We do not need to celebrate Jewish feasts as New Testament Christians. It is not compulsory! It is left to one’s free will (Rom. 14:5-6). Celebrating any Jewish thinking that act will save us, is an insult to finished Work of Jesus on the Cross (See Gal. 4:10). When we trusted Jesus as our Savior as Gentiles, we have been ‘circumcised’ already spiritually speaking – we don’t have to undergo physical circumcision (Col. 2:11). Just as circumcision, the physical rite, involves removal of the foreskin of the male private organ, our salvation through faith and ongoing Spirit-directed abidance in Jesus gives us power to “remove” sinful addictions in our private lives. As New Testament believers we can eat pork (no matter what hyper-jewish false teachers say) because Apostle Paul writes only ‘hypocritical liars’ and hell-populating cultic false teachers teach that we must ‘abstain from certain foods which God created’ (I Tim. 4:2-3).
Some hyper-jewish groups, these days, teach, “Jesus will come around this Jewish feast,” in order to coax more believers to celebrate Jewish feasts! Don’t fall for their trap!
Jesus will come a thief in the night – the Bible tells us this seven times. And no one knows when Jesus will come, except the Father – the Bible tells us this two times! Watch this video of mine (under 1 minute) to know the Bible references: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpFBrtd1ckI
Of course, having been saved by grace we must obey the moral laws of God moved out of gratitude (Heb. 13:4 is basically repeating familiar moral law found in the Exodus 20 Ten Commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery’; Ephesians 4:28 is repeating another of the Exodus 20 Ten Commandments, ‘Do not steal’; Colossians 3:9 is repeating another of the Exodus 20 Ten Commandment, ‘Do not bear false witness/lie”). Following the moral laws of the Old Testament will not save us! But if we are truly saved, we will follow the moral laws of the Old Testament empowered by the grace of God and Spirit of God (Rev. 22:13-14, Jesus is the ‘alpha’ and ‘omega’ of our salvation, but we need to wear – use the power – what he gives us freely in order to enter heaven).
Uncle David Pawson, the most original Bible Teacher in the whole wide world according to me, is now with Jesus!
In the year 1992, Uncle R. Stanley invited him to preach in the Bible Lovers Camp of BYM in Danishpet, Salem, Tamil Nadu. I was 17 then (having just preached my first sermon in Ida Scudder School Vellore, a few months earlier).
In a talents competition in the camp I recited a Jimmy Swaggart message on hell. I also won the first prize in the daily tests conducted based on uncle Pawson’s messages in the same camp. My gift was this book – ‘The Road to Hell’ by uncle Pawson with uncle Stanley himself writing the congratulations message on the book. [Later, I would found an organisation with the word Hell (Gehenna) in its very name – in 2006]! Uncle Pawson was gutsy in writing this book, as he biblically and brilliantly opposed the mild annihilation view of hell which John Stott (the world’s leading evangelical then) had, inexplicably, promoted. I had the joy of receiving the prize from the book’s author itself.
I traveled with him by car to Vellore post the meeting. He told me: ‘Duke will preach like Duke and he will not copy anyone else!’ The original Duke Jeyaraj was born that day!
Later when I did what I could to warn the Google Generation about the hell-populating Hypergrace cult, I returned to uncle Pawson resources to find solid Cult-answering Bible Teaching. I bought his book ‘Once Saved, Always Saved?’ in this connection via Amazon. I never searched for a book with more ferocity like how I searched for this book and finally got it (it was couriered from overseas)!
I have used material from his book, Truth to Tell, to prepare evangelistic messages. It was his book on the Second Coming titled, When Jesus Returns, which made me realise this: “many top Bible Teachers believe in one Second coming of Jesus, one judgement, and heaven and hell post that!” His book, Word and Spirit Together, inspired me to chase both the Presence of God and Word of God with equal fervor.
I often referred to uncle Pawson’s book, The Normal Christian Birth, when I wrote a tract (my first tract of any sort) on the importance of immersion water baptism for adult believers as a student of Allahabad Agricultural Institute (1993-1997).
