80 medical doctors and 21 nurses died while taking care of Corona infected patients in Italy having contracted the virus themselves. I learnt this when I watched news from this App on my Smart TV – HayStack (on 6 April 2020). I am sure some of these medical professionals were believers. I believe, on the final day, the Lord will reward and honor them, with gusto, in the same way, he honors ‘fulltime’ missionary martyrs like Jim Elliot, John Allen Chau and others. There is no secular work – sacred work divide in the Bible. The work God has given us – be it ‘secular’ or ‘sacred’ – we need to be faithful unto death in it. “WHATEVER your hand finds to do, do it with all your might….” (Eccl. 9:10, OLD TESTAMENT). “WHATEVER you do, work at it with your whole being, for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23, NEW TESTAMENT).
Questions for Immortality on Earth Cult Pastors: If you preach from John 11:26 that people who believe in Jesus should not experience PHYSICAL death then you should also preach from John 8:12 that people who believe in JESUS will not be in PHYSICAL DARKNESS! That is, you should teach your congregation this: ‘do not switch off your lights when you sleep, because John 8:12 says those who walk with Jesus will never live in the dark!!’ But you don’t do that right?! You instinctively interpret the ‘light’ of John 8:12 to be ‘spiritual light’ right? You instinctively interpret the ‘thirst’ that Jesus talked about in John 4:14 as spiritual thirst, right? Then why this double standard only with John 11:26? Oh for consistency in Bible Interpretation! (Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org).
Only Matthew records that Jesus wanted BOTH the MOTHER DONKEY and it’s COLT (the Kid Donkey) (Mt 21:2). A person would be sitting on the back of that untrained colt for the first ever time, it looks like. Therefore, Jesus perhaps felt the presence of the parent would calm the colt’s nerves when a person (Jesus) sat on it. Do we cooperate with God’s plan for our kids the whole-hearted way this MOTHER DONKEY apparently did with Jesus’ plans for it’s kid donkey? Parents should encourage their born-again children to serve God. Parents do not ask generally kids, “Is it God’s Will?” when their kids say, “I want to go to the US to study and settle down there!” But when their kids say, “Mom/Dad, God has called me for full-time ministry to such and such a place in India itself!” most parents pour cold water on their enthusiasm by asking, “Are you sure, it is God’s will?” What a wicked double standard! How we show step-motherly treatment for the things of God! The Lord is watching this with deep sorrow and anguish. His anger may be triggered by our worldliness and money-mindedness. The message that comes to us from the Palm Sunday Matthew narrative is this: encourage the younger generation in your family to get involved in God’s Work, whole-heartedly!
(Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of G4 Mission. Find out more at www.dukev.org. This is a reader supported ministry. Reach him via WhatsApp at +91-8886040605)
Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj on the ‘CR’s from the Bible We Need To Recall When Life Plays Football With Us!
I was in Allahabad, North India, studying a college course (B. Tech., Agricultural Engineering) when I heard first about this beautiful actress from Nepal in Mumbai. Her name? Manisha Koirala. She won a tough battle against cancer recently. She said, “I think cancer helps to transform a person. It affected me so much that it enabled me to grow!” (I read this in Outlook mag). She is not a believer to the best of my knowledge. But I was amazed that she was able to see something positive in suffering. Though the Corona pandemic has caused many inconveniences to Corporates, churches, individuals, etc., can anything good come out of this? What are the blessings that come out of this pandemic?
Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese professional footballer, popularly known as CR. Using the acronym CR, I have outlined my message which captures the biblical CRs we need to keep in when life plays football with us. These CRs will keep us playing the game of life with a positive attitude despite setback such as the Corona Pandemic. When life plays football with us – that is when we suffer – we will do well to remember these biblical CRs!
CHARACTER REFINEMENT (CR NO. 1 TO RECALL WHEN LIFE PLAYS FOOTBALL WITH US)
Job is one of the earliest books of the Bible and it has a lesson on suffering. Job experienced untold suffering – loss of his children, loss of his wealth, his wife encouraging him to curse God and die, acting as Satan’s agent (She repeated Satan’s words to God about Job that he would curse God when his worldly blessing are removed). Job 23:10 says “When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” God does not contradict himself. From the Old Testament to the New Testament God says the same thing in a progressive way. I Peter 5:10 says “after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” The suffering which is only for a while confirms us, strengthen , and establish us. Our character gets refined in a mysterious way. It does not matter who caused it but blessings will come out of this pandemic.
COPYBOOK (BIBLE) REFLECTION (CR NO. 2 TO RECALL WHEN LIFE PLAYS FOOTBALL WITH US)
If a shotput hits your head during game time in school, you might lose your memory. You might say crazy things. But no shotput ball hit the author of Psalm 119. He was in-fact directed by the Holy Spirit when he wrote Psalm 119:71.
Psalm 119:71 says “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”
Generally our tendency is to waste our time and be addicted to the screen. We like to go down the easy path and are like water that flows wherever there is a way. Usually we are always in a hurry but this lock down time has given us unhurried time to study the word of God.
Suffering should not just turn our attention to Scripture. But also make us obey Scripture. I say this because I have read Psalm 119:67 – “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your Word!”
CROWNING OF OUR ROCK (CR NO. 3 TO RECALL WHEN LIFE PLAYS FOOTBALL WITH US)
By the phrase, ‘Crowning of our Rock’ I mean the ‘the glory of God our Rock’. John 9:1,2 speaks of a blind man from birth. “What is the cause of his blindness?” asked the disciples of Jesus. Was it his sin or the sin of his parents? He was born blind in order to display glory to God; raise the glory of the Lord in a mysterious way, the Scripture says in John 9:1-2. How does a black buffalo eat green grass and produce white milk? I don’t understand. But I drink milk and give my kids milk to drink! How can the corona virus situation bring glory to God? I don’t understand. But I do not doubt the goodness of God even in this situation! We are living in times of inexplicable suffering and inconveniences/lock down. During, the times of suffering we must keep praising for our creator. The Lord’s name must be glorified even during the time of suffering because suffering brings glory to his name according to John 9:1-2.
CHRIST ‘REPROGRAPHICS’ [COPYING] (CR NO. 4 TO RECALL WHEN LIFE PLAYS FOOTBALL WITH US)
We become more like Jesus during suffering. When we suffer with a positive attitude we copy Christ. Apostle Paul writes, “that I may know the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). We become like Him in death. Suffering with a positive attitude helps us to imitate Jesus. We become more like Him. That is God’s ultimate purpose for us (Rom. 8:29). We look for different models to imitate. Teens tend to imitate famous movie stars. The only model completely worthy of imitating is Jesus. Job 5:7 says “man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” If we are human, suffering is unavoidable according to the Old and New Testaments. Acts 14:22 says that we must go through many hardships in our day to day life till we enter heaven by our death or after the return of Jesus.
We get our salvation through the suffering of Jesus but He is also a model when it comes to suffering. We must copy the attitude of Jesus when we suffer. How did Jesus suffer?
Jesus saw suffering as something allowed by God enroute to the Cross. Jesus prayed this model prayer at Gethsemane: “Take this cup of suffering from me but yet not my will, but your will.”
We too must understand that times of suffering are allowed by God.
When Jesus suffered, He forgave those who made him suffer. That’s why he prayed while hanging on the Cross this: “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do!”
In the Old Testament when someone cursed David, David felt God gave him permission to do that (2 Sam. 16:11). The Son of David, Jesus, also said in similar vein: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
There may be financial difficulty coming, terrible health issues, and untold trouble during this pandemic. There is a gripping Malayalam movie “Virus” about the Nipha virus outbreak which broke out in the Indian state of Kerala in 2018, but the Corono virus is more deadly and global. God has allowed it to happen (though we aren’t sure who is the cause for this)
And when we exhibit a Christ-like attitude during this time of suffering – saluting the Will of the Father, forgiving whoever may be involved – God will be pleased! And we will become Christ-like!
COSMOS REDEMPTION(CR No. 5 TO RECALL WHEN LIFE PLAYS FOOTBALL WITH US)
The most relatable example of how God can use our suffering as a channel of blessing for others (the cosmos) concerns the Old Testament hero, Joseph. Genesis 50:20 says “ye thought evil against me but God meant it unto good.” Those are Joseph’s words to his brothers who were super-mean to him when he met them after he became the Prime Minister of Egypt. Joseph undergoes sufferings on multiple occasions. I preached a message on the sufferings of Joseph when I was invited to preach in a Baptist Church earlier this year (2019). That message on the ‘arrows’ launched against Joseph is found on YouTube. But despite these arrows, Joseph’s bow remained steady. He believed God had a plan in allowing his brothers to be envious of him. The envy of Joseph’s brothers was caused by Satan, of course. But Joseph saw that as God-allowed for the greater blessing of his family, the nation of Israel. Read Genesis 45:5-8. Count the times Joseph says there, “God sent me….”. He says it three times! Joseph did not feel that his brother’s envy sent him to Egypt but he came to Epypt because of the God’s good purposes! Joseph was not bitter when he suffered (via his brothers, Mrs. Potiphar, Mr. Potiphar, the forgetful cupbearer, etc.) but he thought differently. Great people think differently. He saw God’s hand in allowing these folk to make him suffer so that a grander plan can be executed for the blessing of many people.
Government restrictions for travel keep us home. Our international travel may have cancelled. The World’s finances may be in disarray. But Believe that God allowed this virus to go beserk for a good purpose.
By saying this I am not justifying envy or any sinful thing. If the Corona virus was manufactured in a lab as a weapon for bio-terrorism, whoever responsible for that must be punished. God will judge that person either on this side of eternity or the other side of it (if the concerned does not repent). Was that act wrong? Absolutely.
Joseph was in a position to bless so many people even though he was the second youngest sibling in his family as he grew up. He became an Old Testament picture of Jesus Christ! What a blessing!
Graham Staines was an ordinary missionary in the interior parts of Orissa. He was burnt alive along with his 2 sons when he stayed in his jeep following a meeting in a village (January of 1999). But this has inspired many to take up medical mission, to respect humanity, and pursue truth. Jim Eliot, worked among the Aucas in Ecuador, South America and was killed in 1956 at the age of 29, amidst remote tribals. His life inspired many people to labour for Christ and go to other countries to share the love of Jesus. In mysterious ways all this resulted in cosmos redemption.
