Home > Theology and Eschatology > The 144,000 and the Great Multitude – It’s Not What You May Think

The 144,000 and the Great Multitude – It’s Not What You May Think


By ICA

Revelation 7:1-4, “After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.’ And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed …”

Many of us have been taught that the 144,000 of Revelation 7 were literally all Jewish virgin men — and exactly 12,000 each from the 12 tribes of Israel — that would “go through the tribulation” in an effort to evangelize an untold number of lost souls to the saving knowledge of Christ after a pre-trib rapture of Christians, and that they would do all of this without the guidance, giftings, empowerment and conviction power of the Holy Spirit (cf John 15:26; 16:8-11).   That was pretty much the story I had been given growing up, sometimes with slight variations of the narrative depending on who was teaching or preaching at the time.   But have you ever wondered how on earth they could find salvation if they were not saved at the time of a “pre-trib rapture” to be whisked away when, according to many of these same teachers, the Holy Spirit — the One who convicts the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8-11) — would also be removed from the earth along with all Christians?  Well, hold your breath brothers and sisters because some of you may be surprised to hear this — it’s wrong.  Oh, it’s all in the text, but many of us haven’t read what’s all in the text.

Allow me to explain.

I no longer view the 144,000 as an actual number of Jewish male virgin evangelists, but rather as a two-fold or three-fold way of signifying completion into the Israel of God once the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (cf Rom 11:23-27). To help explain my position in this respect, we first need to pay particularly close attention to the sequence of the twelve tribes in Revelation 7. This is the only place in the Bible that the list appears in this order. To understand why they are in this order and what the significance of this list entails, we also need to understand that the Hebrews often named their newborn child a word that had a phrase/meaning to the name given. For example, when Leah gave birth to Judah she said “I will praise the Lord.” When Reuben was born she said “He has looked upon my affliction”. Normally the first born is listed first, but in the list of Revelation 7 Judah is listed first, not Reuben.  Dan and Ephraim are completely left out, likely because of disbelief and idolatry (cf. Deut 29:18-21; Hosea 5:9,11) so it’s a very interesting sequence that John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, puts together for us.  Here is the list and order they appear in Revelation –> 1. Judah, 2. Reuben, 3. Gad 4. Asher, 5. Nepthalim, 6. Manasses, 7. Simeon, 8. Levi, 9. Issachar, 10. Zebulon, 11. Joseph, and 12. Benjamin.

When we take the tribes as listed in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and then take the time to discover the meaning of and/or why those names were given, we get something very interesting after constructing it in the listed order.  Here are all the verses with the names (KJV/NASB):

  • Judah – Gen 29:35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, NOW WILL I PRAISE THE LORD, therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.
  • Reuben – Gen 29:32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said Surely THE LORD HATH LOOKED UPON MY AFFLICTION; now therefore my husband will love me.
  • Gad – Gen 30:11 Then Leah said, “HOW FORTUNATE!” So she named him Gad.
  • Asher – Gen 30:13 And Leah said, HAPPY AM I for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.
  • Nepthalim – Gen 30:8 And Rachel said, WITH GREAT WRESTLINGS HAVE I WRESTLED with my sister, and I have prevailed and she called his name Naphtali.
  • Manasses – Gen 41:51 Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: “FOR GOD HATH MADE ME FORGET ALL MY TOIL and all my father’s house.”
  • Simeon – Gen 29:33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, BECAUSE THE LORD HATH HEARD THAT I WAS HATED, HE HATH THEREFORE GIVEN ME THIS SON also: and she called his name Simeon
  • Levi – Gen 29:34 “And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, NOW THIS TIME WILL MY HUSBAND BE JOINED UNTO ME, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.
  • Issachar – Gen 30:18 Then Leah said, “GOD HAS GIVEN ME MY WAGES because I gave my maid to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.
  • Zebulon – Gen 30:20 Then Leah said, “GOD HAS ENDOWED ME WITH A GOOD GIFT; NOW MY HUSBAND WILL DWELL WITH ME, because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.
  • Joseph – Gen 30:24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, THE LORD SHALL ADD TO ME another son.
  • Benjamin – Gen 35:17-18 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; THOU SHALT HAVE THIS SON also. And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.

Now, when we take them all and put them in the order that the tribes appear, we get the following:

“Now will I praise the LORD, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction, How fortunate!, Happy am I, With great wrestlings have I wrestled and I have prevailed, For God hath made me forget all my toil, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated he hath therefore given me this son, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, God has given me my wages, God has endowed me with a good gift; my husband will dwell with me, The LORD shall add to me, thou shalt have this son.”

The name Benjamin literally means “Son of My right hand” so another reading of the last portion could be “The LORD shall add to me the Son of [His] right hand.”

Let this sink in for a moment. The way that the 12 tribes are listed in Revelation 7 describes the Bride of Christ and the complete story of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ marrying His bride after delivering her from her affliction.  This is fulfillment of the prophecy regarding Israel in Hosea 2:

Hosea 2:14,16,19, “Therefore I am now going to allure her (Israel) … ‘In that day,’ declares the Lord, ‘you will call me ‘my husband‘; you will no longer call me ‘my master… [and] I will betroth you to me forever.’

Not only is this evident of the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures, it also points us to the understanding that believing Israel is the Bride of Christ. It always has been, and what we see above is incontrovertible proof in my opinion. Does Scripture confirm this elsewhere? Yes.

Revelation 21:9-12, “And there came unto me one of the seven angels … saying, come hither, and I will shew thee the bride, THE LAMB’S WIFE. And he … shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem … which had a wall great and high, and twelve gates… and names written thereon which are the NAMES OF THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL.”

But what about us?  What about Gentile Christians?  Those of us that are Gentiles who now have a relationship with YHWH the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have been adopted or “grafted in” to the household of God through Jesus Christ (cf. Ephesians 2; Read here to learn what Scripture really has to say about the nature of the Church).  As believers in Yeshua ha’Maschiach we have become fellow citizens with the saints. We are members of the household of God and “are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus” (Eph 3:6).  Since we have been incorporated into believing Israel we experience the blessings of the New Covenant today. “National Israel” will experience her blessings when the fullness of the Gentiles comes in and she believes again and is grafted back in.  Then all of Israel will be saved (Romans 11:25-26).

It is therefore no surprise that after John describes the 144,000 that he then sees a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues standing before the throne and before the Lamb. We will come out of the Great Tribulation that will be invited to this wedding (Matthew 22:9-10). Revelation 19:9, “Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.'” Indeed, and as the prophecy in Hosea concludes, “… Then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!'” (Hosea 2:23b). Whether this is intended for restored national Israel who now believes, or to Gentiles that are grafted in, we’ll have to wait and see.  It may even allude to both.

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  1. Kurt Jorgensen
    03/25/2011 at 1:26 AM

    Awesome, I love it. Nice job and AMEN!

  2. Cocopea
    03/26/2011 at 3:45 PM

    Hi there,

    Very interesting post. I’ve never read or heard the meaning of each tribe put together in a paragraph that way before….most intriguing indeed! Where did you learn this teaching if I might ask?

    Now, I’m not clear however on just who you are saying the 144,000 are? I do know that Christians will be taken in the Rapture before the Tribulation and long before the Great Tribulation. The “great multitude” left behind will be those that accepted Christ during the Trib, although they will have to be beheaded for their faith, in refusing to pledge allegiance to the Antichrist (taking his mark). “We” Christians will be the brides at the wedding supper of the Lamb, but we would have already been Raptured and will be with Jesus, now I’m not sure if the wedding supper will take place first, or if some time will pass, while waiting on those left behind to come to Christ.

    However, with that– where does the 144,000 fit according to your understanding? I’m just not clear on that, but great post!

    Blessings!

  3. ICA
    03/26/2011 at 5:57 PM

    The 144,000 is not a literal number. It is a two-fold or three-fold way of signifying the completion of God’s elect (believing Jews and non-Jews) after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, when all of Israel is saved. So in believing (spiritual) Israel what we may have here are the 12 tribes and the 12 apostles and each of them are complete, or have come to fullness:

    Ephesians 2:18-21, “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord” <– The 144,000 represents the fullness or completion of this Temple (see here for more thoughts on the Temple).

    The number 1000 often illustrates the fullness or completion of whatever is being portrayed. For example, when God says in Psalms 50:10, “for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills” it refers to all that there are, not just 1000 hills only, so we could not reasonably suggest that every additional cattle above and beyond the 1000 hills do not belong to God. He owns them all. As such, the 144,000 represents the 12 tribes x 12 apostles x their completeness (1000) = 144,000. That is why after John describes this that he then sees “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands” (7:9).

    In summary, this is all of US. It is the Church (I’ll be posting another article at some point explaining just what the Church is exactly, according to Scripture, and not according to popular opinion that we often hear in western churches – Update, I touch on this in this article). And remember, this great multitude comes out of the Great Tribulation. In order to come out of it, they had to be in it. The Church is not raptured before any tribulation. We go through it all. This is difficult for many western Christians to accept, especially if the only view they’ve been taught was a pre-tribulational view only.

