“Come now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into this city, and spend a year there, and trade, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)
According to that passage above, our life is like a vapor that appears for a moment, but then it’s gone and faded away. You see, life goes by so quickly because we’re here for such a short time. So, if that’s the case, how should we be living our life? Should we follow after the majority and just live to “eat, drink, and be merry” with no regard to what’s going to happen tomorrow? Or, should we be more concerned with how to live our life, being fully aware that there is a God who has a standard by which we are to live by? For the bible says: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). So, it makes more sense to know God’s will, seeing that eternity is a lot longer than this temporal existence on earth. Therefore, let’s be those who live our lives with heaven in mind. “The voice of one saying, Cry. And one said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the breath of Jehovah bloweth upon it; surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:6-8)
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:28-29)
In that passage above, Jesus said our destiny is determined on how we live. However, we also read that even our best efforts will not get us right before God. For: “We are all like one who is unclean, all our so-called righteous acts are like a menstrual rag in your sight. We all wither like a leaf; our sins carry us away like the wind." (Isaiah 64:6 NET)But again in Ezekiel 18:20 it says: “the person who sins will die.” So, if this is the case, what can we do to be saved? For no matter how hard we try to do good, we would still fall short of the requirements God has for us. “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:24-25)
So, we see that there is some good news, and that good news is found in one book, the bible. Therefore, I invite you to continue reading and discover that Jesus is our hope to get right before God.
“Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me’.” (John 14:6)
According to that passage above, Jesus said that he is the only way to God. To go even further with this, we have John who was a disciple of Jesus affirming this by saying: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
Now, I do realize that there are some who may not fully know who Jesus is. So, let's first dive into some scriptures. First, we read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1-3) Next, we read: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) So, this “Word” who was God and became flesh and blood is none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Yes, Jesus Christ became flesh and blood just like us. This he did not only to show us the way to the Father, but to take upon himself the sins of the world. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)
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“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24)
So, we see that believing in Jesus is essential for eternal life. However, the sad truth is that there are many heading down the wrong path. For Jesus said: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) So, according to that passage above, there is only a few that will take the right path. And as for me, I want to be among those few that embrace Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. And it’s my hope and prayer that you’ll feel the same way to. For any other way could lead you down that wrong road of destruction.
Now, just to let you know. I myself was one of those who was heading down that wrong path. For I wanted to live life my way and do the things I wanted to do. This I did, even though I knew what I was doing wrong and was affecting myself and others in a bad way. However, one day while I was wallowing in my sins and feeling so lost, God reveled his Son to me in a real way. You see, I heard about Jesus and even went to church when I was young. However, I never really had a relationship with him until the day God finally opened my eyes. And for the first time in my life, I understood who God was and realized that I can actually have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Therefore, I want to be totally in love with him because He loves me and reached out to me. Amen.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
This relationship that I have with God is because Jesus suffered and died for my sins. This he did not only through beatings, whippings and being nailed to a cross, but he was afflicted for three days and nights in hell as well. Therefore, none of us can earn our forgiveness by doing good works. Jesus is our perfect sinless sacrifice who took the penalty for every bad thing that we ever committed. For the bible says: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) So, God paid a high price for our sins by giving his beloved Son for us all. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” (1 Peter 1:18-21)
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“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Now, we must realize that God loves us so much. For He desires that none should perish but that all would come to repentance. Therefore, He doesn’t want anyone to die in their sins and go to hell. For: “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11)So, God desires that all would receive Jesus Christ and spend eternity with him in paradise.
Therefore, “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) This is true for all us who are in Christ Jesus. And for you who don’t know him, simply turn you heart over to God and you’ll feel the same way as well. And what else is true, there is no other religion that can give you a love relationship like this. That’s because other religions are based on man’s efforts and works that leads to self-righteousness and pride. However, faith in God’s mercy and grace apart from works is based on the finished works of Jesus Christ. “But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and his love toward man, appeared, not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
So, do you want true love, joy and peace in your life? Well, you can. You see, this is the outcome of a true relationship with Jesus Christ. Any other way would only leave you feeling empty with no true peace. So, give your life over to Jesus Christ today. And once you do, you will see life in a whole new way, for it’s like being “Born Again.” You see, God will fill you with his Holy Spirit and that is why you will experience this new life. And by walking after the Spirit, you can put to death that old life of sin and now live a life that’s pleasing to God. And the beautiful thing is, you’ll be so excited that you want everyone to know about this relationship that you have with God. Amen.
"It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around, can warm up to its glowing. That’s how it is with God’s love, once you have experienced it, you spread His love to everyone; you want to pass it on. What a wondrous time is spring, when all the trees are budding; the birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming. That’s how it is with God’s love; once you’ve experienced it, you want to sing “It’s fresh like spring”; you want to pass it on. I wish for you my friend, this happiness that I’ve found. You can depend on Him, it matters not where you’re bound. I’ll shout it from the mountain top – Praise God I want the world to know; the Lord of love has come to me, I want to pass it on." Pend by: Kurt Kaiser
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV)
Now, I need to make one thing clear before moving on. Being saved is not a license to continue living in sin. For according to that passage above, those who live a sinful life will not be part of the Kingdom of God. Because as mention before, we must put away our past sins and live a new life by God’s Spirit. And by walking after the Spirit, we can live a new life that’s pleasing to God. For true repentance brings forth good fruit, and it’s this good fruit that shows we are truly “Born Again.” So, being sin free should be our goal in our life with Christ. However, though we desire to be perfect, we may make mistakes now and then. That’s why John the apostle said: “My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father -- Jesus Christ the righteous one. He himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2 CSB)
Therefore, if we do sin we are to repent before God. For John again said: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) So, it’s a learning and growing process. But again, our aim is to live a perfect sin free live. Therefore, “Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is. And every one that hath this hope set on him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Every one that doeth sin doeth also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. And ye know that he was manifested to take away sins; and in him is no sin.” (1 John 3:2-5) May God help us all to be perfect for his glory and praise. Amen.
There is a God who is real and desires that none should perish but that all would come to repentance. He’ll bring true meaning and purpose into your life if you’ll just give yourself over to him. For any other way would be empty and meaningless. So, give your life over to Jesus by asking him to be your Lord and Savior. Because believe me, you won’t regret it. For Jesus said: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37) He also said: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) So, please give your life over to Jesus today. Amen.
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:24-31)
SCRIPTURES SHOWING HOW MUCH JESUS SUFFERED FOR US:
SCRIPTURES PERTAINING TO JESUS IN HELL
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
A Few Words to the Reader: This article is to remind you my brothers and sisters in Christ, of God’s amazing love for us. And for those of you who don’t know Christ, I pray that God would open your eyes so that you may have a clear understanding of who Jesus is. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) For: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
So, whether these words are a sweet reminder or a life changing eye opener, I hope you will be blessed by this article. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)Amen.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
If we would look at the word “God” in the passage above, we would see it being used in the plural form. This is a good indication that there was more than one agent involved in the act of creation. We can see this to be true in the next verse where we read: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2). So, we see the Spirit of God being introduced to us and moving upon the dark waters of the earth. Then we hear the voice of our God calling out saying: “Let there be light: and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:26-27) So, we have our “God” again in the plural form saying, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” This again is a clear indication that more than one agent was involved in creation.
Now, in John’s gospel we read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:1-3 NKJV) So, we see that the Word was involved in the act of creation as well. And finally, “But now, O Jehovah, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” (Isaiah 64:8) So, couldn’t we conclude that the Father, the Word (which later became flesh and blood like us) and the Spirit were all involved in the act of creation and yet being one God named Jehovah?
Now, to go even further with this thought we read in Deuteronomy: “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) Again, the word “God” is in the plural form as noted earlier. However, we now have the and word “one” that is a compound unity. Thus, we have two or more coming together to be as one. For we see this same word “one” being used in Genesis where we read: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) So, couldn’t we conclude that the plurality of the Godhead is being presented here? “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matthew 28:19)
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Now, most of us know that the “Word” who became flesh is none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And we know that he became flesh to show us the way to God our Father and to take upon himself the sins of the world. Therefore, he had to be made just like us, for we read: “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 14-18 ESV)
Now, did you notice in that passage above that it says “in every way” he had to be made like us? Jesus had to become flesh and blood just like us with all of life’s limitations. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4) Therefore, fellow Christians; we read that Jesus “emptied himself” of all his heavenly attributes when he became flesh like us. For we read: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7)
“Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken” (Deuteronomy 18:15)
According to that passage above, Jesus was to be a prophet like Moses. Now, was Moses both the same nature as God and of man? For I don't see this anywhere proclaimed in the scriptures. So, this should make it clear that Jesus was fully man when he came in the flesh. For he took on a body like ours to show us the way to God our Father and to take upon himself the sins of the world. “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:17-18)
So then, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:14-15 ESV) We see this to be true when: “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. (Matthew 4:1) However, we know that God himself cannot be tempted. For scripture says: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13)
Therefore, if Jesus was still of the same nature as God with all his attributes, all these passages above would not only be pointless, but contradicting as well. And let’s remember what the Apostle Peter said: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know” (Acts 2:22 ESV) So, we see that it was God who was doing the works through Jesus. Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s always test what we hear with Scripture itself. (1 Timothy 2:16) And let’s take heed to John the apostles warning in which he said: “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7)
That all being said, we should not count Jesus as some ordinary prophet that came and went. For as said above, he was the Word that was with God and was God as well. However, because he loved us, he willingly gave himself for us, taking on the sins of the world upon himself. Therefore: “have this mindset in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, considered being equal with God not something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! And therefore God raised him to the highest place of honor and gave him the name that is above every name, in order that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
A Few Words to the Reader: This article focuses on Jesus Christ who emptied himself of who he was in heaven in order to became fully man like us. This he did in order to show us the way to God our Father and to take on the sins of the world upon himself. So, for all you brothers and sisters in Christ, I hope this would be a sweet reminder of who Jesus is. And for those of you who don’t know Jesus, I pray that God the Father would open your eyes so that you may have a clear understanding of who he is and what he did for us. And this is the intent of this article. Amen.
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified about Him and called out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who is coming after me has proved to be my superior, because He existed before me.” (John 1:14-15)
Jesus before coming to the earth was called the Word by John the apostle. The Greek for this Word is called the Logos. This Logos is defined in Strong’s Concordance as: “something said (including the thought); by implication, a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension, a computation; specially, (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ).” Wow, trying to explain in detail who Jesus was while being the Word would be difficult indeed. Therefore, it’s best not to go there. So, relying solely on scripture, we know that Jesus who was this Word existed with God our Father and was part of the Godhead as well. Also, we know that all things were made through him for we read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
Now, according to that main passage above, this word became flesh and blood like us. So, let’s: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
So, we see Jesus who being this Word, emptied himself by completely letting go of his heavenly nature with all his attributes. This Jesus did, not only to show us the way to God the Father, but to suffer for all the sins of the world as well. And we know that only one who is truly flesh and blood could do this for us. Thus, Jesus had to become fully human to suffer the agony of beatings, whippings and then being nailed to a cross. And last of all he had to suffer the torments of hell as well for three days and nights, taking upon himself the penalty for our sins. For Jesus said: “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.” (Matthew 12:40) So, Jesus said: “as Jonah was” – “so shall the Son of man be.” So, how was it for Jonah in the whale’s belly? Well let’s read and see: “Then Jonah prayed unto Jehovah his God out of the fish's belly. And he said, I called by reason of mine affliction unto Jehovah, And he answered me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.” (Jonah 2:1-2) So Jonah, who was truly flesh and blood was experiencing affliction in the whale’s belly. Therefore, we should be able to conclude that Jesus who became like us was suffering affliction in the heart of the earth as well. This Jesus did because of his love for us.
“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:18)
Now, did Jesus really break the sabbath and claimed to be equal to God the Father? Well, to find that answer we need to examine these passages with other scriptures. So, let’s first look at the claim that Jesus had broken the sabbath. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-17) So, we read that Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to destroy it (or break it). Therefore, sense the Sabbath day was part of the Ten Commandments, Jesus wouldn’t have broken it because that would have made him a sinner. For in Hebrews it says: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
Next, did Jesus in this same passage make himself equal with God by calling him Father? Well, didn’t Jesus say for us to pray: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” as recorded in Matthew 6:9? So, are we making ourselves equal with God because we call him “our Father” as well? Of course not. We can see the same thing happening in another part of John’s gospel where the Jews wanted to stone Jesus for saying: “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30), in which the Jews responded: “For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10:33) So, is Jesus also claiming to be of the same nature as God the Father by saying “I and my Father are one?” Well, this couldn’t be because that would make us equal to God as well? For Jesus said: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:20-21)
“When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?” (Mark 2:5-7)
This is another passage where the Jews accused Jesus of making himself equal to God. So, is it true that only God can forgive sins? Well, let’s read what Jesus said to his disciples: “Jesus therefore said to them again, Peace be unto you: as the Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit: whose soever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto them; whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” (John 20:21-23) So, we see that Jesus gave us the authority both to forgive or not to forgive a person’s sins.
Now, let’s remember that we are made a little lower than the angels. For we read: “It has been testified somewhere, ‘What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor” (Hebrews 2:6-7) Therefore, sense Jesus became flesh and blood like us, we read that this was true for him as well: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9) So, this passage should make it clear that Jesus was not equal with God the Father when he became a man.
“Now as Jesus was starting out on his way, someone ran up to him, fell on his knees, and said, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:17-18)
It seems apparent that this man had seen or heard the good things that Jesus did. Now, we know that Jesus did do good things. For he was always seeking to please God his Father in everything. However, Jesus wanted to make it clear that the “good” things he did were done by God working in him and through him. For we know from the scriptures that Jesus being flesh and blood like us, was filled and led by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Jesus made sure that it was God who got all the glory, and not he himself. Now that being said, we must remember that Jesus is our Lord and Master. Therefore, he was and still is one that is over us in authority. And by the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, Christ lives within us.
Below are some scriptures showing that Jesus was a man who was filled and led by the Holy Spirit:
Below are a few scriptures showing that Jesus Christ was totally flesh and blood like us:
So, couldn’t we rightly say that the Jews were misunderstanding what Jesus was trying to convey to them? For we read earlier that he emptied himself of all he was in heaven and became flesh and blood like us. For Jesus said to Mary at the tomb: “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” (John 20:17) And let’s also remember what Paul the apostles said to Timothy: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5) So, Paul’s view of Jesus was not one who was God, but as a man like us.
But someone may say, “didn’t Thomas say to Jesus, ‘my Lord and my God’ (John 20:28). Well, even though this is true, we must take note that this Greek word can used as the supreme God or gods in general. For Jesus did say: “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” (John 10:34-36)So, those Jews who brought to us the word of God, were called gods. Therefore, sense the word of God came through Jesus, Thomas rightly could have referred to him as such a god.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)
So, we must take heed to what Jesus himself said above. For though he was God while being the Word, he emptied himself and became flesh and blood like us. Therefore, in his human state, he was rightly declaring that God the Father is the only true God. We can see this also to be true where John the apostle said: “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we can know the True One; and we are in union with the True One by being in union with his Son Jesus Christ. This one is the true God and life in the age to come.” (1 John 5:20) So, the apostle John is declaring that the “True One” is God the Father as well. Also, in Paul the apostle’s writings and letters to the churches, he begins by saying: “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:3). So, the apostle Paul is making it clear that God is our Father and Jesus is our Lord and Savior.
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
Now, according to that passage above, we read that Jesus was called Emmanuel which means God is with us. However, we also know that Jesus emptied himself and became fully flesh and blood like us. Also, we know that Jesus was without sin and was filled with the Spirit of God as well. For we read: “And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” (John 1:32-33) Therefore, “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for he giveth not the Spirit by measure.” (John 3:34)
So, all those who have seen Jesus have also seen the Holy Spirit at work within him. And we know that Jesus was a clear image of the character of God. “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” (Colossians 1:13-15) Therefore, Jesus can rightly say: “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” (John 14:9-10) So, Jesus said it’s God the Father who speaks and works through him. Therefore, God’s character is embodied or expressed in the mortal body of Christ. And let’s remember that Jesus was called the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” as well in Revelation 5:5. So, does that make Jesus a literal lion? Of course not. So, just because he is called Emmanuel (God with us), doesn’t make him equal to God.
Now, let’s remember that the Holy Spirit lives within us as well. Therefore: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) Also, Jesus himself said: “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” (John 17:22-23)
So, those who see us, see Christ within us. And let’s not forget that Adam and Eve were created in image of God, for we read: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:26-27) So, just because we humans are an image of God, that doesn’t necessarily make us in anyway equal to God. And this should be true for Jesus our Lord and Savior as well.
“Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:18-19)
Now we come across another passage that needs to be examined closely. For we must ask ourselves, did Jesus raise himself up? So, to understand what Jesus meant here, we need to examine what other bible passages. The first is: “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. …Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” (Acts 2:23-24, 29-32)
So, according to those passages above, God the Father was the one who raised up Jesus. And let’s remember the prophecy of David concerning Christ which reads: “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Psalm 16:10, Acts 2:27) So: “When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.” (John 2:22) So, they “believed the scripture” which would include both what Peter mentioned in Acts 2:27 and what David said in Psalm 16:10. And sense Jesus himself was a prophet and spoke the words of God wouldn’t he be simply declaring what God was going to do? (see Deuteronomy 18:15) And this was the fact that God the Father would raise him up from the dead.
Below are other Scriptures showing that God raised Jesus from the dead. These should be proof that Jesus didn’t raise himself:
Below are a few more scriptures and a comment that may help to shed light on all this:
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Luke 4:1)
As said before, Jesus being fully human, was filled and led by the Holy Spirit. And let's remember what Peter said: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.” (Acts 2:22) First, we see Peter saying that he was “a man approved of God,” and then by “miracles and wonders and signs,” and finally: “which God did by him.” Also, Jesus said concerning himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:1) And in Colossians we read: “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9) Notice that it says, “in him all the fullness of Deity dwells.” For we know that Jesus received the Holy Spirit after his baptism by John.
Therefore, Jesus who became flesh and blood just like us was operating through the power of the Spirit of God. This would include his ability to do miracles, walk on water (which we know Peter did as recorded in Matthew 14:29), casting out demons, foreseeing events and all other supernatural works. These abilities have been passed on to us his disciples as well.
Below are more passages on this subject:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12)
So, according to that statement by Jesus, we shall do greater works than him. We can see this to be true where we read: “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19:11-12) Again we read: “Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 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 everyone.” (Acts 5:15-16)
But why are we not seeing this in today’s churches? Could it be because we have such little faith? For we read: “Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.” (Matthew 17:15-16) And what was Jesus responds to all this: “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.” (Matthew 17:17) If that wasn’t a rebuke against his disciples, then I don’t know what is. We can see this happening again when his disciples came to Jesus saying: “why couldn’t we cast him out.” Again, what was Jesus’ response: “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matthew 17:20) Wow, we can even tell mountains to move from one place to another if we truly do it in faith. So, this clearly shows that we who are filled with the Holy Spirit have the same abilities as Jesus when it comes to performing miracles. But the question is, are we willing to step-out in faith and do them?
Below are a few passages where Jesus is commissioning us to do what he did:
Below are some passages concerning the need for faith:
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2)
So, we see that Jesus was not only made flesh and blood like us, but according to that passage above, we as children of God shall be like him at our resurrection. For “we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” We see this to be true also where we read: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)So, Jesus is now in his resurrected body which we’re going to see him in. And not only that, but we’re going to be transformed like his glorious body when he returns. And let’s remember that Jesus clearly identified himself with us while he was in the flesh. “Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:47-50)
Now, we see the same to be true where we read: “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, ‘I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise. ‘And again, ‘I will put my trust in him.’ And again, ‘Behold, I and the children God has given me." (Hebrews 2:9-13)
We like Peter, may think we’re doing Jesus’ honor with our words and actions. But just like Peter, we can bring Jesus’ dishonor with our wrong conclusions. We can see this to be true where we read: “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. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” (Matthew 16:21-22) So, Peter may have thought he was doing Jesus’ honor by saying this to him. However, what was Jesus’ response? “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matthew 16:23) Wow, I’m sure Peter wasn’t expecting that from Jesus.
So, coming to any wrong conclusions could be robbing Jesus of the glory that is due him. So, we shouldn’t always rely on others to teach us, but to “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15). However, I do believe that those (just as Peter during that time) who only have a limited knowledge are still saved if they truly trust Jesus as their Savior. Therefore, let’s do our best to walk after the Spirit, living for Jesus and keeping our mind always stayed on God the Father.
Now having said all this, we must remember that Jesus Christ is and will be our Lord and Savior. For though he becoming flesh and blood like us, he still was the Word who was part of the Godhead. Therefore, he is worthy to be honored, respected and bowed to. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:8-11) For he is our King and Lord, whose name is above every name. Amen, come Lord Jesus.
Below are comments from “He Emptied Himself” section above:
Below is a comment on breaking the Sabbath:
Below are comments concerning the claim of Jesus being equal with God:
Below are comments from “Thy Sins be Forgiven Thee” section above:
Below are comments from: “I will Raise it Up” section above:
Below is a comment from “God with Us” section above:
A Few Words to the Reader: This article was written with the intent to remind you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, of the price that God paid for our sins. However, just like all who are in Christ Jesus, I’m a disciple who is still learning God’s truths day by day. So, let’s be like the Bereans, for: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
Therefore, I encourage you to: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
God loves us and desires that none should perish, for he said: “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11) We see the same thing in the New Testament where we read: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
So, to make this possible, Jesus Christ came to take all our sins upon himself. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” (Hebrews 10:4-7)
“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.” (Matthew 12:40)
According to the passage above, Jesus said: “For as Jonah was. …so shall the Son of man be.” So, to see what it was like for Jesus in the heart of the earth, we need to see how it was for Jonah himself. “Then Jonah prayed unto Jehovah his God out of the fish’s belly. And he said, I called by reason of mine affliction unto Jehovah, and he answered me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.” (Jonah 2:1-2) So, we can see that Jonah was experiencing “affliction” and quoted it as being in “the belly of hell.” And let’s remember that Jesus called Jonah a prophet, for we read: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” (Matthew 12:39 NKJV). And again, in the book of Hebrews we read: “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:7-8)
So, from all this we should be able to conclude that Jesus was suffering affliction in the heart of the earth. And let’s remember that Jesus was pleading that his soul would not be left in hell. “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” (Hebrews 5:7-10) And we know Jesus was heard, for Peter said: “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. (Acts 2:23-24) So, Jesus was “loosed” from “the pains of death” which were the flames of hell itself.
Now, from the account of the “Rich man and Lazarus,” we can see that hell is a place of torment. For we read concerning the rich man: “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:23-24) So, let’s consider how much Jesus suffered for us. For he took upon himself the torments that was do us, for “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
KEY PASSAGES CONCERNING JESUS IN HELL:
“Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43)
This passage above poses a few problems for some because in most translations (as we see above), it appears as if Jesus was promising the repentant thief that they would be together in paradise that day. But we also know that Jesus said he had to spend three days and nights in hell as well. So, how do we make sense of all this? Well, let’s first keep in mind that there were no comas in these Greek manuscripts. Therefore, the translators have the option to place them where they wanted. So, for this passage quoted above, the translators of the King James Bible chose to put the coma before the word “today.” However, we have other bibles where the translators chose to place the coma after the word “today.” Thus, this same passage quoted above would read: “Truly I say to you today: you will be with me in paradise.” This makes more sense, because now we have Jesus not promising the thief that they would be together that literal day, but at some point in the future.
E. W. Bullinger who was the commentator of the Companion Bible wrote in his notes: “I say to you, today = ‘I say to thee today.’ Today. Connect this with ‘I say’ to emphasize the solemnity of the occasion; not with “shalt thou be.” Now, even though placing a coma may for the most part be just a minor thing, in this case however it becomes a major one. So, it’s important that you have more than one translation within your library to help you have a better understanding of God’s word. This is true especially when those red flags pop up in your head telling you that something doesn’t make sense. But most importantly, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit to help us navigate through all these different bible texts. So, let’s always seek God’s help, even when it comes to something as simple as a coma placement.
Below are listed some of those translations that chose to place the coma after today. Of course, there are more than what’s listed below, but these I have listed to give you three witnesses.
Below are different passages found in the King James bible which uses the word “today” to help emphasize what’s being said:
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” (John 19:30)
According to that passage above, what was it that Jesus finished? Now, was our forgiveness and redemption totally completed at that moment? For we must remember that Jesus said “It is finished” before he died and rose from the dead. So, to get a better understanding of what Jesus meant, we need to consider a few scriptures. First we read: “Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:25)Next we read: “Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:15-17) So, we can see that Christ’s death and resurrection was crucial for our redemption. And wouldn’t it make more sense for Jesus to say, “it is finished” after his death and resurrection if the completion of our redemption was in mind?
Now, let’s examine another passage which may help us to understand what Jesus meant when He said “It is finished.” For in John 17:3-4, Jesus Himself said: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” So, we see that Jesus came to reveal not only who he is, but “the only true God” which we know is God the Father. And not only that, Jesus came to reveal God’s plan of salvation for us. For in John 3:16-18 we read: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” So, “it is finished” was not in reference to the completion of redemption, but in reference to Jesus’ earthly ministry.
Now, in Luke chapter 23 we do read that Jesus committed his spirit into the hands of God his Father. For we read: “And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.’ Having said this, He breathed His last.” (Luke 23:46 NASB, 1995) However, this passage is not saying that Jesus spirit went directly into God’s presence. For Jesus was trusting that God would not leave his soul in hell. For we read: “I have set Jehovah always before me: Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: My flesh also shall dwell in safety. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Psalm 16:8-10) Therefore, let’s not come to the wrong conclusion that this passage is indicating that Jesus went immediately to the Father after his death. For that would make portions of the gospel confusing and even contradicting.
“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.” (Matthew 12:40)
Now, let’s not come to the false notion that Jesus after his death, descended into an earthly paradise called “Abrahams Bosom.” (Luke 16:22) For there are those who believe that Jesus was hanging out there for three days and nights with the departed saints of God (some who would have been in there for hundreds of years). However, if that was true, why was he so glad that his soul was not left there? Because let's remember while praying in much agony, Jesus said: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39) So, wouldn’t this agonizing prayer be not only for the cross, but his three days and nights in hell as well? I do believe so my brothers and sisters in Christ.
So, where is Paradise? “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7) So, the paradise of God is where the tree of life is. So, where is the tree of life? “And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the midst of the street thereof. And on this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruits, yielding its fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1-2)
Also, we have Paul's own testimony when he said, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) So, according to the apostle Paul, paradise is up in heaven and not in some abode inside the earth.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Now, let’s find out where Abraham and the rest of the departed Saints of God are. First, let’s notice that it says we’re surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses in that passage above. And next, it says in Hebrews 11:13 that those witnesses are they who have died in faith. So, according to God’s word, it sounds like they are quite alive and we’re surrounded by them as well. We can see this also to be true from what we read about the rich man and Lazarus. For after he died, the rich man was conscious of his surroundings, feeling the torments of hell while Lazarus who also had died was being comforted in the arms of Abraham who was quite alive himself.