CONTRAST AND REVERSE-APPRECIATION (CR No. 7 TO RECALL WHEN LIFE PLAYS FOOTBALL WITH US)
Read I Peter 1:6,7 (we already read it earlier in this message). Twenty-one day lock down may seem long. When you compare our time of suffering here and now with eternity, is such a short time. When we understand the fleeting nature of our suffering here and now, then only we will be able to appreciate the reverse – the time of everlasting joy in heaven. For example, a tiny kidney stone can cause much excruciating pain, even though temporary. I have experienced hours of kidney stone pain twice in my life (a pain that is said to be close to the labor pains a woman experiences). When I go through a pain-free day, I praise God even more with delirious joy because I recall those two terrible bouts of pain. Eugene Peterson, an American Presbyterian Minister, says hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us (in his contemporary English translation of II Corinthians 4:17,18). We have light and momentary troubles (to use another version’s rendering of the same set of verses).
Sometimes we feel our suffering is so gigantic but when compared to the suffering that Jesus underwent, it is very light. God has a grand, glorious plan when he allows anything. God had foreknowledge of this pandemic and this is not a surprise for God. He already knew about it.
Read Acts 2:22,23; Acts 4:27,28. Different people became united. The religious leaders of the time and common people, Jews and gentiles schemed together, came against Jesus who is the only one who did not deserve any suffering (as he never sinned and yes, suffering first came into the world because of sin – check out John 5:14; ofcourse not all suffering is because of sin – John 9:1-2 teaches that). We may not understand the intricacies but something good will come out of this corona virus pandemic. The teaching that we will not have to suffer here and now on this earth because Jesus suffered for us on the Cross is a false teaching. We suffer because Adam chose to disobey and we also commit sin and disobey. Hebrews 13:12,13 is clear that even though Jesus suffered on the cross, we have to suffer as well – especially when we take a stand for Jesus in this pluralistic World and in this prosperity-false-doctrine embracing backslidden church.
This world is not our home. We are just passing through looking for a new heaven and earth.
Let me reproduce a story from my article that provides a practical summary of the book of Job titled “Why me?”
MARTIN AND GRACIA BURNHAM STORY VIA A NAT GEO TV PROGRAM
My wife and I tucked our kids to bed and settled to watch the National Geographic channel program called, “Locked up Abroad!” in September 2008. It featured the story of a missionary couple by the name of Martin and Gracia Burnham.
They were American Missionaries who served God in the country of Phiippines. They had met and married each other with a singular purpose of serving God together in the mission field he would send them to. God had blessed them with three children all of whom were born in the mission field.
On their eighteenth wedding anniversary, they had gone to a beachside island resort in the same country to romance each other afresh and to celebrate their wedding anniversary minus the children.
That’s when a terrorist group led by Abu Sayyaf linked with Osama bin Laden kidnapped them and took them away in a speedboat along with 18 others. In this group of 18, there was only one more American, apart from the Burnhams. This missionary couple was chained to two terrorists. They kept moving in the dense forests as the Philippine Army tried to track them down.
They starved for most part of their 377-day captivity. While they fainted physically, spiritually they did not. They kept believing God and kept serving him by sharing the gospel with their captors. When they did eat something, dysentery was the result. Though the food came out of their bodies like water, their faith during this time was rock solid. Their bodies were cut. Blood oozed out. But their faith in Jesus did not fizzle out. Their captors demanded $1 million for their release. $330,000 was given to them, yet they did not release them. 3 men in that group of 18 were beheaded. Even after these horrific incidents, this missionary couple in captivity did not want to kick their Christian Faith from their hearts and heads. The terrorists married four women in the group against their wishes and sexually violated them. Even this incident did not force this determined duo to divorce their faith from their life during the time of extreme trail. On June 7, 2002, during a cross-fire between the Phippine Army and the terrorists, a bullet pierced the chest of Martin the soldier of the Cross, and he died. Yet, the faith of his wife, Gracia, did not die. She continued to serve God with a steely resolve. Injured on her leg in the same cross-fire, she was finally free from her captors – nearly 400 days in horrific captivity.
Max Lucado writing about this incident memorably asks a series of questions you may have wanted to ask as well as you read this true story: “Why didn’t God block the bullets? Why did he let her get shot? And why God let him die?…She was a widow, and we are left to wonder why. Is this how God honors his chosen? How do we explain this tragedy? And as you’re thinking of theirs, how do you explain yours? The tension at home. The demands at work. The bills on your desk or the tumor on your body. You’re taken hostage, but aren’t you occasionally taken aback by God’s silence? He knows what you are facing. How do we explain this?”
Gracia Martin, the dead missionary’s widow, answers this “why” question in an interview she gave: “During the 10th week of my captivity, this Bible truth I had taught others all-along strongly came to me: life’s not all about me getting my way; it’s about Him getting His way. I decided that I was going to believe God was good, no matter what…. It seemed like God would answer every prayer but to get us out of there. I think we realized that He wanted us in there for a reason. Our prayers really changed at that point – we just wanted God to be teaching us.”
Today, Gracia Martin, is stronger in her faith after having gone through such a harrowing experience. She leads a ministry that uses aviation for mission work that involves getting the Gospel to those living in closed Islamic countries. The terrifying trails she underwent being a captive to a dreaded terrorist group for close to 400 days helped in mysterious ways to demonstrate the glory and power of God in her life!
This Corona Virus Pandemic and consequent lock down time will also be for our ultimate good! I am sure of that!
There was a time when Apostle Paul was chained to a roman soldier. He considered that as an opportunity to share the Gospel. The chains that bound Apostle Paul caused him inconvenience. But he say that as an occasion to advance the Gospel (Phil. 1:12). This is one obvious reason and purpose. In their discussion with God, Satan tried to tell God that Job loved Him because of all the gifts He gave Job. God said that Job loved Him because of genuine love and had no ulterior motives. The reason that Job had for loving God was love for God and nothing else. As a popular secular romantic song goes, “Love me for a reason. Let the reason be love!” We must love God for no other reason, but love! And if we do, this pandemic time will become a purposeful time for us!
Prayer: Thank you Lord for helping us understand from the Bible why there can be a mysterious blessing even via this Corona pandemic. Bless our time of lockdown and suffering so that we will continue to learn your word, raise Your praise, share your Gospel , and grow in character. In Jesus name. Amen.
[Transcribed by Mrs. Malini Prabakar voluntarily from a devotional that Duke Jeyaraj shared via video on 29 March 2020. Duke Jeyaraj, the author of this piece, is the fouder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, a listener supported Indian Ministry. Find out more at www.dukev.org. You may choose to subscribe to www.youtube.com/visitduke and like www.facebook.com/dukebook. You can reach Duke via WhatsApp at +91-8886040605. If you send a message via this number we can send you the PDF of the magazine that Duke publishes called, The Days of Your Youth, with the article, ‘Why Me?’ (summary of the main lessons of Job put in outline j-o-b o-f u-z)]
Why did God flood Job with so many questions (77 by one count in Job 38-39) at the end of the book of Job (perhaps the first Bible book in terms of date)? I believe this was the reason. He wanted to tell Job, “When you could trust and serve me (Job 13:15) without knowing answers for so many questions, what is the big problem you have when it comes serving me when you do not know the answer for ONE MORE QUESTION: ‘Why am I suffering?’ “ Job who did not know the answer for the question of God to him, ‘Do you know when the MOUNTAIN goats give birth?’(Job 39:1) must walk with God with unshakable trust even when he grabbles with the question: ‘ Why this MOUNTAIN of problems for me?’ That was God’s point at the end of this book. We do not the exact reason for this destructive Carona pandemic. But just as God expected Job to do, we have a job to do: trust and serve Jesus in the one life we have till our death or His return whichever comes earlier!!!!
(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj, the author of this piece is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a listener-supported Indian ministry to presentday people. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Follow Duke’s videos at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).
Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj – 22 nd March, 2020 (A Video Message Shared Online Via Facebook and Youtube)
We thank you Lord for this day, March 22,2020 when we are home, worshipping you in accordance with your sovereign plan; also for the privilege and freedom to broadcast on social media (You Tube and Facebook).Thank you for the opportunity to teach and share your Living Word that touches and transforms the lives of people watching globally .
May hearts be warmed by the Holy Spirit’s leading, bringing illumination, revelation, and life transformation. Amen.
The recent Economist Magazine reports that governments are trying to get a grip on this deadly pandemic – COVID -19. On March 16, reliable medical research published by epidemiologists (Imperial College, London) predicted that the virus would affect 80% of British population within 3 to 4 months if not arrested by the government or population.2.2 million Americans and 500,000 people in U.K. would be affected. No one really knows what will happen in nations like India.
I want to use the acronym C-O-R-O-N-A to teach what the Bible, God’s own Word, has to say about plagues and pestilences.
C – CREATOR CAUSED PLAGUES
The Bible repeatedly attributes the origin of plagues and pestilences to God. If the Devil causes a plague (In Luke 13:16 Satan causes a disease which could have been a result of a viral attack on the human body – See also Mark 9:17; 9:25 and Acts 10:38) he needs to get God’s permission. God can permit the devil to operate. God’s sovereignty is a major doctrine of the Bible and no one can question him with a WHY (Dan. 4:35)?
The first reference to the plague is found in Genesis 12:17 when the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house in Egypt because of Abram’s wife Sarai. (Genesis 12:10 – 20)
The next reference is Exodus 8:2 where the Lord plagues Egypt with frogs because Pharaoh would not release the Israelites from their bondage. (Moses was their leader and he wrote the first 5 books of the Bible.)
In Exodus 9:3, it is the plague on livestock caused by the hand of God. In verse 14, we read that God sends all plagues on the Egyptian people to proclaim that “there is none like me(God) in all the earth.” In all, there were 10 plagues that affected the Egyptians.
Exodus 32:35 states that God sent a plague because Aaron made a golden calf which the people of God, Israelites, worshipped. They worshipped the CREATION rather than the CREATOR.
Numbers 11:33 tells us that even before the Israelites had consumed the flesh of the quail, God sent a plague because their perpetual complaints and ingratitude triggered God’s anger.
(One theory regarding the origin of Corona virus is that it came from a wet market which sold exotic meats, including the meat of winged bats, the likely original host of the Corona Virus, in Wuhan, China).
In Numbers 16:46, Moses tells Aaron to carry a censer, take fire from the altar and use incense as an atonement for the congregation since God’s wrath had caused a plague. The Bible is a library of 66 books and as we comb through it, we come to Numbers 25 where we read of the religious prostitution with Moabite women in the temple of Baal and Baal worship of the Israelites.