  4. 04/02/2011 at 5:09 PM

    144,000 – Revelation 14:1-5. In verse 4 it is stated: “These were bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.” Many Bibles that have cross-references will point to Leviticus 23 where the “firstfruits” offerings were made and discussed before the entire harvest. Firstfruits were limited in number and so are anointed 144,000 ‘bought from among mankind’, from ‘mankind’ that will inherit this Earth – Psalm 37:29.

  5. ICA
    04/03/2011 at 2:28 AM

    Hi theologian1, thank you for your reply. The cross reference may point to Leviticus 23 but the point is not that the firstfruits were limited in number. Obviously, anyone involved in harvesting the firstfruits would always end with a limited number. It’s just a human limitation. Rather, the point of Leviticus 23 is that the firstfruits were always consecrated unto God. Likewise, the 144,000 are called firstfruits in Rev 14:4 because they, too, are consecrated to God. How do we know this? Back up a little bit in the very same verse — because they are redeemed (KJV). The Greek word for “redeemed” here is “agorazō”, which also means “buy” or “purchased”. Who are purchased?

    Acts 20:28, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

    Whose blood? John 1:29, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'” The Lamb’s blood — Christ Jesus. This is why the very same verse, Rev 14:4, also says that “They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered AS firstfruits to God and the Lamb.” (NIV)

    If one wishes to believe that the 144,000 is a literal number because the “firstfruits were limited in number”, then they will need to be consistent and agree that the 144,000 are exactly 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes (not 11,999 or 12,001), that they are all men only, that they are all literally virgins, and that they all follow a literal Lamb, too. I know it sounds silly, but if we’re going to interpret the 144,000 in a wooden literal sense, then we’ll need keep everything else in this verse and its context literal as well.

  6. 04/03/2011 at 5:05 AM

    ICA – You are mistaken. It is the Bible that determines what is litteral and what is symbolic and not man. That is why you need to know Bible well – Isaiah 55:8-9.

    • 03/09/2014 at 11:36 PM

      theo,
      The entire church are the firstfruits to God.

      James 1:18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

  7. ICA
    04/03/2011 at 12:17 PM

    Hello friend, we will have to agree to disagree in this respect. I agree, however, that it is Scripture that determines whether or not the 144,000 is a literal number:

    1. The exact number of 12,000 precisely from each tribe suggests that this number is symbolic, not literal.

    2. Scripture is clear that these are they that are purchased, and Acts 20:28 identifies the Church as being purchased by the blood of the Lamb, which the 144,000 are said to follow wherever He goes.

    3. These 144,000 are offered AS firstfruits to God and the Lamb. This suggests that the 144,000 is symbolic, not a literal number, unless we are to believe that the Church only consists of 144,000 virgin Jewish males, which is silly to even contemplate imho.

    4. The meaning of the 144,000 as presented in the sequence of the tribes given by John through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit identifies them as the Lamb’s wife, which again suggests that this is a symbolic number, not literal.

    5. In Revelation 7:3 they are called “the servants of our God”, which describes the Church (see Acts 4:29, 16:17, Romans 6:18, 6:22, Eph 6:6, 1 Pet 2:16). This suggests that the number is symbolic, not literal.

    6. John’s theology clearly sees the church as being composed of OT and NT saints, the OT continues into the NT, both Jews and Gentiles are saved on the same basis of faith (Gal 3:6-14). This is made amply clear in his description of the New Jerusalem whose gates have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel on them and whose foundations have the names of the twelve apostles on them. [1] This, again, suggests that the 144,000 is symbolic, not literal.

    At the end of the day the preponderance of the evidence in Scripture is overwhelming. The 144,000 is symbolic of the Israel of God that has come to fullness in Christ. As the verse you have noted at the end of your last comment says:

    Isaiah 55:8-9, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.'”

  8. 04/03/2011 at 2:35 PM

    Note, please, the contrast that John draws between verses 4 and 9 of Revelation chapter 7. He states that the first group, “those who were sealed,” has a definite number. However, the second group, “a great crowd,” is without a definite number. With that in mind, it is logical to take the number 144,000 to be literal. If the number 144,000 were symbolic and referred to a group that is actually numberless, the force of the contrast between those two verses would be lost. Thus, the context strongly indicates that the number 144,000 must be taken literally.

  9. ICA
    04/03/2011 at 3:49 PM

    Hi theologian1, allow me, if I may, to approach the question from a different angle and draw from something that the Apostle Paul shows us in Galatians. Galatians 4:22 tells us that Abraham had two sons, obviously Ishmael by Hagar the slave woman and Isaac by Sarah the free woman. Paul shows us in Gal 4:24 that these two women may be taken symbolically/allegorically, saying that “the women represent two covenants.” Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul tells us that Hagar symbolises the Old Law Covenant from Mount Sinai, and then tells us that Sarah represents the New Covenant and the Jerusalem from above, saying that Sarah is “the mother of us all.”

    In the very next verse Paul quotes Isaiah 54:1 where the Lord is married to Israel via the Law Covenant, saying “For it is written: ‘Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.'”

    The barren and desolate woman, the New Covenant, therefore has a much larger number of children than the woman who has the husband — the Law Covenant between Israel and the Lord — and the Law Covenant brought forth hundreds of thousands of children from the time of Moses to John the Baptist (see Matt 11:13), if not more. If the New Covenant brings an even more numerous number than this, made up of both Jews and Gentiles (Eph 2, Rom 3:22), then does it not stand to reason that according to Scripture the New Covenant is comprised of millions upon millions of people, and not just the 144,000? Absolutely.

    Hearing ‘the number of them which were sealed’ makes the number no more literal than ‘seeing the seal of the Father’s name written in their foreheads’ makes the seal itself literal (Rev 7:3, 14:1). The reason for the “definite number” is to signify completion — 12 tribes x 12 apostles x 1000 to indicate completeness under the New Covenant. David stated “the cattle on a thousand hills” belongs to God (Psa 50:10) and although a ‘thousand hills’ sounds like a definite number, it is simply symbolic of all. Likewise, John sees 144,000 as a symbolic number and then later sees them in their fullness as a great multitude which no man could count. And as Paul then says in Galatians 4:31, “Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.”

    As a side note, Isaiah 54:4-5 says, “For you [Israel] will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. For your Maker is your husband — the LORD Almighty is his name — the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.” Jesus Christ — the Lamb of God — is the One who created all things (Col 1:16, Rev 4:11). He is Israel’s Creator. He is Israel’s Maker. And through Him, we are no longer excluded from citizenship of Israel and are no longer foreigners and aliens, but are now fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household (Ephesians 2).

    • Martin
      07/16/2014 at 9:52 PM

      You are correct regarding the symbolic interpretation of the 144,000. The numbers in the Bible are not always literal. Regarding them, when you read the size of the Israelite army’s accounts in Numbers and other books, you will notice that the numbers of people are rounded. For example, Numbers chapter one has these amounts for the soldiers of the tribes:
      46,500/ 59,300 / 45,650/ 74,600/ 54,400/ 57,400/ 40,500/ 32,200/ 35,400/ 62,700/ 41,500/ 53,400
      You can see that there was rounding either up or down and that all the numbers end in zero. Otherwise, there was some very strict birth control going on there and that would have made Moses the world’s foremost expert in population control. This would require that he not only would decide how many babies would be born, but also the gender and among the males, they had to be fit to become soldiers. We all know that this would be an absurdity. There are other passages like this one from Numbers that show a “flexibility” with the amounts. For example, 2 Samuel 24:9,10 shows 800,000 soldiers for Israel and 500,000 for Judah in the census. Every time that there was a count for the soldiers, the numbers ended in zero.
      Why did the soldiers numbers and the 144,000 ended in zero? The 144,000 will be considered by God as His army to give the final push to the preaching of the gospel.

  10. 04/04/2011 at 5:39 PM

    ICA, my first trip here and find your article here interesting. One question, do you believe the ommission of Dan and Ephraim because of idolatry/disbelief are represenative of those that lose salvation or do you believe that a Christian can fall away/apostatize?
    And the virgin status(Rev 14:4)of the redeemed as testimony to the faithfulness of the true believers that endure to the end?
    How do you reconcile these 144,000 being called firstfruits (Rev 14:4) if they are indeed the church proper. Thanks in advance for any answers you find time to give

  11. ICA
    04/04/2011 at 10:30 PM

    Hi Hupernikomen, good question about Dan and Ephraim. Dan and Ephraim did not remain true to the God of their Salvation, and we see that the end result of their condition was that they were no longer a part of the Israel of God.

