertheless wrong because people do not become angels. Angels are an entirely separate order of being and are definitely not the spirits of dead adults or children. While angels are in some ways angels similar to men, in other ways they are quite unlike men.

Farther into this study it will be seen in the scriptures that angels sometimes took on the appearance of men and walked among men. The Bible records in Genesis, chapter 18, that the angels seen by Abraham appeared as three men who walked up to Abraham as he sat in the door of his tent in the heat of the day. The Bible clearly describes them as three men. It later became obvious that these men were actually angels. When Abraham saw them, however, they had the appearance of men. They dressed like men; their form was like men. Their feet were dusty just like men who had been travelling on the road. Abraham’s response was, “Let me get some water and wipe the dust from your feet.” At Abraham’s offer of hospitality, they sat down and ate and drank with him. From all outward appearances, they looked like ordinary men. Of course, one of those angels was the pre-incarnate Christ.

The angels went on to Sodom where Genesis, chapter 19 records, they destroyed the city. When the angels went into Sodom, the Sodomites went to Lot’s house and knocked on the door. These men even tried to break in. They wanted those two men who were guests in Lot’s house, not having recognized them as being angels. So they had the appearance of men.

Depictions of angels generally portray them as baby cherubs or as soft, even effeminate in appearance. Such portraits of angels (and Jesus) are an abomination to God. Both pictures and statues of angels found in some churches have the appearance of feminine figures with wings. Angels don’t really look like that! According to the scriptures, angels take different forms because there are different types of angels. While you may not have been aware of it, the Bible says there are different kinds of angels. For the most part however, angels have taken the form of men. Not recognizing them as angels, the Sodomites wanted to get to those men. Throughout the scriptures, there are instances where angels appeared as men.

Following the resurrection (Mark 16), Mary and Salome went to the tomb to find Jesus. Upon their arrival however, they found that Jesus was gone. The stone sealing the tomb had been rolled away and the Bible says there was a young man seated there. He was attired in a long, white garment and obviously, he was an angel. “A young man” is how the women described him. Thus we see that angels can look like men in their appearance.

Believers are exhorted to offer hospitality to strangers. Why? Because some have thereby entertained angels unaware.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. [Heb. 13:2]

Believers are supposed to offer hospitality to strangers, i.e., Christians, brothers, sisters that need help, food, clothing, shelter, etc. Believers are to be a blessing to them. The Bible says that some have done that thinking they were helping a brother or sister but in actuality, they did these acts of kindness to an angel. That’s how angels often appeared in Scripture — as men.

A misconception held by some throughout church history is the erroneous belief that angels are some sort of lesser deity, i.e., smaller gods that are to be worshipped.

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels…. [Col. 2:18]

This scripture makes mention of individuals who were beguiled or seduced into the worship of angels, a thing strictly forbidden by the Bible. Believers do not worship angels; God forbids it. The elect angels would themselves forbid it. They wouldn’t allow anyone to bow down and worship them.

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. [Rom. 1:25]

This verse speaks of those who worship the creature rather than the Creator. They worship the things God created rather than the One who created them.

Even now there are some who worship angels. We’ve all seen statues of angels with people offering up prayers, etc. to the angels. That’s yet another misconception, i.e., seeing angels as lesser deities or smaller gods. Still others have rejected any thought of angels, spirits, demons or the devil. Such things are dismissed as fantasy and fiction. They don’t believe in such things. They’re rather like the Sadducees whom the scriptures say didn’t believe in spirits. They didn’t believe in angels; they didn’t believe in demons; they didn’t believe in the devil; they didn’t believe in the afterlife; they didn’t believe in the resurrection; they didn’t believe in eternal punishment; they didn’t believe in eternal reward. Now there are many people like that today. They believe that, “When you’re dead, you’re dead. That’s all there is to it; you’re finished; you’re just dust.” There are people who don’t believe in the devil; there are people who don’t believe in angels, the resurrection or hell. Well, we hope they don’t find out too late that hell is for real. They spell “devil” without a “d” and spell “God” with two “o’s” so that “devil” becomes “evil” and “God” becomes “good”.

We don’t have to read very far in the Bible before the reality of a heavenly host of angels is seen. The Bible says these creatures (beings) exist. There is an unseen world that co-exists right alongside the world in which we live. In that unseen world are a myriad or host of unseen beings, some good and some evil. Be assured, they are real even though they are invisible to our sight. Although these angels inhabit this very planet on which we live, they exist in another dimension. While we can’t see them, they can certainly see us.

God gives some individuals the gift of discerning of spirits so that their eyes are opened spiritually. This gift enables them to actually see into that other dimension, the spirit realm. Those so gifted are able to see the demons or the angels that are around them. Just such an event is described in the Old Testament book of 2 Kings, where the prophet Elisha is attacked by the Syrian army.

15And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 16And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. [2 Ki. 6:15-17]

The context was that whenever the Syrians would attempt to attack Israel, the prophet Elisha was aware of it because the Lord revealed those things to him. Elisha would then report to Israel, thereby frustrating everything the Syrians did. It was impossible for them to ambush or entrap Israel. Every time the Syrians laid plans to attack Israel, Elisha reported it, rendering all efforts and plans of the Syrians futile. The Syrian king concluded that there was a traitor among their ranks, reporting their plans and strategies to Israel. The servants of the Syrian king responded that it was not that there was a traitor among them, but it was that prophet in Israel, Elisha, who was reporting to Israel every move made by the Syrians. To put a stop to that, the Syrian king sent out his entire army, chariots, soldiers, etc. to capture Elisha. The scriptural account is that the Syrians arrived at the mountain and Elisha was surrounded. Early in the morning Elisha’s servant awoke, went outside and saw all the Syrian army encompassed about the area. He began shouting, “What are we going to do?” Elisha looked out and said, “Don’t worry about it. There are more with us than there are with them.” Now the servant had no idea what Elisha was talking about. He thought it was just Elisha and him, surrounded by thousands of Syrians. Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, open his eyes and let him see.” As one reads the account; it’s a blessing to know that God opened the servant’s eyes and enabled him to see in the spiritual dimension (realm). The servant then saw the flaming chariots of fire surrounding Elisha, i.e., God’s angels, a mighty, tremendous host. Needless to say, the servant was no longer afraid. What an encouragement to read how God blinded the eyes of the Syrians and actually made them captives! Saints, there is a spiritual dimension right alongside this one. That dimension is inhabited by angels and demons and on occasion, God gives one a glimpse into that dimension where one is able to see the beings that inhabit that dimension.