When I did a Bible Study for each of the 66 Bible Books in Hyderabad – a process that took seven years as we met only once a month as a small group of people from different churches and varied walks of life – I often would return to Uncle Pawson’s book, Unlocking the Bible, for wisdom.
I used material from one of his little books when I preached on Why God Allows Natural Disasters in a flat in Gachibowli, Hyderabad (a message for modern young working professionals).
I can safely say that his awesome use of alliteration in his writings and sermons have made his bible material even more memorable. For example, in his book, The Road To Hell, all the chapters begin with R (The Residue, The Retreat, The Reality, The Risk, The Rescue, The Reverse, The Relevance). Not just that – even the sub-points are arranged with coined words. For example in the chapter where David Pawson talks about Rescue From Hell he uses these carefully crafted words: Father’s affections, Son’s atonement, Spirit’s assistance, Believer’s adherence (notice the “a” rain in the sub-point?) But you know what – uncle Pawson, never would make a big deal of this pain-staking-efforts-in-preparation presentation style of his. He would say: “Even dogs speak in alliteration. They go ‘bow, wow’ – don’t they?!” How humble!
Praising God for uncle Pawson! Though I am no patch on him, we have some similarities! We both left the field of agriculture to do full-time ministry! We both are non-pastoral evangelists/Bible Teachers! We both try to use alliteration/rhyming words in our writings/sermons!
In a span of few days Christendom has lost its greatest apologist and its Bible Teacher! The baton is passed to our generation! Will we measure up?
Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj discusses this during family prayer time during the Corona Pandemic Lockdown (April 2020).
The Bible is clear about God’s ability to heal. Healing is a child play for him! But there are reasons why he chooses not to heal instantly. I thank Dr. Jack Deere for pointing these reasons to me in one of his books.
The first reason is perhaps backsliding. Read Psalm 74:9,10,11. “We have not been given any miraculous signs and no one knows how long it will be before the healing takes place. There are no more prophets remaining. How long will our God take to act? Has God withdrawn His right hand?” – that is how that passage goes. God is a spirit but his right hand is referred to anthropomorphically (how the Bible attributes human traits to God so that we can understand him better). How long will God take to act? This is the question of atheists, agnostics, infidels.
God took the Israelites from Judah located in Southern part of the Promised Land of Israel, as captives to Babylon because of their idolatry, adultery, and stubborn back-sliding. During their exile of seventy years, there were no signs of miracles and God disciplined them. So, why won’t God take away this pandemic, here and now? This could be one possible reason: this is a period of divine discipline for us.
The second reason is Loss of First love or Legalism. Read Isaiah 29:8,13. “God has closed the eyes of the prophets and visionaries through whom God’s miraculous powers were displayed.” If you read the entire chapter, you will find out that the prophets became ineffective. Nothing is happening now and matters are getting worse. We are looking at a situation where 1 out of 4 or 5 approximately have got the Corona virus in New York, one of the most advanced cities in the World (April 2020). When people honor God with the mouth and not the heart, it is legalism. During this time of lockdown, we should reflect on how genuine our relationship with God is. How deep is our love of God?
Dr. Jack Deere, an American theologian, says that when Martha made a request to Jesus, He did not oblige. But when Mary asked Him, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Martha liked to work for Jesus and prepare food for Jesus but Mary enjoyed Jesus’ very presence and wanted to stay close to him and latch onto every word that Jesus spoke. When we analyze our lives, we find that we too are more like Martha than we are like Mary. We like to work for Jesus (preach for Jesus, travel for Jesus, etc) but we do not spend adequate time with Jesus. And what is more, when we work for Jesus, what we do, does not come from the heart. It is all mechanical. It is just part of a routine. We do it to get a salary. God’s heart will not be moved when he sees such legalistic work. Let us repent of our legalism. Let us love Jesus with an ever-increasing love. Then, who knows, the miracle for the we are long waiting for (say the complete stopping of this terrible pandemic or any other miracle), may happen without delay (again, needless to say, as per the Divine Will)!
The third reason why God does not instantly heal is that He wants to give us added grace during this time of distress. Read 2 Corinthians 12:8-10. Paul is using the proverbial phrase “thorn in the flesh.” Apostle Paul prayed for healing (as seen in this passage). Some say that Paul had poor eyesight and therefore his writing ministry suffered. And still others say that Apostle Paul was married and his wife was a thorn in the flesh (humorously). Paul is asking for healing from this mysterious ‘thorn’.