    I believe that a Christian’s salvation is ‘eternally secure’ only IF they remain in Christ. They can, of their own free will, still fall away from the faith and lose their salvation. If they remain in Christ, their salvation can never be lost. I am sure that all of us here would agree that everyone who is saved by grace has their name written in the Book of Life. Galatians tells us about those who left the faith of Christ, and it tells us what happens:

    Gal 5:4, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

    They whom Paul refers to could not have fallen from grace if they were not saved by grace to begin with. They did not endure in the faith. They did not overcome the temptation to revert back to the old law (cf Gal 5:8). In doing so they were no longer covered by His blood, and their garments have been defiled. At one time they were saved by grace when they believed, but in leaving Christ they lost their salvation as a consequence, for grace cannot save when there is no longer faith. They would be among those who “believe for awhile”, but later fell away (Luke 8:13).

    The possibility of apostasy is very evident in Scripture, especially Hebrews, and there are several warnings regarding this: a warning against drifting (Heb 2:1-4), a warning against departing (Heb 3:12-14), a warning against disobedience (Heb 4:11), and a warning against dullness, leading to apostasy (Heb 5:11-6:6). The apostles knew very well what Jesus meant when He said, “Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.” (John 15:6). Indeed, but Jesus declares “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Rev 3:5). If this verse is true, then the inverse is also true: “He who does not overcome shall not be clothed in white garments, and I will blot out his name from the Book of Life.”

    Moreover, we read in Hebrews 10:26-31 that “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

    Notice above that this is referring to someone who was at one time sanctified by the blood of Christ, or in other words, it is referring to someone who was saved at one time (sanctified “hagiazō”) — past tense.

    1 Cor 1:21-23, “This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. BUT you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed by God to proclaim it.” (NLT)

    The verses above are so straight-forward and direct that they speak for themselves.

    As for the ‘virgin status’ of the 144,000 I believe that this symbolizes their spiritual condition, exemplified in complete faithfulness to Messiah — the Lamb of God whom they follow — and Him only. They did not defile themselves with ‘women’ meaning false religions (cf Rev 17:5, “harlots”). As such, Christ is able “to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Eph 5:27).

    They are offered *as* “firstfruits” because, just as the firstfruits of the harvest were consecrated unto God, they too are consecrated to God for they have been purchased. As Acts 20:28 is clear to show us, it is “the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” I give a more complete explanation on the Biblical definition of what the Church is here.

    Hope this helps! Blessings …

  12. 04/05/2011 at 10:46 AM

    ICA, Thank you for prompt response and I do agree that the believer is eternally secure in Jesus Christ with belief being the conduit by which God has chosen to bless those for eternity. Renouncing Jesus Christ and or sinning to the point without repentance can lead to ones faith/belief becoming non-existent cut off from the Body of the Messiah. I will read more of your site to see how you develop what sounds like progressive dispensationalism. Thank you once again, I am much enjoying what I have read so far…in Christ…..Hupernikomen

  13. Kurt J.
    04/05/2011 at 3:21 PM

    ICA, while I agree with everything in your long response regarding salvation through belief in Jesus Christ, and that we can lose our salvation by rejecting faith in Him, this is but one side of the coin, and it gets some people really worried and asking questions like ‘do I believe enough?’ ‘Did I really repent?’ ‘Am I going to fall away?’ While we must be diligent in our faith as scripture commantd, there are numerous other scriptures, as I know you are aware, that emphasize the fact that Jesus Christ will NOT let us go; we are secure in his hands, NOTHING can separate us…

    This is the only qualm I have with Arminians, of which I am nearly one, if not completely one; many times they talk about the “tails” side of coin and forget about “heads.” We need to be so careful not to portray salvation by grace alone, through faith alone as some sort of work in and of itself.

    What do you think?

    BTW, Hupernikom, I really like your addition to ICA’s take on the 12 tribes vis a vis Dan and Ephraim not making the list!

  14. ICA
    04/05/2011 at 4:41 PM

    That’s right, Kurt, I agree. We should not look at salvation in terms of whether we ‘believe enough’ or not. We are saved by grace the instant we begin to believe in Messiah. Just look at the thief who hung on the cross next to Jesus. He showed an ounce of faith by simply asking Jesus to remember him, and Jesus saved his soul (Luke 23:42-43). How much more true can this be for those who confess with their lips that Jesus Christ is Lord?

    For those who fall away from the faith, the problem comes not when they are tempted or when they have a question or when they have a doubt about something. The problem comes when they make the conscious decision to reject the Gospel and fall away from faith in Jesus to then believe in anything other than the Gospel of Grace, and they remain in that spiritual condition at the time of their death. It is upon death, I believe, that the determination is made whether one’s name remains in the Book of Life, or is blotted out (cf Rev 3:5). I do not believe that a name is erased to only then be re-written in and erased yet again multiple times just because they experience times of struggle.

    The bottom line is this — nothing can separate us from the love of God, and no one can pluck us out of His hand. If we remain in Christ, He will remain in us. But, as we all have free will given of God, we must exercise that free will and remain in Christ to persevere, to endure, to overcome evil and the wicked one, even unto death, if our names are to remain in the Book of Life and not be blotted out when we die.

    Jesus gives us an example of the type of person that falls into this category in Luke 8:13 when He describes those who believed for awhile. They had faith only for a short time. Notice the words bolded below:

    Luke 8:13, “But the ones on the rock [are those] who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.”

    They had faith and were therefore saved for awhile. We know this because Romans 10:17 clearly lays out the precise process whereby the Spirit draws one to faith, which is found in Luke 8:13. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

    Those that Jesus describe in Luke 8:13 come to faith by hearing the word, and receiving the word with joy, if even it is only for awhile. But because they later fall away from the faith, their names are therefore blotted out from the Book of Life after they die in their sin. This is in complete contrast with those who “having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (8:15).

  15. 04/06/2011 at 6:11 PM

    I would like to comment on ICA comment, where he says about the evildoer, who showed faith in him, I quote: “Jesus saved his soul (Luke 23:42-43).” What Jesus said to evildoer in Luke 23:43 was: “And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.” What Jesus meant, in harmony with the rest of the Scriptures was, that when the evildoer will be resurrected, it will be in paradise on Earth, that will be already under the rulership of Jesus in Heavenly Goverment – Kingdom.

  16. ICA
    04/06/2011 at 8:07 PM

    theologian1 :

    I would like to comment on ICA comment, where he says about the evildoer, who showed faith in him, I quote: “Jesus saved his soul (Luke 23:42-43).” What Jesus said to evildoer in Luke 23:43 was: “And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.” What Jesus meant, in harmony with the rest of the Scriptures was, that when the evildoer will be resurrected, it will be in paradise on Earth, that will be already under the rulership of Jesus in Heavenly Goverment – Kingdom.

    Hi theologian1, just a quick comment on your last post. Although the way you’ve rendered Luke 23:43 is a ‘grammatical possibility’ inasmuch as there is no punctuation per se in the Greek text, I do not believe that it is grammatically correct. Placing the comma after “today” instead of “you” may seem trivial, but that interpretation does not best fit the text. Instead, it is used by Jehovah’s Witnesses to best fit the doctrine which states that people cease to exist after death.

    Consider the following.

    The words “Truly I tell you” are more literally translated “Amen I say to you” (Greek: amen soi lego). This is an introductory expression or formula Jesus used only when introducing a truth that is very important and perhaps hard to believe. (In the Gospel of John, it is “Amen, amen I say to you.”) In its form and usage it is rather like the Old English expression, “Hear ye!”An even more appropriate parallel is the Old Testament expression, “Thus says the Lord.” This suggests that “Amen I say to you today” would be just as unlikely an expression as “Hear ye today!” or “Thus says the Lord today” would be.

    It is highly significant that out of the 74 times the expression occurs in the Bible, the NWT places a break immediately after it 73 times; Luke 23:43 is the only exception. (Most translations follow this pattern in all 74 instances.) These breaks are placed in one of two ways. In 10 cases, the NWT has the word “that” immediately after the expression, so that the text reads, “Truly I tell you that…” (e.g., Matt. 5:18; 16:28; Mark 3:28; Luke 4:24). In 63 cases, the NWT inserts a comma immediately after the expression and capitalizes the following word (e.g., Matt. 5:26; 26:13,21,34; Mark 8:12; 14:9,18,25,30; Luke 11:51; 21:32; John 1:51; 21:18).

    Unless there is overwhelming evidence from the context that Luke 23:43 is an exception to the above pattern, it should be translated according to Jesus’ normal usage of the expression. [1].

    I know that you are sincere in what you believe, however I would encourage you to search a little more closely. There is much more to the text than we often realize.

    • 04/05/2012 at 3:13 PM

      hey ICA, I’ve heard about the JW/NWT adding commas in different places too. It can totally change a sentence by dissecting it into two sentences seperated by a comma. However ICA, you are keen on the Greek so I can make one point that you will understand. Greek verb endings show the relationship between the verb and the subject/object and so on – Koine is a very very very specific language. So even if the JW machine strategically places commas in certain places to argue someone to Christ by reading their version, this type of sleight of hand can only take place amongst English only readers. As Julius Mantey pointed out. GBU

  17. 04/07/2011 at 12:48 AM

    I understand. Often people go “too deep” and overlook the obvious meaning. God’s wisdom as personified in his son Jesus Christ is always reasonable (James 3:17). So how could evildoer be with Jesus in paradise “today”, when he (Jesus) went to hell (grave) as dead person and stayed there for 3 days? Can you answer that question in a reasonable way?

