“These heroes will never be defaced. Their legacy will never, ever be destroyed. Their achievements will never be forgotten. And Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom.” – So said US President Donald Trump in a much-talked-about Independence Day speech in front of the iconic Mount Rushmore on 3 July 2020. At this time, I recalled a Bible truth about FREEDOM that warns hyper-grace cult embracing believers that we must not rush towards sin because we are ‘free’! At this juncture, I was reminded of a much-neglected truth about FREEDOM that needs to be re-hammered in this false-Grace-embracing age, found in the book which is the very Word of the living God, a book with words that will stand forever according to the Lord Jesus who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away; but my words will never pass-away!” (Luke 21:33)! And I put that truth I discovered in my personal devotion on this poster! Just in case you have never seen the two Bible verses I am quoting in this poster, here they are: “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Pet. 2:16). Here is how Eugene Peterson puts a part of I Pet. 2:16 – ‘Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules’ (MSG).
(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a viewer-supported, reader-supported Indian ministry to the Google Generation. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Write to Duke via email@example.com or via WhatsApp 918886040605).
India Today reported the horrific alleged murder of Jayaraj and Fenix this way:
Jayaraj (59) and his son Fenix Emmanuel (31) ran a mobile shop in Tuticorin. On June 19, around 8:15 pm Jayaraj was pulled up by the Sathankulam police officials who were on patrol. They upbraided him for exceeding the curfew by 15 minutes. On Saturday, Jayaraj was taken in by the police and soon after his son Fenix was arrested too when he went to enquire about his father’s arrest.
The two of them were booked under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 353 (use of force to deter public servant from duty) 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), and 506(2) (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
In custody, they were allegedly tortured. They were later released and taken to a hospital where a doctor declared them fit despite eyewitnesses reporting that they beaten up and still bleeding.
The Sathankulam police then approached magistrate B Saravanan for the remand of Jayaraj and Fenix. The magistrate allegedly gave the remand order without physically seeing the father-son duo, which is required to ascertain if detainees are injured.
Fenix’s lawyer who was there in the station when the police officials hit the father-son duo had a horrifying tale to share.
Advocate S Manimaran, an eyewitness to the brutality said, “We were standing out and we were seeing the whole incident from outside through a glass gate. Fenix and his father were beaten. In the morning there was blood all over the place where they were sitting.”
He added that Fenix was beaten so brutally, his flesh was ripped off.
He said, “I gave them four clothes to change. We had laid down a blanket in the seat of the car when we went to pick them up, Fenix had lost a lot of flesh on his back. He was a well-built man. The car driver was in tears seeing their state. The spot where Fenix sat was covered with blood, the place where Jayaraj was sitting was also all blood. The blankets are still with us. They were beaten to death.”
Quoting friends and family, The Federal reported that when the father-son duo was released from jail, they were found profusely bleeding from their rectum.
“Between 7 am and 12 pm on June 20, the father and son had changed at least seven lungies (waistcloth) each as they had become wet due to blood oozing from their rectums,” The Federal quoted a friend of Fenix as saying.
The friend also said that the father-son duo came out of prison in a dishevelled state with torn and bloodied clothes.
He added that they complained of severe rectum pain and kept bleeding from their rectum.
Friends of Fenix, who were present in the police station when the police rounded them up, told the news outlet that for three hours, they heard only the screams and cries of Jayaraj and Fenix.
“Throughout the night, the duo cried for help and people residing about 500 meters away from the station could hear that,” the eyewitness reportedly said.
Jayaraj and his son were later produced before the magistrate and the duo was sent to Kovilpatti sub-jail. That evening, both the father and son were taken to the Kovilpatti government hospital. Fenix died on Monday evening and the following morning Jayaraj succumbed to respiratory illness.
(articles by India Today).
What should be our response to this alleged unspeakable crime?
First, we must MOURN. Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:15 this: Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. When was the last time you wept? And for what did you weep?