This pandemic is like a thorn. Look at what it did to the world economy! See how many people lost their jobs!
But His grace is sufficient for us. God is giving us a supply of spiritual power which is grace, and it comes to us specially during a period of suffering and pain like this. Apostle Paul mentions this in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10. Hyper-supernatural cult preachers say that after Jesus’ death for us on the Cross, we should not go through sickness or death. They should pay heed to this Scripture passage and change their wrong teaching which is leading people to hell. Notice that Apostle Paul says here: “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake” (2 Cor. 12:10). If God’s plan was that we must not suffer post the Cross of Christ, there is no way Paul would write like this!
The fourth reason why God has perhaps allowed this pandemic and did not take it away in hurry is this reason which will come out as we read John 5:1-15. The scene is the pool of Bethesda. How many paralytics were around the pool? There were many sick people waiting for an angel to come and stir the water just like we stir the coffee in the morning. Just when the paralytic tries to reach the pool at that time, someone else gets in ahead of him. (verse 7) The paralytic was sick for 38 years (verse 5). But Jesus healed him. God healed the paralytic at a particular time, hour, day. Jesus healed one among the many sick folks near that pool. From a pool of sick people near the pool, Jesus chose to heal one person. God has a time to stop the pandemic. The miracle depends on God’s sovereign will (Heb. 2:4). Miracles do not depend on what we say or command. God is the potter and we are the clay. It seems that God wants to give this pandemic more time before he may chose to miraculously intervene and stop this. Or he can even choose to keep this pandemic on till his soon-to-come return! Some false teachers say that the miracle is in our mouth. No, only foul odor, is in our mouth!
So what should we do now? Luke 18:1 says that “men ought always to pray and not faint.”
Let us pray right now!
“Lord, Help us to pray without giving up. Let there be no fresh infection of corona virus anywhere in the world for the believer or the non-believer. You are able to do that and we believe it, Lord. We pray for those who have symptoms right now like coughing or those who feel something has gone wrong with their body. Heal us by your stripes. Right now, Lord! Please Lord! You died on the cross and shed your blood. Healing virtue flows still from the cross of Calvary. We receive that. I pray you will perform a miracle. Lord! Please give wisdom to our government authorities and law enforcement officers across the globe to enforce the lock-down and curtail the spread of the virus. During this time, we pray that we will spread the gospel exponentially – much like how the virus is spreading – through online medias. Via Zoom let us zoom with the Gospel and the Word of God! Lord, we want to be involved in discipling others. Let 1 disciple of Jesus become 2. And 2 disciples of Jesus – may they become 4. Let 4 become 16! And so on and so forth. Let there be exponential multiplication of disciples of Jesus. Bless us as we spend family time together – talking, painting and doing other planned activities. Bless each one who is watching. We give you honor, glory, and praise. We ask all this with thanksgiving in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj, the author of this article, is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. This article is a product of Mrs. Malini Prabakar’s transcription of one of Duke’s Youtube Messages shared during the Corona Lockdown which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQFVpB72IFA&t=27s).
It was May 14, 1988, a Saturday. I was in Danishpet, Salem, in the center of Tamil Nadu. I was a 13-year-old kid. I was in a Blessing Youth Mission (BYM) Annual Camp along with hundreds from different parts of Tamil Nadu. In a session that night, Uncle R. Stanley, the ministry’s founder gave a missionary challenge with my dad, Mr. A. Jeyaraj, interpreting into Tamil. He is known to preach peppery, passionate messages that have a memorable outline. But I have no memory of the outline he used that night. But what I do remember is this: when he gave the call for full-time ministry specifically, I walked forward to the front. When the call for salvation was given, in a BYM Meeting in a CSI Church in Ranipet, North Tamil Nadu, two years earlier, by uncle A. Lionel, I did not walk forward. I accepted Jesus as my Savior, right where I was. I confessed my sins and prayed the sinner’s prayer, right where I was. But that night – May 14, 1988 – I had to walk forward. Little did I know what kind of ministry I would do. But I still went forward. I had no blue-print of my ministry future, but I still went forward. The fact that I was baptised in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues for the first time, the previous day in the same camp (in a session led by Uncle A. Lionel), perhaps prepared me to commit my life for full-time ministry that night as the Holy Spirit is the one who ultimately ‘sets-apart’ people for specific ministry tasks (including full-time ministry) and gives them the courage to be bold witnesses of Jesus (Acts 13:2; Acts 1:8).