  18. ICA
    04/07/2011 at 1:35 PM

    Hi theologian1, yes that question is very easily answered for us in Scripture. We just need to interpret Scripture in light of Scripture, not in light of man-made doctrines. I’ll take the scenic route. :)

    The Old and New Testaments tell us that we are comprised of both soul/spirit and body. For example:

    Zechariah 12:1, “… the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him

    Matthew 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”

    1 Corinthians 5:5, “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

    Luke 23:46, “And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last.”

    When Jesus said “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit”, where was the Father?

    When we physically die, our spirit and body separate. In Genesis 35:18 for example, when Rachel died “her soul was departing”, meaning that it separated from her body. It did not cease to exist. It was not destroyed. It departed (“yatsa”, to go out or to go forth), implying that it was moving from her body to another place. In Luke 8:54-55 after Jairus’ daughter died “her spirit returned, and she arose immediately” after Jesus told her to “arise”. This obviously implies that her spirit went somewhere else after she died. The next question, therefore, is where did the spirits of Rachel and Jairus’ daughter go?

    I believe those that are in Messiah all go to Paradise to be in the presence of their Creator (also called “Abraham’s Bosom” in Scripture, which I’ll explain in a minute).

    Paradise is mentioned three times in Scripture. First, as you know, when the thief on the cross next to Christ asked Jesus to remember him, Jesus told him that “… today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). According to Jesus’ normal usage of the expression, He meant that very same day. Not three days after which time Christ will be resurrected or at some point in the far distant future, but that very same day “today”. Christ is the Creator of all things, therefore to be with Christ in Paradise is to be with the Creator.

    The second mention helps us to understand where Paradise is. Paul wrote in 2 Cor 12:2-4, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago … was caught up to the third heaven … he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” If this man was in Messiah, why does Paul not simply say that he was caught up to Heaven? Paradise is also called the “third heaven” where Someone with great authority speaks. It would therefore stand to reason that the One speaking “inexpressible words” would be none other than God Himself. To confirm if this is the case, let’s look at the third clue we have in Scripture regarding Paradise.

    In Revelation 2:7 we read “… To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” The tree of life is in Paradise, which Revelation 22 says is near the Throne of God. Rev 22:1-2, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life …”

    We would agree that the Throne of God is in Heaven. Thus, when Paul was referring to the third heaven, he was referring to the same Paradise where Christ dwells, the Heaven of heavens, and those who are in Messiah will be in the presence of God, their Creator.

    2 Cor 5:7-8, “For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

    Now Abraham was justified by faith, and was considered righteous because of that faith. Those of us who believe in Messiah today share the faith of Abraham, and all who walk by that same faith will be present with the Lord once absent from the body. Abraham — whom God made the father of many nations and whom Scripture calls the father of us all (Rom. 4:16-17) — is no exception.

    Some try to claim that Old Testament saints only went to “Abraham’s bosom” when they died, and not heaven. But this begs the question — where did Abraham himself go? And what exactly does “bosom” refer to?

    Gen 16:5, “And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong [be] upon thee: I have given my maid [Hagar] into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes …”

    What does it mean when Sarai gave Hagar into Abraham’s bosom? Obviously, Hagar was very much alive, and not dead, so it is not referring to a literal place that dead saints before Christ went to. Abraham went to heaven after he died, and because we share the same faith of Abraham who is called “the father of us all”, the term “Abraham’s bosom” — like the term Paradise — simply refers to being in that same place of closeness and comfort that Abraham himself is now receiving — being in the presence of the Creator.

    So I’ve said all that to say this. The reason Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him that very day in Paradise is because, although Christ’s body was placed in a tomb for three days, His spirit went to Paradise (Acts 2:27, Luke 23:43,46), along with the spirit of the thief on the cross.

  19. 04/07/2011 at 11:40 PM

    To the comment by Hupernikomen as to why Dan’s name may not be found in the list of 12 tribes in the book of Revelation.

    We will have to wait and see but there may possibly be something to this. Rachel just like Sarah could not bear children in her early age. So she gave her maid servant Bilhah to Jacob to have a son for her. It is the exact same thing as Sarah giving Abram Hagar to bear a son which she did and his name was Ishmael the cause of all the Middle Eastern problems today. Dan also was the first born of a slave woman so this may possibly point to the tribe of Dan.
    Ge 30:4 So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her, Ge 30:5 and she became pregnant and bore him a son. Ge 30:6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; he has listened to my plea and given me a son.” Because of this she named him Dan.

    Other than Solomon for a short period of time the fathers of Dan never did have control of the land from the Nile to the Euphrates. Dan 11:24 below says that he will invade them and will achieve what neither his father nor his forefathers was able to do. Are these fathers and forefathers Jewish?

    Da 11:24 When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses but only for a time

    He will also not regard the gods of his father’s which the Jewish fathers of Dan like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob worshipped. And we can say he does not honor the God of the Jews (YAWH) and Christians. Nor will he honor Christ the one whom all Jewish women want or have the desire to bear.

    Da 11:37 He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the one desired by women……………

    Of all the tribes Dan receives the weirdest blessing. He will be a serpent and we know who the serpent is from the Garden of Eden. He will be a viper, and vipers are known to be deadly poisonous. The flag of Dan also has a serpent on it, and one of the flags I seen the snake is coiled to look exactly as the Arabic word for in Allah.

    Ge 49:17 Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward

    Jordan and the ruling family known as the Hashemite kingdom claim the honor of being the direct family line of Mohamed. King Abdullah’s family traces their genealogy directly to Mohamed, through his daughter Fatima and her son Hassan. The battle over the succession to the throne was over whether her line ruled Islam or whether the Caliph could be elected. The results of the power struggle was the schism in Islam that culminated in the evolution of the Shiite sect and the Sunnis

    Do not know if a picture can be copied to this blog but The banner of Dan and the colors found in the banner of Dan are the same colors which are all found in the colors used in Islam. Also the snake in his flag looks exactly like the Arabic word for Allah above, even the directions head to tail or right to left.

    The Arabic spelling for Allah is read right to left and it looks just like the slithering snake seen in the banner of Dan.

    Following the completion of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelite tribes after about 1200 BCE Joshua allocated the land among the twelve tribes. Dan was allocated the most northerly region, to the north of the Galilee, and west of the Jordan. He was in the area of where Lebanon and Syria are today which also was a part of ancient Assyria back in history. Both Syria and Lebanon and Hezbolah are sworn emimies of Israel today.

    Directly over the heel of present day Jordan is where the land of Bashan once was. Deut 33:21 tells us that Dan is a lion’s cub, springing out of Bashan. A lion’s cub could be a reference to an offspring of Babylon or Assyria and we know the connection with these lands and their symbols of lions and winged lions.

    The land for tribe of Dan lies over the heel of what today is Jordan. Jordan looks like a big foot with Iraq as the thigh or shoulder. So as we can see the kingdom of the Hash mites, which being from the family tree and offspring of Mohamed who was the father of Islam will one day be crushed.

    Ge 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

    Moses placed the following blessing on Dan which is found in Dt. 33:21…. When the heads of the people assembled, he carried out the LORD’S righteous will, and his judgments concerning Israel.22 About Dan he said: “Dan is a lion’s cub, springing out of Bashan.”

  20. Melvin
    04/24/2011 at 3:18 PM

    I have a question? Why does Jesus says: You shall call me no more, my master, my Lord but you shall call me, my husband for I have betrothed to me forever. Why does Jesus says, I am your husband. That’s what is is trying to say. Why the allegory says, Husband, does it mean he will treat me as his wife and go in the bed chamber? I am just questioning. What a hard word. I do not understand.

  21. Kurt J.
    04/25/2011 at 1:51 AM

    Melvin,

    THE most wonderful description of our intimacy with Christ is the Song of Solomon, a love song and poem between the lover Solomon and his wife, the Shulamite. This is a picture of the heartsickness both the groom, Jesus Christ, and the bride, his called and chosen people, Christians, have for each other.

    This small book teaches us about maturing in Christ, developing depth, dependency, obedience–many aspects of the walk of faith. All the terminology in this book revolves around the intimate love married people experience. This is not to say, obviously, that we have some sort of sexual relationship with Jesus.

    I’m sure ICA will provide you a clearer and more elaborate response, but while you wait, read the SOS with the idea in mind that this is really about our love relationship with God.