God’s Messengers — The Angels

The Hebrew term that is translated angel is malak. It is sometimes translated messenger, and sometimes it is translated angel. The Greek word is aggelos but is pronounced ang-a-los. That word is translated agent, messenger, and angel. “Angel” is the transliteration of the Greek. The terms can be used of either a human or a heavenly messenger. The context determines whether it was a human messenger or whether it was to be translated as an angel, i.e., a spiritual being. In the New Testament the word is almost exclusively used of angels or angelic messengers.


A. Angels Are Created Beings.

1Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights. 2Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. 3Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. 4Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. 5Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created. [Ps. 148:1-5]

The psalmist is speaking here of the entire heavenly host, exhorting them to praise the Lord. The angels, the sun, moon, stars, everything that God created, he says in verse 5, is to praise the Lord.
Let them praise the name of the Lord for he commanded and they were created. [Ps. 148:5]

Obviously, the

angels were created also. They are included in that passage of what God created. Let all that He created praise Him!

Another passage that attests to the angels being created beings is found in Colossians, the first chapter:

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.
[Col. 1:16]

The angels are specifically mentioned as are the things in heaven, the thrones, the things invisible, the principalities and the powers. All of these things have reference to the angelic realm, the angelic host, whether good or bad. God created them all good, of course, but some allowed sin to enter in. Even some of the angels sinned for they are created beings. Jesus Christ Himself created the angelic host.

From previous studies in theology regarding the nature and attributes of God, we learned that only God is eternal. God alone possesses the attributes of deity of which eternity is one. Only God is eternal; only God is uncreated; only God had no beginning. Angels, however, had a beginning. They were created and are not eternal; they had a beginning. The angels are created beings.

1. When were the angels created?

There are basically two views concerning when angels were created:

a. Angels were created simultaneously with the creation of the earth and the world, i.e., all the things spoken of in Genesis, chapters 1 and 2. To support this view are the passages that God created everything in six days. He created the world, the planets, the universe, sun, moon, stars, life, etc. in six literal 24-hour days. The creation of angels had to occur sometime during those six days.

b. Angels were created somewhere back in eternity past before God created the physical world, the material world i.e., the earth, moon, planets, stars, universe, etc. According to this view, the creation of the physical world in six literal days did not necessarily mean that a spiritual world was not previously created in eternity past. The scriptures used to support this view are, for the most part, found in Job 38. Beginning in verse 1, God reveals Himself to Job as being almighty. He reveals His own greatness, His own infiniteness to Job, showing Job his own smallness, i.e., how finite Job is in the eyes of God. God begins asking Job these questions:

1Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 2Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? [Job 38:1-2]

There’s a message right there concerning people who speak words without knowledge, i.e., people who don’t know what they’re talking about. God is speaking to Job, “Who is this that is darkening counsel by words without knowledge?”

3Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, [Job 38:3]

[And I want some answers from you. You know so much — all right, I want some answers. Where were you?]

4Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. [Job 38:4]

God is asking Job some very pointed questions. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Comparable to how one would lay a foundation to build a house, God is speaking in similar terms about how He created the world. ” Where were you when I did this, when I laid the foundation of the earth?”

5Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? [Job 38:5]

The line God is speaking of is the measuring line, similar to what is used in construction to measure and level. God is asking Job, “Now where were you? Who stretched the line on the universe? Who measured it? Were you there?”

6Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? [Job 38:6-7]

The Bible often refers to angels as stars, i.e., the morning stars and the angels as the sons of God. Angels are not sons of God as Jesus is the Son of God. Angels are, however, spoken of as sons of God on occasion in the sense that God the Father created them. They have their origin in Him. The context indicates that the angels were present and the angels were rejoicing during the course of God’s creation. During His creative activity the angels were there, the angels rejoiced when God laid the foundations of the earth and measured the universe which also indicates that the universe has limits. It’s not limitless as many think, that it goes on for infinity. Only God is infinite; the universe has limits. God has measured it.

The small mind of man can’t fathom such things. In reading about astronomy or in looking through a telescope, it appears that the universe goes on forever. The ends of the universe are incomprehensible to the mind of man. Yet the Bible says that God is bigger than the universe, that there is no place where God is not. There is no place that all of God is not present. In any corner of the universe, even in the remotest star, hundreds of millions of light years away, God is entirely there. There is a limit to this universe. Some have suggested that perhaps the universe is like the earth, just a big circle and if one goes far enough in one direction one winds up coming back again. Some of that kind of thinking is larger than my mind, but this much I know, this universe cannot contain God. These scriptures would indicate that the angels of God were present when the universe was created, when the stars, the moon, and the foundation of the earth was set in place.

This passage also lends credence to the second view that angels were created sometime in eternity past in that the spiritual beings were present at the creation of the physical universe. Let’s not be too dogmatic about this either way. I know that some strongly suggest that everything, including the unseen world, the spiritual world, was created in six literal 24-hour days. While I won’t argue with them, I tend to lean toward this latter view that angels were created at some time in eternity past. I don’t see that one’s salvation depends upon it, one way or the other. Both views have merit, and I believe this passage in Job 38 clearly indicates that the angels were present at the creation of the universe.

B. Angels Are Personal Beings.

What is meant by personal beings? Angels possess personal intelligence. They possess purpose; they possess a will. In other words, they are personalities; they are personal beings. Angels are not just abstractions, abstract thought, not just some force, such as wind or fire. Some people think of God in abstract terms, i.e., that God is just love. God is a personal being, isn’t He? Angels are also personal beings. They’re not just energy or force or other abstract thoughts. This scripture in 2 Samuel speaks of the “wisdom” of an angel which again indicates the fact they have personality.

