The writer to the Hebrews writes, ‘Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral’ (Heb. 13:4, NIV). This is a clear call to sanctify the marriage bed! That means that there is no room in the marriage bed for anyone else apart from your spouse. To cite an example: You cannot watch porn to spice up your sex inside marriage for that is akin to having a porn star in your marriage bed (recall Jesus’ words which makes lust, adultery in Matt. 5:28).
Duke Jeyaraj writes, ‘You cannot watch porn to spice up your sex inside marriage for that is akin to having a porn star in your marriage bed (recall Jesus’ words which makes lust, adultery in Matt. 5:28).’
The same Bible that calls us to sanctify our marriage bed, calls us to electrify it as well! Let me explain: by saying that I mean there are clear calls in both the Old Testament and New Testament to celebrate inside-marriage sex! Can I briefly take you through a survey in this regard, which I believe, will be memorable!
The Call from the THE FONDLING STORY:
We read that Isaac – he was not exactly young – fondling his wife Rebecca in Genesis 26. Genesis 26:8 goes this way: ‘When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah.’ The word ‘caressing’ here implies sexual foreplay. It is talking about a physical intimacy that may not necessarily lead to a sexual climax! It is sad phenomenon that among many Christian couple, the touching leads to super-fast sex without the lingering in the acts like caressing. As a couple, Isaac and Rebecca explored each other’s bodies in an unhurried way! That is indeed a biblical way to electrify your marriage bed!
The Call from the FOUNTAIN JODI:
The Proverbs-writer compares the wife to a fountain. I call the couple talked about in Proverbs 5, ‘the Fountain Jodi’ (the Fountain Couple). He writes in Proverbs 5:18-20: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer – may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. Why, my son is intoxicated with another man’s wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?” (ESV). Why is the wife called a fountain? The fountain was the source of clean drinking water in Biblical times. The implication is direct: the only guilt-free place that God has ordained for sexual thirsts to be quenched should be inside the boundaries of marriage. Men, from time immemorial have visit prostitutes, had affairs with the ‘wayward woman’ because of their thirst for sexual variety. And that is a sin against God as this above passage and other Bible passages would clearly teach. But what Proverbs 5:18-20 teaches is this: the husband and wife should together make their sex life so exciting that it would make a visit to a prostitute or affairs with wayward women/men a big bore! And what is more, this passage calls us for the only sin-free intoxication which is to enjoy sex within the boundaries of marriage! All other intoxication, alcohol and drug intoxication included, is sin according to the Bible. Have you ever realized that intoxication with sexual love for your spouse, is a God-commanded intoxication! Yes, Proverbs 5:18-20 is a biblical call to electrify the marriage bed!
The Call from the Fragrance of En Gedi
I refer to the Song of Songs couple here. The woman says in 1:12 to 14 this: ‘While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance. My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts. My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi.’ This book uses word pictures to depict actual sexual intimacy situations. So, what is the meaning of Song of Songs 1:12-14? It is this, according to me: The husband becomes a sachet of good smell emanating myrrh who celebrates every curve of his wife in electrifying sexual union (the curves are explicitly named in the above passage). Myrrh used to drive away bad smell from dead bodies. But in this passage, myrrh represents the husband himself who transforms into a pleasing aroma which exhilarates his wife as they enjoy sexual union. In short, the perfume the wife wears not Victoria Secret (the famous perfume brand) but Victor (if Victor was the name of the husband)! What is more, in all the eight chapters of Song of Songs, there is no mention of a birth of a child. That tells me, that God created sex inside of marriage, not just for production of children but also the enjoyment of sexual pleasures! Have you heard the call from the fragrance of En Gedi to make your marriage bed, electrifying?
Finally, the call from FIRST CORINTHIANS ISSUED CALL OF ‘MISSIONARY’ DUTY
Apostle Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthian believer underlines a call of duty for both husband and wife: “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife” (I Cor. 7:3-4). This passage is akin to a missionary call. The only God-ordained ‘missionary’ that can deliver and demonstrate the ‘goodnews’ of sexual joy to your husband is you, wife! The only God-ordained ‘missionary’ that can declare and demonstrate the ‘goodnews’ of sexual joy to your wife is, husband! So, if not you, then who will excite the sexual life of your spouse?
The clear call not just to sanctify but electrify the marriage bed has come from different parts of Scripture.
Are Christian couples listening?
Duke Jeyaraj, a fulltime Bible Teacher, itinerant Revival Preacher, who is the author of this piece, is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission (G4 Mission). This is a reader-supported Indian ministry. Duke’s book, Straight Talk, brings frank Bible Teaching wrapped around contemporary events on sex, love, marriage, porn, phone addiction and the like. Duke is married to Evangelin who also works fulltime with G4 Mission. They have two children – Dale, 18 and Datasha, 14. They currently live in Chennai. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need further information.
“Hello Brother! Thanks for organizing this kahoot quiz! It was a great joy to be part of this event… was really inspired by young boys like Jerome, Jaaziel, etc. taking God’s Word seriously (by preparing hard for this quiz and doing well). And finally your short yet powerful and direct snippets-in-between was really useful!” – a young married man and working professional, Chennai.
“Good questions and a lot of learning!” – a young woman, Hyderabad.
“Yesterday’s (kahoot quiz) session was really useful and was really fun uncle. This quiz helps me study and know the secrets hidden in that Bible book assigned for the quiz. It is indeed a soup for the soul! It really encourages us to complete reading of that Bible book!” – a young woman, Chennai.
“Thank you so much for the Amazing session, Duke anna!” – a young woman, Mumbai.
“Thank you Duke for painstakingly preparing such a thrilling quiz on the book of Ecclesiastes, yesterday. By conducting such quizzes, you have motivated us to read the particular Bible book assigned for the quiz and try to ascertain the theme of the book, etc. It is amazing how with the Spirit’s leading you are able to relate verses/parables from the Bible with something contemporary from today’s world. Looking forward to the next quiz.” – a young working professional woman, Cuttack.
“Thanks sir for the efforts taken towards the quiz. It really helped me study and understand Ecclesiastes better than I did before. Also the questions were so engaging and fun! Our whole family enjoyed doing it together. My kids who are under 7 want to participate next time.” – a home-maker and mother, Chennai.
“During the Kahoot Quiz, God spoke to me through you as I explored Scripture to answer the questions asked.” – a young working professional woman, Hyderabad.
“I really enjoyed the Kahoot quiz. It was interesting and very different. So much brain-work you had put in. Looking forward to having many more!” – a College Professor, Vellore.
We are encouraged to receive all your kindly-worded testimonies. Thank you for taking time to write-in. All glory to God. Now we welcome you to the next quiz on the book of Nehemiah (all 13 chapters) on Wednesday 27 April 2022 from 9 PM India time. Use this link to register now – :https://forms.gle/38msjE4hw2TPYo7a7 — and WhatsApp, Bro. Duke and 91-8886040605 once you have registered so that you can be placed in a WhatsApp list where regular updates about quiz will be sent. THOSE WHO HAVE ALREADY REGISTERED FOR THE NEHEMIAH QUIZ PLEASE DO NOT REGISTER AGAIN!
Virat Kohli was unceremoniously sacked from his position of ODI Captain of India and his position was given to Rohit Sharma in Dec 2021. Earlier on, he himself gave up his role as the captain of the Indian T20 team. The reason for his demotion was not hard to find. While he had one of the best ever win-loss percentages in ODIs among modern captains (over 70 percent), most of those wins came in bilateral series. In multi-team tournaments, like the ICC World Cups, India could not win the Cup when Kohli captained. In short, Kohli could not lead his team to wins in important games. ‘Chasemaster’ and Captain Kohli became ‘choker’ and the-cause-of-pain Kohli when he scored 5 off 9 when India chased 339 for a win in the Champions Trophy final versus Pakistan in 2017. That’s not all. He made 1 off 6 when India chased 240 for a place in the World Cup ODI Final 2019 versus New Zealand. We are not done yet. He made 13 off 29 balls in the crucial second innings in the World Test Championships Final 2021 after India and New Zealand scored almost equally in the first innings. However his counterpart Kane Williamson made 52 runs to take his team, New Zealand to the Test World Cup win. Kohli made underwhelming 9 off 17 when his team depended on him to reach a match-winning first innings score in the crucial T20 Super 12 game versus New Zealand in the World Cup T20 2021. So, Kohli has had a sub-20 score in four crucial innings for India as a Limited Overs Captain (a far cry from his average as a ODI Captain which is nearly 73 runs per innings). This analysis tells the story clearly: when the game gets big, Kohli as Captain underperforms as a batsmen very badly. When his team needs him the most, that is when Kohli would get out early. Hence this unceremonious sacking and handing over of mantle to Rohit Sharma, an accomplished captain who is known to take the team he captains to big tournament wins (He has led Mumbai Indians to five IPL Titles already while Kohli has never led his team RCB even to a single title win).
Kohli reminds me of Samson of the Bible. While Samson was so keen to keep ritualistic laws as a Nazirite he was not not that keen to keep far more important laws which concerned his personal holiness. He would often talk about not having his hair cut (see Num. 6:1-5 and Jud. 13:5) but he did not cut off his sexually immoral relationship with many women (a violatation of two of the 10 commandments given to all including the Nazirites – ‘You shall not commit adultery’ – Ex. 20:14; ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife’ – Ex. 20:17). What was easy to do – ritualistic purity part – Samson did with great consistency till one point. What was even more important – moral holiness is, see Micah 6:7-8 – Samson blew it. Are we like Samson? Empowered by the Spirit (Rom. 8:13; Gal. 5:16), let us please God in key matters such as sexual purity (I Cor. 6:18b). When we sin sexually we directly oppose God’s clearly expressed will (I Thess. 4:3) which is one the same important level as his will to welcome everyone for salvation (3 Peter 3:9; I Tim. 2:4). When we live stubbornly in sexual sin we will go to hell (Rev. 21:7-8). But that is not God’s desire for us! God’s desire is that we overcome sin when sin’s allurments come knocking!
(Duke Jeyaraj, the author of this article is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission, a reader-supported Indian ministry to presentday people. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Or WhatsApp him via 91-8886040605. )
On thanksgiving day 2021, I want to thank God for the fifteen different houses I have been privileged to stay in during two decades of my married life (2021).