Balaam, in Numbers 31:16 counselled the Israelites to worship the idol Baal-Peor in-effect (by dancing with the women of Moab) using his seemingly prophetic powers and the consequence was a plague that killed 24,000.
Deuteronomy 28:59 records the farewell speech of Moses to Israelites before their entry to the Promised Land where he repeats the law and warns them of the fearful plagues that will affect their children and will last long and afflict them with sore sicknesses. In Deuteronomy 32:24 God warns the disobedient people that he will send hunger, heat, beasts, and poisonous serpents as agents of destruction. At the beginning of creation, the serpent is Satan’s slave and speaks to Eve. However, in Matthew 10:16, God says “be ye therefore as wise as serpents.”
Joshua 22:17 is a reminder of the plague on the congregation by sexual immorality. Joshua 24:5 states, “I plagued Egypt.” I Samuel 4:8 tells us how even the pagans realized God’s protection over the Israelites when it came to plagues.
Psalm 78:50 speaks of a pestilence that God delivered his people to. In Zechariah 14:12, the plague will affect those who war against Jerusalem; verse 18 of the same chapter speaks of the Lord smiting the heathen with a plague that do not observe the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths.
The Feast of Booths/Tabernacles is a Jewish Festival which is symbolic of the Israelite journey through the wilderness in temporary shelters. It is a call to repentance. It is also a symbol of our spiritual journey through this world as aliens, strangers, travellers, and as Peter says “sojourners “ (I Peter 2:11). The world offers prosperity, sinful pleasures, immortality on earth before Second Coming and we can choose to be worldly! But we should remember that we are passing through, to reach a city with no plagues. As Jim Reeves sang, “this world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.”
In the New Testament, Revelation 18:8 speaks of God’s judgement on establishments that are anti-God. Babylon is symbolic of this. The plagues will come in a single day – death, fire, famine. Revelation 22:18 warns with clarity that in response to people’s rebellion, God can choose to send plagues.
With the help of the above references, we understand that the plague is CREATOR CAUSED. Yes, Satan can be given permission by God to cause plagues/diseases. But even then, the buck for causing a plague, for reasons known to him, stops with God as he chose to give permission without which no plague could have occurred – including the Corona Virus Pandemic – in the first place!
We are using the outline C-O-R-O-N-A to understand what the Bible has to teach about plagues. C for Creator-Caused Plagues. O is the next letter under consideration!
O-OBLITERATED BY THE CROSS ON WHICH JESUS DIED? IS THAT TRUE ABOUT PLAGUES?
Obliterated means cancelled. Does the Bible teach that none of the believers will be attacked/affected by the virus? Is there such a theology in the Bible? This is the question. Exodus 12:13 speaks of the blood as an anti-dote for the plague. In Exodus 30:12, the Lord asks Moses to take census and number the Israelites when there is non-existence of plague among them. Revelation 18:4 refers to Babylon, which is symbolic of the system of evil and sin. We should say bye-bye to satan , come under the blood of Jesus, and join the spiritual church. Should we as believers never experience a plague? Plagues are not for God’s children says Numbers 8:19. Can Numbers 8:19 be applied to believers of today?
Psalm 91:10 is assuring – “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. Revelation 18:4 says this: “be ye not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” So, the question is this: will a believer who lives a holy life be spared from the Corona Virus infection as Revelation 18:4 seems to suggest?
Accelerated, passionate, cultic preaching, originally from South Africa, also echoed in Sri Lanka, India, propagated immortality which said that if you believe on Jesus, you will not die. Is this teaching correct?
There are 4 things that the believer which the human race deals with: defilement, disease, death, and demonic attack.
DEFILEMENT: By His first coming, Jesus gave us power over defilement. Being away from defilement does not allow us to use angry/ abusive words. We gain complete victory over every kind sinful habit (I John 3:5-6).
The Bible reiterates 300 times that Jesus is coming again. II Corinthians 5:21 says that Jesus has already made us righteous. But I John1 :8 states we are not righteous. James 3:2 says that we (believers) stumble in many ways. It is a paradox. We are “already” holy, but “not yet” holy! This is what is called the ‘already but not yet’ theology – a theology that we must understand!
Grace is not a credit card to sin. We are not perfect and we do sin, but must come back to Jesus in genuine repentance and confession (Romans 2:4-5; I John 1:8-9). Only after the Second Coming (which takes place in Revelation 19:11) and in the New Heavens and Earth will there be complete absence of sin (Rev. 21:27).
So till the Second Coming we must put to death the acts of the flesh empowered by the Spirit (Romans 8:13). So, in a sense, we are already holy but not yet holy!
DISEASE: The ‘already but not yet’ theology is also seen in the area of diseases.
Even though God has worked out the solution on the Cross, the provision for our healing, some do not get healed for mysterious reasons. Isaiah 53:5 – With His stripes we are healed. I Peter 2:24 – By whose stripes ye were healed. Yes, after the first coming Jesus made provision for our healing at the Cross. However for some mysterious higher reason not all of us are healed here and now II Timothy 4:20 – Paul left his fellow labourer Trophimus at Miletus sick, even though he had healed sick and possessed people, with handkerchiefs/aprons.
Matthew 8 :16,17 records that Jesus healed all that were sick in a particular area fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 53:5. This is in line with Exodus 23:25 which says, “I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.”
Let us hit rewind button on the characters of Elijah and Elisha.Elijah had performed 8 miracles – shut up heavens, caused drought, multiplied oil and flour to the widow, raised her son, defeated prophets of Baal with fire, brought rain to end drought, destroyed 51 with fire, destroyed another group of 51 with fire, parted the waters at River Jordan and he was taken in a whirlwind to heaven. Miracle after miracle and healing after healing but one day, he was taken in a whirlwind to heaven.
Elisha had asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit and he performed 16 miracles – parted waters of Jordan, purified waters of Jericho, Caused a flood, made Israelites to foil the Moabiltes, gave a flow of oil to the widow, gave fertility to the woman of Shunem, raised her son from death, purified the poisonous stew, multiplied barley loaves, healed Naaman of leprosy, healed Gehazi his servant, floated the head of the iron axe, struck Arameans blind, prophesied end of Aramean siege, prophesied death of Benhadad and rise of Hazael and prophesied Israel would defeat King of Aram.
Yet, Elisha, the mighty miracle-worker died of sickness – II Kings 13:14. This is the story of many of our loved ones.
We know of the apologist Dr.Nabeel Quereshi who was working with RZIM Ministries died of an illness at the age of 33. God released healing in the Old and New Testaments but here and now there is sickness, suffering, and pain. Plagues and pestilences fall in that category of suffering. They keep us humble. We are not in-charge of the earth. The Sovereign God is in control.
Paul , the author of many New Testament books, had a thorn in his flesh – some kind of ailment causing pain. He pleaded three times with God. II Corinthians 12:9 says “My grace is sufficient for thee.” I Peter 2:24 reiterates that we are healed by His stripes. Infirmities humble us.
If I can do everything, then I will be God but I am human. I depend on God and others and this ushers in a beautiful, mutual dependence, and a spirit of team work. The area in which I am weak may be the strength of another person.
While I Peter 2:24 teaches that Jesus has ‘already’ made provision for our healing, passages such as Romans 8:23 (which says that we await redemption of our bodies) teach that we are ‘not yet’ healed. After the Second Coming of Jesus (recorded in Revelation 19), there will be a time when there will be no more pain – no more disease (Rev. 21:4).
We have talked about Defilement in terms of the already but not yet paradigm. We have talked about Disease in terms of the already but not yet paradigm. Now to the next topic – Death.
DEATH- There are 2 stages in the coming of Christ – the first coming. If Jesus had planned to finish all his work with regard to us (like defeating death) in the First Coming itself, he would not have told that us that he is coming again. But he told us that he is coming again! First coming helps us overcome the ‘fear of dying’ (Heb. 2:15). Second coming helps us to overcome death itself (Rev. 19, Second Coming becomes a reality; Rev. 21:4 no more death in New Heaven and Earth). The fear of death is released. The first coming of Christ deals with one dimension of death but the second coming deals with death in all dimensions. Only post his Second Coming we will receive a glorified, death-free, immortal body (I Cor. 15:23). The reward for giving up all and loving Jesus supremely is “Eternal” life (a deathless life) and this blessing is only available in the “life to come” (Luke 18:30) – not before that! We have “already” overcome fear of death (Heb 2:15) and but “not yet” experienced a total win over death as death is the last enemy which Christ will defeat “at his coming” (I Cor. 15:23,26).
Some cult false teachers quote John 11:25,26 to teach immortality on earth. When Jesus said that those who believe in me will not die, we must check the context to understand the meaning of the word ‘death’. If we say ‘Sunny’ – it could mean the weather, or it could mean the Indian Cricket Opener (Sunil Gavaskar), it could mean the Nissan Car model, or it could me a porn star! The context will determine what “Sunny” means! In the same way the context of the word ‘death’ as Jesus used in John 11:25-26 indicates that he was talking about spiritual death. In Luke 9:20 Jesus says, “Let the dead bury the dead!” He was referring to the spiritually dead people who will refuse to follow Jesus because they await the actual physical death of their parents! In Luke 15:24, 25, Jesus referred to the alive-physically post repentance but once upon a time, dead-spiritually prodigal son. So, John 11:25-26 cannot be talking about immortality on earth (if you look at the context of these passages and map those the rest of the Bible, you cannot believe in immortality on earth here and now). It is talking about overcoming spiritual death and ultimately escaping second death which is hell punishment (Rev. 21:8). Romans 8:1 – There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. There is no danger of second death when you believe and abide in Christ Jesus!
We are talking about the ‘already’ but ‘not yet’ theology of the Bible with regard to Defilement, Disease, Death and finally, Demons!
DEMONS: Matthew 12 :28 – Devils are cast out by the spirit of God. When this happened in Jesus’ ministry the Kingdom of God has been established and Satan has been defeated. When Jesus died on the Cross the Devil was “already” defeated and shamed on the Cross. Read Col 2:13,14,15. Jesus defeated the devil on the Cross. But the final defeat of the Devil is still in the ‘not yet’ category. It is pending. The devil is still active deceiving people and nations (I Peter 5:8). “Already but not yet theology” tells us that the work of God is inaugurated in His First Coming but completed in the Second Coming. Matthew 25:1 – Kingdom of heaven is likened to 10 virgins with their lamps. Matthew 25:31-34 speaks about the separation of people and nations just as a shepherd divides the sheep and goats (judges both believers and non-believers) as a King on the throne. God will complete the establishment of the kingdom of God after the Second Coming. So, His kingdom is still coming, in one sense. Luke 23:42,43 is a reference to the dying thief who says “Remember me when you come into your Kingdom” and Jesus responds “You will be with me in Paradise today.” The Dying thief rightly say the ‘already but not yet’ theology in Jesus’ teachings and made the right request.