…and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.
[2 Sam. 14:20]

Angels have wisdom; they have personal intelligence. They’re not robots. A being who possesses wisdom, a will, and personal intelligence is not a robot, i.e., something mindless that just obeys orders. Don’t think of angels as mindless machines, robots, something without personality or emotions. Just because one can assemble a robot that will follow one’s commands, the robot cannot be considered to be a personal being. The fact that the robot obeys by responding to verbal commands doesn’t make it a personal being. Robots have no emotion, no feeling. They possess no will or volition of their own. They do not have personal intelligence so they can’t be considered a personal being. An angel, on the other hand, possesses a will, personal intelligence and feelings. Angels are personalities. They are personal beings; they can display and exert conviction, determination, i.e., a “will.”

This verse in 2 Timothy speaks of those who are deceived, those who have been snared by the devil and taken captive by him at his will.

And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
[2 Tim. 2:26]

The devil has a will. As we know, the devil was an angel of God who rebelled and fell, but he possesses a will as do all angels. Angels appear to men, they speak; they think and they act. They have emotions and feelings.

An interesting passage appears in Luke’s gospel, chapter 15 and is a familiar verse. It’s one of those scriptures that when read, brings blessing in the reading. However, when examined in a different light, it brings out an entirely new meaning. Verse 7 says: (Jesus is speaking.)

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth…. [Lk. 15: 7]

There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents. Then in verse 10:

Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
[Lk. 15:10]

The angels experience joy because they are personal beings. They have emotions; they have feelings; they experience joy when a sinner repents. A robot has no joy. An impersonal being such as a flower has no joy. Angels are personal beings, i.e., beings possessing personality, will, volition, feeling, emotion, and personal intelligence. They can experience personal emotion such as joy or sadness. There is joy in heaven when one sinner repents which again attests that the angels rejoice; angels experience joy; angels are personal beings.

C. Angels Are Spiritual Beings.

Angels are spiritual beings in that they possess spiritual bodies. Unlike humans, they do not have material bodies. They do not have bodies of flesh, blood and bone as do men, but they do have spiritual bodies.

In this particular context in Hebrews, chapter 1, Christ is compared to and shown to be far superior to the angels.

13But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? 14Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? [Heb. 1:13-14]

Another passage reinforcing that angels are spiritual beings is found in Ephesians, chapter 6.

10… be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; [Eph. 6:10-14]

Paul says that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. He goes on to mention these principalities and powers, and then says we wrestle against wicked spirits — “spiritual wickedness” which is actually wicked spirits in high places, i.e., the heavenly places. These are wicked spirits and do not possess flesh and blood, material bodies.

In speaking of angels as spirits, keep in mind everything already learned from our studies in theology. Think back to what was taught when first we studied the important subject of the very nature of God, i.e., God as spirit. In all the universe, God alone is spirit. As spirit, God is infinite, eternal, and omnipresent. There is no place in all the universe where God is not present. All of God is in every place at any time, at every time. Only God is spirit in that sense, i.e., eternal spirit. As spirit, God does not have a body. He is spirit; He is other than what we are. As eternal spirit, God can manifest Himself in whatever ways He pleases. In our study of the nature of God, we emphasized that He does not have a body. Angels do have bodies; however, they are spiritual bodies. Angels are not in every place as God can be because angels do not possess the attributes of deity. The angels are not omnipresent. An angel can only be in one place at a time. Don’t think of angels as spirit in the sense that God is spirit.

The passage in Hebrews, chapter 2, as well as others that attest that angels are ministering spirits, infers that angels are spiritual beings, possessing spiritual bodies. Although those bodies are invisible to us, angels have real existence as spiritual creatures. God as spirit fills the universe. He alone in the entire universe, in all of creation, only God is spirit. Angels are spiritual beings; they do have bodies. Since angels do not possess material or physical bodies as do men, they neither age nor grow. Neither do the angels marry nor do they procreate. Further study into that aspect will come later.
Also, angels do not die. They do not age; they do not grow older; they do not grow. Humans begin life as infants, followed by growth, maturity and the accumulation of knowledge by learning. This is not the case with the angels. They are not born in the physical sense. Neither do they progress by growth through childhood. The angels were created all at once and their spiritual bodies remain as they were at the time of their creation. The angels that were on the earth 8-9-10,000 years ago remain in the same form and are still with us today. They have experienced no growth, aging or change insofar as appearance. For the angelic host, there is no death.

Some have observed that during deliverance sessions a person may speak of events that occurred 500 years ago. Demons are speaking through that individual. Demons speak of events that happened 500 years ago as though they were present at the event. Those individuals, who have in the past submitted themselves to hypnosis, hypno-therapy and age regression, etc., have opened themselves to demonic oppression. The hypnotist supposedly takes a person back into a past life. During the session the individual sometimes speaks with amazing detail about things that took place 500 years ago, saying, “I used to be John Smith. I lived in the nation of Turkey, and I lived in such-and-such a house. I buried gold coins in my backyard, etc.” Such incidents have occurred with circumstances such as gold coins actually being found buried in the backyard. Unknowing individuals are then led to say, “Now see, this proves reincarnation.” Well no, it doesn’t prove a thing! The demons that inhabited that person 100-500 years ago now inhabit the individual undergoing hypnosis. The demon that drove that person to bury his gold out of fear 100 years ago is now revealing 100 years later where it is buried. These demons have been around for centuries, thousands of years. The same demons inhabit people today that inhabited Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar, and Cain when he killed his brother. Those demons are still around inhabiting living individuals. People become awed. “How did they know that? Reincarnation!” No, it’s not reincarnation, it’s a demon. It’s a demon that was in that person 200 years ago and now he’s in this other individual. Demons don’t age.

Sometime ago I read a book regarding demon manifestation where a minister was taking a demon possessed individual through deliverance. As the minister was casting out the demons, one demon began to manifest, throwing the person down on the ground. The minister commanded the demon to name itself. The demon replied, “I’m the spirit of insanity.” The demon went on to say, “I’m the same spirit that drove so-and-so insane.” The demon spoke the name of a person who had died hundreds of years before – a well-known figure — who had committed suicide and died totally insane. This demonic spirit said, “I’m the same one that drove so-and-so insane hundreds of years ago.” The demon could have been telling the truth at that point because demons don’t age. Unlike humans, the demons possess spiritual bodies. Demons don’t age. Neither do the demons experience growth or death. Humans acquire knowledge through learning, but the spirits already “know.” Their knowledge is already fully acquired and mature because they are spiritual beings.