    Kurt

  22. ICA
    04/25/2011 at 1:11 PM

    Hi Melvin, just to add to what Kurt had already mentioned, Scripture often uses terms that we can relate with and understand, and marriage is one of them. In a nutshell, in marriage today “the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” (Eph 5:23), so the husband and wife enter into a covenant relationship with one another, a solemn and binding relationship which is meant to last a life time. [1]

    In terms of Christ and the Church, the Church is believing Israel (see here) that now includes Gentiles who believe and are grafted in. But in Hosea 2:16 we read, “And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, [that] thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali” (KJV). Some translations will use ‘Husband’ and ‘Master’ for Ishi and Baali, which is fine, but I think that it’s good to keep in mind that Baali in this context could be referring to, not Israel’s belief in YHWH, but rather in anything but, considering that the next verse states that God “will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name” (Hos 2:17). Hosea draws a distinction in that day with the relationship that Israel has with God now, and the relationship that Israel will have with God then. Today, “blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom 11:25b). But in that day “all Israel will be saved (sōzō – delivered) as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this [is] My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” (Rom 11:26-27). As today a husband receives his wife to be united together into a relationship that is meant to last a life time, one day soon all of Israel will be united to Christ into a relationship that will last forever.

  23. Sam
    08/04/2011 at 7:06 AM

    Now, should we treat the number 144000 as literal or symbolic, and why?
    I believe it is symbolic, why?

    Because, if the number of 144000 is literal than also all the words of this passage should be treated as literal. But, in this case we would have to teach what?
    That 144000 constitute of only men who are virgins! Such conclusion however would be a nonsense.

    Now, if the number is symbolic, than what can it mean? Why this number – 144?

    It is very interesting how God is using numbers. And 144 is a unique number.

    For example, do you think it would be a good idea if we gave God tithe not only from our money but also time God gave us?

    In the fourth commandment God told us to work 6 days a week, and 6 days gives us how many hours? 144 hours. What would be the 10% or a tithe of each one of those days. It would be 144 minutes of time tithe given to God from each day.
    So, may be God is saying to us: You have 144 hours to do all your weekly work, but because I love you I wish you also find some time every day for me, so please give me 144 minutes every day and 1440 minutes every seventh day.

    And, although this calculation is not biblical, do we have any proof in the Bible that 144000 are those who spend a lot of time with God?

    Of course. What is the evidence?

    1. According to Rev 15:2 they are victorious. They went through most horrible persecutions and didn’t deny Christ and His truth. Is anyone able to do it without special communion with God.

    2. Revelation 14:1 says they have Christ’s name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. Is it possible to have Christ’s and God’s character written in the frontal lobe of our brains without looking at Jesus or without communion with God?

    3. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes! What does it mean? It means that those guys are the fans of Christ! It means they are fallen in love with Him.
    And what is the main symptom of those who are fallen in love? They always want to spend time with the one they love. They have tendency to speak and to think about the person, and to do what the person pleases.

    Well, on the basis of what we have already discovered, what can we say about the new song?

    Well, whatever the new song is we will be able to sing it only when we first accept the good news of salvation and as a result we have real communion with God.

    But, what else can we discover when we try to find out what does the new song is?

    Rev 15
    2 And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.
    3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb…

    We discover here a next extremely interesting and most important detail about the new song.

    Now we also know that this song is not so new because it was already sung by Christ and Moses.
    In what sense than it is new to us?

    Christ once said to His disciples: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you” John 13:34.
    But, was this commandment really new? No, it was already given in the Old Testament. So, in what sense it was new? It was new for the disciples because at that time they didn’t love one another.

    Likewise, the new song from Psalm 96:1 or from the book of Revelation is new only for those who haven’t yet learned it.

    Now, the most important and final question, what is this new song we need to learn?

    The Bible gave us the clue: It is the same song which was already sang by both Moses and the Lamb.
    When we compare the life of Moses and Christ what striking similarities can we find?

    In the OT it was Moses God used to set Israel free from slavery, and in the NT God also offers all of us freedom from sin, condemnation and second death through His Son.

    So the gospel of freedom is the first stanza of the new song.

    What is the second vital similarity when we compare the life of Moses and Christ?

    Exodus 32:31-32

    31. So Moses went back to the LORD and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold.
    32. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”

    What was Moses willing to sacrifice here for his people?
    He was willing to say good by to eternal life for them.
    Did he want to die for ever for good people or bad, friends or anomies?
    How many times they accused him, criticised and even tried to kill him…

    And what about Christ?
    Was He willing to do the same for us?

    Revelation 20:6
    Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

    Rom 5 we read also that God showed His love toward us that when we were His enemies Christ died for us.
    Which life was Christ willing to sacrifice for us – sinners at the time we were His enemies?

    Gal 3:13

    Desire of Ages, p. 753
    Upon Christ as our substitute and surety was laid the iniquity of us all… But now with the terrible weight of guilt He bears, He cannot see the Father’s reconciling face. The withdrawal of the divine countenance from the Saviour in this hour of supreme anguish pierced His heart with a sorrow that can never be fully understood by man. So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt.
    Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.

    One more example of someone whom we are going to meet at the sea and who learned from Jesus how to sing the news.

    Romans 9:
    1. I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2. I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
    3. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.

    What is Paul offering here for the salvation of his countrymen?
    His eternity.
    Were they his friends, were they good to him?
    No, many times they tried to kill him.
    Paul like Christ and Moses was also willing to say good by to eternal life so that his enemies may live for ever.

    Well, I think now we can thank Holy Spirit for helping us to understand what is the new song all about.
    It is the song of God’s unselfish agape love willing to sacrifice even eternity not for friends or good people but enemies.

    And the final question is: have we already learned how to sing this new song?
    Is this song new to us?

    Unfortunately, I have to confess that I don’t feel like I’ve already learned this song.
    But, do you think I am totally discouraged or worry about my salvation because of this? No, because I am in Christ who is my new song and I know He is able to teach this song even a rascal like me.

    How can we learn the song?

    1. Making sure we accepted the truth of the gospel which is power;

    2. We can learn it the same way 144000 learned it, through spending time with Christ by looking at Him at least 144 minutes every day and 14400 minutes every seventh day.

    Japanese scientists – grey sparrows in white environment…

    2 Corinthians 3

    17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
    18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

  24. ICA
    10/10/2011 at 12:50 AM

    ICA :

    I believe that a Christian’s salvation is ‘eternally secure’ only IF they remain in Christ. They can, of their own free will, still fall away from the faith and lose their salvation. If they remain in Christ, their salvation can never be lost.

    I had a friendly discussion recently on another blog with someone who took exception to my statement above. Their response was, among other things, that:

    “This seems to be the case with many who are not Pre-Trib Rapturists. They seem to misunderstand just exactly what eternal security is and the role of God in keeping our security secure. No one can change their mind. That is clear from any number of passages in Scripture… The only people who can change their minds are those who are professing Christians. In that case, the Holy Spirit does not indwell them and it is easy for them to walk away, but all they are actually walking away from is a lifestyle that made them appear to be Christian.”

    So in this person’s view, someone cannot depart from the faith and lose their salvation. In my opinion, this view is completely unscriptural for a number of reasons.

    First, let’s ask ourselves the following very important questions: If someone who believes could never depart from the faith and lose their salvation, why did God bother to inspire the writer of the Book of Hebrews to warn believers about drifting away, or departing from the faith, or about disobedience and apostasy? (Heb 2:1-4; 3:12-14; 4:11; 5:11-6:6). Why does Jesus imply that names are blotted from the Book of Life? (Rev 3:5). Why does 1 Tim 4:1 say, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils…”? It does not stand to reason in my mind that one can depart from the faith if they never held to that faith in the first place.

    In fact, let’s take a look at four separate groups of people that Jesus Himself describes when it comes to faith and salvation. There are:

    1. Luke 8:12 — those who hear, but do not believe. “… the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”

    2. Luke 8:13 — those who believe only for a while. “… who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.”

    3. Luke 8:14 — those who love the world more than the Word. “… choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.”

    4. Luke 8:15 — those who keep the Word in their heart. “… having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep [it] and bear fruit with patience.”

    Luke 8:12, “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” However, Luke 8:13 describes those who believed for a while — and by believing they are saved according to 8:12, if even only for a while. Notice the words in bold below:

    Luke 8:13, “But the ones on the rock [are those] who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.”

    They believe for awhile and are therefore saved while they believed. We know this because Romans 10:17 clearly lays out the precise process whereby the Spirit draws one to faith and salvation, which is found in Luke 8:13. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

    Those whom Jesus describe in Luke 8:13 come to faith by hearing the word, and receiving the word with joy, if even it is only for awhile. During their time of belief, they are not simply ‘professing’ Christians. As Luke 8:12 is clear to tell us, by believing they are saved.

    Now consider the following question: With respect to those who believe for awhile according to Luke 8:13, if they were to die while they still believed would they go to heaven, even though they would have later fallen away in a “time of temptation” if they had lived?