Satan is still active and can cause us harm if we are not alert and will only be sent to hell after the Second Coming of Jesus [Rev. 19:11 (Second Coming), 20(hell for the miracle-working False Prophet and AntiChrist and Rev. 20:10 – hell for the Devil)]. Note that we must not get carried away false teachers who say, “Look at my miracles!” because the ultimate False Prophet, one who is part of the False Trinity will also work miracles!
There is a group working with missionary zeal on social media that circulates teaching that we have victory over disease (so you can’t have diseases), death (so you can’t die now), and demons (and Satan poses no danger to you now). In the light of the above paragraphs, what they teach is hellish false teaching. I wonder why this group does not say, “Jesus died for our sins on the Cross, so we must not sin anymore!” But they say, “Jesus died for us on the Cross and we must not die anymore!” Their shallow, double-standards-embracing arguments tells the larger story of how they love “Balaam’s wages” and so will only preach a message that will “tickle” people’s ear! [Of course, the right teaching is this: Jesus died for our sins on the Cross and we can have power over sin (I John 3:5-6), though only Jesus is sinlessly perfect (I John 1:8)!]
Balance Psalm 91:10 (no plague shall come near thy dwelling) with Hosea 13:14 where the prophet, alive before the first coming of Jesus, foretells the future time after Second Coming where-in a Psalm 91:10 protection will be a reality! In the absolute sense, Psalm 91:10 (no plague shall come near thy dwelling), will be true only in the New Heaven and Earth (Rev. 21:4) post the Second Coming of Jesus (Rev. 19:11) and not before that.
We are using the outline C-O-R-O-N-A to learn what the Bible teaches about Plagues.
C-reator-Caused plagues; O-bliterated by the Cross plagues here and now (absolutely not!); now for the third letter in this acronym, R….
R – REDEMPTION FROM THE PLAGUES
What can be humanly done to stop a plague (knowing ultimately it is God’s prerogative to do so)?
Sacrificial entry into God’s presence:
In II Samuel 24, we read about David’s pride and arrogance when he wanted to count the troops instead of counting on God. God sends a pestilence and 70,000 men died. A sacrifice had to be made in a particular piece of land for the plague sent by God to stop. That piece of land was available for free for King David. But he wanted to pay for it. “I will not offer to the Lord, burnt offerings that cost me nothing!” – he said (2 Sam. 24:24). Then finally the altar was built. The sacrifice was offered. The Lord answered the prayer and then the plague stopped.
We have to increase our prayer time and kneel instead of watching different screens all day and night (I am talking about the phone, pad and the TV). Spend time with family around His word, in prayer. We can fast and pray and say “NO” to the things we love with a sacrificial David-like spirit; we can give sacrificially and support missionary organizations. Then, God may chose to stop the plague!
Numbers 16:21 onwards speaks of the grumbling against Moses, the rumbling, and the humbling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. The earth swallowed them up and their houses. A fire consumed 250 men that offered incense.14,700 died from the plague. Moses begged for mercy. Aaron offers incense as an atonement which is symbolic of the prayers and intercessions of saints. Revelation 5:8 speaks of golden vials full of odours which are the prayers of saints.
[We have a monthly fasting and prayer time with intercession named “Fountain of tears against Mountain of fears” when we pray for nations (for Corona-hit Italy/Iran), our nation (India), the google generation (which goes porn-again!) and for the tensions of those who come (for a job, for a baby, for peace in marriage, etc)].
Separation from the world:
Revelation 18:4 warns us not to partake in sins and be subject to plagues. When we live a life of holiness and separation, then God may choose to stop the plague!
Others use foul language, we too use foul language. Others watch soft porn via Netflix, we too do the same! This CAN’T be! For the plague to end, we must choose holiness and separation from the Bible. Then God may choose to end the plague!
Proclamation of the standards of God’s Holiness:
We should preach the truth about God’s holy standards from His Word taking the cue from Phinehas. In Numbers 25, we read of Phinehas and how he removed evil and stopped the plague which killed 24,000. He killed people involved in sexual immorality. We should turn away from filthy thinking and adultery. God’s word is the sword which divides holy and sinful people. Psalm 106:29 speaks of the outbreak of the plague. “They provoked him to anger with their inventions.” Phinehas literally sent a spear into a couple that was into sinful Baal worship through sexual intimacy inside the privacy of a tent (Numbers 25:6-8). As New Testament believers we will not kill people physically that way. Instead, we will use the sharp sword of the Word of God (Heb. 4:12) and preach it to people so that their hearts are “cut” (Acts 2:37). My book, Straight Talk, brings such frank Bible teaching on sex, love, marriage, petting outside marriage, homosexuality, porn, etc. We are now working on edition 3 as I write with vols 1 and 2 sold out.
We are using the acronym C-O-R-O-N-A to outline the message of the Bible on the topic of plagues. And the next letter to consider is O…..
O – ORDERLY QUARANTINE HAS TO BE MAINTAINED DURING THE PLAGUE:
The laws of quarantine set by the local government have to be followed. Leviticus 13:36 speaks of social distancing and isolation. As long as they have the disease, they have to separate themselves from others and stay outside the camp. We must obey in order to stop the spread of the disease. Read Leviticus 5. Cleanliness can be marred by having an issue, leprosy or touching the dead – Numbers 5:2
Leviticus 15:6,17,18,32; Deuteronomy 23:10,11; II Kings 7:3; 15:5. Read these Scriptures that vote for orderly quarantine during times of plague or contagious disease long before medical science was as advanced as it is during our time!
In II Samuel 24, we read about David’s pride and self-sufficiency. God sends a pestilence and 70,000 men died. In II Kings 15:5, the king becomes a leper until his death and lives in a separate house. II Chronicles 26:21, Uzziah the king was a leper till his death and lived in a separate house. Read Leviticus 22:14.
Romans 13:1 teaches that we must obey the Government when it comes laws passed by it that does not contradict the written Word of God. The 21-day quarantine period and consequent ‘stay-at-home’ order by the Government needs to be obeyed for the larger good of the people.
We are using the acronym C-O-R-O-N-A to outline the message of the Bible on the topic of plagues. And the next letter to consider is O…..
N – NEARNESS TO THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS:
“And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven” – Luke 21:11
Many signs of Jesus’ second coming are seen. From 1981, 35 million lives were lost due to the HIV pandemic; 1.4 billion were infected globally by the Swine Flu in 2009. 11,325 died and 28,600 cases reported in the West African Ebola in 2014; in 2015 the Zeke virus caused by mosquitoes affected South and Central America and in 2020 we have the Corona Virus globally. Many lives have been lost in China, Italy, U.S.A., Iran. In Deut 23:10,11, we read about an unclean man who has to cleanse himself.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness. God can help us to be clean! Clean husbands will please wives and vice-versa!
The Lord’s coming will be like a thief at night (I Thessalonians 5:2) and we must be ready for it any-second.
We are using the acronym C-O-R-O-N-A to outline the message of the Bible on the topic of plagues. And the next letter to consider is O…..
A – ALIVE DURING THE TIME OF PLAGUE AND SO WE MUST….
Amos 4:10, Luke 13:1-5 instruct us to repent or perish; repent from pride and prayerlessness. Pilate had mingled the blood of some Galileans with sacrifices.18 people died because the tower of Siloam fell. These people did not die because they were worse sinners than the others. We are all living with the virus of sin and this plague situation is a call to REPENTANCE. Hebrews 11:25 warns us of the passing pleasures of sin. May be prayerlessness and porn watching? If we are alive today, then we should eagerly expect and wait the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior who died for us. Without repentance, we will perish. We need to repent.
Jesus tells us about the ten lepers in Luke 17:12. They were healed. Jesus comes close to us and heals us though we are affected by the virus.
The question He asks is if we will allow His touch. He came in search for us. He wants to come close, touch, and perform a miracle in our lives. Those affected by leprosy had to stay outside the city and could not touch anyone. Corona is causing social distancing but sin is a greater virus than this. We live in a living hell and go to a literal hell because of sin. Intercede for the lost and affected. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. God can help us to be clean and ready for His coming and not left behind. He will lead you and give you a purpose.
Prayer of repentance.
Dear Lord Jesus, I am sorry for my sins. I have a virus deadlier than CORONA, the virus of sin. Wash me with your blood that you shed on the cross. Cleanse me right now from this. Thank you for dying for me. Thank you for rising again. Thank you for being willing to be my friend, a friend closer than my brother.From this day onwards, I want to relate to you, love you, and follow you.
Thank you for cleansing me, washing me. Thank you that I am born again. In your name I pray.
Amen. We ask for God’s healing by His nail-pierced hand and experience miracles, testimonies, and healing and pray for closed doors to open. Let us continue to lead balanced lives and pray for the hurting world. When times return to normalcy, we should not forget God. God consciousness should remain. Let us plunder hell and populate heaven. God does more than we ask for or imagine and we have to follow Him and hold on to His Word.
(The Author of this piece is Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj. He is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. Find out more at www.dukev.org or at www.dukewords.com. This particular article was transcribed from a message that Duke Jeyaraj preached via Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f25tnCjBJ3s) or Facebook on 22 March 2020 by Mrs. Malini Prabakar).
As my wifey dear, Evan Duke, completes four and half decades of existence on God’s green earth, here is a summary of her lovely life and terrific times:
1) HOSTEL-DWELLER EVAN (0-10, 1976-85)
Since her parents, Mr. P. Selvam and Mrs. Esther Selvam, were missionaries to interior areas of Tamil Nadu first (Sitteri Hills) and Odisha later (including the area in which the Dr. Staines served), Evan lived in hostel even before she turned five. She was a protective elder sister to her two younger brothers – Solbrekken and Revivan.
When Missionary Mon Singh gave an altar call in Santhosha Vidhyalaya, Dohnavur, Tirunelveli District, Evan raised her hand to commit for fulltime ministry. She memorized the entire book of Philippians and recited it in Sunabeda Public School in Odisha – a school in which she became School Captain down the line.
3) HEART-BEAT OF DUKE, EVAN (1996-2001)
At the age of 25, she became the heart-beat of Duke Jeyaraj, a young engineer turned itinerant evangelist and settled to live with a guy whose salary was Rs.3000 a month!
4) HERO OF DALE, EVAN & HYDERABAD HEADING EVAN (2002 – 2005) She became the proud mom of Dale Nathan in 2003. Till date, he remains mummy’s biggest fan! A few hours ago Dale dished out an acronym-choreographed appreciation of his ‘shero’! She clearly heard God’s voice to Duke and herself asking them to move to Hyderabad after stints as Blessing Youth Mission Missionaries in Trivandrum and Jabalpur. And She encouraged her hubby dear to obey this voice and landed in Hyderabad on October 30, 2005 with little Dale in tow.
She prodded her hubby to take up the invitation of Center of Global Leadership Development – Southern Asia Bible College to join a Doctor of Ministry program and helped him focus on that. She stayed back home and managed the home even as Duke got his doctoral degree in 2014. She did nappy-changing happily for little Datasha (born in 2007) even as Duke preached in North West Bengal (Darjeeling) to South Tamil Nadu (Madurai), from West India (Mumbai) to East India (Vizag)! She co-founded the Grabbing the Google Generation (G4 Mission base) from Gehenna Mission with her husband, actively influencing him to say ‘no’ to other ministry job opportunities with other reputed churches and organisations. She encouraged Duke to quit his job with HSBC in 2008 and since then both she and Duke work fulltime with G4 Mission.
6) HEALING-CHANNEL EVAN (2016-2020)
She was the brain behind the Fountain of Tears Against Mountain of Fears Fasting prayer – an intercession event which was held every month at the G4 Mission base. As she led in prayer for the needs of the people who came to this meeting, God graciously moved and did miracles and healings. Cancer gone. Babies born. Marriages became joyous. Life Partners were found.
No – Evan is not perfect. But she is the perfect life-partner and ministry-companion for me!
DID JESUS TEACH IMMORTALITY ON EARTH IN JOHN 11:25-26? DID APOSTLE PAUL TEACH BELEIEVERS WON’T EVER DIE UNLESS THEY CHOOSE TO?
Duke Jeyaraj examines the claims of a Chennai cult pastor and Madurai cult pastor that the Bible teaches that believers need not die if they choose not to
Jesus said, I myself am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus told her. “The man who believes in me will live even though he dies, and anyone who is alive and believes in me will never die at all. Can you believe that?” (John 11:25,26).
Does this verse teach ‘immortality on earth’ as a Chennai cult Pastor and Madurai cult Pastor emphatically teach? Does this mean that believers will never need to physical death?
These verses – John 11:25,26 – does not teach that man will have immortality on this eternity. These verses do not teach that believers will not experience physical death. Why do I say that? Because I have read I Timothy 6:16 which says, “He (God) alone is immortal and dwells in immortal light…” This, Apostle Paul, writes after Jesus spoke the words he spoke in John 11:25-26. We must interpret the words of Jesus the way the Apostle interpret it – not according to our whims and fancies. We cannot interpret Jesus’ words according to way some cult pastors interpret it. We must follow Christ, as Apostle Paul followed Christ. We must interpret Christ as Apostle Paul interpreted Christ! Also, don’t forget, that Apostle Paul included ‘death’ in the list of the things that cannot separate a believer who abides in Christ, from Christ (Romans 8:38). If he believed in immortality/physical death cancellation, he would not have included death! If he believed that death is not for a believer, Paul would not have acknowledged that a ‘sentence of death’ hung over him and the other apostles doing God’s Work (I Cor. 4:9).
So, what did Jesus mean when he said, “anyone who is alive and believes in me will never die” (John 11:26)? We must ask the question, “What did Jesus mean by the word ‘die’ here?” This question brings us to the different meanings of the word ‘death’ in the Bible. A careful study of the word ‘death’ in the Bible tells us that there are three kinds of death.
First, there is spiritual death. In fact, the first reference in the Bible about death, concerns spiritual death. God told the first couple: “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Did Adam and Eve experience physical death instantly when they ate the forbidden fruit? No. But they died spiritually speaking. For Jesus, this concept of death was foremost in his mind. In Luke 15:32, the Loving, Waiting Father says the prodigal, lost son was “dead” but now “alive” after he repented and returned! Was the prodigal younger son “dead” – physically or literally? No. He was very much alive! He squandered his father’s wealth in ‘reckless LIVING’ (Lk 15:13). He was the “LIFE” of the party (to use today’s youth’s language) when he partied hard living in open sin, yet he was DEAD (according to his dad, according to Jesus who narrated this parable). Only after his repentance and return to God, did he find LIFE! Otherwise he was DEAD. Luke 15:32 is clear. Apostle Paul also taught the same thing. Those living in sin are “dead in sin” he wrote concerning the Ephesian believers before they found Jesus (Eph. 2:1).
The second kind of death the Bible talks about is physical death. When the Bible says in Genesis 5:5, “Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died”, it is talking about physical death. Physical death is called the ‘way of all the earth’ (Josh 23:14, Joshua’s words; I Kings 2:2, David’s words). Joshua heard Moses his mentor asking those he lead to “choose life and not death” (Deut. 30:19, 29:2). Yet he knew while he found spiritual life through Yahweh, he did have to die physically! The Madurai pastor quotes ‘choose life’ (from the Old Testament) at the end of an immortality-promoting sermon! Why not also quote Josh 23:14 and I Kings 2:2 and other Old Testament passages that clearly say that death is for all – including Yahweh followers and believers in the Messiah (Jesus) to come! In the light of the full message of the Bible, choose ‘life’ did not mean Physical Death’s end (Joshua, who heard it did not see it that way)!
The third kind of death is eternal death. For Apostle John – the author of John 11:25-26 (the fave verse of no-physical-death-for-believers-bluffers) – this was the meaning of death. He called it ‘second death’ or ultimate death. Hell punishment was ‘second death’ for John (Rev. 21:8). If you have not read Revelation 21:8 which the author of Gospel of John also wrote here it is:”But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
When Jesus died on the Cross, He endured ‘second death’ punishment for us. We should have gone to hell which the Bible calls as ‘second death’ (Rev. 21:8). But Jesus endured hell – which is ultimate death – for us. As he hung on the Cross, he cried out, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me!” Jesus experienced the hell of separation from his father! As he hung on the Cross, he cried out, “I thirst!” Those were the words that Rich Man spoke after he died (physical death) to endure second/eternal death (punishment in hell) (Luke 16). Jesus spoke those very words while he hung on the Cross! We can see it this way: Jesus endured ultimate death – which the Bible calls ‘second death’ in Revelation 21:8 – so that we will not have to go to hell! In Romans 5:8-9 and I Thessalonians 1:10 Apostle Paul also explains how Jesus’ death on the Cross saved believers who would abide in him from ‘second death’ – hell punishment (or the coming wrath). So the message of John 11:25-26 is simple: Jesus died to save us from hell-punishment; if we live in Christ, we will never go to hell. I tell youth this: If you come to Jesus now, he will save you from your living hell (the disappointment you have as you found out that you never found in sin, what you entered sin to find) and literal hell (burning Sulfur furnace punishment).
So, Jesus was not teaching physical death cancellation in John 11:25-26 (as what he said would contradict what he spoke through the Holy Spirit through Apostle Paul that only God can be ‘immortal’, I Tim. 6:16). The meaning of John 11:25-26 is this: “those who keep believing in Jesus will be resurrected by spiritual death and be kept from eternal death – hell punishment!” Let not the cult-pastors-brigade confuse you by making you believe that these verses – John 11:25-26 means something else!
There is another reason why I believe that Jesus did not teach physical death cancellation for the believer in John 11:25-26. If there was to be no death for his followers why did he allow John the Baptist to die (Matt. 14)? If there was to be no death for believers why did Jesus allow James the apostle to die (Acts 12)? If there is no death for New Covenant believers why did Apostle Paul commend Ephaphroditus one of his ministry team members for risking his life for the Lord and almost dying (Phil. 2)? If death was cancelled for believers believers cannot be ever at ‘risk’ of dying – isn’t it? But Ephaphroditus faced this real risk according to Paul. So, Apostle Paul never believed what these cult pastors are saying that he believed! He never believed in immortality on earth!
These cult pastors twist Scriptures to teach that Hebrews 9:23-28 and 2 Cor. 5:15 to bring this false teaching: “When Jesus died, we all died and when Jesus rose we all rose. So, since Jesus died once for all and will not die again, we too will have to die!” The Madurai cult pastor argues: “Since we were buried with Christ when we got water baptized (see Romans 6:3) we will not have to die again!” Really?
So, John 11:25-26 must be interpreted with the light of the rest of the Bible. If Jesus meant physical death cancellation for the believer in John 11:25-26, he would not called his disciples to be martyrdom ready using the ‘grain of wheat’ imagery in John 12:24. But he did! You see – cancelling physical death, here and now, was never part of Jesus’ plan for us!
These cult pastors also claim that Apostle Paul kept beating death (in the sea amidst storms, in the island of Malta – they quote these examples). But he ultimately died because he chose to die. God took Apostle Paul because Apostle Paul gave permission to God to take him away when he wrote, “I finished the race” (2 Tim 4) – this is their bizarre claim. Apostle Paul – hear me good – never for a second thought that he would be immortal as he wrote that ONLY GOD can be immortal (I Tim. 6:16). The Chennai cult pastor says Paul, like Jesus had the right to lay down his life on his own accord (John 10:18). What blasphemy! This is an attempt to make Paul, a mere human as God, by this cult pastor! Only God has the power over the duration of one’s life. King Hezekiah understood that correctly. That’s why he pleaded with God to extend his life weeping bitterly. We see the same truth in the New Testament when in Acts we read that Jesus is the ‘author of life’ (Acts 3:15).
Yes, Jesus will stop physical human death one day. That is after his Second Coming! Revelation 21:4 talks about a time when there will be no more death in this world! Notice this happens only after Jesus’ return to the earth riding a white horse which is recorded in Revelation 19! So, do not get confused and get carried by what these cult false pastors teach.