AngelAs spiritual beings, angels, for the most part, appear to take human form. In other words, when a person sees an angel, the angel appears human. Even though they are spiritual beings, angels look like human beings when people see them. The likeness of the angelic beings doesn’t resemble the drawings, the pictures, the statues depicted by artists and sculptors. Angels are certainly not feminine looking beings as portrayed in forms of art.

The Bible however, does speak of different orders of angels that don’t look at all like human beings. For example, the cherubim have four faces and six wings and are a different order of angel altogether. Obviously, they don’t look like humans. As spiritual beings, they are invisible to ordinary sight. They have spiritual bodies; they are invisible to ordinary sight but prophets and donkeys can see them.

Previously mentioned was the passage (2 Kings 6) where the prophet of God, Elisha, saw the angels surrounding the area where he lived. Elisha asked that God open his servant’s eyes so that he could also see them. Another interesting passage is found in Numbers, chapter 22, concerning a donkey belonging to a renegade prophet named Balaam. God had told the prophet not to prophesy against Israel, yet he was going to do it anyway. Balaam was a prophet who accepted money or bribes and was going to prophesy against Israel. As Balaam traveled along on his donkey, an angel of God stood in the roadway ready to kill the prophet. The donkey saw the angel and turned the other way. After several attempts to redirect the donkey that persistently turned to go another route, the prophet became so angry that he said to the donkey, “Why are you doing this to me?” As the prophet persisted in striking the little donkey on the head, the donkey spoke, saying, “Why are you hitting me like this?” Balaam is so enraged that he doesn’t consider that his donkey is talking to him. He said, “Hitting you? If I had a stick or sword, I’d kill you.” The donkey went on to say, “I’ve been a faithful donkey to you for all these years. You think I’d do something like this if there wasn’t a cause for it?” Then the prophet sees the angel standing there and he realizes that the donkey had saved his life. Balaam should have been kissing that donkey, not hitting him on the head. The Bible records some amazing incidents that bless us with the reading. So even though angels may be invisible to our sight, donkeys and prophets can see them.

C. Angels Possess Super-human Power and Intelligence.

A passage in 2 Peter, chapter 2, speaks of false teachers, i.e., false prophets who speak against government and those in positions of authority. They’re not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. [2 Pe. 2:11]

Peter is talking about men who dare to speak evil against dignities. These men boldly speak evil against what they know not of, but angels who are greater in power and might than men, wouldn’t consider doing that. This passage reveals that angels possess super-human strength and super-human might. Their strength and might is far greater than that of any man. Being spiritual beings, their strength, power and ability is in super-human proportion. Unlike men, angels are beyond comprehension in that they are spiritual beings. Because they possess spiritual bodies, angels possess the ability to pass through walls and other solid obstructions.

The scriptural account (Acts 12) of Peter in prison is an example. Wanting to make certain that Peter remained in prison, the authorities placed guards outside the prison doors. Peter was securely locked behind iron bars and iron doors, even chained to the prison floor. Guards were posted on either side of him. The jailers wanted to ensure that Peter didn’t go anywhere. However, in the middle of the night, an angel walked right into the jail cell, struck Peter on the side, and said, “Get up!” As Peter awakened, the chains fell from him. The guards had fallen into a sleep so sound that they were immovable, hearing nothing. The angel told Peter to put on his garment and “Go!” Perhaps Peter thought he was dreaming, but he got to his feet and followed the angel. As the angel and Peter walked through the prison, iron doors opened automatically before them, seemingly of their own accord. While the angel could have just walked through those iron doors, Peter could not. Angels possess super-human powers, super-human abilities that men do not have. The angel led Peter to freedom outside of the prison.

Most are familiar with the passage in the Old Testament book of Daniel where Daniel is thrown into the den of hungry lions. He was going to be lions’ food but in Daniel, chapter 6, Daniel says:

My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths…. [Dan. 6:22]

Just one angel stopped the mouths of all those lions. There’s no estimating how many lions were in that lair as lions were kept half-starved and in large numbers so they would readily devour anyone thrown in with them. One single angel was all that was required for the job. Submitting to the strength and power of the one lone angel, the hungry lions were subdued, becoming quiet and docile.

Though angels are considered to be beautiful creatures, the Bible does not project them as creatures of beauty as much as it accentuates them as creatures of tremendous strength and power. For example, consider the strength of the lone angel that rolled away the stone blocking the entrance to the tomb in which Jesus had been laid. Conservative accounts estimate that the stone was solid granite, eight-ft. in diameter and one-ft. thick. Even if the stone was rolled along in a groove, it still weighed over four tons. No problem for an angel! It was effortlessly rolled aside by one who possessed super-human strength and power.

It was two angels who walked into Sodom, bringing destruction on that wicked city and its sister city, Gomorrah. Angels were responsible for killing the firstborn of Egypt. Another account is found in 2 Samuel, chapter 24, where David sinned by numbering or taking a census count of Israel. God was displeased with David’s disobedience and gave David a choice among three consequences, i.e., pestilence, running from his enemies as they chased him, etc. David chose the pestilence at the hand of God and one angel slew 70,000. If that number appears large, a passage in 2 Kings says that one angel killed 185,000 Assyrians in one night. It took but a single angel to wipe out the Assyrian army.

And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand…. [2 Ki. 19:35]

Strength and power are the predominate characteristics of the angels.

Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. [Ps. 103:20]

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. [2 Thess. 1:7]

The angels are characterized by tremendous strength. When individuals saw angels, it wasn’t so much their beauty that was impressive, but their strength. Repeatedly in the Bible, at the appearance of angels, people were terrified, so much so they became immobile. Individuals literally could not move when observing these tremendous creatures, these powerful creatures.

Being stronger than men doesn’t make angels superior to men. It would be well to bear this in mind. The Bible doesn’t say that angels are superior to men; it does say that they are stronger. That could be said about many things. A horse is stronger than a man; an ox is stronger than a man; an elephant is stronger than a man but that doesn’t make any of these creatures superior to a man.