  25. 10/10/2011 at 7:26 PM

    I totally agree with you ICA and Peter also said a bit on this

    2Pe 2:20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

    2Pe 2:21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

    2Pe 2:22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”

    Willard

  26. Reginald
    12/27/2011 at 1:21 PM

    Your excellent post ended with this comment:

    ” Indeed, and as the prophecy in Hosea concludes, “… Then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’” (Hos 2:23b). Whether this is intended for restored national Israel who now believes, or to Gentiles that are grafted in, we’ll have to wait and see. It may even allude to both.”

    Indeed it does refer to both.

    Paul in Romans Chapter 9 quoted that verse in Hosea, which indeed is a reference to the scattered tribes of Israel becoming “His People” after a time of being ‘Not His People”, but Paul broadened its application to include the Gentiles.

    Cheers

    Reg

  27. ICA
    12/28/2011 at 1:04 AM

    You could very well be right, Reginald. Though the immediate context seems to suggest Gentiles in view, the broader context would definitely suggest the inclusion of restored national Israel grafted back into their own Olive Tree.

  28. Don Heath
    03/13/2012 at 1:38 PM

    Many scholars refer to the 12 tribes of Israel as “Jews” out of ignorance. “Jews” is a short version of “Judah”. The kingdom of Israel was divided into 2 kingdoms in 931 BC.

    The northern 10 tribes became the Kingdom of Israel (House of Israel). The southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin became the kingdom of Judah (Jews).

    When the bible refers to the Jews it is referring to just Judah and Benjamin or other residents of Jerusalem.

    In Revelation 7 we see twelve tribes of Israel being sealed. Not only the Jews (Judah) are being sealed.

    So what about the other 11 tribes. They must exist or there wouldn’t be 12,000 of each of the tribes sealed at the end. Where are they now?

    God knows where they are.

    The 10 (12) tribes in captivity and lost to historians

    Because of their sin God allowed the 10 northern tribes of the House of Israel and most of the House of Judah (2 tribes of Judah and Benjamin) to be deafeated and deported by the Assyrians. Only the city of Jerusalem was not taken.

    After the 12 tribes of Israel were hauled out of their land and deported to Assyria, 700 B.C., they are lost to historians. These tribes never returned to Israel or Judah. The Bible tells us that they were placed into Halah, Habor, by the river Gozan and in the Cities of the Medes. One commonly held thought by historians is that they were absorbed into the populations of the areas they were placed into.

    Did God cast away His people, Israel, or allow them to be absorbed into other populations? Even for all their sin God promised that He would not break His covenant with them. In Leviticus 26:44 God said that even when they were in the hands of their enemies He would NOT cast them away. In Isaiah 41: 8-9 after all Israel had been scattered, God says He has not cast them away. In the last book of the Old Testament Malachi 3:6, God says to Israel, “I am the Lord, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are NOT consumed.”

    In Matt. 15:24 Christ says, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel”. By the time of Christ the 10 tribes of Israel (House of Israel) had been gone and lost even to themselves for over 700 years. However, the Jews of Christ’s time were quite aware of the Lost 10 tribes of the House of Israel. Would Christ be sent to a people that no longer existed?

    Note: Jesus told the 12 Disciples to go first to Lost Israel.

    Matt 10:5-6

    5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

    6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
    KJV

    Paul wrote in Romans 11:1-2
    11:1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid…..

    Paul answers right away.

    2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.
    KJV

    Also the Epistle of James is written to the “Twelve tribes scattered abroad”. Note that it says the “12 tribes”.

    Why would Christ say that he was sent to the “Lost Sheep of the House of Israel”? Because it was the “Lost Sheep of the House of Israel” that would become the Christian nations and they in turn would bring Christianity to the world.

    • Martin
      07/19/2014 at 8:47 PM

      Hello Don,
      You wrote: “So what about the other 11 tribes. They must exist or there wouldn’t be 12,000 of each of the tribes sealed at the end.”

      The clue to understand this passage in Revelation 7 is to remember that each Hebrew name had a special meaning. That is why God was specific about certain names. He named Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Solomon, Cyrus, John the Baptist and Jesus. Now, let us talk about the meaning of the names of the 12 tribes. In Old Testament times, the names given to the children had a spiritual and sometimes prophetical meaning, expressing the attributes of character that the parents wanted to develop in their children. The meanings of the names of Revelation 7 represent the characteristics of the people of God of the time of the end.

      Let us start with Israel = one who prevails. No one will walk on the golden streets of the New Jerusalem defeated or with bowed head, but like over comers with the forehead lifted up (Luke 21:28). To succeed in the battle with evil, we have to surrender our wills before God and allow Him to direct our lives, for He can do in us “to will and to act” (Philippians 2:13).

      Now, the analysis of the tribes’ names and their meanings for us, the last days’ Church.

      1) Judah = praise. Instead of complaining all the time, the real Christian finds always one or more reasons to give thanks and praise to the Lord “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7), because he finds that whatever we suffer now “is nothing compared to the glory that he will give us later” (Romans 8:18).

      2) Reuben = behold the Son. The Christian’s life and character are changed while he contemplates the Lord. “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:22); “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18) and he, having “the ministry of reconciliation” leads others to contemplate “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

      3) Gad = good fortune. In the sense of receiving blessings, because we have been given the opportunity to become part of the divine family. “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4: 5); “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Eph. 1:5).

      4) Asher= Eternal bliss, beatitude. How joyful are the children of God regardless of the circumstances! They walk through “the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4) with joy and peace. Paul said: “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly” (Philippians 4:10).

      5) Nephthalim= overcomer. To the last church of history, Jesus says: “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne” (Revelation 3:21). No other church period in history had been in worst spiritual condition than the one in the times that we are living now. We are content with our little knowledge of the Scriptures and we don’t feel the need to grow closer to God. We have to wake up and ask to be given the Holy Spirit. A time of great trouble is approaching and we are not prepared. Probably not even one in a hundred is ready, but it is to this church (us) that Jesus makes the most wonderful promise- to have the honor of sitting with Him on his throne!

      6) Manasses = forget. God helps us to forget all the shameful defeats of our past life, and also the size of our problems. As Paul, the last days Christians can live “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…”, pressing “on toward the goal to win the prize…” (Philippians 3:13). See also Job 11:13 -16.

      7) Simeon = heard. The believer is a man or a woman of prayer. He has the assurance that if he ask for something according to the will of God, He listens (1 John 3:22; 5:14). He has a healthy relationship with his Creator, and has the faith that will be necessary for the end time -a faith able to withstand tiredness, Jesus’ delay and even hunger.

      8) Levi = union. Peter says that we are a kingdom of priests (1 Peter 2:9), and as them, we are a bond of union between God and men, The Old Testament priests were like a bridge between the sinner and God, prefiguring Christ. The Father “gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). The Bible teaches that the last generation of Christians will preach the gospel to all nations, and then, the end will come (Matthew 24:14).

      9) Issachar = salary. The Christian does not serve God looking for a reward, but God offers it “…be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles. 15:7). Jesus offers a mansion (John 14:1-3) and eternal life to the faithful ones.

      10) Zabulon = dwelling. The 144,000 allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in them (John 14:17). The word used in Greek for in is εν =in the most intimate part (of the heart in this case). They will received what the prophet Joel names the later rain – the full presence of the Holy Spirit of Jesus (Joel 2:23, 28 & 32). Paul wrote that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).

      11) Joseph = augmentation, increase. The believer is a born again creature, but is growing constantly (“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” Eph. 4:15; “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increases with the increase of God.” Colossians 1:10; 2:19; “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” 1 Peter 2:2; “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” 2 Peter 3:18).

      12) Benjamin = Son of the right (hand). This means that the 144,000 will be unconditionally of the side of God, no matter what they have to go through, because their love for Jesus is stronger than the fear for death, hunger, treason from friends and relatives, persecution (Romans 8:35-39) and the great tribulation that they will confront.

      So the meaning of their names point to their characters:

      They praise while they behold the Son, considering their good fortune and eternal bliss, being overcomers, forgetting their past sinful life, knowing that they are heard, and that in their union with Christ, they will have a salary. By the indwelling of the Spirit, they will experience growth and remain faithful as the sons of the right (hand).

  29. Don Heath
    03/13/2012 at 3:33 PM

    There are not 144,000 Jews (Judah) that are sealed in Revelation 7. There are 12,000 of Judah sealed and 12,000 of each of the other 11 tribes.

    The other 11 tribes are not Jews. They are of the House of Israel.

  30. 03/13/2012 at 4:09 PM

    I’ve read a lot, both pro and con, concerning the ‘house of Judah vs. house of Israel’ viewpoint, including references in the Bible, some of which Don cited above. After considering it all, at this point anyway, I think while there is something to their point, I don’t think that the writers of the OT and NT in many cases had such a clear separation in mind. For instance, the reference to Jesus going to the lost sheep in the house of Israel from Mt 15:24 mentioned by Don above, the context tells us that Jesus meant the extent Jews/house of Israel–i.e., the nation of Israel. He was making a distinction between God’s chosen people and the Gentiles, not between Judah and the 10 tribes.