The Chennai cult pastor asserts that Jesus will not come back until a generation in church rises to beat death. He quotes Psalm 110:1/alluded to in I Cor. 15:25 to ‘prove’ this: He says after reading this verse, “Jesus is sitting right now at the right hand of the father. His body and legs are the church. And the church should make all enemies the footstool! And death is the last enemy to be defeated (I Cor. 15:26)! So, when a generation rises in the church that beats death by believing in immortality, and then Jesus will come back. Till then he will only sit at the right hand of the father!” This interpretation is wrong. Why? It violates the principle in the Bible that Jesus will return without giving any warning to anyone. Four Scriptures teach that Jesus will return like a thief in the night (Matt. 24:43; I Thess. 5:2,4; Rev. 16:15). The meaning is plain as day: Jesus will return when no one expects him! Only a fool will say, “Jesus can never come until this happens!” The truth of the Bible is this: “Jesus can come anytime!” If Jesus will not come till a generation beats death (as this Chennai pastor asserts), that again gives youth time to live in sin without the fear of being “left behind” during his coming! So, this teaching put forth by these cult pastors lead to slackening of holiness! That’s why these doctrinal deviations are taking people to hell! That’s why these doctrines put forth by this immortality company of pastors are “doctrines of demons” whose final destiny is hell.
And if you carefully read Psalm 110:1/I Cor. 15:25 (also quoted in Matt. 22:22 and Heb. 2:8) that verse says that Jesus must reign until “He” has put everything “under his feet” (re-read I Cor. 15:25)! But this Chennai cult pastor is talking about believers – not ‘He’ meaning Jesus – working to put everything “under his feet!” So, it Jesus who will defeat the final enemy called Death. Believers will not do it! It is Jesus who will do it! That’s why Paul writes, “to those who….Seek immortality” (Rom. 2;5) following repentance (Rom. 2:5), Jesus will give eternal life (Rom. 2:7). We must get that clear – immortal life for believers is only in future eternity (‘will give’).
These cult pastors have an agenda. Their main target is the younger generation. If youth are told, ‘no more death’, then that would give youth (or anyone else who will believe this rubbish) the license to sin. Because after death there is no chance for salvation as the Bible teaches (Hebrews 9:27). After death, there is going to be only judgement! And if we are found to be living in secret sin and not abiding in Christ then hell is where we will go! So, by removing death from the equation by twisting and raping certain Bible verses, they want to remove the fear of God from the youth and give them license to sin with freedom! Let us not welcome such teaching and share in their wicked work (2 John 10,11) and land in hell with them!
I say this because both the Chennai cult pastor and the Madurai cult pastor readily admit that they may die anytime but they say that they will still preach immortality “as it is in the Word of God”! As we have seen here above – it is not in the Word of God! So, what is the real reason why they preach this poison? The real reason they preach immortality is to comfort young people in their sin. I implore them to repent and start preaching like Jesus: “Tonight your life will be demanded from you….” (Luke 12:20)/”Mrs Lot did not have lots of time to repent….so remember Lot’s wife….(Luke 17:32)!”
(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a reader supported Indian ministry. Find out more at www.dukev.org or via WhatsApp at +91-8886040605).
SEPTEMBER 2, 2009. 5 A.M. YSR REDDY IS READY… It was 5 A.M. in the morning on September 2, 2009. While others slept and snored, this medical doctor-turned-Chief Minister (of one of India’s most progressive states), Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhar Reddy, planned. Planned for a surprise visit to Anupally in Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh, India, to launch a mass contact program with the people. Dr. YSR (as he was fondly called) was ready to leave Hyderabad for Chittoor. “I am planning surprise visits to villages to check on the implementation of drought relief measures,” he told the media minutes before he took off. Little did we know then, that those would be his last words to the press.
At 8:35 A.M., this man who believed in wasting no time had already taken off in the 11-year old, 4,218 kg heavy, Bell 430 Helicopter. Nobody knows what happened after that. But circumstantial evidence gives reason to believe that this could have happened: The weather turned bad; Pilot Group Captain S.K. Bhatia could not see the ground below (in Kurnool District) that well; it was then that he veered the chopper to the right. He deviated from the normal route at least by 18 kms; he was desperately trying to see the ground below, in the process letting the Helicopter drop altitude; What he did not perhaps realize was that the thickly forested Nallamala hills lay below; the highest peak of this closely located mountain range was 339 meters above sea level.
When finally the Pilot saw the Nallamala hills through the rumbling, dark monsoon clouds above them, he may have misjudged their height; the helicopter was already flying dangerously low at 300-400 m at one point – low enough for an SMS to be delivered by a mobile tower to the phone of A.S.C. Wesley, the Chief Security Officer of the Chief Minister who was also in helicopter; and before long, in split seconds, the Bell Chopper crashed onto one side of those hills after having journeyed just 55 minutes, with much of the fuel in its 935 litre capacity fuel tank, still left unused. And as it crashed, it exploded- the fuel it carried propelling a blazing fireball.
There was a faint possibility that Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhar Reddy could have survived the crash like Palestine Leader Yasser Arafat did after his Russian-built-Antonov-24 transport plane crash-landed in April 1992 even though help arrived for him only after five long hours.
Unfortunately, that did not happen – the greatest search operation in Indian history driven by 11 helicopters and satellite images could locate the crash site only 24 hours later; the nearest human beings who could have helped him and the other four occupants (from the Chenchu Tribal Hamlet) upon hearing their heart-rending, blood-curdling cries, were at least 15 to 20 kms away; that none of those in that ill-fated Copter carried a BSNL mobile, the mobile that stood the best chance of working in such an interior area, snuffed out any possibility of an SOS call. Dr. Y. S. Raja Sekhar Reddy was suddenly gone. He abruptly lost his life. (Story reconstructed following the reading of reports found in The Week, September 13, 2009 and Frontline, September 25, 2009).
Was Dr. Reddy, ready for such a sudden exit? Was YSR ready to die? Here is a personal question: Are YOU, Sir, ready to die? What about you, Madam?
Death, let’s talk about it. Let’s be brave and talk about the grave without beating about the bush! It may not be pleasant to do that. But we must do it, nevertheless, for our good. And the Bible, I discovered, uncovers some facts about death – facts which we cannot just ignore. Let me share them with you:
1. DEATH IS SURE
SHERAWAT OR SHEKHAWAT – DEATH IS CERTAIN Death, the Bible teaches is SURE. We read in the Bible, “Man is destined to die once and after that face judgment” (Heb 9:27). Death, according to the Bible, is each man’s destiny. You could sleep in an oxygen chamber, like Michael Jackson. But you still will have to die one day, like he did. You may be a Mallika Sherawat. You may be a Bharion Singh Shekawat. You will have to die one day.
WHETHER IN INDIA OR INDIANA – DEATH IS SURE TO VISIT YOU Death, as Joshua, put it, “was the way of all the earth” (Josh 23:14). People, rich and poor, male and female, young and old, die. Death is a universal leveller of people. You may live in India or Indiana (in the United States). But you will have to die one day. You could try and avoid death like King Ahab did. He went to a battle in disguise, fully armoured, head to foot. But an enemy’s arrow, an arrow which was not really shot at him, hit him in the joints between his armour and he was gone (I Kings 22)! The man who boasted that he would return safely from the battle was dead.
HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT YOUR OWN DEATH? Does the thought that you will have to die one day, ever occur to you? Are you far too busy with your life, that you haven’t given a single thought at all about death – your death? You may be a Life Insurance Company agent. You may have spoken several times over about the possible death of your potential clients. But what about your own death – have you pondered purposefully about it?! You may be a medical doctor. You may have saved several patients from death and warned some about it. But what about your own death? Have you stopped to think deeply about it?!
2. DEATH CAN BE SUDDEN
STONE BENCHES IN MY COLLEGE IN ALLAHABAD Death, the Bible also teaches, can be SUDDEN. When I was a B. Tech. Student in Allahabad Agricultural Institute, I came across several stone benches in that sprawling campus. Many of those benches were dedicated to students who died while they were still in the Campus! Yes, death can come to us, without any notice whatsoever.
It came that way for Y. S. Rajashekar Reddy. It also came that way for Osama Bin Laden.
WHEN NAVY SEALS HELICOPTERS HOVERED OVER BIN LADEN’S HOUSE… After the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks, he was the most wanted terrorist in the world. We are talking about Osama Bin Laden here. For over 10 years, he eluded capture by hiding brilliantly. He probably believed that he would never ever be caught. Otherwise, he would not dared to stay in a huge $1 million house, eight times the size of a normal house with walls 12 feet to 18 feet high, within 40 kms from the Pakistan captital, in an affluent suburb called Abbottabad. They were led to this house, which had no internet connection, by following one of the trusted couriers that Osama used. That particular night, 1 May, 2011, he went to sleep with his youngest wife. “I have escaped capture by the United States all these days, months, years. Tonight will be like every other night. I will sleep soundly with my youngest wife and wake up next morning so that I can continue to lead my organization in its struggle against the US!” Once the raiders reached their target, things started to go awry almost immediately, officials briefed on the operation said. Officials described just how the SEAL raiders loudly ditched a foundering helicopter right outside bin Laden’s door, ruining the plan for a surprise assault. That forced them to abandon plans to run a “squeeze play” on bin Laden — simultaneously entering the house stealthily from the roof and the ground floor. Instead, they stormed into the ground floor and began a floor-by-floor search of the house, blowing up doors, working up to the top level where they had assumed bin Laden — if he was in the house — would be. They were right. The raiders came face-to-face with bin Laden in a hallway outside his bedroom, and three of the Americans stormed in after him after having killed two occupants of the compound enroute. Going by certain reports, Osama tried to use one woman there as a human shield to escape the gun shots fired by US Navy SEALS. In the intense fire-fight that followed, the 54-year-old Osama was killed. The operation lasted for 38 minutes. President Obama watched the entire operation real time (though it must be said that there was a black out of about 20 minutes). [News gathered from multiple reports of this event found in online articles] THE RICH MAN JESUS REFERRED TO & YOU! The rich man that Jesus spoke about also thought that he could go to sleep and wake up like he normally would every morning whistling, taking it cool. This Rich Man told himself one day, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ (Luke 12:19). His focus was on goods, when it should have been God. And God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ (Luke 12:20). (If the finite US Navy SEALS could search out and capture Osama, there is no hiding that is effectively possible from an all-knowing and all-powerful God!) The rich man was talking about “many years” when God’s plan was to allow the taking away of his life that same night! Jesus also pointed out that the Rich man was not rich in his relationship with God (who was in the flesh in the person of Jesus – Luke 12:21) and therefore this Rich Man was unprepared for eternity if sudden death had come knocking. After a person’s death, there will no more opportunities given him to be saved – this is what the Bible teaches (See Hebrews 9:27). Do you still foolishly tell yourself, “I could take many more years before I finally decide to come to Christ. In the meantime, I choose to enjoy the pleasures of the world, soak-in the short-term pleasures of sin. Later on, when it’s convenient, I will repent and trust Jesus as my Savior!”? Why fool yourself? Come to Christ, now! Come in repentance! The rich man was called a ‘fool’ by Jesus for not preparing for the countless years he would spend in eternity, while he was too concerned about his few years on earth (60 or 70). On the other hand, there were five virgins who were prepared for the coming of the Bridegroom (as evidenced by their filling their lamps with oil) were called “wise” by the same Jesus (Mt 25:4)! Are you foolish and unprepared? For eternity? Or wise and prepared? For eternity?
BIBLE CHARACTER WHO GOT KILLED IN A CAR CRASH! David’s son, the handsome and winsome Absalom would tell you that that death can come suddenly. He was Bible’s answer to John Abraham, this Absalom. He “unexpectedly” met his father’s men (II Sam 18:9 NLT). He raced away from them on his “car” and consequently died in a crash – you can see it that way, because the mule he rode on was the car of those days! His long locks got locked onto a low-lying branch even as he sped away and was found by Joab who brutally killed him! He died when he was thinking of unseating his father from the throne. Death was the last thing on his mind! He was dreaming of life as the king when he was killed suddenly! He was perhaps dreaming of sitting on the throne of his dad, just minutes before he was found hanging as a dead body suspended between heaven and earth without a seat!
WHAT SORT OF CD WILL BE IN YOUR IN YOUR DVD PLAYER If you were to die suddenly, would you be ready to face death? What will people catch you doing busily, if you were to die, suddenly? Would it be something that pleases Jesus? There were some young folk who had meat that they sinfully desired, in between their teeth when they died suddenly (Psa 78:30-31). What CD would be left in your DVD player, if you were to die suddenly, without being able to pull it out? What websites would you have left open, if you were to die suddenly, without being able to close them? Would envy, bitterness, pride, remain in your heart, if it were to stop beating, suddenly? Would you be left with the regret of missed evangelism opportunities, if you were to die, instantly and suddenly?!
4. DEATH IS JUST A STEP
Death, the Bible goes on to further teach, is just a STEP. Death may mean a “stop” for your heart-beat. But it is certainly not a stop for your life. Even after you die, you will go on living – either in eternal heaven or eternal hell – according to the Only Person who died and rose again from the dead, Jesus. Yes, Jesus, saw death as just a STEP into eternity. You will come to this conclusion when you read Mathew 25:46. Jesus agreed with the Old Testament teaching that God has placed eternity in every person’s hearts (Eccl 3:11). When we die, our relatives may carry our dead bodies. But there is someone else who carries us too, when we die, Jesus taught. He talked about a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores: after he died, “angels” carried him. By mentioning this, Jesus was teaching that after you die, you continue to exist. The real you, which is your soul goes on living forever (Luke 16:22). If you were to die, now, where would you go – eternal heaven or ever-burning hell? The Bible talks about a day of accounting after we die – are you ready for that (Heb 9:27)? We must give a personal account of our lives to the God who made us, after we die; the Bible declares (Rom 14:12).
5. DEATH IS A STOP (IN A SENSE)
WHY WEEPING & GNASHING OF TEETH IN HELL After you die, all your chances for salvation would be stopped. This is the teaching of the Bible. There would be no second chances what so ever. After death, there would be judgment (Heb 9:27). No more chances to sit in gospel meetings would be offered. No more chances to repent would be given. In fact, after one goes to hell, there is no way, one could crossover from hell to heaven. This is what Abraham tells the rich man who went to hell (Luke 16:26). Once a person reaches hell, he would stay put there, forever (Psa 49:11). Jesus often spoke about “weeping” and “gnashing of teeth” in Hell. If you went to well, you would weep. Why? You would weep for the many chances you blew away to repent and believe on Jesus – the only way to escape hell. If you went to hell, you will gnash your teeth. Why? You would be angry with yourself for having deliberately missed golden opportunities to believe in Jesus as your Savior. So, we must not forget, in that sense, death means an absolute stoppage of all chances for salvation.
WHEN SUREST RAINA DROPPED YOUSUF PATHAN Yousuf Pathan, was dropped twice in the final, on his way to his match-winning fifty in the first ever Indian Premier League tourney (2008). When Suresh Raina dropped him (he was only on 13), it could be said that he dropped the IPL Cup! Later it was the same Suresh Raina who ran him out with a superb direct hit when he attempted to steal a run. But that dismissal came far too late. Yousuf had already made 56 runs and the Rajasthan Royals were sniffing victory by then. When you reject the offer that Jesus gives you of salvation, peace, joy, purpose in life, you are dropping something far more costly than what Suresh Raina dropped in the IPL Cup Final! You are perhaps saying that you would come to Christ when you are old. You want to enjoy the pleasures of the planet now. It may be too late to do that – just how it became too late for Suresh Raina to have run out Yousuf Pathan. The reason? You could die at any moment, and after death, no one would get an opportunity to trust in Jesus and be saved, according to the Bible (Heb 9:27). In that sense, death is a stop.
5. AFTER DEATH WE CAN SMILE
DEATH, AS GAIN! Death, the Bible tells us, can be an occasion to SMILE. Yes, death can be an occasion for a beaming smile for some folks. It is quite true that for folks without a daily living relationship with Jesus, death can become an unbearably hopeless and a super sad event (I Thess 4:13). But it is also true that death can be an occasion to look forward to with a smile, for folks who love Jesus and are ready to face Jesus when He returns to this planet the second time as the Judge of all the earth. I am talking about folks like Paul who saw death as a ‘gain’ and an experience ‘better’ than the present life (Phil 1:21-23). Life with Christ is an endless hope while life without Christ is a hopeless end. All our diseases will be fully would be fully gone then – the Bible teaches (Rom. 8:21).
ELIZABETH TAYLOR’S FEAR You may have a gnawing fear of death, deep down within – a fear that never goes away. Elizabeth Taylor, the American actress had guards search under her bed night after night, because she was so very scared of being killed while sleeping. You may not be Liz Taylor. You may not be a rich and famous person like her. But nevertheless, if there is one thing you fear on this earth, it is death! But I have good news for you: Jesus Christ came to this world to free those who struggle, all their lives, with the nagging fear of death, the Bible records (Heb. 2:14-15).
The price Jesus had to pay to earn that freedom for us was His death (Heb 2:14-15). After He rose again from the dead, He taunted death, by asking the question, “Where O Death is your victory? Where O Death is your sting?” (I Cor 15:55).
WHEN SECOND DEATH’S POWER IS MADE NULL Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years – this is what we read in the Bible in Revelation 20:6. If I were to put that verse in my words, keeping the whole message of the Bible, I would do it this way: “If you have a living daily relationship with Jesus, the first one to raise from the death and get into a glorified body, then, hell (called ‘second death’ in the Bible) has no power over you! You will rule with Jesus forever and forever (thousand is symbolic way of saying ‘forever’ or ‘eternal’ – See Daniel 7:14 and II Peter 1:11)!”
If Jesus is in your life, you too can smile at death, when or whenever it comes knocking, however suddenly or crudely. And what is more – your life on this earth, till the second you die, becomes full of meaning and joy (John 10:10; I Peter 1:8). And after you die, eternity with God will bacon you.
(This article is part of Duke Jeyaraj’s book, Goodnews for the Google Generation. This book has similar Gospel presentations of Duke – wrapped around Cricket, around Football, and other gripping events. This book is currently out of print. Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission, a ministry that’s supported by those blessed by his messages and articles – all Indians. Find out more at www.dukev.org).
A biblical response to hyper-supernaturalism by Dr. Duke Jeyaraj
There is an increasing craze to attend meetings where forensic prophecy and “miracle money” is the order of the day in the meeting. For those of you who do not know, forensic prophecy involves supposed “Holy Spirit” bizarre revelations about details unknown to the preacher like phone numbers, date of birth, month of birth, bank account details, bank balance details, etc., of those in the audience/or those known to the audience. When these are mentioned by the so-called “prophet”, the audience is stunned and they tell themselves, “How come this prophet knows all this! He is certainly guided by God! He is really a man of God and I must follow his teachings and support his ministry with my time, talents and treasures!” There are popular preachers who are into forensic prophecy from India, from Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom and many other countries of the World. The focus of meetings these preachers organize and minister in, are forensic prophecies. They can be called hyper-supernatural preachers (preachers who excessively focus on the supernatural and go beyond what the Bible teaches when it comes to the operation of miracles/healings/etc).
A popular worship leader who encourages a lot of so-called healing pastors/evangelists by touring along-side them said this in a rebuttal video clip which I saw as telecasted by a TV News Channel: “First raise 10 people from the dead and then come and lecture me from the Bible what true worship is!” (he says this to this critics). From the tone of this argument we can conclude he is hyper-supernatural. For him, the Bible does not seem to be final court of appeal. The final court of appeal for him, is miracles. If miracles happen, he feels, then that ministry is genuine. This is the typical assertion of the person who is swayed by the hyper-supernatural false teaching. We will refute this teaching later on in this article.
In response to the question, “Why are you busy chasing forensic prophetic miracles and miracle money miracles?” the usual response given by such proponents is this: “Jesus said we who believe in him will do greater works than him as John 14:12 says. So, we do this!”
Such a response does not hold water. It is not adequate. It is not convincing. Let me explain:
Can this miracle-money/forensic-prophecy group say, “Jesus claimed to be the only way of Salvation. He also said that we his followers would do greater works than him. So, we Jesus’ miracle-working followers, are even more a greater way of Salvation than even Jesus himself!”? They cannot say that. Why? The Bible remains the final court of appeal for all matters of belief and behaviour. We cannot have a Bible interpretation for any Bible verse that violates the Bible itself.
First of all, we must seek to find out what the word “works” (NKJV/NASB) Jesus referred to in John 14:12 mean. Do they mean “signs and wonders” as this Forensic Prophecy/Miracle Money group confidently says it means?
BELOW THE PASSAGE
First, we must read BELOW that verse. We must read the next two verses – that is John 14:13 & 14 – to understand the meaning of the word that Jesus used means. They go this way: “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14 NASB). The “greater works” – works greater than Jesus’ works, that is – that believers will do must bring God’s glory (see John 14:13) and must be worthy enough to be asked for in Jesus’ name (see John 14:14). For example, No one should be saying, “Jesus never slept with any woman. But He said, “I will do greater works than him!” So I am going to sleep with many women!” Why? That request does not bring glory to the father’s name or can be asked in Jesus’ name (because it goes against the teachings of Jesus and what is clearly written elsewhere in the Bible!)