I was a student of Ida Scudder School then. I had just finished my grade 8 and was about to move to grade 9. Did I quit my school following this commitment? No. I continued to study. But I never forgot the commitment I made. I recall that Mr. Vincent Jeyakaran, my Chemistry Teacher in Scudder School, Vellore, asked me what I wanted to become after this event of 14 May 1988. I instantly replied: “I have committed for full-time ministry sir. I want to serve Jesus full-time!”
I got more active in the Lord’s Work post this commitment. I started a fellowship for boys post that BYM Camp. I called that fellowship, Friends for Jesus. What I knew from the Bible, I taught the small group of boys who would gather either under a tree outside the CSI Church near my home or in the home of Ben Suresh. We also went for outreach with tracts in different parts of Vellore. I taught Sunday School in a Village in Vellore along with Arumugham annan. Our mode of transport was the bicycles!
Uncle Silas, who worked in Christian Medical College and Hospital then, took me various boys hostels across Vellore District and had me preach the Gospel. As I preached in English, He would interpret for me into Tamil. He did this, not because he could not preach. He was a good preacher, himself. I still remember one of the messages Uncle Silas preached to us, teens of Friends for Jesus, from Proverbs 7, about a flirty aunty who had an affair with a naughty boy. I continue to preach from that very passage inspired by Uncle Silas. I did that even in a Assemblies of God National Youth Conference in 2012. Silas uncle wanted to prepare me to be an itinerant minister of the Gospel. He wanted to mentor me. My Dad gifted me, my first copy of any sort of Study Bible – the NIV Study Bible – in the year 1991 (I was 17). I preached my first sermon from Stage in Ida Scudder School to a crowd of about 400-500 in the Captain’s Assembly. School Captain, Shameen, asked me, the Lincoln House Captain, to preach. I preached a message on hell, inspired by American Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart’s video-tape message, Hell is no Joke (a tape which my uncle, A. Gnanasekaran had given us – he also gave me a nice NIV Bible at that time – which became the first Bible I read regularly, underlining phrases and words that spoke to me, writing out devotional thoughts in the side margins). After my first stage sermon in Ida Scudder on August 9, 1991, a girl in the audience fainted. One young man who who would serve God full-time down the line, had an unforgettable encounter with Jesus. I was encouraged to keep preaching.
Eventually I landed in Allahabad Agricultural Institute (SHIATS now) in the month of March in 1993. I remember that I shared about Jesus to one of my co-passengers during that 36-hour journey in the train to Allahabad. Giving tracts in the train became a regular ministry in the train since then. I do it even now. In Allahabad, I picked up my first ever Theology Book – a damaged copy of a Systematic Theology book by J. Rodman Williams (again, my dad’s gift). I led Bible Studies from that book (sometimes just to one person in the boys hostel). I made the first presentation of what the Bible teaches on Sex, Love, Marriage to a group of boys I gathered in the lawns outside the Chemistry Department during my college years (1993-97). I made apologetics-inspired Gospel presentations in Ewing Christian College. I led Bible Studies in Motilal Nehru Regional Engineering College in Allahabad. My Evangelical Union Fellowship senior, John Joe kept giving me these opportunities. I attended a 10-day training by the EU in Kotagiri (Committee Members Training Camp) in 1993.
I worked briefly in Chennai during late 1997 and early 1998. That’s when Pastor Daniel Navakumar, a Sri Lankan Tamil Pastor who lived in Germany, who had read my article for youth from the life of Absalom, invited me to preach to the youth of his churches in Botrop, Germany and other cities in Germany. I quit my job, so that I could prepare to preach in my first ever youth camp. Uncle R. Stanley again helped me with my outlines (as he did as I preached for the first time to a crowd of over 1000 boys, in Halo 1998 in Sitteri Hills). The eight messages I preached in Germany in 1998 to youth in the English to German were video recorded. The Question and Answer session I did at the end of the youth camp was also video recorded. Those are the oldest video message recordings of mine presently available. You can listen to those presentations even now via Youtube by following this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5DR3RjcgKY&list=PL2z1uBimIney9juybE93o0RFp9UBG1XWA
After I returned from that very successful youth camp in Germany, I went straight to Bible College – Southern Asia Bible College (now CGLD), in Bangalore. It was June 1998 when my pre-theology courses started with Mrs. Felicia Praveenkumar teaching us English! The rest is history. I started my own ministry, Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, in 2006, as my wife and I landed in Hyderabad from Jabalpur along with 1-year old Dale.
It has been my privilege now to give missionary calls/fulltime ministry calls in several of my meetings across India. To see young people come forward with tears has given me immense satisfaction.
I do not say, “Full-time ministry is the only way or the best way to serve Jesus!” Far from it! I worked in the years 2006-2008 as a tent-making missionary when I founded G4 Mission. I worked in call-centers, raising money for the ministry God moved my wife and I to start. I was an active witness in those call-centers as well (I led in breaktime, three minute fellowships). But then people moved by the Holy Spirit – all Indians – started to send offerings for our newly-started ministry. I also could not do both – work a full-time secular job and do the ministry. Encouraged by my wife, I quit my HSBC Global Resourcing job in November 2008. I have been fulltime with G4 Mission, my own ministry ever since (as has been my wife). This journey of faith is so awesome!
Have you made a commitment to the Lord? Do not delay in fulfilling it! “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow!” (Eccl. 5:4). I am glad I could honor the vow I made to come to fulltime ministry!
ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION: “WILL GOD FORGIVE THE SIN I AM PLANNING TO COMMIT – THAT GOSSIP SESSION I PLAN TO HAVE, THAT FOUL-MOUTHED RANT I AM ABOUT TO EXPLODE WITH, THAT ADULTEROUS AFFAIR I AM ABOUT TO ENGAGE IN, THAT HOUR OF SECRET PORN SURFING THAT I AM ABOUT TO LAUNCH INTO, ETC?”
The book of Revelation makes wonderful reading. The lessons already taught in the first 65 books of the Bible are pictorially confirmed by it’s book no. 66 – the book of Revelation. “There is nothing new in Revelation which is not taught elsewhere clearly in the Bible!” – this I believe.
We are ‘given a white robe’, we read there (Rev 6:11). That’s a symbolic way of expressing POSITIONAL SANCTIFICATION. I call it ‘GIFTED SANCTIFICATION’. We come to Christ in repentance and faith just as we are, he makes us ‘white’ – holy and pure. But that’s just the start. Positional sanctification would and should translate into practical sanctification, if our repentance was genuine. By practical sanctification I mean a living a life of victory over sin in our day to day lives. John talks about practical sanctification this way: “No one who lives in Him makes a practice of sin” (I John 3:6).
The same book of Revelation talks about those ‘clothed in white’ in the very next chapter (7:13). The folks who wore white, deliberately chose to wear that color. We must make a choice to wear white clothes (spiritually speaking), that is, be pure, say ‘no’ to sin day in and day out, with God helping and we actively cooperating with him (quoting God’s Word, running away from temptation, praying to receive power at the hour of temptation, being accountable to a believer pal, etc). If we want only the privileges of positional sanctification without the responsibility of PRACTICAL SANCTIFICATION (‘GAURDED SANCTIFICATION’) we are like the man who walked into the wedding feast without wearing the ‘wedding garment’ already gifted to him before the wedding (Math 22:11). He had no excuse for not wearing the wedding garment (Math 22:12). We will have no excuse for living a practical holy life on the final day because God has given us everything we need to live that life – His Word, The Fellowship of the Church and opportunity to be accountable, The Holy Spirit, etc, etc (Eph 1:3). And the end of those who just want the privileges of ‘positional sanctification’ without the responsibilities of ‘practical sanctification’ will be same as that of that wedding guest whom Jesus talked about – being bound and bounced into eternal hell (Math 22:13). “You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth (this part of the this verse is talking about PRIVILEGES); therefore I will punish you for all your sins (this part of this verse is talking about punishment sent by God for not combining the RESPONSIBILITY of living holy with God-given power with God-given PRIVILEGES!) – Amos 3:2.
