A virus crept our neighborhood, causing untold dread. The Savior of the World, slept soundly as the only baby without original sin, in a manger in the neighborhood of Bethlehem, two thousand years ago, driving out fear and bringing in cheer and serenity [The assuring words ‘fear not’ is repeated four times (to, Zechariah, to Mary, to Joseph and the Shepherds) in the Christmas narratives of the Bible – if you care to carefully notice].
The China virus has greatly affected our world’s economy. The Bethlehem babe’s birth can greatly affect your destiny. In what way? Let’s see:
Jesus brings us PEACE that is not circumstances-dependent. That’s why Jesus was given this title in a Christmas-themed prophecy – the title of ‘Prince of Peace’. He is the big boss over peace, in other words. Our peace often goes for a toss when our life’s circumstances aren’t favorable. But when you start to know Christ the big boss of peace (the prince of peace), you will have peace no matter how crazy the situations in your life gets. Yes, we can have serenity even when there is a storm, if Jesus is our life-boat!
Jesus brings us JOY that is contagious. He began that wow work, even before he landed on the earth as a babe! Jesus was is in mom’s tummy; John the Baptist was in his mom’s tummy; And as both these tummies come close, that’s when John who was still in his mother’s tummy jumped for joy! You see, when you choose to stay in Jesus’ presence a joy unspeakable, full of glory, will be yours! The happiness that we got when we watched Hardik Pandya smack Daniel Sams into the Sydney Cricket Ground stands in the fourth ball off the final over to seal the 2020 T20 Series versus Australia may ebb away. But not the joy that Jesus offers!
Jesus can bring us MIRACLES and HEALING according to His Will which works all things always for our good. The phrase, “For Nothing is impossible with God!” comes straight out of the Christmas Story in the Bible – you perhaps know that! Jesus gave miraculously gave back, the life-breath to my daughter who had ‘no heart beat’ when she was in my wife’s womb, according to medical reports! She was dedicated as a baby in this church in 2008!
Jesus offers SALVATION which in turn gives our lives real meaning and purpose. When the Christmas Story Senior Simeon picked up the baby Jesus, he mouthed this: “My eyes have seen the salvation of the Lord!” We need salvation, because each one of us are sinners who are enduring a living hell and are headed for a literal hell. And sin, whether you like it or not, ultimately creates a vacuum in our hearts, and eventually making our lives meaningless and purposeless. Jesus, the eternal God, took on a human body of flesh and bone while remaining God, during the first Christmas. He kept himself from any sin, the only one to do so in this planet. When Jesus died on the Cross, he became, the perfect, salvation-bringing sacrifice for sin.. Max Lucado put it well: “Jesus went from Heaven’s Crown, to Bethlehem’s Cradle, to Jerusalem’s Cross”. The Resurrected and Soon-Returning Jesus calls us to repent from sin and put our trust in Him, ‘lest we perish’ (Luke 13:1-5). When we do that, we experience salvation and an ‘inexpressible and glorious joy’ (1 Peter 1:8). As we know Jesus, our life becomes meaningful and purposeful, as knowing Him and making Him known is what we were created for, originally! Mark Batterson explained this well: ‘The Almighty God became Immanuel, “God with us,” so we can spend eternity with him.’
Deigo Maradona scored, what is being called ‘the Goal of the Century’, versus England in the World Cup 1986 Quarter Finals, dancing around English defenders, all by himself, having started his dream run from his team’s half. His Argentine teammate, Jorge Valdano, running alongside Maradona as a reinforcement was reduced to a mere spectator. Starting from ‘his half’ – heaven – Jesus took on human flesh only to die on the Cross (located at our half), walking up Golgotha Hill. Jesus completed the goal of the Trinity from eternity: the offering of salvation to every person who would come to him (who was slain on the Cross before the World’s foundation) in faith, with an attitude of repentance (Rev. 13:8). As Valdano and other Argentine team-mates hugged Maradona in celebration having done practically nothing to contribute to the scoring of the goal of the century, we too, having contributed nothing for our salvation through our self-efforts or menstrual-cloth like unworthy righteousness (Isa 64:6), gratefully love and celebrate Jesus, who finished the goal of the Godhead from eternity concerning the offer of salvation to humans by dying on the Cross (Eph 2:8-10; Gal. 2:20).
‘And he shall be their peace’ – so says a Christmas Prophecy passage about Jesus (Micah 5:5). While others attempted to point out different paths to peace, but Jesus himself is our peace! While others attempted to show the way to salvation, Jesus himself is our salvation! While others attempted to point to a way, Jesus himself is THE way! Jesus invites us to come to Him, the person, not to a philosophy! There is a big difference between Jesus and others! Jesus is unique!
Jesus calls us for a DECISION. Christmas Story Senior Simeon told Jesus’ mother Mary this: ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many…’ We have a choice now. To rise with Jesus. To rise to a life of peace, joy and deliverance from sin. Or, if we reject Jesus, the Only Way, we further fall into despondency, purposelessness and ultimately will land in hell. What will you choose today? Like the Wise Men of the Christmas Narrative did, let us surrender ourselves to Jesus, without any procrastination. Then our life route will change, like it changed for those wise men!
(This article was written as a tract for New Life Assembly of God Church, Kompally, by Duke Jeyaraj. The church used the edited version of this tract to give out to new comers who visited its campus on 19-20 Dec 2020 during their Christmas Drive Through Program. If you need to know more about Jesus, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via WhatsApp at 91-8886040605. Duke, the author of this article, 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 and at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).
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).
USA just became the most -affected nation in the Corona Pandemic. The number of deaths crossed 20,000. They have beaten Italy’s toll. So, what does that mean? Does it mean, “USA is under the wrath of God and curse of God?” Read Luke 13:1-5 patiently. Read it again. The message of that passage is crucial for our time. This passage says this: “Just because you have escaped a disaster (read, pandemic), it does not mean you are more righteous than those who have died in that disaster (read, pandemic). You too must repent!” Yes, the USA must repent! And we too must repent! We ALL must repent of the sin Isaiah 5:20 talks about: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” We must repent of our moral confusion, core doctrinal deviation, cell-phone parenting, gadget-addiction, porn-consumption-without-second-thought and whatnot. Let us pray and mourn for each other during this pandemic!
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).
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).