We are trying to find out the meaning of the phrase, “works” when Jesus said, “you who believe in me will do greater works than me” in John 14:12. Scroll further down and we read this, the words of Jesus: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). So the greater works we believers do, should be in line with the commands of Jesus or the Word of God which is the final court of appeal for all matters of belief and behaviour.
Let us scroll down even further to get to the root of the meaning of “greater works” which Jesus spoke about in John 14:12. From John 14:16 onwards Jesus starts to introduce the Holy Spirit. So this is what he is saying: “To do the greater works, you need the fullness of the Holy Spirit whom I will soon send!”
In the book of Acts the Holy Spirit came down. The disciples of Jesus and ordinary believers were filled with the Holy Spirit. They went about doing the “greater works” that Jesus spoke about in John 14:12. Of course they did many miracles enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit. But at the same time, we must not fail to notice that miracles they sought did not always happen. For example, apostle James was imprisoned and killed (Acts 12:2) while Peter was imprisoned and miraculously escaped (Acts 12:7 following). While it was God’s will to have Peter miraculously released it was not his will that James should be released. We must conclude that James, like David, served the purposes of God in his generation and then died (we read this in the same book – the book of Acts in 13:36!). The hyper-supernatural preachers believe “you can force God to answer your prayers every-time”, the way you want him to and this belief is plain unscriptural! [What I have put with-in inverted commas is the subtitle of one of the books of a popular hyper-supernatural black preacher].
Here is another account of “greater things” that the disciples did in the book of Acts: “They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So, they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:40-42). Yes, they were flogged by the enemies of the Gospel, the Jewish leaders. As they were bleeding, they were bubbling. Bubbling with joy that they were counted “worthy” to suffer for the name of Jesus! But despite the “battering” (the flogging) they kept at their “broadcasting” (of the name of Jesus)! Wow! So, I conclude that suffering for the name of Jesus is part and parcel of the “greater works” that Jesus spoke about in John 14:12!
Respected Bible Scholars interpret John 14:12 where Jesus mentions about those who believe in him doing greater works than him this way: “Jesus had accomplished the greatest works possible, including raising the dead. How could He say believers would do greater works? The answer is seen in the extent of what the apostles did. Jesus’ work on the earth was confined to Palestine; the apostles would preach everywhere and see the conversion of thousands. Peter’s message at Pentecost brought more followers to Jesus than did Jesus’ entire ministry. The disciples were able to do this work because Christ would go to the Father and send the Holy Spirit to empower them” (The Nelson Study Bible, 1997 Edition, page 1793). “These works are ‘greater’ not because they are more amazing miracles but because they will be greater in their worldwide scope…” (The ESV Study Bible, 2008 edition, page 2053). “Jesus was alluding here to ministerial labour in the power of the Holy Spirit (by believers), which would be “greater” than Jesus’ in its geographical and numeric extension!” (The Spirit of Reformation Study Bible, 2003 edition, page 1732). So, while it is clear the “greater works” that Jesus referred to was in terms of an unprecedented Jerusalem-Samaria-Ends-of-the-World Acts 1:8 evangelism explosion unseen in the days of Jesus (who never left the boundaries of Israel as an adult), these modern day false teachers who are into forensic prophecy and miracle-money twist those words to sway a generation that does not know the Bible adequately.
ABOVE THE PASSAGE
To understand the correct meaning of what Jesus meant when he said that those who believe in him would do greater works than him (in John 14:12), we must read ABOVE as well. This is what we read in the verse above John 14:12, which is John 14:11 – “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.” Here Jesus claimed to be God and said that he offered his miracles as one of the proofs – though not the most important proof – that he indeed was God. The Jewish audience that Jesus spoke to, instantly understood that Jesus was making himself “equal” to God the Father (whom he called ‘the Father’ here). A few verses above, in John 14:6 Jesus claimed to be the only way to God – the only way to the Father! So, in the verses above John 14:12, Jesus basically gave the Gospel and an apologia for it, a defence for it. So, from the context above John 14:12 we can say this: those who believe in Jesus will do his work of presenting the unique Gospel and an apologia for the same, in far wider scale (to more people in more locations). By doing that they would do “greater” works than Jesus himself!
Also please note that there is a big difference between the miracles that Jesus did to prove his divinity than the miracles believers can do here and now. Jesus never faced any healing failure because he perfectly knew God the Father’s mind about any miracle request. For example, he knew that God’s time for John the Baptist was over, that’s why he never went to raise John the Baptist from the dead even when he heard that he was unfairly murdered. But that is not the case with us. We can pray for miracles. These miracles will happen subject to the will of God. By his exemplary prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus taught us, his followers, to sign out of every prayer – including prayers for miracles – using this phrase, ‘not my will but your will be done’.
God heard my prayer when I prayed for my daughter who was dead in her mom’s womb (in 2007). He raised her up. Now she is a normal child, 11 years on. But God did not hear my prayer that my US Visa should be stamped when I faced the Visa Officer in 2010. There are so many occasions when I have prayed for a miracle and that miracle did not happen. If my fellow ministers of the Gospel speak honestly, they would say that this is their story as well.
ALL THE BIBLE IN THE LIGHT OF THIS PASSAGE
We must not only see above and below any Bible passage to understand its right meaning – we must also see what the entire Bible says about what that passage seems to teach. Before we conclude what that Bible passage teaches, we must consider what the all of the Bible says about the topic/issues which that particular passage throws light upon. For example, we cannot dogmatically conclude that the length of the millennium is 1000 literal years based on just one passage found in Revelation 20. We must check what the whole Bible teaches about the length of the Kingdom of Jesus/the Son of David.
What about miracle money multiplication? I watched a social media video of a popular miracle money preacher from Kerala. He was preaching in Chennai in a meeting where a popular worship leader joined him on stage to interpret his Malayalam message into Tamil. The man who was called “Papa”/”Prophet” by the popular worship leader – claiming revelation from the Holy Spirit when he was praying – talked about a credit of 68 lakhs into the Andhra Bank account of someone in the audience before a specified date (a few month down the line). The audience was stunned. And he prophesied that the man in the audience this prophecy was targeted at (whom we shall call “Dorai” for convenience), carried an Andhra Bank Visa Debit Card in predominantly blue colour. Promptly, Mr. Dorai fished out an Andhra Bank Visa Debit Card with the specifications as mentioned by the “papa Prophet”. The audience burst into raptures. The interpreter-worship leader threw his mike in the air and caught it again, exuding the excitement of a cricket fielder who had taken a World Cup winning catch! Some time back, in a Chennai church meeting the visiting “prophet” preacher accurately “revealed” (what the Holy Spirit supposedly revealed to him) the phone number of a person related to the man he pulled up from the audience much to excitement of the hosting pastor. Meetings of this type, where these kinds of “forensic prophecies” are the main attraction are organized in different locations and hosted by different churches. Was Jesus envisioning meetings like these when he said by in John 14:12 that those who believe in him would do greater miracles than him?
Absolutely not. We have no record of such a focus in miracle-doing in the book of Acts. In the book of Acts, the apostles prayed for the sick. They looked to God when they were in a crisis (like when they were about to drown). They looked to God when they were imprisoned. And God responded as per his will (as we saw above). The miracles did not always happen. And when they did not, they did not frown. But they felt “fantastic” – their joy-level did not drop – and kept at doing what God had called them to do.
WHAT THE APOSTLE DID WHEN THEY NEEDED MONEY…
When there was need for money, they did not pray for the multiplication of the money they had. They sold properties they had and brought the proceeds to the apostles (Acts 4:37). They picked up jobs that paid them like tent-making (Acts 18:1-3). They encouraged believers to give to the Lord instead of just receiving from Him (Acts 20:35). Not once, did they pray for the money they had to multiply! We must copy the apostles who followed Jesus because of Paul’s repeated call to follow Christ as he and other apostles followed Christ (I Cor. 11:1; 4:16; Phil. 3:17; 4:9; I Thess. 1:6; 2 Thess. 3:9). So, we must follow the apostles way of doing greater things than Jesus and that does not include miracles like miracle money multiplication or forensic prophecy.
FORENSIC PREDICTIONS HAPPEN EVEN IN SECULAR TV SHOWS…
In fact, forensic predictions routinely happen in secular, non-Christian TV shows like America’s Got Talent (Just Google Colin Cloud). Magicians who are not Christ followers do them with regularity. That is not something to be surprised about. Don’t we see Pharaoh’s magicians do miracles in the book of Exodus (7:11,22; 8:7)? Did not even the Lord Jesus himself predict that “False messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect!” (Mark 13:22)? Does not Jesus himself warn about those who would prophecy, drive out demons, and even do many miracles in his name who won’t enter his Kingdom – make it to heaven but would rather go to hell – in the Gospels (Matt. 7:21-23)? Don’t we see a demon-possessed young girl doing the same in the book of Acts before the apostles sent the demon packing from her (Acts 16:16-18)? Doesn’t Apostle Paul predict that the Anti-Christ (called “the Lawless one”) will do “signs and wonders” that “serve the lie” and “deceive those who are perishing” in the last days (2 Thess. 2:9-10)? In the book of Revelation, don’t we read of “demonic spirits which work miracles” (Rev.16:14 NLT)? Don’t we see the Ultimate False Prophet part of the False Trinity who shows up in Revelation doing miraculous signs to delude those who receive the mark of the Beast (the Antichrist), only to land in eternal hell (Rev. 19:20)?
Doing miracles is not a proof that God approves what you do, for even Satan and his team can do the same (as seen above). Doing miracles will not even guarantee someone a place in heaven (as seen above). So do not believe and go after this group of so-called ministers of God who do these kinds of miracles. Stay rooted in the Word of God! Such ministers of the Gospel who flout the written Word of God and obvious biblical pattern are dangerous because they can really take you to hell with them! So, be wary of them!
Also have you not wondered why there is a registration fee for these meetings where there is supposed abundance of “miracle money” miracles? Why don’t the organizers pray over their own bank accounts/ministry bank accounts so that there would be a dramatic money-multiplication which would be enough to meet the expenses of these meetings? You see, when believers are ready to be fooled, there would be no dearth of preachers who will be ready to fool them! This is the repeated, sad story when one goes through Church History.
[Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Write to Duke via +91-8886040605 (WhatsApp)]