While angels possess great strength, even their strength is not infinite. They’re not omnipotent like God even though their power and knowledge is super-human, yet it is finite, it’s limited. Angels are not omniscient; they don’t know all things although they possess tremendous wisdom and tremendous intelligence.

When Jesus speaks of His own return, He says that no man knows when that day is going to be, not even the angels of heaven. So their knowledge, though great, is limited.

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. [Matt. 24:36]

Angels are not spoken of as being superior to men. More will be said about that at another time.

E. Angels Are Distinct from Man.

5For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
[Heb. 2:5-6]

Here is seen a contrast between angels and men. The nature of men and the nature of angels are contrasted in these two verses and they are obviously distinct. Angels are not men; men do not become angels. Angels are not glorified men; they’re not glorified human spirits. Men do not become angels. Our point is that angels are a separate and distinct order of beings. They are not glorified men.

In the following passage, the angels in heaven are contrasted with the church, i.e., the saints, and there appears to be two distinct companies.

22But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. [Heb. 12:22-23]

– Closing Prayer –

Father, we ask that you impress these things upon our hearts, upon our minds, enabling us to have a fuller and deeper comprehension of your Word and the spiritual realities that surround us. The unseen world, though invisible to our sight, is very real. Father, cause to be impressed deeper in our hearts the invisible realities that yet we do not see, but hope and believe for — eternal reward and eternal bliss. Father, cause us to see that this physical world is actually a temporal world that it is even now decaying and passing away, but that what is unseen abides forever. Father, cause us to loosen our attachments to this physical, temporary world.


Filed under Angelology: The Doctrine of Angels, Demons and Satan, House of the Nazarene's Posts

The Burdens Upon The Nations Isaiah

This next major section of the Book of Isaiah contains judgments against the nations before the establishment of the reign of the Messiah. The time of the judgment certainly would be in the immediate future of the prophetic vision, perhaps with the Assyrian invasion; but at times they will reach down through time to anticipate later, even eschatological judgments. So these chapters have been taken by commentators to anticipate some of the judgments found in Revelation 4-19. The cursing here is an outworking of the oracle of Genesis 12:1-3 where the promises based on the covenant were first made.

We must remember that Isaiah is a prophet, and as such he was called upon to interpret history, past, present and future. How would he know that this invasion was part of God’s judgment? Was that just his opinion? Well, because he predicted things he was known as a prophet of the LORD. So these oracles were seen as divine revelation.

Isaiah 14:3-23
Divine Judgment on the Evil Kingdom


There is a good deal of critical debate about this chapter, which you may read at your pleasure. On the surface the passage is clearly a taunt of proud Babylon. That would put a Babylonian message in the first half of the book, a real problem for some critical scholars who strictly put Babylonian material into the second half of the book, and attribute it to a second Isaiah. So this section is often classified by them as a later insertion from Deutero-Isaiah of Babylon.

Other scholars see it as a taunt of the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, and not Babylon at all, since Assyria is mentioned in verse 25. But Babylon is very clearly the focus of chapter 13; and whereas verses 24-27 may be about Assyria, the section in chapter 14 that we are addressing seems to follow clearly on the oracle against Babylon in chapter 13, and claims to be against Babylon. There is no reason why “Babylon” here should be replaced by “Assyria” in the text. It is possible that Babylon is mentioned but Assyria meant if at the time of the oracle Babylon was a subject state to the Assyrian Empire. Of course, all these kings of Assyria and Babylon were proud and ruthless, and so it would fit either setting. But in this context the passage is part of the oracle on the end of the Babylonian empire that would rise again and capture Judah.


PROLOGUE (14:1, 2)

The prophet begins this oracle with a word of comfort and hope for Israel—in line with his theme of “a remnant shall return.” He declares that God will have mercy on them and restore them to their land. More than that, they will rule over their oppressors.


The passage begins with words of comfort and hope for the righteous who must endure suffering and oppression in this world at the hands of the wicked who rule and terrorize the world.

Verse 3 announces the promise of rest from oppression (the verse is the prodasis [“when”] of verse 4): “When Yahweh shall give you rest … .” The verb “rest” (haniah [pronounced hah-nee-ack] from nuah [noo-ack]) is a common theme in the prophetic literature about the future; it picks up the theme about the sabbath rest from the beginning of creation (Gen. 2:1-3) and the conquest of the land (Ps. 95), and anticipates a final restoration to it i the age to come (Heb. 3, 4). Of course, the agent who grants this rest is the Lord Jesus, the Messiah Himself: “I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

The rest promised here is from sorrow (me’osbeka [pronounced may-ots-beh-kah] from ‘asab [ah-tsav]), from fear (mirogzeka [mi-rog-zeh-ka] from ragaz) and from bondage (ha’abodah [hah-a-vo-dah] from ‘abad [ah-vad]). These three expressions describe the difficulty of the people of God in this fallen world, notably under the pagan—Babylonian—domination. The first word, “sorrow,” is right out of the curse narrative of Genesis 3—pain in childbirth for the woman, and pain in tilling the ground for the man. Fear and bondage are the other two agonies that Israel would have to experience, and only divine rest from such servitude would heal. The fear described here is the agitation, quivering, trembling—not the pious term for “fear” or reverence. So the writer anticipates a time when the people will be set free from their troubles and sing a victory song.

Verse 4 is the apodasis ( … then): when you have this rest, [then] you may take up this taunt against Babylon. The word for “taunt” is masal (mah-shal), a term normally used for a “proverb”—a wayside saying, observation, similitude, aphorism. The taunt here is: “How the oppressor has come to an end!”

The taunt that follows delights in the sudden collapse of the nation of Babylon. Two things are worth noting here. First, Assyria was the major threat in the early days of the prophet, from his call in 742 down to the invasion of Sennacherib in 701. But the prophet later turned his attention on Babylon when the King welcomed the emissary and showed him the treasury. As mentioned above, here we have the theme of Babylon in the first half of the book, although Babylon is not yet the power it was to become in a few decades. Here the prophet looks ahead to the enemy who, like Assyria, will oppress the people. The word is that all such oppressors will be destroyed before the great Messianic Age.

Second, the destruction of Babylon would lead to the restoration of Israel in 536 B.C., but the promise of the glorious appearance and reign of Messiah would not come about in that year, or shortly thereafter, as history shows. So “Babylon” would be the immediate fulfillment, the immediate reference point; but “Babylon” would also typify a greater “Babylon” of the future (whether actually Babylon rebuilt or a nation like Babylon was is too difficult to say; see Revelation 19). The reason the typology works is that the real power behind either empire—Babylon then or the Babylon to come—is the evil one. So this song celebrates both victory over the physical enemies of the people as well as the spiritual powers behind those enemies.


A. There will finally be great joy on earth (5-8).

Verses 5 and 6 declare that God will break the ruthless tyrant. The pride of Babylon is focused on her ruthless king, or her kingship in general that characterized the proud nation. The terms “rod” and “staff” refer to the dominion of the pagan rulers, and so they are metonymies—they are the symbols of authority. (If you argue that there was no rod or staff in their hand as a symbol, then you would have to classify these as hypocatastases, implied comparisons). The point is that the power of these oppressors is to be broken (sabar [shah-bar]). They ruled with a continuous stroke of anger, afflicting other nations; but soon they would be broken down. Here is another expression of talionic justice.

Verse 7 affirms that this judgment will bring great joy to the people. The key terms here are “rest and quiet” (nahah saqetah [nah-khah shah-keh-tah]) and the joy, or ringing cry (rinnah from ranan) that will break out in all the earth. These are the joyful shouts that exclaim the cessation of oppression and the beginning of lasting peace.

Verse 8 speaks of security restored. The “trees” rejoice since no one has ever come up to cut them down. If these are implied comparisons, then they indicate Israel is the trees and the oppressor the cutter. But if the actual trees are meant, the figure would be personification; the forests would be delighted that the enemies no longer will come through cutting down trees to burn their fires and make their ramps. This seems to be what the verse is saying.

B. There will be great commotion in Hell (9-11).

Verses 9-11 give the other half of this section, describing the commotion in Hell when the oppressor has been cast down. Here a word study on “sheol” (se’ol [sheh-ole]) would be in order. The Babylonian world had such a common use of the themes of magic, demons, Shades, or Hell, that this approach in the taunt would be obviously appropriate to those who knew about them. Here sheol refers to the realm of the departed spirits, all those who died in unrighteousness, without God, without hope, without their pomp, and left to wander in darkness (see Ps. 49).

Verse 9 announces that sheol is in tumult (the same word for “rage” of the nations in Psalm 2:1). The meeting party is made up of the kings of the earth and others who are already there. “Shades” (often translated “spirits”) is a term for departed spirits (Hebrew: repa’im [teh-fah-eem); it needs a good bit of study in its usages to see its range of meanings and applications..

Verses 10 and 11 record their taunt of the descending oppressor. “Your pomp” has been brought down to sheol. The “maggots are spread over // the worms cover” is a graphic line of their physical destruction. The term “maggots,” rimmah, is actually a term for the destroying power of decay. In Ugaritic texts it was venerated as a god, the god Rimmon, if the link is correct. But that term could possibly be from another root since Rimmon was also a god of vegetation. Nevertheless, there could be a word play here, a paronomasia; it certainly would suggest to the Hebrew reader an allusion to the Canaanite material. The figures with the words “maggots” and “worms” are probably metonymies, referring to the starting of the decay in the grave that changes pomp into putrification, and bringing down the arrogant to sheol, the land of the shades.


The taunt now focuses on how far the brilliant king has fallen. The prophet makes the comparison between him and the morning star, and then writes the taunt out fully that the people will sing.

Verse 12 addresses the “shining one, the son of the morning.” The Hebrew term for “shining one” (NIV “morning star”) is helel (hay-lale); the root word means “shining, brilliant” (it is probably related to halal, the verb “to praise,” as in a glowing report). The classical translation was “Lucifer” (etymologically connect to “light”), although that has been replaced in modern renderings.

With this section we discover that we have a possible double meaning—not unusual for Hebrew poetry. The word helel describes the brilliance of the oppressing king, claiming to be the son of the morning star. But some scholars have seen a second reference in it to Satan, or a spirit force behind the throne. In the Old Testament “stars” may refer to angelic or demonic powers. And the pagan kings claimed to be divine, or at least the offspring of the gods. It is the view of the Hebrew writers that back of the major powers in the empires is a satanic or demonic spirit. The prince of Persia, for example, is both a king and the spirit force behind him in Daniel. In Ezekiel 28 we have a song to the King of Tyre. But the language seems to transcend the king of Tyre, for he is described as the anointed Cherub who was perfect in every way when he walked in the holy mountain (heaven) with God in Eden, until evil was found in him. So the language of the chapter goes way beyond the King of Tyre, although it is about the King of Tyre. As such, the chapter traces the beginning of evil to Satan when he was in heaven. But it will not explain to our satisfaction how evil began; it only uses the passive voice: “evil was found in you.” The Bible will trace it back no further than that; but the Bible will make it clear that God is not the author of sin.

Now if Isaiah 14 is the same kind of chapter, then it may be referring to that same evil—the pride that led to Satan’s being cast down from heaven. Lucifer, or Helel if you prefer, would then show the glory that Satan once had. Indeed, Paul says that he still can change himself into an angel of light to deceive people. But the primary meaning of the chapter is the human king who was filled with pomp and vainglory, who fell quickly from his exalted position. The hint to the spirit force behind him is not very strong, but rather subtle.

CherubimThe passage is prophetic, looking to the future time of the destruction of this wicked king, and that is why it is written in the past tense.

Verse 13 portrays the great pride of this one who said he would exalt himself above God: “I will ascend to heaven, // I will raise my throne above the stars of God.” He arrogantly thought that he was suitable for heaven, higher than the angels, fit to join the assembly of the gods. In verse 14 he thought he could make himself like the Most High. Such was the ambition of these powerful despots who thought they were divine. But the contrast is: “But you are brought down to the grave // to the depths of the pit” (note bor // she’ol), according to verse 15.

So this section shows the age-old pattern in divine judgment—great human pride will be abased. Pride should not be trivialized to thinking more highly of oneself in mundane matters. It is religious pride that tries to usurp God’s throne and will in no way submit to the LORD.

Verse 16 records the amazement of those in hell of those who witness his fall; it is in the form of a question, an erotesis: “Is this the one who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble?” Here too it would refer primarily to the king of Babylon, the empire builder who kept puppet empires at bay and who would not let captives go home. When divine judgment has fallen, such kings are nothing. This evokes the amazement over them. Where is all their power now?

Verses 18-19 show that this one will not even have a state funeral. Kings normally lie in state when they die, but this one will be cast out of his tomb. To stress the indignity of this the prophet uses a couple of similes: “like a rejected branch” and “like a corpse trampled under foot.” The image of a branch is used here ironically; it often is used for a king who continues a dynasty. Here it is cut off and cast down. The other simile is of a trodden carcass. He will be like the rest of the carnage on the battle field. There will be no honor or dignity in his death.

The section ends with a brief summation (verse 20-23) that there would be no normal burial for this one, because he has ruined his land and his people. The idea of remaining nameless forever, which is the thrust of the last few lines, is an expression that signifies non-existence. His death will be ignominious. To be forgotten is to be utterly destroyed—even from memory.

But the death will also be for the land, the great land of Babylon. It will be turned into a place for owls, a swampland; God would sweep it with the broom of destruction (implied comparison). Babylon was destroyed by Persia in 538 B.C.; and after a while the city itself was ruined, and lay in ruins for 2500 years, until Sadam Hussein began rebuilding it as part of the cultural heritage of Iraq.

In the days of Isaiah, the people of Judah had no idea of the length of time between the oracle and its fulfillment. They might have expected it soon. But they did not know how the sequence of judgment with the exile, deliverance from Babylon, and judgment on Babylon would work out in Old Testament times, nor could they have known that there would be a glorious future destruction of “Babylon” at the end of the age when Messiah comes in glory (Rev. 19).

EPILOGUE (14:24-27)

In this little section Isaiah declares that this kind of destruction is what God had purposed for Assyria as well. So it looks like he has made an application of his prophetic taunt song to the immediate situation.

But this little addition, especially within the context of the Assyrian crisis, has led many scholars to conclude that Sennacherib was the one intended in chapter 14. Babylon would then have been referred to figuratively for the Mesopotamian region in a comparison of Assyria’s immense pride with that of Babylon. This avoids having to have the prophet look down the future for an oracle against Babylon; but it still retains the difficulty of the Babylonian motif so early. And besides, the straightforward use of the name Babylon would lead to the conclusion he meant Babylon. The other oracles are against the nations so named. And he certainly was not hesitant in using the name Assyria when that is what he meant.


The passage then has the tone of triumph for the people of God. Its primary application would be jubilation for the believers. They will have the rest, the release from fear, bondage, and oppression. Only faith in the LORD leads to this. Believers can anticipate that their oppressors—and the evil force behind them—will be completely and utterly destroyed, since God has no tolerance for pride and arrogant oppression. Many passages about divine judgment come to mind in connection to this. Among them the New Testament oracle about how Babylon has fallen, Babylon—that symbol of the present evil world system, the anti-kingdom.

Certainly on a much smaller level (by secondary application) we may say that there is a warning here for anyone not to live according to the standards of the evil empire. God will abase the proud. But do not make this point in place of the main point about divine judgment on the greatest pride, rejection and replacement of God. The scope here is cosmic; the victory is spiritual and final; the time is eschatological. With all that in mind, it is worth noting that anyone choosing pride and oppression is heading for destruction, the same destruction as their god, the god of this world.

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Filed under Daily Biblical Studies for the Soul, Studies in The Book of Isaiah

God in the Hands of Guilty Sinners (Matthew 27:1-31)

Some time ago I preached a message on the Seven Sayings Of The Cross. There were some things that Jesus said while he bled and died on Calvary’s cross. Just in case you do not remember what Jesus said, I am going to do a bit of review for you to jog your memory. Each saying of Christ is a message in itself! Here are the statements that we know Jesus made, although they may not be in the order that He said them:

1. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
2. “Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
3. “Father into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
4. “Woman behold they son” (Jn. 19:26).
5. “Behold thy mother” (Jn. 19:27).
6. “I thirst” (Jn.19:28).
7. “It is finished” (Jn.19:30).

What we are going to consider was not said from the cross to the people, but from the people toward the cross. Men have always harbored mixed emotions and varied opinions about who Jesus is and what He did while He was on the earth. Even the Lord Jesus Christ Himself did not please everyone. Human beings are very opinionated. Once some form a certain opinion they never deviate or change from it. (You may have already formed an opinion on this sermon!) This tendency can be either good or bad, depending upon what our fixed opinions actually are. I am so glad that Jesus was willing to come and die for sinners. If Christ had left us alone, we would have died in our sins and been lost forever. Thank God, He came our way first in powerful, persuasive conviction and then in personal salvation. I love that New Testament verse which says, “For Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” ( 1 Pet.

Here are important considerations about the sufferings of Christ:

1. They were not in vain.

Many people have died in vain. Their dying never accomplished anything at all, while even in the death of some, others came to Christ partly because that person died. When Jesus died, He paid the price so that every believing sinner, could be freed from sin and Satan, to know and serve the living God. His death was overflowing with depth and purpose. No one could have taken His life, unless Christ were willing to lay it down. He loved us so much He was willing to die and bless the Lord it was not useless. Great things are accomplished because Jesus, humanly speaking, died in the place of sinners!

Author C.S. Lewis put it this way: “The Son of God became the Son of Man so that sons of men may become sons of God.”

2. They were victorious.

Jesus obviously did what He came to do when He died upon the cross. He said with a great tone of victory in Jn.19:30, “It is finished.” Christ had completed what He came to earth to do, that being, to provide salvation for man. We are saved today, because of the priceless value of what Jesus did for us upon Calvary’s cross. What were the people saying around the cross? I am glad you asked, so let’s find out for ourselves.

woman-prayingI. The Voice of Skepticism

A Skepticism Displayed
Matt. 27: 39,40 says, “And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” They had heard Jesus say in Jn. 2:18-21 that a temple would be destroyed and that in three days it would be raised up. They thought He was speaking of the Jewish temple built by human hands where they worshiped God. What Christ was actually speaking about was the death, burial and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ had healed the sick, caused the blinded eye to see, raised the dead, multiplied the loaves and fishes, command the angry waves to lie down, and still men were skeptical of Him.

B. Skepticism Revealed
There was not only skepticism in Jesus day, but it is also alive and well today, some 2,000 years later.
1. It is revealed in disbelief of the Bible.
2. It is revealed in denial of a personal devil.
3. It is revealed in the deviation of the promises of our Great God.

The way we are on is a way of “faith” not skepticism. We simply believe God for what He says.

II The Voice Of The Sinful Preachers
Matt. 27:41-44 declares: “Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.” The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.”
How they verbally belittled the Son of God! They mocked him about coming down from the cross and delivering Himself. They said, “If you only come down we will believe.” I do not believe they would have believed. They were blinded by religion. Praise God, the Lord Jesus loved you and me more than that! Love compelled Him to go to the cross and love also held Him there. He could have called ten thousand times ten thousand angels, but Jesus died alone, for you and me.

This was the voice of the ungodly preachers ( the chief priests), representing religion.

A. Their problem:
They did not think the cross was necessary, but nevertheless it is. It is a sinful preacher that will not declare that the cross is necessary in the redemption of mankind. Jesus Himself used this expression, “must go….and suffer” in Mt 16:21. “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” It was essential that Jesus suffer if we were to be set free from sins’ penalty and power. There is no other way to get to God except by the blood, the sufferings, the work of Christ upon Calvary. The old song says, “What can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus, what can make me whole again, nothing but the blood of Jesus, Oh precious is that flow, that makes me white as snow, no other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

B. Their Preaching ( as to what God requires for salvation):
1. Some preach works. Judaism is a religion of works. Christianity hinges on grace.
2. Some preach grace plus works. Get in by grace and stay in because of your works.
3. Some preach a bloodless salvation. There is no true salvation apart from the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s darling lamb.

III The Voice of Silly Repetition
The Bible says in Matt. 27:44, ” The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.” They heard the religionists mocking Jesus and taunting Him about coming down from the cross, so they did the same thing. Christ was completely surrounded by voices of unbelief who were echoing the  same things. So many people judge Christianity on what the crowd says about it. Others judge Jesus on simple what others say, without finding out for themselves who Jesus really is. Some folks try to go on in their mother or dad’s religion, whether it be
right of it be wrong. America is incurably religious. Joining a church today is a socially acceptable thing, as long as that church is one that teaches, preaches, and adheres to the fundamentals of the faith.

Don’t be guilty of only knowing what others say about Jesus, about Christianity, about the church and what the Bible trully says, It’s silly to read a verse and have no idea what the Chapter really means!
Most religions and Facebook do not want their people to know the Bible. In the Dark Ages, the Catholics only wanted a few people to have the Scriptures in their hands. Their ministers did not try to get our even the Bible, none the less Bible commentaries, Bible dictionaries, Biblical word studies, and things of that nature. I want you to know the Bible not just to parrot what you have heard someone else say about it, but what it says itself. You should know Jesus first hand, and not just what others say and think about Him. To do that you have to get on your knees and in the book, Chapter by Chapter, Not a verse here and there!

To the Cross, Bring me to my knees

To the Cross, Bring me to my knees

IV The Voice Of Sad Misinterpretation
Matt. 27:45-47 states: “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.”

A. They thought Jesus should ask God the Father to come and rescue Him from the cross.

B. They did not understand Christ was bearing the sin of the entire world of humanity. God has to judge sin because of His holy character and nature. All men are born sinners by birth and remain a sinner only by choice.

C. The only way for you to go to heaven was for God to forsake His son, while at the same time, paying for our sin debt.

D. He was forsaken, so that we might not be forsaken of God. Heb 13:5 says: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

V The Voice Of The Ungodly
Matt. 27:48,49 reminds us that, “Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.” Some came to see if Christ would miraculously come down from the cross. The people were only looking for the spectacular. That is all that some folks are looking for today. I have had people say I’ve gotten smarter now or “Enlightened”, I won’t blindly follow anymore, “If” you hear that “If”? If you can prove who wrote every book in the Bible, I will believe there is “a God”  They are looking for something fleshly and sensational. They want a kind of music and service that will tickle the flesh, and entertain them, than something that will stir their soul and motivate their wills.

VI The Voice Of Salvations Supplication
Luke 23:39-43 “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt  thou be with me in paradise.” What did this “confessing thief” do?

A. Rebuked the other thief( v.40).
B. Confessed the sinlessness of Christ (v.41).
C. Prayed a simple nine word prayer (v.42).
D. Had a sincere faith
1. Revealed a sincere faith
2. Revealed a victorious faith
E. He received an instantaneous salvation. “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise.” And thus became the first confessing Christian! Imagine that, a thief became the first confessing Christian! What a Gracious and Merciful God!

VII The Voice of Sincere Heart Felt Confession
Read Mark 15:34-39. 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 hast thou forsaken me? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36 And one ran and filled a spunge 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. 37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. 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.

Jesus Victorious

Jesus Victorious

When he saw Jesus die, it did two things things for the centurion.
A. It convinced Him.
Earthquake–veil of temple rent from top to bottom– That could not have just been another man on the cross. It had to be the God-man.
B. He confessed Him and became the second confessing Christian.
“Truly this man was the Son of God” (v.39). He could say, “I’m glad I know who Jesus is and am not ashamed of Him.” Ro 10:9 tells us, “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.” That kind of confession will be your ticket to heaven.

Hear the voices around the cross and see our day today, but remember the voice of the Father from heaven, who when Jesus was being baptized said, “This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” He took my whipping for sin, so that you and I could go free. Have you realized you are a sinner? Have you come to the cross of Christ for salvation? Are you resting in the grace of God? If not, come to Him today, because He arose and ever lives to make intercession for all that come unto God by Him.


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Filed under Daily Biblical Studies for the Soul, Studies in the Gospel of Matthew