The house we stayed in Saket, New Delhi, in 2001 – we just had one room in a house of three bedrooms. From there Evan and I organized tracts outreach to one of Delhi’s earliest malls, the Ansal Plaza. I wrote the first version of the Bubbly tract sitting in that room using Evan’s desktop. Young people we pastored would home and once we took them to Nirula’s. The fruit market outside our home had the best fruits from all over India.
From there we moved to another house in Lado Sarai behind the Central Bank of India in Delhi. It was a village which had a lot of kids who benefited from the Compassion International project which Evan managed then. As we waded through that village, the kids would come running behind Evan crying out ‘ma’am, ma’am’! We got our first set of furniture there – from a sale with furniture used by international diplomats who had left India. We still use a tall stool which I got for Rs.800/- in that sale!
We moved to our third house in New Delhi – it was not even one year since we had gotten married! This first-floor house was so close to the electric lines above, that I could have reached out and touched them, if I wanted to! It was a house where I realized my call was not to be a pastor in the long run, but to be an evangelist or a travelling Bible Teacher! So, I say bye to my pastor role, from here.
By 2002 July we were in house no. 4 . We stayed in one-room in Kannamoola, Trivandrum. Our things were shipped from Delhi by Agarwal Packers in ‘Hunter Douglas’ boxes. We were now missionaries with a leading missionary organization.
The next house was searched out for us by Uncle Sarasam who lives in Trivandrum. A first floor house in the Museum Bains Compound with the approach road that gave an impression we were climbing a hill. We could hear the roar of the lions from the nearby Zoo. We went to the nearby park and gave out xeroxed versions of the Bubbly tract. We drove in Uncle Arthur’s Vespa to nearby Shengamugham Beach. And had lots of coffee in the Indian Coffee House which almost kissed the breath-taking beach there. I wrote a lot in this house including articles that became lead articles of the famous Blessing magazine. Our son Dale was born when we were here.
House number 6 we lived in for rent was in Jabalpur. I lost my cool when the owner’s dog was about to bite our little son, Dale. That meant we had to shift our home again. It was back to packing yet again!
House number 7 overlooked a church in Jabalpur. It was a first-floor house with a nice terrace. Evan and I with little Dale in tow were in cross-roads then. We knew we could not be travelling missionaries with an organization. We had to be on our own to execute what was God’s unique call for us – to grab the google Generation from going to Gehenna (the word Jesus used for Hell)!
House number 8 we lived in was in the city of Hyderabad. There was no water in this house! When Dale’s backside had to be washed, there wasn’t a drop of water in the rest room! This situation pushed us move to House number 9. This house in Ashok Colony, Kapra region of Hyderabad became the first office of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. We stayed in this first-floor house exactly for 11 months. The first issue of The Days of Your Youth magazine was published from here. Our board member, Franklin, visited us here. We met our long-standing friend, Bro. Christopher here!
House number 9 Evan and I stayed in was near the A. S. Rao Nagar Railway reservation center in Hyderabad. Datasha was born here! The Daniels drove down to meet us here for the first time. I was invited to lead Bible Studies in their centrally located home. I started off with the Bible book summary of the book of Amos. Seven years later we would complete doing short Bible Studies summarizing every book of the Bible. We had an open air on-terrace meeting in this house on Datasha’s first birthday. We shared the story of her miracle birth to neighbors who came. This was just days after I quit my HSBC job not able to cope with both a secular job which I had picked up to support the new ministry I started and the fulltime ministry with our new organization. A dear annan (elder brother) walked into this house and left us an offering the size of which left us stunned. A secular college classmate of mine sent some offering – the highest monthly support we received then – and said he could do that every month! God prepared us for faith-living in this house!
We invited neighbors and told them about the miracle story of Datasha’s birth wrapped with the Gospel in our AS Rao Nagar home in Hyderabad on 12 Nov 2008.
As Dale would often doze off when he returned home in the School bus – the ride took him 45 minutes – we thought it was a good idea to move near his school, St. Andrews, 8 kms away towards the center of the city. We got a house near the Subhash Nagar’s Kallu compound (Arrack shop). A techie was in our home and Evan spend hours counselling her and praying with her. The rains lashed continuously that year – it was the 2009, the year Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Dr. YS Rajashekar Reddy died in a helicopter crash. And as the waters threatened to enter the living room of this house – the tenth house we lived in post our marriage – we knew we had to move, even though we had lived there only for two months. So we moved. We moved to a house closer to the main road – the Military Dairy Farm Road in Hyderabad. This house was just behind the Indian Oil Petrol bunk. This house was put for sale, but the owner was kind to allow us to stay there till it got sold. We ended up staying there from 2009 till 2015 – the longest stretch we have stayed in any home so far. Both Dale and Datasha received Jesus as their Savior in our family prayers as Evan and I led them into sinner’s prayer following the explanation of what salvation meant. I graduated with a Doctor of Ministry degree from here in 2014.
In this house – house number 11 – God blessed us. He gave us a confidence to pay rent that touched five figures for the first time. And we did that before the 6th of the month. We never missed this deadline and all our house-owner’s loved this about us. This house was a triplex house – three floors. It had four bed-rooms. God filled this house with Google Genners. As I led Bible studies, people would even sit on the steps leading up to the second floor and hungrily lap up the Word of God served without compromise. We would pray for healing. Couples without children received babies. The Fountain of Tears Against Mountain Of Fears event started off here as our neighbor, Sister Sandhya, encouraged us to start it. The month-end midnight prayer where a small group of corporates entered the new month in God’s presence was begun here. Evan and I travelled to Singapore for ministry from here. The already-paid-for i10 car came to our parking lot in 2011 and the gifted-to-us Yellow Vespa came in 20212. Joel Jaideep would faithfully come and teach me to drive the Car. Sister Arlene Stubbs, our local church’s Senior pastor visited us when we were in this house and our kids recited Bible verses to her!
Finally this house (number 11) got sold and we had to move to house number 12. This house was just across the road in Ved Vihar – a colony of five hundred flats run by Army Professionals. Our owner Vishal was an absolute gem. He would forget to increase our rent and pay promptly for all the repairs we would do in the flat. He had stocked his house with wardrobes and interiors like we never had in any house we had lived until that point. The Bible Studies continued. The Fasting prayers continued. My travels to India and beyond continued. The tracts outreaches to different locations of Hyderabad continued. We would give Bibles and tracts to those who were willing to receive them. Sunny Karumanchi our video volunteer who works in the Corporate world became associated with our ministry here. We would shoot short videos on hot topics right here and elsewhere. God blessed our home with items from the famous Swedish store that opened an outlet in our city – Ikea.
Arul Johnson and his dad attend the Fountain Prayer in Ved Vihar home!
Evan leads in the online Fountain prayer in Ved Vihar
And then the pandemic of 2020 hit. We continued the work of God online from there. When we thought we would live here for a long, long time and do God’s Work, God ensured we moved from there. We moved to house number 13 in Gundlapochampally Village in the outskirts of Hyderabad. Our grandmother, Miss Edith Mary, the person God used to conduct our wedding lived with us there in a home which was like a Spanish villa. One of our neighbors from the next street saw the WhatsApp status on Evan’s phone and asked her, “Do you pray for people?” Evan replied in the affirmative. Then she said, “Can you please come and pray for my daughter?” We were overjoyed!
Our grandmother returned to her village for a visit and the Lord decided to take her to be with him. The date was May 16, 2021. This event would be a trigger for us to make a big decision. We decided to move out of Hyderabad where we served Jesus among the Google Generation for over 16 long years. We decided to move our base to Chennai in what was a largely online world where one stayed hardly mattered as long as there was good internet. What was more we got to see our parents – both retired missionaries – who stayed in nearby Vellore more often.
House number 14 where we stayed was in Velachery, Chennai. We have memories of going to the terrace and praying under the massive tree that covered that house! We gave the Bubbly and Dhoni Gospel tracts to small groups of people who walked into the Pheonix Mall in Velachery. We drove to Vellore and visited our parents when we got the opportunity. We sold off our AP-registered i10 and Vespa from here. It was an emotional moment. As this house also got sold, we had to move again.
And I write these lines Evan and I have moved to house number 15 in the span twenty years of marriage. We feel blessed to stay close to a compact, cool flat close to the School that Datasha goes to. We are blessed to stay here. Dale leaves home to join St. Stephen’s New Delhi from here.
We thank you Lord. We thank you for the nice owners you sent along the way! We thank you for the kind neighbors you surrounded us with!
On September 10, the World Suicide Prevention Day is observed. We live in a world where we meet a lot of people who show suicidal tendencies. And we also meet a lot of people who are into gaming addiction. What I present below is one way we can bring the good news to those who show suicidal tendencies or those who are gaming addicted:
Blue Whale. We are not talking about the big fish in the sea. The “Blue Whale,” referred to in this piece, is an online game that ultimately dares its players to act out a death-wish – their own! This smartphone game pushes the users of this game to carve an outline of a Blue Whale on their skin and eventually drives them into suicide. That’s one reason this game got the name “whale” – a fish with suicidal tendencies that is known at times to deliberately swim towards beaches only to die. If a player refuses to obey the “dare” for a dangerous task, threats such as, “We will have your parents killed…” rapidly follows. Yes people – including children and teens – World-over are either talking about the Blue Whale challenge or playing it.
The Blue Whale is ultimately indicative of a “true tale” – certain truths about Life – life about living with capital L. Only a person deeply disillusioned with life would take the lead from games such as this and eventually decide to end it. But the Bible, God’s Word in human words, presents Satan as the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy. It is quite possible that Satan uses online games such as the Blue Whale, get unsuspecting folks to fall-in-line with his plan of destruction. In the Bible, we read of a demon-influenced man ‘cutting himself with stones’ – attempting suicide (Mark 5:5). Satan does not just sow inside of us thoughts of suicide. The Bible teaches that His primary goal is to lead us towards fleeting-pleasure offering sin – something that separates us from God and robs us of all lasting joy. “Joy” leaving our lives, when “Sin” enters is not just a fact found in the Bible (Lamentations 5:15; Psalm 51:12) but an relatable experience in our day-to-day lives.