Second, we must REGISTER OUR PROTEST. The least we can do is to register protest against such alleged horrific crimes via media such as change.org (a place to register online petitions). God’s complaint against Jerusalem was this: “They have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper and they do not defend the rights of the needy (Jer. 5:28). As believers we are spiritual Israel and that accusation can be leveled against us as well!
Third, we must learn BIBLE LESSONS FROM THIS TRADEGY.
The charge of DISPROPORTIONATE PUNISHMENT can be justifiably leveled against the policemen involved. However, when God sends those who stubbornly and finally reject Jesus having chosen Satan and Sin instead, into ever-burning hell of torment, he would be absolutely just. Let me explain by recalling Psalm 51. When David sinned with Bathsheba, he wrote this: Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment (Psa. 51:4).
We would have thought David sinned primarily against Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband and Bathsheba’s grandfather, Ahitophel (who was David’s trusted counselor) when he committed adultery cum murder in 2 Samuel 11. But the Bible says, David’s sin was against the God of Heaven and Him alone! So, every sin that is committed is a sin against an eternal God who wants to lavish us with his eternal love! And the punishment for such a sin against the eternal God is everlasting torment, justifiably!
But God does not want anyone to go into the eternal torment of hell – he wants to save us instead (2 Peter 3:9). So, that is why Jesus was sent into this world (John 3:16). The consequences of our sins are this: a living hell here and now (2 Sam. 13) and a literal hell thereafter (Rev. 21:7-8). But Jesus took that upon himself as he hung on the Cross (Gal. 2:20). Now, if we turn from sin (Luke 13:1-5) and come to him in faith (John 1:12), our lives will be meaningful and joyous!
After having known Jesus as Savior you must be a bold witness for him. A BBC report on the above incident goes this way: The magistrate’s report included eyewitness testimony by the female constable at the police station in Sathankulam – and the court has asked district officials to ensure her safety. This female constable could have chosen to be mum about what she saw. But she boldly spoke up so that Jayaraj and Felix would get justice. Empowered by the Holy Spirit we can be “bold witnesses” and “gutsy witnesses” for Jesus (Acts 1:8). Stephen was one! This bold witness was a martyr for Jesus! Would you boldly defend the uniqueness of Jesus in a pluralistic world? Would you clearly state that homosexuality is a sin against God in a world which wants to normalize it?
(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org).
The Guardian newspaper talks about an awareness ad – gone viral – which the New Zealand Government’s Department of Internal Affairs released about kids watching porn and the parents not being aware of the same:
“It’s a scene out of every parent’s – and teenager’s – worst nightmare: two adult-film actors turn up naked at the front door, to tell a stunned mother: “Hiya … your son’s been watching us online”… In the latest video for the Keep It Real Online series, actors pretending to be porn stars tell a woman played by comedian Justine Smith that her son has been watching their clips “on his laptop, iPad, Playstation, his phone, your phone, Smart TV projector” (Charlette Graham MaLay’s words posted on 15 June 2020).
The concept of this ad – where porn stars where who were only watched online actually walk into the porn-watcher’s home – gives us one strong Bible reason we must say ‘no’ to porn.
Some say, “I am watching porn to learn sex technique which I will use only inside marriage.”
If this were true it would be okay to invite porn stars into your bedroom after your marriage, warm up with them and roll over to have sex with your wife.
But this very thought is so nauseating, correct? (The mother in this featured ad is super-horrified to see the porn stars standing outside her door!).
But that’s what we do when we watch porn – it is as if we are really having sex with those porn stars, for Jesus equated lustful look with actual adultery in the Bible (Matt. 5:28). Yes, Jesus did that when he said: ‘But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart’ (Matt. 5:28, NKJV).
The female porn performer in the above-mentioned ad says: “We only perform for adults”? So, is porn-watching not okay for kids but okay for adults. Absolutely not!
Apart from this passage there are other Bible passages which teach us porn-watching is sin for EVERYONE (adults included):
Leviticus 18 which has this message when we read it in the literal versions like NKJV/ESV/NASB: a woman’s nakedness belongs to the eyes of her husband alone; a man’s nakedness belongs to the eyes of his wife alone!