    Israel has a wider meaning than just the 10 tribes. To have such a strict viewpoint is to ignore the context of scripture.

  31. Melvin
    07/18/2012 at 10:25 AM

    Jesus is the Savior and Lord but he is not my husband.

  32. Bart
    12/11/2013 at 7:30 PM

    Hi ICA,

    I think you’re interpretation is spot on about the 144 000.

    Rom_1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    So if you are correct we should see it in creation!

    And we do!!!!

    It is everywhere, interestingly even in mathematics.

    Fibonacci numbers or Fibonacci series or Fibonacci sequence are the numbers in the following integer sequence:
    0,\;1,\;1,\;2,\;3,\;5,\;8,\;13,\;21,\;34,\;55,\;89,\;144,\

    This sequence is everywhere in creation, look it up and expand the applications you will be amazed at the witnesses God our Father and the lord Jesus Christ put in creation to confirm your interpretation.

    Our Father in heaven is the absolute Sovereign of his creation, and inspired Paul to give us the key to give witness to your interpretation of the hotly debated topic of the 144 000.

    I think you are 100% correct.

    Thank you very much and in Paul’s own words, which I make mine as well,

    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! I give thanks to my God always concerning you for the grace of God that was given to you in Christ Jesus,that in every thing ye were enriched in him, in all discourse and all knowledge, according as the testimony of the Christ was confirmed in you, so that ye are not behind in any gift, waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who also shall confirm you unto the end–unblamable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ; faithful is God, through whom ye were called to the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

    • Richard
      12/13/2013 at 1:12 AM

      Hi Bart….the Fibonacci sequence can be seen all through science,art, and nature. Just Google image that term and see what you get! To keep the numbers game going we can turn to Revelation and read where it requires wisdom to CALCULATE the number of the beast which is also the number of man (as a creature rather than a spiritual being). So if we go with the ancient wisdom that we are a body, a soul (heart & mind), and a spirit… then we are also a 3 part being. BUT, it is God’s Holy Spirit which must exist within us that will make us “whole”. We must put to death our fleshly spirit and replace it with His. Without it we are ‘missing’ one of the three components to a spiritual life and therefore are nothing more than a ‘beast’ or animal if we do not have the Holy Spirit. So let us calculate this: 3 parts make us “Holy” and if we are missing His Holy Spirit we actually have nothing more than body and soul, only two-thirds of what we need to have eternal life. If we calculate what 2/3 is in decimal form we get .66666666666666666 never ending….. the mark of the beast.

  33. 12/13/2013 at 11:34 AM

    Finally a website that through the Holy Spirit is getting the truth out to the nations! Since the Church of Christ is the household of God and they through the Spirit have all things common, it was a real pleasure to read this website a Dear Friend of mine had sent me a link to. I am thankful you have presented the Spiritual Israel as well here for many just think of the country Israel and God renamed Jacob Israel therefore making it the Israel of God’s inheritance. “And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land”. (Genesis 35:10-12).(Psalm 78:67-72).

    God Bless Your ministry ICA. I also would like your opinion about Christmas, at this time of year I will post the truth I have come to know and here is the link.

    http://precioussheepofrenown.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/when-was-jesus-born-2/

    Julia

  34. ICA
    12/13/2013 at 12:39 PM

    Hi Julia, thank you for visiting the site and for your gracious words.

    As for what I think about Christmas, I think it’s great. :) Yes, it’s over commercialized but I think it’s good for Christians to celebrate the birth of our Savior, regardless of when He may have actually been born.

    • 12/13/2013 at 1:20 PM

      I’ve engaged with some Christians who believe we ought to be celebrating the moidim/feasts of Leviticus 23 such as Passover, Shavuot, Feast of Tabernacles, etc, and not Christmas, Easter, and the like. They point out that the church began to “Christianize” pagan celebrations and remnants of them remain, for instance Christmas usurping winter solstice rites–all they can focus on is that they were once pagan, and not the fact that holiday has been given a new meaning.

      While I think its fine to celebrate the biblical feasts, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that Christ’s birth was prophesied in detail in the old testament centuries before His arrival, and it plays a major role in the Synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). Today we look for redemption illustrations or spiritual truths in movies or books, Les Miserables for one, but yet we condemn our ancient brethren for doing the same?

  35. ICA
    12/13/2013 at 1:42 PM

    Here’s a good article, courtesy of the Christian Research Institute:

    Should Christians celebrate Christmas- An Introduction

    Should Christians celebrate Christmas? A number of unorthodox new religions which profess to follow Christ insist that Christmas is a pagan festival to be shunned by all true Christians. Probably the most notable of these religions is the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who publish stinging attacks on the celebration of Christmas year after year. Other religions that take the same position include the World Wide Church of God (led by Herbert W. Armstrong) and the Assemblies of Yahweh.

    However, these unorthodox religious groups are not alone in their condemnation of this most popular of religious holidays. Many evangelical Christians also believe that Christmas is a pagan celebration dressed up in “Christian clothes.” While many Christians mark Christmas as a special day to worship Christ and give thanks for His entrance into the world, they reject anything to do with Santa Claus, Christmas trees, exchanging gifts, and the like.

    Are there biblical grounds for rejecting all or part of Christmas? What should be the attitude of Christians in this matter? That is the question before us. The answer given here is that while certain elements of Christmas tradition are essentially pagan and should not be indulged at that time of year), Christmas itself and many of the traditions associated with it may be celebrated by Christians with a clear conscience. Those who are inclined to reject out of hand such a position might be interested to know that at one time this writer would have agreed with them. A closer examination of the issues involved, however, leads to a different conclusion.

    Should Christians celebrate Christmas- Celebrating Jesus’ Birthday

    The most basic and common argument brought against Christmas is that it is not found in the Bible. Many Christians, as well as groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, feel that because Christmas is not mentioned in scripture, it is therefore not to be observed. In fact, the Witnesses argue that since the only people in the Bible who celebrated their own birthdays were Pharoah (Gen. 40:20-22) and Herod (Matt. 14:6-10), God takes a dim view of celebrating birthdays in general. Therefore, they feel, God would hardly approve of celebrating Jesus’ birthday.

    In answer to these arguments, a few things need to be said. First of all, the fact is that the Bible says nothing against the practice of celebrating birthdays. What was bad in the cases of Pharoah and Herod was not that they celebrated their birthdays, but that they did evil things on their birthdays (Pharoah killed his chief baker, and Herod killed John the Baptist). Second, what the Bible does not forbid, either explicitly or by implication from some moral principle, is permissible to the Christian, as long as it is edifying (Rom. 13:10; 14:1-23; 1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23; Col. 2:20-23; etc.). Therefore, since the Bible does not forbid birthdays, and they do not violate any biblical principle, there is no biblical basis for rejecting birthdays. For the same reason, there is no biblical reason to reject entirely the idea of celebrating Jesus’ birthday.

    Should Christians celebrate Christmas- December 25

    Another common objection to Christmas relates to observing December 25 as the birthday of Christ. It is frequently urged that Christ could not have been born in December (usually because the shepherds would supposedly not have had their flocks in the fields at night in that month), so that December 25 could not have been his birthday. It is also pointed out that December 25 was the date of a pagan festival in the Roman Empire in the fourth century, when Christmas began to be widely celebrated on that day.

    It is true that there seems to be no evidence for December 25 as the actual birthday of Christ. On the other hand, it has been shown that such a date is not impossible, as is so commonly supposed.1 Nevertheless, it may be granted that it is highly improbable that Christ was actually born on December 25. Does this fact invalidate Christmas? No. It is not essential to the celebration of someone’s birth that it be commemorated on the same date as his birth. Americans commemorate Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthday on the third Monday of February, even though Washington’s was February 22. If it were to become certain that Christ was actually born on say, April 30, should we then celebrate Christmas on that day? While there would be nothing wrong with such a change, it would not be necessary. The intent or purpose is what matters, not the actual date.

    But what of the fact that December 25 was the date of a pagan festival? Does this not prove that Christmas is pagan? No, it does not. Instead, it proves that Christmas was established as a rival celebration to the pagan festival. That is, what Christians did was to say, “Rather than celebrate in immorality the birth of Mithra, a false god who was never really born and who cannot save you, let us celebrate in joyful righteousness the birth of Jesus, the true God incarnate who is the Savior of the world.”

    Sometimes it is urged that to take a pagan festival and try to “Christianize” it is folly. However, God Himself did exactly that in the Old Testament. Historical evidence shows conclusively that some of the feasts given to Israel by God through Moses were originally pagan agricultural festivals, which were filled with idolatrous imagery and practices.2 What God did, in effect, was to establish feasts which would replace the pagan festivals without adopting any of the idolatry or immorality associated with them. It would appear, then, that in principle there is nothing wrong with doing so in the case of Christmas.