No, we do not read of anyone in the Bible narrative playing the Blue Whale game. But we do read of some folk who ended up committing suicide. The circumstances in which they committed suicide gives us key-perspectives about why people think of taking their own life. Abimelech (See Judges 9:54 in the Bible) did not want to be killed by a woman, and so he asked a young man to kill him instead. We see here PRIDE (the first ever sin of the universe, according to the Bible) cannot give us purpose and meaning in life. But, tragically can be instrumental in the finishing of our life. King Saul feared torture by enemy forces as a prisoner of war and he decided to fall onto his sword while on a battle field to finish his life (See I Samuel 31:4 in the Bible). In his case, PANIC (the result of sin according to the Bible), robbed him of his desire to live and he chose to put a full-stop to his own life. Ahithophel, a professional Counsellor to the king, upon discovering that his advice was not followed, decided to hang till he died. He chose to hang, instead of a life of having to hang his head in shame. However awesome a PROFESSION is, it cannot bring that person’s meaning, purpose, lasting joy in life. The fifth person as per the records of the Bible, who committed suicide was Judas. The hole in his heart became bigger after receiving a PAY for leading an arresting party to the place the only God-in-flesh Jesus often met with his disciples. We have talked about a number of Ps in the above paragraph in connection with suicide. However there is another P who enables us to overcome suicidal tendencies. That is the Prince of Peace.
When he knew for sure the prisoners entrusted by the Government under his care – including the preachers of Jesus, namely, Paul and Silas – has escaped the prison he was incharge of, following a massive earthquake, this jailor we read about in the Bible, drew his sword and was about to end his life (Acts 16:25-27). That’s when Paul shouted, ‘Do not harm yourself’ and introduced Jesus, the Prince of Peace to this Jailor who immediately abandoned his suicide plans (Acts 16:28-31). When Jesus really comes into your life every thought of suicide will fly away! And life will become meaningful! Instead of choosing the suicide rope, choose hope that is only available in Christ Jesus!
This leads me to a well-known statement that Jesus made that is found recorded in the Bible: “I have come to give Life – Life to the full”(in John 10:10). This implies, apart from the “alone and apart from everyone” Jesus (Jesus said he was the ONLY WAY in John 14:6 of the Bible) no one can find that paramount peace, that supreme serenity, that maximum meaning, that Himalayan happiness. Apostle Paul, a Jesus-follower, wrote about the “purpose in each step” (I Corinthians 9:26, NLT, The Bible) that Jesus gave him, when he followed Jesus through the smooth and stormy phases of his life.
One of Jesus’ names in the Bible is this: “Author of Life” (Acts 3:15). He is also the maker of life – this the Bible teaches (John 1:3). Human Life was made “for” Jesus Christ, the Bible notes (Colossians 1:16-17). When we wade though “the book of life’s journey” with a living “for” Jesus, life will become meaningful and purposeful!
The same Jesus who said, “I have come to give you life,” also mentioned that he came to die as a ransom for the sins of the World. This, the Bible records (Mark 10:45). That was how he could offer us a meaningful life – through his cruel death on the Cross. When Jesus shed his precious, sinless blood for us, he opened the door for each one of us to escape from living an “empty” life on this earth, the Bible declares (I Peter 1:18).
Jesus rose from the Dead. Jesus promised to return again to judge the World. Those who firmly and finally reject Jesus, the name of the only person who qualifies to save humankind by the virtue of his absolute sinlessness, will live a life of “living” hell here and now and go to a “literal” hell. This the Bible, a book which has never gone wrong when it comes to predictions, predicts.
What should we do now? Turn from sin (Luke 13:1-5, The Bible). Come to Christ in faith (Matthew 11:28 & John 1:12, The Bible). Come now (2 Corinthians 6:2, The Bible).
(This article was published in Aim Magazine, Sept 2021 issue. Aim is published by Evangelical Fellowship of India, the umbrella organization for all major churches and Christian organisations in India. 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. Watch Duke’s messages at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).
In a month when we celebrate Father’s Day (it falls on June 20th, this year), it will be appropriate to study the character of God as a Father so that we fathers can copy him. The Old Testament repeatedly presents God as the Father (though some wrongly believe God is a consuming fire in the Old Testament but a loving Father in the New Testament, influenced by hyper-grace false teaching which largely appeals to people who do not take time to read the Bible fully and comprehensively). You will be surprised to know that even the Old Testament clearly teaches that God is a Loving Father. However, he is not the Loving Father, the hyper grace cult false teachers paint him to be via their popular-on-Youtube worship songs and their doing-violence-to-the-full-counsel-of-God sermons.
It was God’s eternal plan to be a father to us. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews makes this known. He writes, ‘For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering’ (Hebrews 2:10 ESV). God had an Eternal Son. He enjoyed the fellowship with him he had very much. He wanted more sons and daughters – sons and daughters who would be fully human albeit. The addition of these children will bring joy to God the Father. The joy will be for the kids as well as they fellowshipped with their heavenly dad! To bring more children to glory the Eternal son suffered on the Cross – that is the message of Hebrews 2:10.
One of the earliest mentions in the Bible which introduces God as a Father to us is in Exodus 4. The Lord instructed Moses to say these words to Pharoah: “Let My son go so that he may worship me, but you refused to let him go. Now I will kill your firstborn son!” (Exodus 4:21,23 HCSB). When we were slaves of sin, God sought to make us, sinners, sons! So, he sent Jesus to die for us to endure pain on the Cross. When we repent of our sins and come to him in faith, we become sons and daughters of God (John 1:12).
The next Old Testament reference to God as a Father is found in the Song of Moses. In that classic Holy Spirit inspired song, Moses presents Israel as God’s son. He sang, “They have corrupted themselves; They are not His children, Because of their blemish. A perverse and crooked generation. Do you thus deal with the Lord; O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has he not made you and established you?” (Deut. 32:5-6 NKJV). One key thing I learnt from this passage is this: The Father God imagery is not only imagery for God in the Bible. In the same song of Moses, God is compared to “the Rock” (see Deut. 32:4, 15, 30) and the Eagle (see Deut. 32:11). Those who teach that God is only a loving Father and nothing else are clearly wrong. In Hebrews 12, God is presented both as a COMPASSIONATE FATHER (vs. 5-6) and a CONSUMING FIRE (vs. 12)! So, we must always pair the imagery of a loving father present in the Bible with other imageries for God in the Bible. The Bible says, “It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes” (Eccl. 7:18, NIV).
Prophet Isaiah, the prophet with the best vocabulary amongst all Bible writers, connects the transcendence of God with the picture of God as the Father in Isaiah 63:15-16. Though ‘God looks down from heaven’ (a phrase that talks about his transcendence), as Isaiah put it in Isaiah 63:15, he is also ‘our Father’ (as Isaiah expressed it in Isaiah 63:16)! The Christian Faith is unique because it is the only faith where the dwelling-in-Heaven God is the same person who like our doting-us-on-Earth Dad! The Bible remarkably pairs these two unlike qualities in one and the same person – our eternal God!
THE PRIVILEGE WHICH COMES WITH…
Prophet Jeremiah, the Bible Prophet who wrote the most-worded Bible Book in the Bible, also introduces God as the Father. He writes, “For I am a Father to Israel. And Ephraim is My first-born” (Jeremiah 31:9b, NASB). To have God as our Father is a privilege. But that privilege comes with a responsibility. What responsibility? To be fruitful! The word, “ephraim” means to “doubly-fruitful” in Hebrew. “Since I am your Father, you must be doubly-fruitful, Israel” – that was Prophet Jeremiah’s inspired message. Since God is our Father, we must be holy! How did I make this connection? In John 17:11 in the high priestly prayer, Jesus called his father, as the Holy Father! So as children of the holy father, we too must be holy in our day to day lives! Apostle James also attaches responsibilities to those who call God as Father. He wrote, “With it (the tongue) we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God” (James 3:9, NASB). Those who enjoy the love of the Father (privilege) should love people around them and speak kindly to them (responsibility). James made another connection between privilege of knowing God as the loving father and a connected responsibility of taking care of the poor and the needy. He does so here: ‘Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world’ (James 1:27). Apostle Peter also attaches responsibilities with those who call God as a Father. If we call God as Father, we must be ready to be sanctified and obey the Lord Jesus, Apostle Peter teaches (I Peter 1:2). He further writes, ‘And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile’ (I Peter 1:17). While can celebrate the privilege of calling God as our Father, we must not forget the responsibility we have in showing him a holy reverence and healthy fear!
Prophet Hosea perhaps paints the most moving picture of God as a Father in the entire Bible. Here is his unmatched, emotion-stirring depiction: ‘Eternal One: When Israel was a child, I loved him; and out of Egypt I called My son. But the more I called to Israel, the more they walked away from Me. They kept on sacrificing to other divine mastersand burning incense to idols! But I was the one who taught Ephraim to walk, holding him up by his arms, but his people didn’t know I was the One who took care of them. I led them along with leather cords; with ropes of love I showed them the way.As I dealt with them, I lifted the yoke from their neck; I bent down to give them their food’ (Hosea 11:1-4, The Voice). Here we see how the people of Israel walked away from God their father who reminds them of his great love for them almost fighting back his tears. Does this love continue forever without ever stopping? The hyper grace cult false teachers who present God as the father compare him with earthly fathers. They ask, “Do you stop becoming your earthly father’s son, if you rebel against him? You don’t. In the same way the Heavenly Father will never stop loving you even if you walk away from him, stubbornly, for the rest of your life – you are in no danger of being punished by him. You still remain His Son!” Really? The very next verse post the greatest Bible passage on God’s fatherly love we see God sending a punishment for the people of Israel who spurned his fatherly love: “They will not return to the land of Egypt; But Assyria – he will be their king. Because they refused to return to me” (Hosea 11:5, NASB). Prophet Hosea foretold the end of the northern Kingdom of Israel, also known as Ephraim, here. As he foretold the Assyrians overtook them in 722 B.C. So, there is a real peril if you keep spurning the love of the Father God and keep indulging your flesh. Romans 11:22 warns that if we spurn God’s kindness (expressed by His Fatherly nature), we are in the real danger of being “cut off”.
In fact, Prophet Hosea who painted God as a loving father in Hosea 11 portrays him as an upset and furious Bear-Lion-Wild Beast in Hosea 13. He writes, “I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs; I will tear open their breast, and there I will devour them like a lion, as a wild beast would rip them open. He destroys you, O Israel, for you are against me, against your helper” (Hos. 13:8-9 ESV). So, what is full message of Hosea? It is this: God loves you as a father. But if you are stubborn in rebelling against Him and chasing after sin, he reserves the right to become as an angry bear-Lion-wild beast who can ultimately send you to hell.
Using memorable word-number picture, the author of Revelation, Apostle John teaches when one calls God as his father (Rev. 14:1) he needs to “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Rev. 14:4) that is, obey Jesus in all areas of his life! Read Revelation 21:7-8 very carefully and you will understand this: those for whom God is a Father will be the ones who “conquer” (Satan, Self and Sin); they will be the ones who have turned from hell-populating sins such as sexual immorality, murder, sorcery, idolatry, lying, etc.
Having understood comprehensively the Fatherly Nature of God as per the Word of God we fathers must parent like God for Apostle Paul call believers to become “imitators of God” (Eph. 5:1). That means just as God disciples his kids moved by great love so that his kids may “share his holiness” (Heb. 12:7-10) we fathers must discipline our kids. We must not hesitate to give them whacks when necessary! Those whacks would be a God-intended way of wooing them to grow in holiness! We must discipline our kids when they live in sins such as sexual immorality (porn-watching, affairs, gadget-addiction, etc) and not look the other way like King David apparently did when Amnon raped Tamar. Prophet Eli finally spoke some words of restraint when his sons went astray in a brazen manner (but it came far too late as God had already planned to execute judgment on them – check out I Samuel 2:12-25). The Nelson Study Bible notes, “Eli had warned his sons of divine judgment (I Sam. 2:25), but he never really rebuked them for their sins (I Sam. 3:13). By neglecting his parental duty, he was in effect favouring his sons above God.” Fathers let us not parent like King David and Priest Eli, but like God!
Let us return to a biblical view of God the Father shunning our hyper-grace cult impacted view of God the Father!
(This article was published in Aim Magazine June 2021 edition. Aim is published by the Evangelical Fellowship of India. Duke, the author of this piece is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a viewer-supported, reader-supported Indian ministry. You may hear Duke preach at http://www.Youtube.com/VisitDuke. You may buy his book on sex, love, marriage, porn, phone addiction, etc. , via Amazon (the kindle edition) or Google Books (the e-book). For the print version of this book which is seen as a text book on taboo topics please whatsapp us at +91-8886040605 and we will send you the payment link.)
Life Lessons From Thrilling Moments From The Cricket World Cups
WHEN DHONI RAN TO MEET WITH JOGI!
World T20 Final 2007. India versus their arch-rivals Pakistan. In Johannesburg, South Africa. Pakistan needed 13 runs to win off 6 balls with just one wicket in hand in the inaugural T20 World Cup Final. A seesaw game it was. Tension in the air. Spectators at the edge of their seats. Mahendra Singh Dhoni in what was his first international tournament as captain entrusted seamer Joginder Sharma – a bowler he had seen defend totals as low as 2 runs in domestic cricket – to bowl the crucial last over with the dangerous-looking Misbah-ul-haq of Pakistan on strike (despite his star spinner Harbhajan having one over left in his bowling quota). Misbah had hit Harbhajan for three huge sixes in over number 18. Joginder bowled an ultra-wide as the first ball. Captain Dhoni calmly collected the ball and ran all the way to the other side of the pitch to put an arm around Joginder, who had by then walked back to his bowling mark. After giving him a brief pep talk, Dhoni ran back to the usual wicket-keeper’s position. Dhoni told him this: “If we lose this game, I will take the responsibility. So, relax and give your best! You have done it in small grounds when no one was watching you. You can do it when the whole world is watching you!” Misbah was beaten off Joginder’s next ball, “trying to carve the ball away over point,” as commentator-on-air Ravi Shastri put it. He thrashed over the bowler’s head the third ball, which was an innocuous fulltoss, for a huge six to make the equation 6 off 4 balls for Pakistan. Yet, again, Dhoni took the long journey from the wicketkeeper’s customary spot all the way to the fastbowler’s starting point. Another short-session of nerves-calming! Going by the next ball Joginder bowled – a slower ball with the word ‘trap’ written all over it – this may have been Dhoni’s advice: “Don’t try to contain Misbah. Try to get him out!” Sambit Bal’s lines about the last ball of the World T20 Final 2007 is worth quoting: “Then, with only one wicket in hand and fine leg in the circle, Misbah went for that scoop which, not for the first time, ended in tears for the batsman. Sreesanth would have never taken a more important catch in his life. But for Misbah, who has been Pakistan’s surprise star of the tournament, it will take some forgetting.”
The God who made you and me, did something similar to what Dhoni did in that climatic final over. We had goofed up like Joginder. We had sinned and were in danger – the danger of going to eternal hell, the place which God made for the Devil and his angels. God could have chosen to just watch this happen. But he did not. Just as Dhoni ran from the wicket-keeper’s position to the start of the bowling mark of in the T20 World Cup Final last over, God too travelled. He left the comfort of heaven and came all the way to earth, just to save us. Yes, Jesus, God in flesh, came down to seek and save us, sinners, the Bible, God’s Word in human words declares (Luke 19:10).
WHEN DHONI PROMOTED HIMSELF IN THE WORLD CUP FINAL VS SRI LANKA!
It was late evening of April 2, 2011. India had to come up with the best ever chase done in a World Cup Final – overhaul Sri Lanka’s imposing 274 – to win the World Cup 2011, 28 years after the magic day when Kapil Dev and his boys won it in the year 1983. Virender Sehwag, first and Sachin Tendulkar, later, got out rather cheaply. India’s score stood at 31, when Sachin, just one short of his 100th ton then, got out. When the well-set Virat Kohli after a fighting 83-run partnership with “iron-willed” Gautam Gambhir also got out, caught and bowled brilliantly by Tillakaratne Dilshan, India were in real danger. In danger of losing the World Cup Finals. In danger of not becoming the first ever team to win the World Cup at home. That’s when Captain M. S. Dhoni stepped in. He volunteered to bat at Number 5. He could have stayed back and sent into the tension-filled middle, the in-form Yuvraj Singh. But he marched out of the Indian dressing room to bat at Number 5 when India still needed 161 runs to win in the 22nd over (161 from 170 balls, to be precise). The required run rate was almost 6 an over and had to be maintained for 28-plus Overs – that was the huge challenge before Dhoni when he walked in! In his previous seven innings leading up the final, Dhoni had just scored a grand total of 150 runs! Yet, he backed himself. He volunteered to go up the batting order when India was in a crisis. He stuck his neck out saying, “I will do this for India!” He told coach Gary Kirsten that as Lankan ace spinner Muthiah Muralitharan was operating he wanted to go ahead of the inform Yuvraj Singh. As the movie, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, opened, we got a breath-taking, eagle-eye view of the entire Wankhade Stadium in Mumbai with the camera slowly zooming into faces in the stadium abuzz with untold tension. Rohit Vats, writing a review for this movie, hits the rewind-button on those goose-bumps-giving moments no Indian cricket fan will ever forget this memorable way: ‘When India is reeling at 114 for 3 (in a chase of 274) against Sri Lanka in the cricket world cup final of 2011, a man decides to take charge of the situation. It helps that he is also the captain of the team. He silently walks past the crowd, enters the ground and creates history. The cricketer’s image of rotating the bat as if he is wielding the sword is etched in our memory’ (Hindustan Times, April 15, 2017).
For the first 10 overs of his stay in the middle in that treasured final match, Dhoni did not hit a single boundary. He ran like a rabbit between the wickets, converting the singles in twos. Apart from hitting 25 fours and a couple of sixes, Indian batsmen chased down 274 with 99 singles, 24 twos, and even a three. To do this, hectic, hare-like running was required and Dhoni was most ready for that. He was sweating, he was blowing his running nose and he received treatment for his back “as the Mumbai heat took its toll.” Andrew Miller reported, “Dhoni at one stage looked so immobile that a precautionary retirement seemed the only logical response, but after some harsh work from the physio he resumed his stance and responded with another trademark filleting of the extra cover boundary, an area in which he scored six of his eight fours – three of which helped to blunt Murali’s attacking instincts.” Sidharth Monga observed, “Once Gambhir tired, Dhoni took over the responsibility of scoring. In the time that Gambhir moved from 87 to 97, Dhoni went from 29 to 60.” In utter desperation, Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara threw the ball to his strike bowler Lasith Malinga hoping that he would take two wickets off two balls or do even better. But Dhoni hit him for two consecutive boundaries through mid-wicket to hasten India’s World Cup win before a roaring crowd in Wankhade Stadium! Dhoni was the calmest soul in Wankhade Stadium, Mumbai, when he hit the Cup-winning six for India with 10 balls to spare. And India was home! The World Cup was India’s! Quite memorably!
HE CHOSE TO SWIM IN THE AMNIOTIC FLUIDS OF MARY…
You and I are in danger. The danger of living a life of hell (life without purpose, meaning and real joy, a life in which you are empty despite having everything) and going to a literal hell (a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth forever, a place which Jesus spoke about 8 times). That’s when Jesus stepped in. Jesus could have stayed back in heaven and sent someone else to save you from going to hell. He did not. In eternity past, there was a meeting held in heaven. In that meeting Jesus stood up. “I will go Father! Just give me a body! I will get into it, become a human, go to the earth and die for the human race. I will march down the Calvary route and open a doorway to save the human race!” (my imagination based on Psalm 40 and Hebrews 10 from the Bible). He came down and became a man. He chose to swim in the amniotic fluids of Mary rather than swim in the praises of angels and cherubs in Heaven. God took on flesh and bone. Yes, He did it for you. Yes, He did if for me. For everyone – he did it. When he was stopped from the Cross-route, he was determined to keep going, the Scripture records (Luke 9:51). He called as ‘Devil’ the one who discouraged him from walking down the road to Golgotha. On the road to the Cross, Jesus endured infinitely more discomfort more than Dhoni ever did in the World Cup Finals of 2011.
The following 12 ‘s’ torment Jesus endured to win the only true salvation offer for you. Here they are:
First, SOLD. Judas sold priceless Jesus for a price that was less than the price of a man 20 to 60 years old, according to the Bible (Leviticus 27:3). We sell Jesus even today when our friends apply peer pressure on us, don’t we?
Second, SWEAT. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus sweated blood, the Bible records (Lk 22:44). This happens only when a person experiences highest tension. That punishment would have been apt for a pleasure-lover, like you and me. But Jesus took it upon himself.
Third, STRAPPED. Jesus was bound by ropes before High Priest, the Gospel narratives of the Bible tell us (John 18:12). The most-free man on this earth, Jesus, was now bound. Why? Jesus was dying to release a poisoned, bound generation – a generation bound to drugs, alcohol, porn-watching, gossip-mongering, Facebook!
Fourth, SPAT UPON. This happened twice to Jesus, according to the Scriptures (Matthew 26:67; 27:30). Only an irresponsible husband was to be spat upon, the Old Testament, one portion of the Bible, tells us (Deuteronomy 25:9). We were irresponsible when it came to using what God had given us and the punishment went to Jesus.
Fifth, SLAPPED. Jesus was slapped by the High Priest’s servant, the Scriptures note (Matthew 26:67). His sinless mouth was hit hard. The reason – he was dying for a human race that consistently uses its mouth to sin – by lying, by using abusive language, by having oral sex outside of the marriage bond.
Six, SCOURGED. When Jesus was whipped, his back became like a plowed field with strips of flesh hanging loose (See Matthew 27:26 in the Bible). Only the back of fools was to be whipped, according to the Scriptures (Proverbs 19:29). We were foolish to race behind temporary worldly pleasures (see Hebrews 11:25 in the Bible) ignoring the eternal pleasures at the right hand of God, our Creator (see Psa. 16:11 in the Bible) and the punishment for that sin went to Jesus.
Seventh, STRIPPED. Jesus was stripped off the clothes he originally wore and was then clothed in a scarlet robe (Matthew 27:28). Scarlet robes were only worn by royalty those days. So, the Roman soldiers who made Jesus wear it were making fun of Jesus with words of mockery that could have sounded this way: “You claim to be a King, Jesus? Ha, Ha! You don’t look like a king! Now, wear this scarlet robe and you will look more like a king! Come on, let us fall prostrate before this King!” Jesus was dying for a generation that takes pleasure in making fun of the timid and giggles when they suffer in excruciating pain.
Eighth, SPLINTER-PRESSED. The thorns were pressed on the head of Jesus, a Gospel-writer of the Bible notes (Matthw 27:29). It was you and me who had a big proud head. Those thorns should have come upon us, but Jesus, in his great love, took it upon himself.
Ninth, SHAMED. Only kings of the enemies of the Jews were hung on a tree, publicly, the Bible records (Joshua 10:26). But that shameful punishment came to Jesus, the real King of Kings. Crucifixion on a wooden cross beam was worst punishment reserved for the foulest enemies of the state by the Roman Government. It was akin to being urinated upon in public those days (See, Philippians 2:8 in the Bible). You and I must be publicly humiliated for all our secret, unprintable sins. But Jesus took that punishment on our behalf.
Tenth, SPIKED. Nails were thrashed onto Jesus’ two hands and legs, the Bible tells us (Matthew 27:31). Those nails should have gone on our hands for we sinned against Jesus with our hands and legs. I am referring to sins such as cigar-smoking, masturbation while porn-watching, fondling the intimate parts of the person belonging to the opposite gender not our spouse, walking into a filthy movie show, etc. But Jesus took the punishment for all our sins on the Cross. He was our substitute, the Bible declares (Isaiah 53:4,5; Galatians 2:19,20). The nails could not hold Jesus to the Cross for which nail, however strong, could ever hold God onto a Cross for long? Love did. He could have ripped them off and come down when he was challenged to do that and scoffed at for refusing to do it (see Mark 15:30 in the Bible). But Jesus stayed on because he loved you and me.
Eleventh, SEPARATED. God turned his face away from Jesus as all of our sins – past, present and future – were placed upon him for six hours, one Friday, about two thousand years ago. At that time, Jesus lost his close fellowship with his holy Heavenly Father who would not even look upon sin. This was a heart-breaking experience for Jesus and so he cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” as the Bible declares (Matthew 27:45-46). He became so utterly lonely so that he would be able to lift the loneliness in your life, the loneliness that comes even when you are rubbing shoulders with plenty of friends in a packed booze party.
Twelfth, SPEARED. This treatment was given to him, minutes after he was dead, the Bible tells us (John 19:34). The final blood drops in his body came out then. Every drop says, ‘I love you!’ Only this blood can cleanse you from you from every sin, the Bible teaches (I John 1:7)! It is impossible for anything you do or the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin, the Bible makes clear (Hebrews 10:4).
WILL YOU PRESS THE NAILS ONTO HIS HANDS HARDER, OR…
How do you respond to this great love of Christ that was so supremely “demonstrated” while he hung on the Cross (to use a phrase from Romans 5:8 from the Bible)? You could, in stone-hearted stubbornness, press the nails onto his hands a bit deeper, by continuing to live in sin. That’s one way to respond. You could press down the thorn crown on his head roughly and crudely, once more, in rebellion, by continuing to flirt with the Devil and the world. That’s one way to respond. You could stamp on his holy blood that was shed for you on the Cross by returning to sin like a pig that returns to her wallowing in the mud, as the Bible points out (Hebrews 10:29; 2 Peter 2:22). That’s one way to respond.
Or will you, repent like one of the dying thieves beside Jesus on the Cross like we read in the Bible (Luke 23:42,43)? And would you believe on him (him, who is alive today, him, who is coming back), like the Roman centurion and those with him who screamed, “This is indeed the Son of God!” as per the Biblical record (Matthew 27:54)? The choice is yours.
WHEN DHONI SPRINTED LIKE USAIN BOLT IN A WORLD CUP GAME….
It was a group game in the World T20 2016 which India had to win to stay in the tournament in the Chinnaswamy stadium Bangalore. And when it came to the last ball, Bangladesh needed two runs to win. Captain Cool Dhoni had clearly told young rookie Hardik Pandya, the bowler, how to bowl: “no bowling a Yorker, but bowl a well-aimed slightly short-pitched express delivery, wide of the off stump.” Pandya followed Dhoni’s orders to the centimeter. Bangladeshi batsman Shuvgata Hom attempted an offside slash, only to miss connecting with the ball. Dhoni, who had already removed one of his gloves (in anticipation the tail-ender may miss connecting the ball), calmly collected it and was off his blocks like a 100 meters sprinter! Usain Bolt usually starts slow, but Dhoni had no such problems! He sprinted towards it and broke the wickets catching the non-striker Mustafizur, well short of the crease. The spectators who had their hearts in their mouth, celebrated India’s one run win over Bangladesh in that World T20 game. India’s semifinals hopes were kept afloat following this nerve-wracking one-run win! Shaun Pollock, Darren Ganga, Nick Knight and Russell Arnold, all former cricketers who were on commentary duty during this particular T20 World Cup, slipped into different roles to create a mock replay of this episode – this last ball runout which resulted in an Indian win was that memorable!
Like Dhoni sprinted towards the stumps, shall we sprint towards God-in-Flesh Jesus to receive salvation for the Bible says, ‘Now is the “acceptable time”, and this very day is the “day of salvation”’(2 Cor. 6:2, Phillips). We tell ourselves, “There’s always time to come to Jesus! There’s always time to get saved!” How foolish such an idea is!
The Bible talks about times when it could be too late for us to come to Jesus and get saved. For instance, we cannot get saved after we have died. There is no chance for salvation after we die – this is the teaching of the Bible (Hebrews 9:27). And sudden death can come to us anytime – can it not? Think of what happened in 2014 to 25-year-old Aussie cricketer Phil Hughes who was struck by a 140 kmph bouncer which struck him at the back of his neck as he took evasive action. He lost consciousness, never to regain it again!
Also, we cannot get saved after we have hardened our hearts beyond a certain limit – a limit that God sets for us, which he alone knows if we have crossed or not. This message jumps out from passages such as Genesis 6 and Romans 1 and from the stories of Pharaoh and King Manasseh in the Bible. So, while the Holy Spirit of God convicts us of our sin, by gently speaking in our heart, we must repent and turn to Christ. If we keep silencing his soft voice, the Holy Spirit of God may never speak to us ever again and we may never be saved eventually!
At this juncture I recall another event from the semifinal of the ODI World Cup of 2015 between India and Australia. After Dhoni and Ajinkya Rahane (who had smashed 79 runs off 60 balls in India’s earlier game versus South Africa to lift India to a surprise, easy, win) stitched a ‘’fight-back” partnership with the goal of overhauling Australia’s king-size knock-out game first innings total of 328 this event which Carly Adno writes about happened: “Dhoni put on a 70-run partnership with Ajinkya Rahane, before the sharp ears of Steve Smith intervened. Smith was the only one who heard a nick off Rahane’s bat when a Mitchell Starc delivery caught the faintest of edges on its way to Brad Haddin.” A umpire review was taken by Australian Captian Michael Clarke following this and Rahane walked back to the pavilion. India’s last recognized batting pair’s partnership was broken and so where India’s hopes of beating Australia in that semifinal.
Just like Steve Smith’s alert ears caught the nick, amidst a noisy crowd in Sydney Cricket Crowd that day, would you listen to the soft, faint voice of the Holy Spirit of God in your soul, telling you to repent now, and put your faith in Christ for your salvation, as you read this piece? Don’t turn off that tender voice! Obey it!
We must not forget that it becomes too late to get saved after Jesus appears in mid-air to judge us, all of a sudden. When Jesus comes back the second time, he is not coming back to offer salvation – but to execute judgment, the Bible teaches (Revelation 1:7). During that final judgment time, there is no way anyone can get saved. The message you are currently reading will be preached to you then. No altar call to come forward and accept Christ would be given then.
Why should we still scratch around with sin even after knowing very well that Jesus came to save us from sin? Sin makes us sad. It does so after giving us an initial elation. Sin will ultimately take us to hell, the Bible declares (Revelation 21:8). Why not join Jesus – the Jesus who died for us, sinners, on the Cross and waits to embrace us with arms open wide? Why not do it this very second, lest it becomes too late.
By praying this prayer you can be saved and receive true joy and real peace which only Jesus can give:
Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. Please forgive my sins. You died for me on the Cross. Cleanse me with your blood. Come into my heart and life. From this day onwards, I will turn away from sin and live for you, who rose from the dead. I believe you are the only way to heaven and will return one day to judge all the earth, as the Bible proclaims. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for cleansing me. In your name I pray. So be it.
Once you have prayed this prayer, get busy with the following regularly because you love Jesus: 1. Studying the Bible (ESV Bible App can be downloaded onto your smart phone). 2. Talking to Jesus in prayer. 3. Joining a Bible-believing church/fellowship 4. Tell others about Jesus, through your life and lip.
(This was written by Duke Jeyaraj, an avid cricket enthusiast who lives in Hyderabad, India, whose letters have been published in newspapers like The Hindu. Duke, at one point in time, won an elocution contest as a visiting student in the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India. If you have a question about what you just read or want to know more about Jesus, shoot a mail to Duke at email@example.com. You can read more such writings of Duke at www.PurposeSpot.blogspot.com. You can watch Duke share similar messages at http://www.YouTube.com/VisitDuke).
வேதம் தீட்டும் எழுப்புதல் சித்திரங்களிலேயே மிகவும் பிரபலமானது எசேக்கியேலின் புத்தகத்தில் வரும் ‘ உலர்ந்த எலும்புகள் உயிர்பெற்ற’ காட்சிதான் ! அந்த உலர்ந்த எலும்புகளின் பள்ளத்தாக்கு குறித்த வேத பகுதியில் பார்த்தவுடனே புலப்படுகின்ற சில அடிப்படை எழுப்புதல் சத்தியங்களை இங்கு காண்போம் .
எழுப்புதலின்றி நாம் எதுவும் செய்ய முடியாது . நமது ஆன்மீக வாழ்வில் ஓர் உண்மையான கண் திறப்பின்றி காலம் கடத்த முடியாது . நமது மத்தியில் எழுப்புதல் தேவை என்கிற உணர்வே இல்லாமல் அடிக்கடி நமது ஆன்மீகக் கண்கள் அஸ்தமித்துவிடுகின்றன . இந்தப் பகுதியில் , உலர்ந்த எலும்புகள் நிறைந்த பள்ளத்தாக்குக்கு எசேக்கியேலைத் , தமது ஆவியால் , தேவனே வழிநடத்திச் செல்வதைப் பார்க்கலாம் ( எசேக் 37 : 1 ) . தேவன் இதற்கான எத்தனம் எடுக்கவில்லையெனில் , எசேக்கியேல் அந்தப் பகுதிக்குச் செல்வதற்கான வாய்ப்புகளே இல்லாமற் போயிருக்கலாம் . வேறு வார்த் தைகளில் சொல்லப்போனால் , ” எழுப்புதல் தவிர்க்க முடியாதது” என தேவனே எசேக்கியேலிடம் சொன்னார் . ‘மிகுதியாய்க் கிடந்த எலும்புகள் ‘ என்கிற தொடர், பாபிலோனியச் சிறையிருப்பின் கீழிருந்த மொத்த யூத குலமும் ஆவியில் அனலின்றி வாழ்ந்தது என்பதைக் குறிக்கிறது ( வ 2 ) . இன்றைக்கும் , அதே நிலைதான். உணர்கிறார்களோ , இல்லையோ , ஒவ்வொரு கிறிஸ்த வனுக்கும் எழுப்புதல் தேவைதான் . உண்மையில், இழிவான , இரங்கத்தக்க , ஏழ்மையான , பார்வையற்ற, ஆடையற்ற நிலையிலிருந்தாலும் , ‘ நான் செல்வந்தன் ; வளம் மிக்கவன் ; எனக்குக் குறை ஒன்றுமில்லை’ எனச் சொல்லிக்கொண்ட லவோதிக்கேயா திருச்சபையினரின் வருந்தத்தக்க நிலையில்தான் ( வெளி 3:17 ) நாம் இருக்கிறோம் . இந்நிலையில் தேவன் இப்படித்தான் சொல்ல விழைகிறார் : ” அனலுமின்றி, குளிருமின்றி வெதுவெதுப்பான நிலையில் இருக்கிற படியால் , உன்னை என் வாயினின்று உமிழ்ந்து விடுவேன் ” ( வெளி 3:16 ) . ” விண்ணில் பிறந்து , ஆவியால் இயக்கப்படும் இந்த எழுப்புதல் இல்லாத வாழ்விலேயே நாம் திருப்தி அடைவதுதான் , எழுப்புதல் வராததற்கான காரணம் என எனது தீர்க்கமான முடிவாய்ச் சொல்வேன் ” என நெற்றியடியாக லியோனார்ட் ரேவன்ஹில் முழங்கினார் . ” சின்னச் சின்ன ஆசீர்வாதங்களே நமக்கு மகிழ்ச்சியளித்துவிடுகிறது . இன்னும் அதிகமாய் ஒரு பேருந்தை நமது ஞாயிறு வேத பாடசாலைக்காய் வேண்டுவதுதான் நமது பாரமுள்ள ஜெபம் , இந்த வருட ஈஸ்டர் , கிறிஸ்துமஸ் ஆராதனைகளுக்கு எவ் வளவு பெரிய கூட்டம் தெரியுமா என்று சொல்லிக் கொள்வதுதான் ‘பெரிய சபை ‘ யெனப் பெயர் வாங்கத் துடிக்கும் சில சபையினரின் மிகப் பெரிய மகிழ்ச்சி,” என அவர் இக்கருத்தை விளக்குகிறார் . அமெரிக்காவின் பென்சகோலா ஊரிலுள்ள சபையின் போதகர் ஜான் கில்பாட்ரிக் ஒவ்வொரு மாலையிலும் தனது ஆலயத்திற்குச் சென்று , ” இன்னும் அதிகமாய் , ஆண்டவரே ! இன்னும் அதிகமாய்,…” என்று கதறிக்கொண்டி ருந்ததாக நான் வாசித்துள்ளேன் . ‘ பென்சகோலா எழுப்புதல் ‘ என பின்னர் பிரபலமடைந்த மாபெரும் எழுப்புதல் 1995 ஆம் ஆண்டு ‘ தந்தையர் தினத்தன்று ‘ வெடித்தது ; அன்றைய தினம் மட்டும் 1,22,000 பேர் இரட்சிக்கப்பட்டனர் . இந்தப் போதகர் , ‘எழுப்புதலின்றி வாழ்வில்லை’ எனத் துடிக்கும் சிலரில் ஒருவர் !
இந்தப் பகுதியில் , தேவன் எசேக்கியேலை வினவுகிறார் : “மனுபுத்திரனே ! இந்த எலும்புகள் உயிரடையுமா ? ” அதற்கு எசேக்கியேல் , அர்த்தமுள்ள பதிலொன்றை அளிக்கிறார் . ” கர்த்தராகிய ஆண்டவரே ! தேவரீர் அதை அறிவீர் ” (37:3) . ” கர்த்தராகிய ” ஆண்டவர் மனம் வைத்து , அதற்கான வல்லமையை அளித்தால்தான் எழுப்புதல் வெடிக்கும் என்கிற மாபெரும் உண்மையை எசேக்கியேல் அங்கீகரிக்கிறார் . தேவன் தமது சுவாசத்தை ஊதினால்தான் , ஆதாமைப்போல , இந்த உலர்ந்த எலும்புகளும் உயிர டைய முடியும் ( வ 5 ) . இல்லையேல் , அவை குளிர்ந்து , உயிரற்று , உலர்ந்த எலும்புகளாகவே இருக்கும் . தேவனின்றி வாழ்வதென்பது கனவில் கூட நடவாத வொன்று . தேவனே எழுப்புதலின் ஒரே ஊற்றுக்கண் . அவரது தலையசைவின்றி , உண்மை எழுப்புதல் ஒருநாளும் விடியாது . மனித முயற்சிகள் மிஞ்சி மிஞ்சி சிறு ‘சலசலப்பையே’ உண்டுபண்ண இயலும் . அந்தச் ‘சலசலப்பை’ எழுப்புதலாய் மாற்றும் சக்தி தேவனின் கரங்களுக்கே உண்டு . எழுப்புதலுக்காக ஜெபிக்க வேண்டும் , ஜெபித்துக்கொண்டேயிருக்கவேண்டும் என்று சொல்வதற்கான காரணம் இதுதான் . நாம் ஜெபிக்கும் போதெல்லாம் தேவனிடம் சொல்லும் செய்தி : ” எங்களால் இது இயலாது ! ” என்பதுதான் . கர்த்தராகிய இயேசு சொன்னார் . ” என்னாலன்றி உங்களால் ஒன்றும் செய்ய முடியாது ‘ ( யோ 15 : 5 ) . பவுலும் இந்த உண்மையைப் புரிந்துகொண்டதால்தான் , ” “நான் நட்டேன் ; அப்பொல்லோ நீர்ப்பாய்ச்சினார் ; தேவனே விளையச் செய்தார் ” ( 1 கொரி 3 : 6,7 ) என்று சரியாக எழுதினார் .
சங்கீதம் 126 இன் எழுப்புதல் விதி இன்றும் மாறவில்லை . ” கண்ணீரோடு விதைப்பவர்கள் பெரு மகிழ்ச்சியோடு அறுவடை செய்வார்கள் ” ( 126-5 ) . நீர்ப்பாசனக் குழாய் பீய்ச்சும் தண்ணீர் போலவே ஜெபத்தில் வடியும் கண்ணீரும் எழுப்புதல் முளைவிடுவதற்கு ஏதுவாக தரிசு நிலங்களை மிருதுவாக்கும் . ஆனால் , ஐயகோ ! ‘ கண்ணீருக்குப்’ பதிலாய்க் ‘களிப்பையும்’ ‘பாரத்தை’ விட ‘பயணத்தை’யும் விரும்பும் தலைமுறையிலல்லலா நாம் வாழ்கிறோம்! இவர்கள் , ‘நெகிழ்ச்சியில் அழுவதைப்’ பார்க்கிலும் , ‘நிகழ்ச்சிகள் அமைப்பதில்’ மிக விருப்பமுடையவர்கள் . தேவனின் ‘பாதத்தைப் பிடித்துக் கதறுவதைவிட , மைக்கைப் பிடித்துப் பாடுவதையே’ விரும்புவர்; போராடுபவர்களாக அல்ல , போதகர்களாகவே இச்சிப்பர்; ‘பாடுகளைப்’ பார்க்கிலும் ‘பகட்டை’ விரும்புவர் . ‘ எதிர்ப்பாளராய்’ இல்லாமல் ‘எழுத்தாளராய்’ இருப்பதிலேயே திருப்தி கொள்வர் ( இவ்வளவு சுவாரஸ்யமாய் இடித்துரைப்பவர் லியோனார்ட் ரேவன்ஹில் ) . ‘ உம்மில் மகிழும்படி உமது மக்களை மறுபடியும் உயிர்ப்பிக்க மாட்டரோ ? ‘ என்ற சங்கிதக்காரனின் மன்றாட்டை ஒவ்வொரு நாளும் நேரம் ஒதுக்கிக் கண்ணீரோடு ஏறெடுத்தால் மட்டுமே, இதயங்களை அசைக்கும் எழுப்புதல் வன்புயலாய் வானின்று இறங்கும் . இந்த உணர்ச்சிமிகு வேண்டுதலை நமக்கெனச் சொந்தப் படுத்திக்கொண்டால் , விண்ணுலக எழுப்புதல் மண்ணுலகைத் தாக்கும் !
