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UNDERSTANDING GOD THROUGH HIS WORD
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I always find it difficult to understand why so many evangelical Christians do not make an in-depth study of the Scripture to see what it says on certain subjects. Although some Christians do use Scripture to make a point on a specific subject, they usually start from a traditional understanding and find passages to prove their belief.
The Bible was given by God through the Patriarchs and Prophets to show Himself to us in the Word. It is not just one book written by one author. It is a collection of 69 books written by 40 different authors on different continents, over a period of 1600 years. It cuts directly across the path of evil and thwarts the devils plans; therefore he leads men to doubt its divine origin. (Early Writings, Page 90. EGW). Doubting the divinity of the Bible by those who profess Christ as their Saviour brings glee to Satan and his angels. If God’s ministers preach Biblical errors, many Christian’s will fail to walk on the narrow path that leads to the kingdom of God. It is Biblical truth that makes our love for God intelligent – the Bible is the voice of God speaking to us today. Not one jot or title will be lost or removed from His Word. Those that will not use the Bible – precept upon precept, line upon line, (Isaiah 28:10; 13), will find themselves believing anything their priests, ministers or pastors say. We are to be like the Berrien’s – we are to test everything that is spoken of by our church leaders. If they to not speak according to the Word, then there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:20). The prophet who teaches lies he is the tail….of the dragon. (Isaiah 9:15)
I find those who are of the Christian faith who write personal detrimental remarks of other Christians because they disagree with them, unchristian. Of course we must point out error of doctrine, but we are not to come down to an individual personal level.
I have had the opportunity of studying many Christian faiths and have found many of the doctrines they hold to be unsustainable from Scripture, yet it is not my place to destructively criticize. I am to encourage and teach from the Bible. If I find myself wrong in my understanding of a particular Christian denominations belief I will pray about it and investigate using the Bible as my foundation of truth.
Understanding the meaning of Death. Some Christian denominations miss-interpret the scripture, using paragraphs out of context to prove their belief. Many do not use the Bible to interpret itself. For example: there are over 50 verses in the Bible which show that death is no more than a sleep, yet millions of Christian’s are taught and believe that death is a gateway to the next world. If the Bible calls death an enemy, why do Christian’s embrace it as the beginning of some new life beyond? Even Jesus called death a sleep. (John 11:11).
Understanding the meaning of Hell. And what about the subject of Hell? Tradition has it that this is the place where the wicked will spend eternity writhing in agony for all eternity. If that’s the God that is in charge of the universe, then I don’t want to know him. My God does not hate His children. Any God who will punish His children for 70 – 80 years of sinning in this life – for all eternity must be a tyrant. Why is a human judge more merciful than an omnipotent God? A human judge may pass a death sentence on a person who has committed murder. Does he then say that before he dies he must spend the next 50 years being tortured? Then you can die. So even if a human judge did commit someone to torture, death would end the punishment. And what of those who have died in their sins 2000 years ago? According to the understanding of Hell by many, these people have now completed 2000 years in the flames. Therefore a sinner dying today will never catch up to the punishment of those who died 2000 years ago. They may have committed the same sins as those who died all those years ago but they are just starting their punishment! Is that justice? The universe is perfect – God made it. This earth is the rebel child, which was usurped by Satan. It is the only planet in God’s creation that has broken His law. When Jesus returns, He comes back to cleans this planet and renew it. (Isaiah 66:22, 65:17; 11:6-9)). It will then be placed at the centre of the universe where God will have His throne. If there is a place – somewhere else in the universe where men, women and children are writhing in agony for sins committed in the flesh, how can there be peace in the universe?
There is to be no more death, no more crying, no more torture, no more lust of the flesh, desire of the eyes or anything that has been grown in the human heart on this planet in the past 6,000+ years. The universe, along with this earth will be quiet again. It will be harmonious. There will be no little corner left for Satan and his angels to continue tormenting sinners in the flames of hell. Why would God give Satan a little corner of the universe to keep poor souls in agony? It is not the sinner who lives in the fire, it is the righteous.
“Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among you shall dwell with everlasting burning? He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly. He who despises the gain of oppressions. Who gestures with his hands refusing bribes. Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed. And shuts his eyes from seeing evil. He will dwell on high…..”Isaiah 33:14-16.
God is a consuming fire but the righteous person has no fear. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, they can dwell in the presence of God. Sinners however will be consumed with that same fire and brought to ashes along with Satan and his rebellious angels. (Malachi 4:3).
Just like Fletcher Christian in ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ we are all on a journey. Some started many years ago and are ahead of those just beginning theirs. We see God progressively as He opens our eyes and ears by His Holy Spirit, who will teach the earnest reader to grow in truth through His Word. No matter which earthly Christian denomination we belong to, we should be walking the walk and talking the talk as we are given understanding. It is displeasing to God to see His children bickering over a particular doctrine. We are to share our knowledge in love and understanding. If we disagree with a particular belief, we are to test it with prayer and the Bible. Presumptions on our part should not be used to win an argument. If we are sincere in our belief and we eventually find that we have believed an untruth, then we should be willing to admit our error and follow the truth. Do not become a ‘stake in the ground’ Christian that cannot move forward. Christianity is a living breathing moving faith. We will continue to learn throughout the ages in eternity where God will reveal more and more of Himself to us. Study other faiths. Test them against the Word of God but do not do the Holy Spirits work for Him. We cannot and should never use force, either verbally or physically to make others believe as we do. Our message must be gentle and persuasive and they must see from our character that God is working through us. Our fruits must bear God’s goodness. The Holy Spirit works on the heart of the hearer, we are but messengers bringing His Word. Love those who differ in understanding as God loves us - remembering what is was like for us when we were babes in the faith. Encourage others; do not lambast their beliefs because you do not agree with them. How can you build God’s kingdom if you beat up your brothers and sisters because they will not agree with your understanding? Be patient and love them as God loves us.
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16 Feb 2015
I am so happy that you have written this article. I think you have expounded on it better than I could have done. I too have visited churches of different faiths and have listened to pastors of various faiths on television. I always wonder how some of these pastors could preach sermons which vary with Bible truths and give false ideas to their congregations. The subject of death comes up regularly where death they portray as a doorway to Heaven, when Jesus Himself says death is a sleep. Even He, Jesus, did not go straight away to Heaven but rested in His tomb. You raised so many interesting points and I thank you for sharing them.
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