So, my friend, let not anyone deceive saying, “Jesus has already forgiven the sin you are planning to commit.” The Bible declares that God will not forgive sin that we refuse to acknowledge, repent from, and ask Jesus forgiveness for. The Bible teaches that we only store up God’s wrath (we are on the road to hell, in other words) by refusing to repent (Rom 2:5). Another 2:5 – Revelation 2:5 I mean – warns of judgement of God which will come upon those CHURCH BELIEVERS who refuse to repent!
“Will Jesus forgive the sin I am planning to commit?” He will – provided you come to him in true repentance and ask him for forgiveness. But there is no guarantee that you will ever do that. Judas did not. He was saved. His name was written in heaven (Luke 10:20). But he also lived in sin even as he lived with Jesus. He used to, now and then, help himself with the moneybag of Jesus. He allowed greed to grip him, slowly but surely (John 12:6). The greed became a monstrous ball, and, before he knew it, Judas agreed to help the religious leaders of his day to arrest Jesus for the money he would pocket by doing so. He may have thought, “I will come back to Jesus after I am done and dusted with this sin!” (like we say, “I will ask Jesus forgiveness after I am done with this hour of porn-surfing!” or “I will ask Jesus forgiveness after I am done with this session of gossip with my close buddies!”). But he did not. Yes, Judas did not get back to Jesus after he committed wanton sin. He ended his life. He headed to hell (John 17:12). But Peter… Peter came back to Jesus after he committed sin. He repented genuinely. He took a U-turn. When he wept bitterly, Jesus did not ever say to him, “Don’t weep Peter. Don’t repent of your sin. I have already taken care of it!” (Math 26:75). Instead, Jesus allowed Peter to weep for his sin. Because doing so is good. It is better and wiser to weep over our sins now, in this period of grace when there is time, than to weep upon seeing Jesus return the second time to judge it when there will be no time given to repent (Rev 1:7). Jesus taught we must weep ourselves and our children (Luke 23:28). So, when we sin, we must feel for that sin and come back to Jesus in repentance (Luke 13:1-5).
We must consciously avoid deliberate sin. For when we keep committing deliberate sin without even repenting of it, there will come a point in our life, like it happened in the life of Judas, that we will, perhaps, commit a deliberate sin and never feel like coming back to Jesus in repentance. It’s then we come to a point in our life when ‘there will be no sacrifice for sins would be left but only a fearful expectation of judgement and of the raging fire that will consume the enemies of God’ as the Bible teaches (Heb 10:26,27).
So, let’s say with Paul, “I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave (‘wage war with sin with the power of God,’ in other words) so that after I have preached to others (‘after I have been a believer all my life and preached God’s Word too,’ in other words), I myself will not be disqualified for the prize!” (I Cor 9:27).
Also we must remember that there are consequences when God’s children commit wanton sin. Let’s look at the case of believers committing sexual sin deliberately.