இந்தப் பகுதியில் பார்க்கிற இன்னொரு உண்மை: எசேக்கியேல் தேவ கட்டளைக்குக் கீழ்ப்படிந்து , அவரது வார்த்தையை எலும்புகளிடத்தில் பேசும்போதுதான் அவைகள் உயிரடைந்தன ( 37 4.7 ) . உண்மையில் , எசேக்கியேல் யேகோவாவின் வார்த்தைகளைப் பாபிலோனின் கேபார் நதி ண்டையிலே தெலாபீபிலே தங்கியிருந்த தேவ பிள்ளைகளுக்குப் போதிப்பதற் காகவே தன் வாழ்க்கையை அர்ப்பணித்தவர் ( 1.1 ; 3:15 ) . அவர் மீண்டும் மீண்டும் அறிவித்த ஒரே செய்தி: “ மனந்திரும்பி வாழ்வடையுங்கள் ! ” ( 18:32 ) . தேவனின் மாறாத வார்த்தை- குறிப்பாய் , மனந்திரும்புதலின் செய்தி- உண்மையாய்ப் பிரசங்கிக்கப்படும்போது , அதைக் கேட்கிறவர்களுக்கு நிச்சயமாய் எழுப்புதலைக் கொண்டுவரும் ! இதுதான் எழுப்புதலைக் காண ஒரே வழி ! யோசியா ராஜாவின் காலத்தில் இதுதான் நடந்தது . கண்டெடுக்கப்பட்ட உடன்படிக்கையின் புத்தகத்தை தன் மக்களுக்கு வாசித்துக் காண்பித்ததின் பலன்தான் , நியாயாதிபதிகளின் காலத்திலிருந்து அந் நாள் வரையிலும் எவரும் காணாத அளவில் , விமரிசையாய்க் கொண்டாடப்பட்ட பஸ்கா பண்டிகை ! ( 2 இரா 23.2.22 ) .
1741 ஆம் ஆண்டு , ஜூலை மாதம் , 8 ஆம் தேதி , அமெரிக்காவிலுள்ள என்ஃபீல்ட் எனும் இடத்தில் உள்ள ஒரு சபையிலும் இதுதான் நடந்தது . அங்கு யோனத்தான் எட்வர்ட்ஸ் , “சினங்கொண்ட தேவனின் கரங்களில் பாவிகள்” எனும் தலைப்பில் பிரசங்கித்தார் . அவர் தனது செய்தியை , பிரபலமாகாத, ஆனால் , குலை நடுங்க வைக்கும் . “ஏற்ற காலத்தில் அவர்க்ளுடைய கால் தள்ளாடும் ( உபா 32.35 ) ” என்ற வேதவசனத்தில் ஆரம்பித்து , தமது தீய வழிகளிலேயே நிலைத்திருப்பார்களானால் , இஸ்ரவேலருக்கு நேரிடும் கொடுமையை இன்னதென்று விவரித்தார் . கர்த்தரின் பயங்கரம் அவரை நிறைக்க , எட்வர்ட்ஸ் பரிசுத்த கோபத்துடன் தேவ வார்த்தையைப் பிரசங்கித்தார் . 73 ஆம் சங்கீதத்தின் அடிப்படையில் , ‘ஒரே கணத்தில்’ அழிவுக்குள் தள்ளப்படும் அபாயத்தைப் பற்றிக் கூட்டத் தினரை எச்சரித்தார் ( வச 18.19 ) . நாகூமில் மறக்கப்பட்டிருந்த ஒரு வசனத்தை எடுத்து , தேவனைப் ‘ பட்சிக்கும் அக்கினி ‘ யாக மக்கள் முன் காட்டினார் . மனந்திரும்பி கிறிஸ்துவை நம்பாதோர் யாவரும் ஏற்கனவே ஆக்கினைத்தீர்ப்புக்குள்ளாக்கப்பட்டுள்ளனர் என யோவான் 3 : 18 இலிருந்து விளக்கினார் . ஆதி முதல் அந்தம் வரை முழுவதும் வேதத்தில் நங்கூரமிடப்பட்டிருந்த தன் செய்தியால் மக்களைக் கெட்டியாகப் பின்னிய அவர் தன் பிரசங்கத்தை சுட்டுப் பொசுக்கும் வேதவசனங்களிலேயே முடித்தார் . “உங்களில் அநேகர் மேல் இப்போதே தேவ கோபம் நிழலாடுகிறது . சோதோமிலிருந்து ஓடிப்போங்கள் . ‘ உன் ஜீவன் தப்ப ஓடிப் போ , பின்னிட்டுப் பாராதே; இந்தச் சமபூமியில் எங்கும் நில்லாதே; நீ அழியாதபடிக்கு மலைக்கு ஓடிப் போ ! ‘ ( ஆதி 19:17 ).” வீறுகொண்ட இந்த வேதப் பிரசங்கத்திற்குப் பலன் என்ன தெரியுமா ? எட்வர்ட்ஸின் சூறாவளிச் செய்தி முடிந்தவுடனே , மக்கள் மனம் நொறுங்கினர் . பாதாளத்தின் வாய் திறந்து அப்போதே விழுங்கப்பட்டுவிடுவோமோ என்ற பயத்தில் சிலர் ஆலயத்தின் தூண்களைக் கட்டிப் பிடித்துக்கொண்டனர் . புதிய இங்கிலாந்தில் எழுப்புதல் அக்கினியை விசிறிக் கிளறி விட்டது இத்தகைய வேதத்தின் நேரடிச் செய்தி !
உலர்ந்த எலும்புகள் உயிரடைவதில் ஏன் தேவன் ஆர்வம் காட்டுகிறார்? மிக எளிதான பதில் : “அவை கள் அவரைக் கர்த்தரென்று அறியும்படியாக!” (37:6,13). எழுப்புதலின் நோக்கமே தேவனுடைய மக்கள் அவரை அறிகிற அறிவில் வளரவேண்டுமென்பதுதான் . தேவனின் ஏக்கத்தைப் பாருங்கள் : “மாடு தன் எஜமானனையும் , கழுதை தன் ஆண்டவனின் முன்னணை யையும் அறியும் , இஸ்ரவேலோ அறிவில்லாமலும் , என் ஜனம் உணர்வில்லாமலும் இருக்கிறது” ( ஏசா 1 : 3 ) என்கிறார் . தேவனை அறிந்துகொள்வதையும் , புரிந்து கொள்வதையும் மனதார மறுத்துவிட்டபடியால் , இஸ்ரவேலர் பாலும் தேனும் ஓடும் தேசத்தைத் துறந்து எழுபது ஆண்டுகள் பாபிலோனிய அடிமைத்தனத்திற்குள் அல்லற்படவேண்டியதாயிற்று . “என் ஜனங்கள் அறிவில்லாமையினால் சிறைப்பட்டுப்போகிறார்கள் ( ஏசா 5:13 )” என்று தேவன் சொல்வதாக ஏசாயா எழுதிவைத்தார் . ஆகவேதான் , இப்போது பாபிலோனிய அடிமைத்தனத்தில் உழன்றுகொண்டிருக்கும் எண்ணிறந்தோரில் ஒருவரான எசேக்கியேலிடம் உலர்ந்த எலும்புகளாய் வாழும் இஸ்ரவேலர் தம்மை அறிந்து கொள்ள வேண்டும் என வலியுறுத்துகிறார் . நம் இதயத் தினுள்ளும் எழுப்புதல் அக்கினி கொழுந்துவிட்டு எரிகிறது என்பதற்கான அடையாளம் , தேவனை இன்னும் அதிகமாய் அறியும் தருணங்களை உள்ளம் வாஞ்சித்துத் துடிக்கும் . நடைமுறையில் , தேவனை அறிவதற்கான ஒரு வழி , அவசரமின்றி அமர்ந்திருந்து அவரது வார்த்தைகளைக் கற்றுக்கொள்வதே . ஏன் இவ்வாறு சொல்கிறேன் ? ‘அ றிவு ‘ என்ற வார்த்தையும் , ‘தேவனுடைய வேதம் ‘ என்ற வார்த்தையும் , ஒரே பொருளின் இரு வெளிப்பாடுகளாய் வேதத்தில் பயன் படுத்தப்படுகின்றன . எடுத்துக்காட்டாக , ” நீ ‘அறிவை’ வெறுத்தாய் , ஆகையால் நீ என் ஆசாரியனாயிராதபடிக்கு நானும் உன்னை வெறுத்துவிடுவேன்; நீ உன் ‘தேவனுடைய வேதத்தை’ மறந்தாய் , ஆகையால் நானும் உன் பிள்ளைகளை மறந்துவிடுவேன் ” ( ஓசி 4.6 ) என்ற ஓசியா தீர்க்கனின் வார்த்தைகளைக் கவனியுங்கள் . தொடர்கதைகள், கிரிக்கெட் , அரசியல் நோக்குகள் இவைகளைப் பார்ப்பதற்கென தொலைக் காட்சிப் பெட்டியின் முன் அமர நமக்கு கிடைக்கிற நேரம் , வாழ்நாளெல்லாம் தொடரும் ‘தேவனை அறிகிற’ முயற்சிக்குக் கிடைக்காமல் போய்விடுவதுதான் சோகமான உண்மை. நாம் எவ்வளவாய்ப் பின்வாங்கிப் போனோம் ? நமது முன்னுரிமைப் பட்டியல் எப்படியாய் தாறுமாறாகிப்போய்விட்டது ? நமக்கு எழுப்புதல் எப்படியும் தேவை !
5. எழுப்புதலின் இலக்கு
இந்தத் தரிசனத்தின் இறுதியில் என்ன நடந்தது என எசேக்கியேல் இவ்வாறு விவரிக்கின்றார்: “எனக்குக் கற்பிக்கப்பட்டபடி நான் தீர்க்கதரிசனம் உரைத்தேன்; அப்பொழுது ஆவி அவர்களுக்குள் பிரவேசிக்க, அவர்கள் உயிரடைந்து , காலூன்றி , மகா பெரிய சேனையாய் நின்றார்கள்” (37:10 ) . உயிர்ப்பிக்க பட்ட கூட்டத்தை ‘பார்வையாளர்கள்’ எனச் சொல்லாமல் ‘மகா பெரிய சேனை’ என்று சொல்வது ஒரு சுவாரஸ்யமான வெளிப்பாடு ! தனது தலைவனுக்காய் முன்சென்று எதிரியின் கோட்டையைப் பிடிக்கத் தீவிரிக்காத ‘சேனை’ என்னத்திற்கு? எசேக்கியேல் 37 : 10இன் செய்தி தெளிவாய்த் தெரிகிறது: ‘மற்றவர்களை உயிர்ப்பிக்கவே நாம் உயிர்ப்பிக்கப்படுகிறோம்.’ எழுப்புதல் அகில உலகையும் தழுவி , சர்வ தேசத்திலும் சபைக்கு வராதோர் , சந்திக்கப்படாதோர் மற்றும் சமுதாயப் புறக்கணிப்புக்குள்ளானோர் ஒவ்வொ வரையும் தொடவேண்டும் . எழுப்புதல் மழை இஸ்ரவேலருக்கு மட்டுமல்ல; மேட்டின் ‘சுற்றுப்புறத்தாருக்கும்தான் !’ ( 34:26 ) . இந்த எழுப்புதல் அத்தியாயாம் ‘ நான் இஸ்ரவேலைப் பரிசுத்தம்பண்ணுகிற கர்த்தர் என்று ஜாதிகள் அறிந்துகொள்வார்கள்’ என்கிற மிஷனரி வாக்குத்தத்தத்தோடு முடிவுறுவதைக் கவனியுங்கள் ( 37:28) . எசேக்கியேல் தீர்க்கதரிசி மனதளவில் ஒரு மிஷனரிதான் . பாபிலோனியச் சிறையிருப்பிலிருப்போர், அவர்களது தேவன் பூகோள எல்லைக்குள் பூட்டி வைக்கப்படக்கூடியவரல்ல என்பதை அறிந்து கொள்ளவேண்டும் என எசேக்கியேல் விரும்பினார். எருசலேமில் அவர்களோடிருந்த அதே தேவன்தான் பாபிலோனின் கேபார் நதியண்டையிலும் இருக்கிறவர் !
எழுப்புதல் அக்கினி பரவியே தீரும் ! நரிகளின் வால்களை பந்தத்தால் சிம்சோன் பற்றவைத்தபோது , அவைகள் அங்குமிங்கும் ஓடி பெலிஸ்தியரின் திராட்சைத் தோட்டங்களை நெருப்பால் நாசமாக்கின ( நியா 15 : 4,5 ) . இவ்வாறே நம் இருதயங்களிலும் எழுப்புதல் நெருப்பு பற்றிப் பிடிக்குமானால் , நாம் வாளாவிருப்போமோ ? இக்கோளத்தின் கடைசி மனிதனைக் கண்டுபிடிக்குமளவும் ஓடோடி , ஒவ்வொருவரையும் தேவனின் பண்ணைக்குள் கொண்டுவர துடிக்காமல் இருப்போமா ? தாவீதர சன் தனக்கு மீட்பின் மகிழ்ச்சியை ‘மீண்டும் தரும்படி’ ஏன் வேண்டினான் ? வெறுமனே குதித்து , குதூகலித்துக் கும்மாளமிட்டுக் கொண்டிருக்கவா ? அல்ல … பாதகருக்குத் தேவனது வழிகளை அறிவிக்கவே இந்தப் ‘புதுப்பித்தலை’ வேண்டினான் ( சங் 51.12,13 ) . அப்போஸ்தலர் நடபடிகள் நூலை எழுப்புதலுக்கான கையேடு எனலாம் . இந்தப் புத்தகத்தில் , அப்போஸ்தலனாகிய யாக்கோபு , ஆமோஸின் புத்தகத்திலிருந்து ‘எவ்வாறு தேவன் அனுப்பும் எழுப்புதல் , தொலைந்தவர்களைத் தேடிப் பிடிக்கும்’ என விளக்குகிறார் . தேவன் , விழுந்துபோன தாவீதின் கூடாரத்தைத் ( பின்வாங்கிய சபையின் அடையாளம் ) திரும்பக் கட்டிப் புதுப்பிக்கும்போது , புறவினத்தார் உள்ளிட்ட பூச்சக்கரம் முழுதும் ” கர்த்தரைக் கண்டு கொள்வர் ” என எருசலேம் செயற்குழுக் கூடுகையில் தெளிவாக்கினார் ( ஆமோ 9 : 11,12 , அப் 15 : 16-18 ) . அப்போஸ்தலர் தாங்கள் ‘புத்துணர்வின் காலத்தை’ அனுபவித்ததாலேயே , பிறருக்கும் அதை அறிவிக்க முடிந்தது ! ( அப் 3:19 ) . ‘உயிர்ப்பிக்கப்பட்ட’ இவர்கள் கர்த்தரின் சமூகத்தில் ஆடிப்பாடியே காலம் கழித்து விட்டார்களா ? இல்லவே இல்லை . எருசலேம் ஆலயத்தின் வெளியிலும் , சமாரியாவிலும் , பூமியின் கடைசி யெல்லை வரையிலும் நற்செய்தி அறிவிக்கும்படி பரவினர் ( அப் 1 : 8 ) . இந்தப் பகுதியின் செய்தி தெளிவானது: ” நாம் புத்துயிர் அடைந்தவுடன் , நமது சொந்த இடத்திலும் , மாநிலத்தின் மற்ற இடங்களிலும் , பிற மாநிலங்களிலும் , இறுதியாக பூமியின் கடைமுனை மட்டும் நற்செய்தியறிவிக்க முன்செல்ல வேண்டும்”. தேவை நிறைந்த பிற மாநிலங்களில் உழைக்கும்படி பணி மாற்றம் பெற்றுச் செல்வதோ , வருமானம் நிறைந்த வேலையை உதறிவிட்டு மிஷனரி இயக்கமொன்றில் தியாகத்துடன் இணைவதோ , குழந்தைகளின் இரத்த நாளங்களில் மிஷனரிக் குருதியை ஏற்றுவதோ— ஏதோவொன்றை செய்யுங்கள் ! தேவன் கிருபையாய் உங்கள் இருதயங்களில் ஊற்றின எழுப்புதல் அக்கினியை எங்கும் பரப்ப இதுவே வழி !
எசேக்கியேலின் மற்ற தரிசனங்களுக்கான தேதி ( 1 : 2 ; 8 : 1 ; 40 : 1 ) தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டது போல மிகவும் அதிகமாய்ப் பேசப்படும் இந்த ‘உலர்ந்த எலும்புகள் உயிர் பெற்ற’ தரிசனத்துக்குத் தேதி தெரியாமல் போனது விசித்திரமான ஒன்று ! ஒருவேளை , தேவனின் ஞானத்தில் வேண்டுமென்றே இத்தரிசனம் தேதியின்றிப் போனதுக்குக் காரணம் , ” உன் காலத்தில் காணும் உலர்ந்த எலும்புகளும் உயிர்ப்பிக்கப்படும் ! ” என்று சொல்வதற்காகவோ … ? ஆம் , நான் அப்படித் தான் நினைக்கிறேன்!
(This article by Duke Jeyaraj was originally published in Blessing magazine years ago. Princy Erastus, our ministry’s volunteer, digitized it into Tamil. Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a viewer supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org).
Duke Jeyaraj narrates an incident that took place in August 2011
While returning after a fruitful time of ministry in Nadiad (where I preached to 150 youth in a Methodist Church over 100 years old) in Gujarat to the Ahmedabad airport, I kissed the face of death.
To catch a 6:10 AM flight, I was travelling in a Maruti 800 in a National Highway seated in the second row right behind the driver. The driver was going at about 80 kms per hour. The time was about 4:45 AM. With my eyes closed, I was praying and praising God for the bunch of young people who came forward and gave their lives (after the first message titled, Five Solemn Facts About Salvation from the book of Galatians), their bodies to Christ (after the second message that called for sexual purity after an practical Bible exposition) in the meetings, the day before. Suddenly, the car ran over a dug-up patch in the poorly lit High Way and uncontrollably swerved to the right, wobbled violently, even as the driver desperately tried to control the vehicle in vain, only to rammed into the road divider. I guess the axle of the car had broken after the car hit the dug-up patch. For a moment, this is how my thoughts went: “Lord, I am coming home!” As a preacher who often talks and writes about sudden death, being in a situation where I could have died suddenly was an unforgettable experience – my first experience of this sort. I was ready to die. But the Lord’s time for me had not come. The front two wheels of the car I was in were up on the road divider and the car was slanted at 45 degrees. If the car had crossed the road divider and rolled over to the other side, a speeding vehicle from the other side of the High Way could have hit us. If the car had stopped on the same side of the road without going up the Road Divider, vehicles coming from behind could have hit us. But God prevented both from happening so graciously. Nothing happened to me, miraculously. Even my knees did not hit the front seat’s back! God protection upon me was so complete! You have been praying for me and the Lord according to sovereign plan and will protected me! I am grateful! The young man, the secretary of the Methodist Youth Fellowship of that part of Gujarat, who sat next to the driver had injuries to his leg. Nothing major, thankfully. The driver and the young missionary who sat next to me in the back seat, did not have any injury too. Within minutes of this happening, another car slowed down. The two young men in the car, helped us get our car which was now stuck on the road divider. They helped us start our car again before leaving. I thanked them profusely and gave them a Gospel tract. But the car we were in, did not run too long after that. So, I had to catch an auto to go to the Ahmedabad airport. I was late for my direct flight to Hyderabad by a few minutes and consequently missed it. But the organisers were very kind to organise another ticket for me to fly back to Hyderabad via Mumbai safely the same day. God is good!
Note: You can listen to the three messages I preached during this trip here: