“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” Revelation 20:11-12.
One of the most disturbing situations I find myself involved in is listening to someone who has very good arguments against the church and religion in general. How can they be refuted? Forty thousand denominations from one book? Someone is mixed up. I have heard of people saying that their priest doesn’t believe in God, or that they say it’s no big deal, everyone will go to heaven. What about people who are faithful church attendees that do nothing to live out their faith? This is a serious problem. Another situation: someone who will argue about a particular point of theology with no biblical knowledge, yet insisting they are right about the subject. How about a Pastor ridiculing another denomination for their beliefs when their own beliefs cannot be reconciled with scripture? Paul speaks of this very thing. These things are stumbling blocks for many people.
Rom 14:10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;
Rom 14:11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
Rom 14:12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Rom 14:13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
Many people involved in these denominations try to live out their Christian life in the flesh by trying to be nice, attending as many church services as possible, dressing a certain way, never consuming alcohol, never smoking, or numerous other ways. Yet in their heart they are bitter, have strife, envy, jealousy and animosity toward other people. Why? Some of the problems lie in the person never understanding who the Creator is, or what their responsibilities are as a disciple of the Messiah. When it is time to stand before God, there will be no chance for any excuses, or such sayings as, “ but my Pastor said”, or “Billy Graham said”. Everyone is responsible for themselves. Do you only know things that you heard from sermons? Have you ever checked your theology against scripture? Can you defend your faith, or what sets your denomination apart from the other 39,999? Do you even have faith? Do you doubt scripture? If you doubt the truth of scripture , then what is your faith based on? Imaginations of men or your own mind?
2Ti 2:14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.
2Ti 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Do you think you go to heaven or hell immediately when you die? Why? Who told you that? Can you defend that point of view in scripture? Is 2 Corinthains 5:8 your “go to” verse?
2Co 5:1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2Co 5:2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,
2Co 5:3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked.
2Co 5:4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
2Co 5:5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
2Co 5:6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,
2Co 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.
2Co 5:8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
2Co 5:9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
This is just an example. The point is not the answer to the question, but why do you believe what you believe? I personally believe that these verses are speaking of a resurrected body compared to an earthly tent, or physical body. Being found naked would be having neither a resurrected body or physical body, and a person does not want to end up like that. It has nothing to do with some non-material part of a person going to a place called heaven immediately when they die, yet this is a common belief.
If you have been in church five years and never read the Bible through at least once, how do you learn about Yahweh and His ways? How easily can you be deceived? Is it possible to attend church for years and never know God? Jesus thinks so.
Mat 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
Mat 7:23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
What does this mean? You may say that you are a good person, don’t drink, smoke or that you gave the church a lot of money over the years. This may be noble to some people, but it will not earn anything in the eyes of Yahweh. One could argue these things are no where in the commands of Yahweh. Ah, but it says in the Bible somewhere not to be a drunkard. It also says not to be sexually immoral, so does that mean to refrain from the act all together? It is the same reasoning. The point is that there is a way Yahweh tells His people to live, and what better way to learn than to read it for yourself and ask the Holy Spirit of Truth to guide your understanding?
1Jn 2:24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.
1Jn 2:25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.
1Jn 2:26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.
1Jn 2:27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
1Jn 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
1Jn 2:29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
I have heard it taught that the reason Yahweh told Moses not to eat swine is due to not having the availability of refrigeration. That would mean that the dietary instructions would have only become invalid in the last 120 years, or since refrigeration came on the scene. If that is true, then what was the reason Christians justified eating swine 200 years ago before refrigeration ? The question is not about eating swine, but about explaining why those instructions Yahweh gave to His people are supposedly no longer relevant. I do not think it can be done, keeping the entire context of scripture. How can one rule be pulled from the Old Testament, and another disregarded? Would Jesus have eaten swine when He walked the Earth? He couldn’t have and been the living Word of God. What did Jesus show us to do with pigs?
Mat 8:28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way.
Mat 8:29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
Mat 8:30 Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them.
Mat 8:31 And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.”
Mat 8:32 And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters.
We should not be surprised at all of the confusion. It was prophesied by the Old Testament prophets. These verses describe the 40,000 denominations that exist today:
Eze 22:26 Its priests treat my law violently, and they profane my holy objects; they do not distinguish between a holy object and what is unholy, or between the clean and the unclean. They do not teach the difference, and they hide their eyes from my Sabbaths, and so I am profaned in the midst of them.