Luke 8:27 which tells us that we have opened the door for the devil in our life when we expose our nudity to public (and when we watch non-spousal nudity).
2 Samuel 11:1-2,27 which tells us that watching ‘live’ porn – a woman bathing for example as King David did – or another other kind of porn ‘displeases’ the Lord.
So, let us say ‘no’ to porn watching!
Falling in love with Jesus is the best way of beat porn temptation or any other temptation. I understand that from I Thessalonians 4:3-5. Only pagan who do not ‘know God’ run after lustful pleasures, Apostle Paul writes there. What is knowing God? It is being spiritually intimate with God! Reading Genesis 4:1 teaches me that. Knowing God and being truly being grateful for the grace he demonstrated in having sent his son Jesus to die for us on the Cross – according to Paul – is an antidote that will enable us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, including the porn-temptation (Titus 2:11,12).
(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a viewer supported Indian ministry. Find out more at www.dukev.org. Write to Duke via email – firstname.lastname@example.org – or WhatsApp – 918886040605. Duke has addressed the issue of porn-watching and hot issues on his Youtube channel – www.Youtube.com/visitduke – as well as in his book Straight Talk, the e-book version of which is available on Amazon via Kindle device/app).
If someone says, “Australia lost to the Netherlands” you immediately and without realizing it ask, “in what game?”. Because the context colors the meaning. If Australia had lost to the Netherlands in a game of Football as they did in the World Cup 2014, it is not a shame. But if they did in a game of cricket, it is a shame and its an upset! When we read a verse in the Bible, we must also ask questions that leads us to the context of the verse. Otherwise, we will misunderstand Author’s Intended Meaning (AIM) of that Bible verse. If Paul writes, “I do not allow a woman to speak” we must ask “in what context”? If he writes, “Christ is the firstborn of creation…” we must ask “in what context?”. Otherwise we will use the Bible to teach doctrines the original God-inspired writers of the Bible never intended us to teach.
Duke Jeyaraj brings out a Bible Truth starting with Sushant Singh Rajput’s last Instagram post
India TV posted this about Sushant Singh Rajput whose life came to a sudden end on 14 June 2020 at the age of 34:
His last Instagram post, shared on June 3, 2020, was dedicated to his late mother, who passed away in 2002. Sharing a black and white collage of himself and his mother, the Raabta actor wrote, “Blurred past evaporating from teardrops. Unending dreams carving an arc of smile. And a fleeting life, negotiating between the two….”
Just 11 days after he posted this on Instagram Sushant Singh Rajput allegedly ended his life in Mumbai flat by hanging himself to death!
The Bible, God’s Word in human words, agrees with Sushant when he wrote our life is “fleeting”. James 4:14 goes this way: ‘yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes’ (ESV); ‘How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone’ (NLT). This grand truth from the book of James in the Bible is repeated so many times in so many different ways in the rest of the Bible. Job 14:1-2 read this way: “Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble. They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure” (NIV). I like the way Eugene Peterson rendered this passage: “We’re all adrift in the same boat: too few days, too many troubles. We, spring up like wildflowers in the desert and then wilt, transient as the shadow of a cloud” (The Message).
The Bible tells the stories of Absalom (2 Samuel 18) and Ahab (1 Kings 22) who died when they were not thinking of death at all. Absalom was dreaming about being the king when he his long hair got caught in a low-lying branch. He was speeding on a horse when this happened. He hung like that before his father’s friends finished him off. Ahab was talking about punishing a prophet of God after he finished off work in a battle. But an arrow hit him in the small gap in the joint area of his battle armour and he died.
Yes, life is fleeting. Death can come to us when we least expect it to come. We must be ready for death, should it come to us, right now, right away! When we have Jesus in our lives, we can face death boldly. Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “He also became a human being, so that by going through death as a man he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might also set free those who lived their whole lives a prey to the fear of death” (J. B. Philips).