    Should Christians celebrate Christmas- Santa Claus

    Perhaps the thing that bothers Christians about Christmas more than anything else is the Santa Claus tradition. Objections to this tradition include the following (1) Santa Claus is a mythical figure endowed with godlike attributes, including omniscience and omnipotence; (2) when children learn that Santa Claus is not real, they lose faith in their parents’ word and in supernatural beings; (3) Santa Claus distracts children from Christ; (4) the Santa Claus story teaches children to be materialistic. In the face of such weighty objections, can anything good be said about Santa Claus?

    Before examining each of these objections, let it be noted that Christmas can be celebrated without Santa Claus. Take Santa out of Christmas and Christmas remains intact. Take Christ out of Christmas, however, and all that remains is a pagan festival. Whatever our individual differences however best to handle Santa Claus with our children may be, as Christians we should be able to agree on this much.

    There is no doubt that Santa Claus in its present form is a fairy tale or myth. However, there really was a Santa Claus. The name “Santa Claus” is an Anglicized form of the Dutch Sinter Klaas, which in turn meant “Saint Nicholas.” Nicholas was a Christian bishop in the fourth century about whom we know little for sure. He apparently attended the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, and a very strong tradition suggests that he did show unusual kindness toward children. While the red-suited old man in a sled pulled by flying reindeer is a myth, the story of a children-loving old man who brought them gifts probably is not — and in many countries, that is all there is to “Santa Claus.”

    Telling children that Santa can see them at all times and that he knows if they have been bad or good, etc., is wrong. Parents should not tell their children the Santa Claus story as if it were literal truth. However, children under seven or eight years of age can play “let’s pretend” and derive just as much fun from it as if they thought it was real. Indeed, at that age they are learning the difference between make-believe and reality. Much younger children will be fascinated by presents that are discovered Christmas morning under the tree that they are told are from “Santa,” but they will not draw any conclusions about the reality of Santa Claus from those discoveries.

    When children learn that Santa Claus is not real, this will upset them only if they have been told by their parents that he really exists and does all that he is purported to do. Therefore, children should be told that Santa is make-believe as soon as they are old enough to ask questions about reality. Rather than a stumbling block to belief in the supernatural, Santa can be a stepping stone. Tell your children that while Santa Claus is make-believe, God and Jesus are not. Tell them that while Santa can only bring things that parents can buy or make, Jesus can give them things no one else can — a friend who is always with them, forgiveness of the bad things they do, life in a wonderful place with God forever, etc.

    Follow the suggestions above, and Santa Claus will not be a distraction from Christ. Tell your children that the reason “Santa” gives gifts is because God gave us the wonderful gift of Jesus.

    On the contrary, the Santa Claus story is best told when it is used to encourage children to be selfless and giving. For an example of how to teach your inquiring child about Santa Claus, see the book, Santa Are You for Real? by Harold Myra (Thomas Nelson, 1977).

    Should Christians celebrate Christmas- Christmas Trees

    One of the few elements of the traditional celebration of Christmas, which those opposed to it claim is spoken of in Scripture, is the Christmas tree. Specifically, it is thought that in Jeremiah 10:2-4 God explicitly condemned Christmas trees:

    Thus says the LORD…
    “For the customs of the people are delusion,
    Because it is wood cut from the forest,
    The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool.
    They decorate it with silver and with gold,
    They fasten it with nails and with hammers
    So that it will not totter.”

    There certainly is a resemblance between the thing described in Jeremiah 10 and the Christmas tree. Resemblance, however, does not equal identity. What Jeremiah described was an idol — a representation of a false god — as the next verse shows (Jer. 10:5):

    “Like a scarecrow in a field are they,
    And they cannot speak;
    They must be carried,
    Because they cannot walk!
    Do not fear them,
    For they can do no harm,
    Neither can they do any good.”

    The parallel passage in Isaiah 40:18-20 makes it clear that the sort of thing Jeremiah 10 has in mind is an actual objection of worship:

    To whom then will you liken God?
    Or what likeness will you compare with Him?
    As for the idol, a craftsman cast it,
    A goldsmith plates it with gold,
    And a silversmith fashions chains of silver.
    He who is too impoverished for such an offering
    Selects a tree that does not rot.
    He seeks out for himself a skilled craftsman
    To prepare an idol that will not totter.

    Thus, the resemblance is merely superficial. The Christmas tree does not originate from pagan worship of trees (which was practiced), but from two explicitly Christian symbols in medieval western Germany. The Encyclopedia Britannica explains as follows:

    The modern Christmas tree, though originated in western Germany. The main prop of a popular medieval play about Adam and Eve was a fire tree hung with apples (Paradise tree) representing the Garden of Eden. The Germans set up a “Paradise tree” in their homes on December 24, the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. They hung wafers on it (symbolizing the host, the Christian sign of redemption); the hosts eventually became cookies of various shapes. Candles, too, were often added as a symbol of Christ. In the same room, during the Christmas season, was the Christmas pyramid, a triangular construction of wood, with shelves to hold Christmas figurines, decorated with evergreens, candles, and a star. By the 16th century, the Christmas pyramid and Paradise tree had merged, becoming the Christmas tree.

    Once again, there is nothing essential about the Christmas tree to the celebration of Christmas. Like the modern Santa Claus myth, it is a relatively recent tradition; people celebrated Christmas for centuries without the tree and without the semi-divine resident of the North Pole. What is essential to Christmas is Christ. Yet that does not mean that we must throw Santa and the tree out altogether. In this matter we have Christian liberty to adopt these traditions and use them to teach our children about Christ, or to celebrate Christ’s birth without them. For that matter, there is no compulsion to celebrate His birthday at all, since it is not commanded of us in Scripture. Nevertheless, it would be strange indeed if someone saved by the Son of God would not rejoice in thinking of the day that His incarnation was first manifested to the world on that holy night.

    Source – CRI.

  36. 12/13/2013 at 3:16 PM

    ICA……….Thank You for your response,I am not a Jehovah’s witness and my understanding comes from (Rev22:15) That no liar will have a place in heaven and to say as written in your article to tell the children santa is make believe then when their old enough to ask tell them the truth…WHY lie at the start????? Reindeer DO NOT FLY,There is no fat man in a red suit coming down chimneys that needs cookies and milk when he gets there, A tree with lights and bulbs honors God how????. After all that is said they then turn around and lie again(Articles words) “Tell your children that the reason santa gives gifts is because God gave us the wonderful gift of Jesus” REALLY tell them the truth then say what the NON EXISTANT does? ARE WE SERIOUS HERE???? Tell the children santa isn’t real then tell them he brings gifts????????? Some articles are best left unread! Double talk does not make the wrong right.This is double talk(James 1:8) we will agree to disagree. Traditions of men are just that TRADITIONS OF MEN, God warns us not to get caught up in what makes his word void.God hides nothing in his word and if christmas was NOT a tradition,but ordained by God it would be in scripture. He does say though to beware of the traditions of men.

    http://precioussheepofrenown.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/traditions-of-men/

    Julia

    • ICA
      12/13/2013 at 4:16 PM

      Hi Julie, as the writer states, it’s ok to enjoy Christmas, but things like Santa Claus shouldn’t be taught as truth. (My gifts to children never say from Santa). Per the article, take Santa out of Christmas and Christmas remains intact. Take Christ out of Christmas, however, and all that remains is a pagan festival. We must glorify God in all that we do and, yes, we can even do that when decorating a Christmas tree. For example, while decorating the tree, tell children about it being an evergreen and how, because of the birth of Jesus and what He did for us, we now have everlasting life. When you decorate the tree with lights, tell them how Jesus is the light of the world and when we believe in Him His light shines in all of us. When we adorn the tree with beautiful ornaments tell them how the Bride of Christ — which is everybody who believes is Jesus — is decorated with fine linen, clean and bright, representing the righteous acts of the saints. The star, of course, would be the star of Bethlehem that the wise men used to find Jesus. Tell them how we, too, must never take our eyes off that star and always follow Jesus. If anyone wants to tell pretend stories about Santa Claus, teach them that Santa’s suit is red because Jesus shed His blood for all of us so that we can have everlasting life. We can keep Christmas fun, and also make it a learning experience that glorifies God and His work, one that they will never forget as they get older. Always keep Christ in Christmas, and if you put up a tree, make it beautiful! :)

  37. 12/14/2013 at 7:54 AM

    Need to reprint “Traditions of men” posting………………

    http://precioussheepofrenown.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/traditions-of-men/

  38. jac
    08/31/2014 at 9:50 AM

    ICA, I don’t know who you are but your insights into the scriptures have been so very edifying for me as we walk into these very troubling days. The fact that you are anonymous lends credence to your scholarship as all of the glory goes to the creator. G-d bless you

    • ICA
      08/31/2014 at 10:19 AM

      Thank you for the encouraging words, Jac. May our Heavenly Father continue to open His Word to all of us.

  1. 04/01/2011 at 8:48 PM
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