From the Bible we read about the following lethal results when people have lapped up sexual sin: Firstly, the LORD will leave you and you won’t know it. Like it happened for Samson as he lay on Delilah’s lap (Jud 16 20). Secondly, you can never be a leader who will influence people for good. Joseph, one who was famous among a set of 12 brothers for beating sexual temptation was told under Divine Inspiration that he would be “prince among his brothers” while the one who slept with his father’s wife, Reuben, was told “you will be first no longer” (Gen. 49:4,26). David, the great leader of Israel who had an adulterous affair, had to go silent when his son raped his daughter (2 Sam13: 2l,22). Thirdly, violence could become commonplace in your family. David learnt this bitter truth when the lives of three of his Sons – Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah were cut short violently at the prime of their youth. Fourthly, you would have given birth to spiritual enemies who will battle against you for the rest of your life. The sons born to Lot’s daughters out of his incestuous relationship with them became ancestors for the Moabites and Ammonites – two of Israel’s most bitter enemies in their later years. Fifthly, the advantages you may have gotten through sexual sins will melt away. Remember, David’s love-child born as a result of his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba eventually died notwithstanding his plea that God would spare Him (2 Sam 12:14).Sixthly, God’s name will be blasphemed. “You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? As it is written: ‘God’s name is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you!'” wrote Paul (Rom 2: 22,24). Finally, when you persist stubbornly in sexual sin you’ll go to hell. The Bible doesn’t mince words when it says “the sexually immoral – their place will be the fiery lake of burning sulfur” (Rev 21:8). L-U-S-T is a four letter sin that will take you to a four-lettered place – H-E-L-L. Do these fatal figures concerning those who indulged in sexual sin make you shudder? It is meant to do just that. Reason? Shuddering can also be biblical way to beat sexual temptation! After proclaiming the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel (including the command, “You shall not commit adultery”) Moses told them, “The fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning!” (Ex 20:14,20). The next time when you think of yielding to sexual temptations, take time to count the cost of yielding to them and you will find that thought not so pleasurable.
The effects of yielding to sexual temptation or any temptation are deadly – even the secular world stories reveal this. It is said that Bill Clinton lost the privilege of his face being carved with the other great American Presidents at Mount Rushmore and a noble Prize because of his incredibly foolish sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky (Source of information – Asian Age, Bangalore edition, 21 September 1998). It is a fact that the great Australian leg-spinner, Shane Warne, lost the honour of leading the Australian Cricket Team because of the phone sex scandals that surrounded him. Tiger Woods lost his sponsorship deals with MNCs because of his sexual sins. This list is endless. Your name does not have to be in this list. Let’s live a victorious Christian life and win over the habit of committing deliberate, callous, sin, with God helping us and we actively cooperating with him.
(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is a fulltime preacher n writer who lives in Hyderabad. Duke founded the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission in 2006. This is a reader supported Indian ministry. Watch Duke’s message videos at http://www.youtube.com/c/VisitDuke. WhatsApp Duke via +91-8886040605).
A teaching that is called “Hyper-Grace” is sadly lapped up by unsuspecting believers world over (including those in Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Singapore and literally world over). A google search on “Hyper-Grace” would throw up the prominent Hyper-Grace teachers in the world, presently. This is an unbiblical teaching that is, at best, a half-truth. But then, a half-truth is a full-lie (as someone said)! Hyper-Grace teachers are in the GRIP of “G-R-I-P”, I noticed. Let me explain:
G-GRACE GRAMMER GOOF-UP!
What I mean here is that, the Hyper-Grace Teachers tell us that a believer’s past, present and future sins stand automatically forgiven when he gets saved. This is simply not true, according to Scripture. A “brother” (that is, a believer) who had regular sexual relationship with his own mother was not considered “forgiven” or “righteous” but as a “evil person” by Apostle Paul (I Cor. 5:1,11,13). David Ravenhill wrote, “The fact is that the provision for my cleansing was completed at the cross but the process of my cleansing is conditional upon my repentance.” I agree.
Hyper-Grace teachers tell us that Repentance merely means changing one’s mind – it does not involve action. Some Hyper-Grace teachers unashamedly say, “I don’t preach on repentance (turning from sin), anymore!” Paul clearly taught in Acts 26:20 that the Gentiles should repent, turn to God, “performing deeds in keeping with repentance”. This was the description given in the book of Revelation about those condemned to eternal hell: “they did not repent” (Rev. 9:20, 21; 16: 9,11). All of us have a choice, Jesus preached: to repent or to perish in hell (Luke 13:1-5; Rev. 21:8). Some hyper-grace teachers are very quick to reject any so-called “pre-cross” statement of Jesus like the one I just quoted. But they do quote portions from the sayings of pre-cross Jesus which they think squares up well with their deceptive theology. For example I have heard them quote from Luke 9:53-55 (where Jesus rebukes his disciples, James and John, who wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy Samaritans). They should make up their minds to accept ALL the words of Jesus or NONE of it. And they should not forget, “ALL” Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for “teaching” (2 Tim. 3:16).
I-INCESSANT IDENTITY INSANITY!