In the New Testament, we read of the sudden death of James (Acts 12) and Antipas (Revelation 2). Both of them were martyred because they were bold followers of Jesus Christ who did not afraid of death. Jim Elliot (and friends), John Allen Chau were other followers of Jesus who suddenly died (in their 20s) as they fearlessly and passionately obeyed the call of Jesus to proclaim his goodnews to even to hostile peoples in their one life!
So, come to Jesus right now! He died on the Cross for you! He is calling you to turn from sin (Luke 13:1-5). And put your faith in Him (John 1:12). When you do that life becomes “full” (John 10:10). You will be so full of life; you will be on a mission to save those thinking of ending their lives!
(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. Find out more about this reader-supported Indian ministry here: www.dukev.org. Watch his videos at www.youtube.com/visitduke).
When he played Dhoni in Dhoni’s bio pic, I thought he was more real than the real Dhoni! His sudden going so sad! He sat in the Train Station in that movie in a key scene and gave us this message: ‘when life feels meaningless you need to be bold and make some drastic changes!’ Yup, there are times when life feels meaningless! There are times when life feels purposeless! What do you do then? Commit suicide? No. You come to the only one who gives meaning to it. You come to Jesus who said, ‘I have come to give you life – life to the full!’ (John 10:10). You surrender your life to the One who died on the Cross to deliver you from your ‘empty way of life’ (I Peter 1:18-19). You come to Jesus who puts ‘purpose in every step’ (I Cor. 9:26 NLT)! – Duke Jeyaraj
There is a locust attack in NorthWest India as I write these words in May 2020. It is a terrible attack. Mohammed Iqbal writes the following lines for The Hindu: “The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has given permission to the Rajasthan government’s Agriculture Department to use remotely piloted aircraft systems for anti-locust operations in the large areas where the insect swarms have landed. The locust attack has affected about 90,000 hectares in 20 districts of the State.” The Prophet Joel of the Bible talked about a locust plague during his time. Joel 1:4 reads this way: “We have been invaded! What the cutting locusts left, the swarming locusts consumed; What the swarming locusts left, the creeping locusts consumed; What the creeping locusts left, the stripping locusts finished off” (Joel 1:4, The Voice). Before I attempted to learn the theology of Joel, I was wowed by his zoology! I did not know that so many different kinds of locusts even existed! For Joel, the locust plague were pointing to an event far more destructive! I read this online: “A Desert Locust adult can consume roughly its own weight in fresh food per day, that is about two grams every day. A very small part of an average swarm (or about one tonne of locusts) eats the same amount of food in one day as about 10 elephants or 25 camels or 2,500 people” (fao website). Can something be more destructive than the locust plague? Yes, says Joel. He goes onto talk about that event? What event? The Day of the Lord. He pens, “Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes!” (Joel 1:15, ESV). He writes, “Eternal One: Blow the trumpet in Zion; signal the alarm from My holy mountain! It is almost here. Let all who live in the land tremble because the day of the Eternal One is coming” (Joel 2:1, The Voice). The Day of the Lord prophecy has an immediate fulfillment, and an eschatological fulfillment. The immediate fulfillment was this: an enemy nation is going to invade Israel/Judah! The eschatological fulfillment will be this: the day of the return of the Lord Jesus is around the corner (Rev. 6:17)! So, what should we do? Joel replies: “Eternal One: Even now, turn back your heart and rededicate yourselves to Me; Show Me your repentance by fasting, weeping, and mourning” (Joel 2:12). So, let’s repent! Let’s do it ‘now’! Before it is too late! It will be ‘too late’ after the return of Jesus! It will be ‘too late’ after death! It will be ‘too late’ after the Holy Spirit stops speaking with our hardened heart!
The scene outside the colony where I live in Hyderabad, outside liquor shops on 6 May 2020. It is easy to ‘WHIP’ these folks with Bible ‘woes’ of judgement (like this one: ‘Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that tarry late into the night, till wine inflame them!’ – Isaiah 5:11). But do we also WEEP for them? (See Isa. 16:9).
(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org).
Irrfan Khan’s acting came as a breath of fresh air in the world of Bollywood dominated by the other khans – Aamir, Salman, Shah Rukh. The movies of the other Khans mainly focused on the hero. They had to dominate every frame, invariably. This Khan’s movies focused on the story and the message (including some messages which I strongly agree with like, “You don’t need to speak flawless English to make it big in life!”). And what was more – he did not raise his voice to deliver the message. He did it quietly. He did it in a dignified fashion. This is what I could write when I watched the flood of videos, posts, and articles about the late actor who lost his battle with cancer (on 29 April 2020). I don’t want to sign off before making this point: we can be “Irrfan Khans” or the “other Khans” when it comes to doing Christian Ministry. Let me explain: We can do ministry so that the focus is on us (the Other Khans way) (Paul talked about this group in Galatians 1:10: “Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or curry favor with God? Or get popular applause?” (The Message). Or we can do ministry so that the focus in on the Name of Jesus (the Greatest Name) and the Word of God (the Greatest Story). We read about the focus of this group in Psalm 138:2: “(God) you have exalted above all things your name and your word” (ESV).
Duke Jeyaraj answers via a Family Bible Study during Corona Virus Lockdown on 31st March, 2020.
The ultimate question is whether Jeremiah 7:30-34 is speaking about the contemporary pandemic (COVID -19) situation in Italy?
Read Jeremiah 7:30-34. This passage was supposedly referring to the deaths in Corona-hit Italy according to a forward in WhatsApp. 10,779 deaths have already taken place and 97,689 have been infected in Italy (as I speak on 31 March 2020). Though USA has more infections (141,000), Italy is the most affected nation because of the number of deaths (Of course, USA eventually overtook Italy in the number of deaths, but Italy has remained the nation with the highest death density as a result of the Corona Pandemic).
This passage under question (Jeremiah 7:30-34) makes a very sad reading. Jeremiah speaks about the people of Judah and something terrible happening in Topheth. Some people believe that this passage is a reference to the Topheth in Italy because of the escalation of the deaths there. I hear that corpses are left in the open without a burial site and the birds of prey eating them in Tophet, Italy.
If we Google search the geography of Topheth, we find 3 places with that very name in our world, presently. One Topheth in Italy, another is in Carthage (Tunisia) and yet another one outside Jerusalem’s South Bend in Israel. The third venue reminds me of Pete Buttigieg, a US Presidential candidate for 2020, who was a mayor of a US City named South Bend!
We must note that we have cities with same name but in different countries in our world even today. There is a Salem in Tamil Nadu, India and a Salem in Massachusetts, USA. There is a Hyderabad in India (I live there!) and a Hyderabad in Pakistan! So as there are three Topheths in the world today – one in Israel, one in Tunisia and one in Italy – we must ask ourselves which Topheth did Jeremiah 7:30-34 talk about?
The venue that Jeremiah refers to the Topheth in the southern part of Israel (also called Judah, just outside of Jerusalem).
There are 3 lessons from this passage I learnt for our life, here and now. Before we look for a prophecy in a Bible passage, we must seek to ask, “What does God want me to learn for my life here and now from that passage?” Why do I say that?
The Bible is a book of prophecy and is God’s daily bread for us. It has nearly 700 predictions and about 600 of those have been already fulfilled. Approximately 20% (the remaining percentage of prophecies yet to be fulfilled) is slated for future fulfillment. What is the Bible primarily for? The Bible is primarily for the spiritual purpose of ‘growing in godliness’, for the ‘purpose of training in righteousness’. II Timothy 3:16,17 says – “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” The main good work that God gave his people is the work of propagating the Gospel and the work of making disciples of Jesus.
This passage (Jeremiah 7:30-34) teaches us about three things: PARENTING THROUGH CELL PHONE, PEOPLE WHO ARE HELL-BORNE, PHONY BIBLE TEACHERS WHO ’SELL’-PRONE (THEY SELL A DRONE-LESS VIEW OF BIBLE)!
1.PARENTING THROUGH CELL-PHONE – Leviticus 18:21 says, “And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of Thy God; I am the Lord.”
People sacrificed their children to Molech, the fire god. In Aramaic, Molech means ‘fire.’ They believed that they and their land will be more fertile as well as the land if they sacrificed their eldest child. These days, the economy is focused on the corporate companies and manufacturingindustries. Those days it was primarily an agrarian economy. People made big money with agriculture and needed fertile land to maintain their agrarian economy. So the backsliden people of Israel whose goal was to make money, would do anything – include sacrifice their kids to a pagan god – just to ensure the land is fertile!
II Kings 21:5,6 speaks about King Manasseh, who was the most evil king who ruled the southern part of Israel, Judah. He built altars and sacrificed his own son in the fire.
According to Jeremiah 1:2, the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in the 13th year of reign of King Josiah. Jeremiah was a contemporary of Josiah and influenced by the message of the prophet, King Josiah ended the sacrifice of children introduced by King Manasseh. “Then Josiah demolished the Topheth, the iron furnace griddle set up in the Valley of Ben Hinnom for sacrificing children in the fire. No longer could anyone burn son or daughter to the god Molech” (II Kings 23:10, The Message).
Topheth was also called the Valley of Ben Hinnom (Hebrew) and was also known as Gehenna (Greek). Jesus used this Greek word for hell. It was a dumping ground for the city’s waste. Outside some cities today, we do see dumps of garbage which burn continuously. I have seen one in Chennai. Priyanka Thirumurthy describes the Chennai garbage dump for us: ‘Standing there on 228 acres of land, in an I-T hub of Tamil Nadu’s capital, were mountains of garbage, each of them the size of a two-storey building. We had arrived at the Perungudi landfill, where half the city’s waste is deposited every single day’ (The News Minute, July 11, 2017).
King Manasseh was notorious for his brazen sacrifice of his own son to Molech in Topheth! And we modern-day parents are notorious for a similar sin! Let me explain:
We absolve our responsibilities as parents and spend very little time with our children. Instead, we allow cellphones and other screens to parent our kids on our behalf. Is that not a kind of ‘child-sacrifice’? Are we sacrificing our kids on the altar of the technology god? Since we ourselves are gadget-addicted, we give a gadget in our little children’s hands to occupy them with it, so that we will be able to remain in our shameful addictions! How sad! Let’s repent!
2. PEOPLE WHO ARE HELL-BORNE – When Jesus talked about Hell in the New Testament, he used the phrase for Topheth/Ben Hinnom we read about in Jeremiah 7:30-34. He was the greatest hell-preacher who ever lived! Read Matthew 5:28,29. Jesus equates lust with adultery there. He equates anger with murder in the Sermon on the Mount. Our destination too will be Gehenna (Hell) which Jesus talked about, if we keep dabbling with lust and anger. As believers, let us live holy lives, enabled by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:13).
3. PHONY BIBLE TEACHERS WHO ’SELL’-PRONE (THEY SELL A DRONE-LESS VIEW OF BIBLE)! Drones fly in the air and are used for capturing the bigger picture from the air. We need to have ‘drone-view’ of the Bible when it comes to formulation of doctrine. Our doctrines/teachings must take into consideration ‘ALL SCRIPTURE’ (2 Tim. 3:16-17). However, phone Bible Teachers are sell-prone! They sell a view of the Bible based on a few Bible verses they twist without taking into consideration the full-message of the Bible. This keeps happening because these false teachers do not have ‘drone’ view of the Bible. Their cultic false teachings take people to hell.
On such group is the Hyper Grace Preachers/ Prophets . They say, “You are the righteousness of God” (even when in stubborn sin). But we must see the full message of the Bible. Read Romans 2:4,5. If God doesn’t strike me down dead when I sin, as he did in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, what do I do? Do I keep living in stubborn sin, thinking God is mighty pleased with me and is smiling at me (as hyper-grace cult teachers’ suggest)? What is his message for me in Romans 2:4,5? I need to immediately repent. If I do not, I store up wrath the God on myself.