And let's remember that Moses and Elisha appeared before Peter, James and John when Jesus was transfigured before them. Also, Jesus himself said to the Sadducees: “But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:31-32) So, even though a person’s body may be buried in the ground, their soul would still be alive. This is true whether one is in the realm of the saints above or being tormented in the flames of hell below. (Matthew 17:1-4)
Now, you may be thinking, “didn't the rich man in hell talk to Abraham afar off.” And even though this is true, that still doesn’t prove that there’s some chamber called “Abraham's Bosom” inside the earth. So, let’s first read that passage which declares this: “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:22-24) Now, we must realize that the rich man has never seen Abraham before. So, how could he have recognized and even communicated with him in the distance among a huge mass of people? That would be like you sitting in a packed stadium communicating with a well-known radio host on the other side whom you never seen nor even heard speak before.
So, on the contrary, couldn’t this be a vision of some sort just as it was with Stephen who was looking up and seeing Jesus standing on the right hand of God? (Acts 7:55-56) So, that great gulf fixed between the rich man and Lazarus could have been simply the distance between hell beneath the earth, and the Saintly realm of the dead above it.
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11)
Now, we shouldn’t come to the wrong conclusion that our atonement for sin has nothing to do with the shed blood of Christ? For according to that passage above, it’s the blood that makes an atonement for our souls. Also in the New Testament, John the apostle said: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7) So, we see that the blood of Christ is a vital part of our atonement for sin. For without it, there would be no forgiveness possible.
BELOW ARE A FEW SCRIPTURES PERTAINING TO THE BLOOD OF CHRIST:
Now, all sacrifices had to be done according to procedure which was written in the law. For not only was the blood of the lamb to be shed and applied for the remission of sins, but the lamb also had to go through the fire. One was not to be done without the other. And if by chance a step was missed or neglected, would God even regard it? For God said: “They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal. That same night they must roast the meat over a fire and eat it along with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast. (Exodus 12:7-8 NLT) Therefore, even though the blood of the lamb was the atonement for their sins, they still had to partake of its flesh which went through the flames of fire as well.
Now in a similar way, even though the blood of Christ does atone for our sins, we still must receive him as our Lord and Savior in order to be saved. For during communion, don’t we receiving the bread and wine which represents the body and blood of Christ? So, just as our Lord’s blood was shed to cover our sins, his soul still had to endured the flames of hell on our behalf. All all this Jesus did so that we could be made right before God. So in a sense, Jesus Christ truly became our Passover Lamb.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
Now as mentioned earlier, we see that hell is the temporary abode for all who have died in their sins. (Luke ch.16) So, even though Christ's blood was a vital part of our atonement for sins, he still had to suffer the wrath of God that was do for all sinners, which is hell itself. And let's remember that God is not a respecter of persons. (Acts 10:34) So, because our Savior Jesus died a sinner’s death, he had to also suffer a sinner’s death: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
So, the cross is a visible form of punishment brought on by man against those who are viewed as law breakers. Therefore, because Jesus was viewed by the religious rulers as a false prophet and a deceiver of the people (though he wasn’t), they put him to death. (Zechariah 13:3-7) But on the other hand, hell is God’s wrath against those who violated his laws and standards. So, because Jesus took our sins upon himself, he had to suffer this wrath in hell as well.
“Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.” (Romans 14:1-2)
Now, let us realize that we’re not all at the same level of faith. For there are some who have a limited knowledge of the word, but are yet are still saved. On the other hand, there are those who have a much deeper knowledge of the word and are saved as well. And let’s remember what Paul the apostle said to the Corinthian believers: “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. (Romans 14:1 ESV) So, if one only has the knowledge that Jesus died on the cross and rose the third day for our redemption, this person still would be saved if he believes in the saving blood of Christ.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)So, knowing that the Holy Spirit lives in us and teaches us all things, lets dig deeper into God’s word to know all His truths. (2 Timothy 2:15) For it should be our desire to truly recognize and see everything that God did for us sinner. Therefore, we must not always rely on others to teach us, but read the bible for ourselves and relying on God’s Holy Spirit to teach us. For Jesus said: “take my yoke upon you and learn of me.” (Matthew 11:29) And let’s also remember what John the apostle said: “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:27)
So, let us be: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning [here] in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (1 Peter 1:17-19)