Eze 22:27 Its officials are like wolves tearing prey in its midst, to pour out blood, to destroy people, to make dishonest gain.
Eze 22:28 And for them its prophets plaster whitewash; they are seeing falseness and are practicing divination for them by lying, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord Yahweh,’ and Yahweh has not spoken.
Eze 22:29 They severely oppress the people of the land, and they committed robbery, and they mistreated the needy and the poor, and they oppressed the alien without justice.
Link for denomination stats: https://www.gordonconwell.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/13/2019/04/StatusofGlobalChristianity20191.pdf
Do you hide your eyes from His Sabbaths? Do you even know what His Sabbaths are? How can a person make an educated decision on theology if that person has never faithfully studied the Bible? Israel was dispersed due to these sins that the church is guilty of right now. Why would the outcome be any different? The writer of Hebrews laments over his people not getting past learning the milk, when they should already be teachers.
Heb 5:11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
Heb 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,
Heb 5:13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.
Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Heb 6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
Heb 6:2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
The resurrection of the dead and eternal judgement are considered elementary doctrines. With all the focus on everyone going to heaven immediately when they die, there is never any teaching on the resurrection of the dead. Why would there be when it seems to have no relevance if everyone is in heaven naked, being without their earthly tent or resurrected body? There is an interesting section of scripture from a book that was omitted from the sixty-six book bible by the Westminster Confession in the 17th century. This is from 2nd Esdras chapter 7. This section of the chapter was apparently discovered after monks had omitted it, even from the later omitted book, for being too dreadful to bare.
75 I answered and said: If I have found favour in your sight, O Yahuah, show this also to your servant: whether after death, as soon as every one of us yields up his soul, we shall be kept in rest until those times come when you will renew the creation, or whether we shall be tormented at once?
76 He answered me and said: I will show you that also, but do not be associated with those who have shown scorn, nor number yourself among those who are tormented. 77 For you have a treasure of works laid up with El Elyon; but it will not be shown to you until the last times.
78 Now, concerning death, the teaching is: When the decisive decree has gone forth from El Elyon that a man shall die, as the ruach leaves the body to return again to him who gave it, first of all it adores the glory of El Elyon. 79 And if it is one of those who have shown scorn and have not guarded the Way of El Elyon, and who have despised his Torah, and who have hated those who fear Elohiym; 80 such ruachoth shall not enter into habitations, but shall immediately wander about in torments, ever grieving and sad, in seven ways.
81 The first way, because they have scorned the Torah of El Elyon.
82 The second way, because they cannot now make a good repentance that they may live.
83 The third way, they shall see the reward laid up for those who have trusted the covenants of El Elyon.
84 The fourth way, they shall consider the torment laid up for themselves in the last days.
85 The fifth way, they shall see how the habitations of the others are guarded by angels in profound quiet.
86 The sixth way, they shall see how some of them will pass over into torments.
87 The seventh way, which is worse than all the ways that have been mentioned, because they shall utterly waste away in confusion and be consumed with shame and shall wither with fear at seeing the glory of El Elyon before whom they sinned while they were alive, and before whom they are to be judged in the last times.
88 Now this is the order of those who have guarded the ways of El Elyon, when they shall be separated from their mortal body. 89 During the time that they lived in it, they labouriously served El Elyon, and withstood danger every hour, that they might guard the Torah of the Torah giver perfectly.
90 Therefore this is the teaching concerning them: 91 First of all, they shall see with great joy the glory of him who receives them, for they shall have rest in seven orders.
92 The first order, because they have striven with great effort to overcome the evil thought which was formed with them, that it might not lead them astray from life into death. 93 The second order, because they see the perplexity in which the souls of the wicked
wander, and the punishment that awaits them.
94 The third order, they see the witness which he who formed them bears concerning
them, that while they were alive they guarded the Torah which was given them in trust.
95 The fourth order, they understand the rest which they now enjoy, being gathered into their chambers and guarded by angels in profound quiet, and the glory which awaits
them in the last days.
96 The fifth order, they rejoice that they have now escaped what is corruptible and
shall inherit what is to come; and besides they see the straits and toil from which they have been delivered, and the spacious liberty which they are to receive and enjoy in immortality. 97 The sixth order, when it is shown to them how their face is to shine like the sun,
and how they are to be made like the light of the stars, being incorruptible from then on.
98 The seventh order, which is greater than all that have been mentioned, because they shall rejoice with boldness, and shall be confident without confusion, and shall be glad without fear, for they hasten to behold the face of him whom they served in life and from
whom they are to receive their reward when glorified.
This description of the after life has people of faith resting, guarded by angels until the resurrection, with others “naked”, as Paul described in one of his letters to the Corinthians discussed earlier. This could also explain the parable Jesus spoke of the guest at the wedding supper with no wedding garment who was tossed outside where there is gnashing of teeth. Regardless whether a person accepts this book of 2nd Esdras or not, the fact remains that there is limited teaching available concerning the resurrection of the dead. Paul calls this subject milk and elementary. The church at large accepts the premise that a non-material, naked (bodiless), part of our being goes immediately to heaven when we die, when there is very little concrete evidence to support that point of view. A verse we looked at in last week’s blog seems to indicate the opposite:
Act 2:32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
Act 2:33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.
Act 2:34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand,
Jesus ascended to heaven, but David did not. In another place it is said he is dead and buried:
Act 2:29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
Act 2:30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne,
Act 2:31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
Act 2:32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
David is still in the tomb as he was back then, waiting for the resurrection of the dead event. Jesus told his disciples He was leaving, but would come back to them.
Joh 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Joh 14:28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
Joh 14:29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.
Jesus never mentioned anything about a non-material part of our body going to Him when we die, before He comes to us. He told His followers He was going to the Father and would come back. Peter wanted to go with Jesus unto death, but that was not the solution.
Joh 13:36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.”
Joh 13:37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
This blog is not meant to be about the resurrection of the dead, the dietary instructions in the Torah, or whether Jesus “nailed the law to the cross”, and his intention was a lawless church where everyone just “loves” each other. These are important subjects that everyone needs to gain understanding from scripture. Once a person studies the bible, their theology will most definitely change. Without studying, a person who is supposedly following the Messiah is letting some other person determine their eternal fate. These things I have used for examples are all considered milk and elementary. How can one eat the meat without first starting with the milk?
Hos 4:1 Hear the word of Yahweh, O children of Israel, for Yahweh has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or loyalty, there is no knowledge of God in the land.
Hos 4:2 Swearing and lying, murdering and stealing, and adultery break out, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Hos 4:3 Therefore the land mourns, and all those living in it languish with the animals of the field, and the birds of the heaven, and even the fish of the sea are being swept away.
Hos 4:4 Yet, let no one contend, and let no one accuse, for with you, O priest, is my contention.
Hos 4:5 You will stumble by day, and the priest also will stumble with you at night. And I will destroy your mother;
Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from acting as a priest for me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.
Hos 4:7 When they became many, their sin increased against me; they changed their glory into shame.
Hos 4:8 They feed on the sin of my people, they are greedy for their iniquity.
Hos 4:9 And it will be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways, and I will requite them for their deeds.
Hos 4:10 They will eat and not be satisfied; they will play the whore and not multiply, because they have forsaken Yahweh to devote themselves to
Hos 4:11 whoredom. Wine and new wine take away the understanding.
The church today is at least prophetically the children of Ephraim, if not the actual children of Ephriam, forgetting the instructions of Yahweh, whoring after other gods and traditions of such gods.
Paul spoke to our spiritual ancestors in Galatia about the dangers of turning back to the ways of their pagan roots:
Gal 4:8 But at that time when you did not know God, you were enslaved to the things which by nature are not gods.
Gal 4:9 But now, because you have come to know God, or rather have come to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental spirits? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?
Gal 4:10 You carefully observe days and months and seasons and years.
Gal 4:11 I am afraid for you, lest perhaps I have labored for you in vain!
Without studying scripture and asking for the Holy Spirit of Truth, you will be deceived, and most likely already have been deceived. The false teachers and spirits of antichrist will pull you further and further away from the truth of scripture, to the point where you are convinced lies are truth, unclean is clean and unrighteousness is righteousness.
Featured image taken by Emma Vail somewhere in New Brunswick, Canada.
Previous blog posts:
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