Another group is the Hyper-healing Preachers. If you have a sickness, problem, God will heal you then and there if you have faith – these preachers claim. Hebrews 2:4 tells us that God has given us gifts. The gifts of the holy spirit will operate according to God’s will and not according to our whims and fancies. That is what Hebrews 2:4 teaches.
Hyper-life preachers say since Jesus died on the cross and rose again, we can be immortal and not die at all. I Timothy 6:16 states that God alone is immortal. We are not immortal, here and now, before the return of Jesus. To say one will never die or be immortal before the return of Jesus is a false teaching. If you are alive when Jesus returns, you will be given an immortal body or if one dies in Christ before this, they will be given an immortal body at his return (I Thess. 4:16-17; I Cor. 15). It is a blasphemy to say that humans can be immortal before the glorification (second coming).
So as per Revelation 22:18,19 there will be plagues for those who add to God’s Word.
Is God judging Italy? Italy is a nation with many Catholics and many books have been added to the Catholic Bible – Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Wisdom, Tobit, Judith, I Maccabeus, II Maccabeus (to name a few). These books were not part of the original Bible. II Maccabeus 12:45-46 is quoted by Roman Catholic theologians in support of praying to dead saints. But you will not find support for the same in the original Bible (with 66 books). I Timothy 2:5 is clear that we have only one mediator between God and Man, and he is Jesus. We should not pray to dead saints. Hebrews 9:27 speaks of no salvation after death, only judgement awaits the dead.
Is it a sin to add to God’s Word? It is. But however we cannot say that Italy is being punished for its Roman Catholic faith. As I have pointed above, even we Protestants have twisted God’s Word through harmful teachings like hyper-grace, hyper-healing, hyper-life. We are not without blame in this matter of adding or twisting God’s Word. Luke 13:1-5 teaches that those who have survived a disaster should not think they are more righteous than those who have died of that disaster. Those are the Words of Jesus. All of us need to repent. Not just Italians or Catholics. Not just Americans. Not just Britishers.
Read Jeremiah 7:33,34. And imbibe the above-three lessons.
The prophecy of Jeremiah 7:30-34 was already fulfilled twice. The first time this prophecy came to pass was in 586 B.C. when the Babylonians came to invade South Israel (Judah) and many Judeans were burnt as prisoners of war at Topheth/Gehenna of Jerusalem (read Jeremiah 19:1-15, esp vs. 6,11,12,13,14). The second time this prophecy perhaps came to pass was in A.D. 70 when Jerusalem city was burned down and several bodies thrown in Topheth/Gehenna outside Jerusalem (as secular history records what the Bible clearly predicted in Luke 19:41-44;21:6,20-24; Matt. 22:7; 23:37-38; 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2). Only when we go to heaven, Jesus will reveal where-all and in whom-all the prophecies concerning Geographical locations/historical persons were fulfilled after the completion of the canon of Scripture! So we cannot say for sure that Topheth of Italy was referred to in Jeremiah 7:30-34!
This is not an assault on the prediction-accuracy of the Bible. It is a book which has predicted over 700 historical events. Out of this, nearly 600 prophecies have been accurately fulfilled only leaving the rest of the prophecies for the future (like return of Jesus, judgment day, heaven, hell, etc).
Meanwhile, we must rather focus on the these events that the Bible has made a clear prediction about: the any-second-possible return of Jesus, the no-escape-for-anyone day of judgement following that, the reality of eternal heaven and hell of eternal conscious torment.
We will be wise to avoid speculations concerning fulfillment of prophecies, we will have no way of verifying, like the Topheth prophecy of Jeremiah 7:30-34.
(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. WhatsApp him via +91-8886040605. Duke’s SoundCloud audio message accounts and Youtube video message accounts have a wide following. Mrs. Malini Prabakar worked on this transcription from a live Bible Study that Duke did on 31 March 2020 now available on YouTube here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozOMyLdFPKo).