Archive for October, 2016
Most Bible teachers insist that Jonah is a type of Christ, because they both spent three whole days and nights in the middle of hell. But Jonah could also be an anti-type of Christ, the difference being obeying God with one’s whole heart, soul and body as The LORD Jesus did. But the prophet Jonah did not obey God this way. Jonah insisted that God was wrong in asking the prophet to preach repentance and salvation in Nineveh. He knew God was full of love and mercy for all mankind. But he did not want God to forgive Nineveh, because of what that nation had done to Israel. Jonah held these beliefs before he died and went to hell, and he held them after God resurrected him from hell. Again, the prophet stubbornly believed that heaven is a democracy where one can properly disagree with God and remain in heaven. (Excuse me, didn’t Satan himself try that?)
Yes even Jonah admits that he was dead—stone cold dead–three days and three nights in the pit of hell: “. . . I cried by reason of mine affliction unto The LORD, and He heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and Thou heardest my voice . . . The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head—[just as a crown of thorns was placed on Christ’s head]—I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever: yet thou has brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God (Jonah 2: 1 – 7).”
And yes, The Lord Jesus acknowledged that Jonah’s experience was “a sign” of His own coming ordeal: “Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here (Matthew 12: 38 – 42).”
Many claim that Jonah repented while he was in hell. But The Bible does not say that. While praying in hell, Jonah spoke of “ observing lying vanities” and “forsaking his own mercy.” He promised to be more thankful to God, and to pay what he had previously vowed. But nowhere does he mention Nineveh or ask God’s forgiveness for his hateful attitude towards his enemies.
Now consider Jonah’s physical condition when “the fish . . . vomited out Jonah upon dry land (2: 9).” This prophet walks into Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, covered with fish vomit and the massive animal’s digestive juices eating into his body and his soul and spirit shambled and shuttering. Obviously, he gained everyone’s attention as he walked through the massive city for another 72 hours preaching repentance or judgment. Those physical and mental scars would stay with the prophet for the rest of his life. It would have been far better for him if he had just obeyed God with a willing heart in the first place.
Perhaps Jonah is the only evangelist who did not want his audience to be saved. But the goodness and mercy of God prevailed. The people of Nineveh repented and God granted the nation 70 years of forgiveness and renewal—because every generation must seek God on its own (see the Book of Nahum). But after Nineveh’s revival, Jonah is still furious with God: “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live (4: 1 -3).”
Shocking! Isn’t the whole point of knowing God is to want to be like Him? How could a man who had experienced actual death in hell, even pray to immediately die again? Modern day psychologists (who greatly influence theological preachers) could say he was just depressed. No this prophet was still in rebellion against God and against His will. I included The LORD’s linking of Jonah and Solomon above, because these could well be two Bible writing ex-believers who chose to go to hell, rather than to willingly obey God. Because the book that Jonah wrote ends on this note, we do not know conclusively where he ended in eternity. But we do know that Adam, Solomon and Judas are in hell today, because they refused to repent and obey God’s Word and His Will.
But why spend so much time on Jonah’s wish to rebel against God, his willingness to change from an apostle to an apostate? Because such fake so-called Christian leadership has thousands of such followers in these last days. In 2 Timothy, Hebrews, 2 Peter, Jude, and Revelation, Wholesale Christian Bibles fervently asks believers not to follow people or personalities. Each believer can be saved only by believing on Jesus Christ, not on people who claim to follow Him. Christians must test those who say they are preachers, prophets, etc. by God’s Word. And they must read it with dedication and obedience for themselves. Pray for God’s Will alone to be carried out in your life. And always seek to please God, not people. Don’t follow another human being into Hell!
Because he knew he was a gifted prophet, Jonah thought he had the right to rebel against God. He reasoned within himself that his hatred of the citizens of Nineveh (the capital of Assyria) was justified because they had so ill-treated his own people. He also knew that God was a God of Love and that He would forgive those sinful people—those Jonah considered to be filthy Gentiles–if they would repent of their evil ways. This prophet knew well of God’s great love and mercy, and he greatly resented it. So here we have one of God’s people–one of His chosen servants—resisting His will.
The human soul is made up of the mind, the will and the emotions. All of these factors within Jonah’s heart were in disagreement with God. How could such a gifted prophet be so out of step with God’s will? It happened because he listened to his own human thinking, instead of humbling himself and waiting before The Holy Spirit in prayer and fasting, and resisting all force to make such a rebellious mistake. Jonah’s mind was made up to go against God’s will. His emotions were filled with satanic hatred, not the love of God. With everything in his being he willed to go against what he knew God wanted.
When a Christian with knowledge of God and His Word purposely goes against God’s will pitting his own will, mind and emotions against the will and Word of God—that mature and knowledgeable Christian flirts with the loss of his own salvation. Yet this prophet must have believed in God of mercy and love enough to think he could get away with such rebellious thinking, let alone action. Jonah actually believed that he knew God well enough that he had the right to disagree with Him. This was his interpretation of “free will.” Yes, God does give human beings the free will to do, think and say what they want to do, think and say. But this does not mean that there are not consequences for wrong thinking, wrong words, wrong decisions and wrong actions.
Perhaps you remember the rest of Jonah’s story from your Sunday School days—how while he was on a ship going away in the opposite direction of Nineveh, Jonah ended up with his body dead within the belly of a giant fish, while his soul and spirit were in Hell. We will go over more of that in the next blog, along with the fact that the Bible does not detail whether or not Jonah completely repented, even after he brought revival to Nineveh and got thousands of people saved and reconciled to the goodness and everlasting love of God.
But for now, please look at the one-chapter New Testament book of Jude wherein the Apostle gives example after example of fallen Christian leaders, including fallen angels, who knew God, who had experienced His power—i.e. the traitor Judas—and who nonetheless decided to turn against Him and serve Satan. Some of God’s laws—i.e. unlawful sexual relations—cannot be broken without everlasting punishment, unless there is full and complete repentance.
As we are now in the last of the last of the last days, again I ask you to consult such books in wholesale Christian Bibles as 2 Peter, Jude, 2 John, etc. for an understanding that deliberate back-sliding, continuous disobedience in full knowledge of God’s will, hard-hearted unwillingness to forgive, racial hatred (as in Jonah’s case), love of this world more than love of God’s laws and His love–is flirting with everlasting damnation. Yes, even if one is a born-again Christian. Also, remember that there are very few examples of people, who like Jonah were able to pray their way out of hell!
Yes we are Christians. Yes, we are born again. But we have not yet reached heaven. We do not now live in “The Promise Land.” The Kingdom of Heaven is a monarchy—that is it government by and under the Rule of one: The King, Who is The God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Things are done His way and those who are in heaven serve Him and do as He directs, not by force, but willingly and gladly.
Hence, the importance of The Lord Jesus’ Words in His famous prayer: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (Matthew 6: 10).” We should also remember His words during His agony in The Garden before the Cross: “Saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done (Luke 22: 42).”
Certainly, those who rebelled against Moses in the wilderness thought they participated in a democracy. They simply would not stop complaining and blaming God and Moses for any difficulties. They thought it was their right to speak out and rebel. Yet as Jude writes in The New Testament: “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not (1: 5).”
Paul also defines that rebellion in the wilderness as stubbornness or hardening of the heart: “And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,“Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God (Hebrews 3: 5 – 12).”
These New Testament writers—i.e. Apostles Peter, Paul, Jude and John–all warned that in these last days in which we now live, there would be a great ‘falling away’: that is some believers—those already weak in faith, Bible knowledge and prayer–will walk away from their faith. Others claiming to be Christians will not have to walk away, because they were always faking salvation. They jumped onto the Christian band wagon at Satan’s insistence and for monetary profit or religious recognition. In view of the apostles’ insistence, now is definitely the time for every Christian to fight as Peter writes: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall (2 Peter 1: 10).” We make that calling and election absolute by doing all we can to obey Our Father and His Word in every area of our lives.
Please remember God’s Name Omnipotent (meaning all powerful). But you may respond God is also Love and Grace. Absolutely He is. And because He is all of those things at once, we should serve and obey Him, because we love Him back and want to please Him. We should never follow His will begrudgingly. As Isaiah writes in wholesale Christian Bibles: “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it (1: 19 – 20).”
The Word “commandment(s)” is in the King James Version of The Bible 333 times in either the singular or plural form. These times include the first five books of God’s Holy Word, and the last four books of that Same Holy Word. (Actually when one considers that Apostle John wrote his Gospel, three epistles and The Book of Revelation in or after 90 AD, it can be inferred that the word “commandment(s)” is in the last five Books of The Bible as well.
What is surprising to believers today is that this Word is used almost as much in The New Testament as in The Old Testament. So just why do today’s Christians assume that the Word simply does not mean the same for New Testament believers as it did to God’s people in the Old Testament? Do they simply assume that in this Age of Grace, God does not mean what He says?
Moreover, several times in Books from Matthew to Revelation, Pharisees and other “religious” leaders assumed they had the right to demand that people obey their versions, manipulations and substitutions of God’s Commandments in The Old Testament. This is reason The LORD Jesus did not begin His ministry using Jewish temple workers and authorities, because they had substituted the laws of God with the laws of men. For instance look at his dealing with religious leaders on one occasion:
“And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
“This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground,as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
“And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more(John 8: 3 – 11).”
Now actually, the Old Testament Law required that BOTH the man and the woman be stoned. For instance, Leviticus 20: 10 says: “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Could The LORD not have written in the ground: “where is the man”?
Moreover, The LORD Jesus said of the Pharisees and other so-called teachers of The Law: “But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
“But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15: 3 – 9).
However, when The LORD and His Apostles in Books from Matthew to Revelation use the word “commandment(s)”–outside of those times when they speak of the Pharisees, etc.—-they speak of God’s Holy Word to believers, and that Word demands that believers obey that Word or receive the consequences of disobedience.
For instance, The LORD says: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. . . . If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love . . . If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. (John 14: 21, 15: 10, 15: 12).” So what is one to assume will happen to those who don’t keep His commandments as stated in wholesale Christian Bibles?
Finally in his epistles, Saint John makes the Biblical meaning of the word commandment(s)clear: “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 2: 3 – 4).” Beloved, we now live in the last of the last of the last days. People are falling away from churches, perhaps because they sense insincerity of those professing Christianity. The only way the world, backsliders and unbelievers will ever know true Christianity is if those of us who are truly born again begin to actually love one another without reservation! We best start doing it now before it is everlastingly too late!