The way Hyper-Grace teachers will invariably begin their messages is this way: “Today, I will tell you who you are in Christ – your identity in Christ!!” While it is good to know our identity in Christ, we must not forget the “responsibility” of holy living that Christ calls us to (I Thess 4:3 which says, “It is God’s will, your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality”). Hyper-Grace teachers, call those who preach on holiness/progressive sanctification, as ‘hypocritical legalists’/’mixed-grace preachers’. But the Scripture does teach progressive, day-to-day sanctification. One of the 16 fundamental doctrines of the Assemblies of God is (progressive) sanctification which is expressed by these words: “Sanctification is realized in the believer by recognizing his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and by the faith reckoning daily upon the fact of that union, and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Spirit.” We chose to live holy using our free-will, enabled by the Holy Spirit’s power(Gal. 5:16; Rom. 8:13). Therefore we have nothing to boast about, except that we have been enabled by His Grace.
P-PERMANENTLY PLEASED POP!
The teaching they systematically spread is this: “God, your loving father, doesn’t see you in your failures and short-comings; He sees you in Jesus’ perfection and loveliness, always.” If that were true, Jesus, when he saw the failures and short-comings of the Revelation churches would have said, “Rejoice! I do not see your sin!” But, instead, he said “Repent!” (because he did see their sin, post-cross!) He said that six times (Rev. 2:5,16, 21,22; 3:3,19). We must not exalt one image of God found in the Bible at the expense of other images, leading to a blunder that could land us in hell. In Hebrews 12, we read that God is both these “CFs” – a Compassionate Father (verse 5) and a Consuming Fire (vs. 29)! God is not just a Father who dotes over us, he is a Master whom we must obey, the Scripture tells us repeatedly (I Cor. 6:13; Col. 3:24; Jude 4; Gal. 6:17; I Thess 1:6-8). He is not just a loving dad but also a faithfulness-expecting and purity-expecting Bride Groom (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:27). We are saved by Grace, for good works and holy living (Eph. 2:8-10). Let us not forget that.
Let’s get busy with the work of rescuing those friends of ours in the g-r-i-p of the hyper-grace teaching before it is too late. Let us boldly go to places where false doctrines like hell-taking hyper-grace teaching is taught and “charge” people not to teach any doctrine that is contrary to Scripture (See I Tim. 1:3).
Irrfan Khan’s acting came as a breath of fresh air in the world of Bollywood dominated by the other khans – Aamir, Salman, Shah Rukh. The movies of the other Khans mainly focused on the hero. They had to dominate every frame, invariably. This Khan’s movies focused on the story and the message (including some messages which I strongly agree with like, “You don’t need to speak flawless English to make it big in life!”). And what was more – he did not raise his voice to deliver the message. He did it quietly. He did it in a dignified fashion. This is what I could write when I watched the flood of videos, posts, and articles about the late actor who lost his battle with cancer (on 29 April 2020). I don’t want to sign off before making this point: we can be “Irrfan Khans” or the “other Khans” when it comes to doing Christian Ministry. Let me explain: We can do ministry so that the focus is on us (the Other Khans way) (Paul talked about this group in Galatians 1:10: “Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or curry favor with God? Or get popular applause?” (The Message). Or we can do ministry so that the focus in on the Name of Jesus (the Greatest Name) and the Word of God (the Greatest Story). We read about the focus of this group in Psalm 138:2: “(God) you have exalted above all things your name and your word” (ESV).
Duke Jeyaraj on the last over between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kings XI Punjab in Dharamshala, 18 April 2010, easily the most exciting game in IPL-111, and perhaps one of the most iconic final overs ever in IPL History as one hits the rewind button on 12 years of IPL (as on April 2020).
They were just an over away from possible elimination – despite having quality players to flaunt,
16 runs in the last over – that’s what Chennai Super Kings needed stay in the hunt,
Irfan Pathan ran into bowl with determination, Dhoni’s efforts to get those runs, to blunt,
The onlookers couldn’t move – be it a person young or old, or be it an uncle or an aunt,
After Dhoni crashed the first ball for four – 12 required off 5 balls was the new count,
When the next ball he miscued for a brace, Chennai’s semi-final chances none could totally discount,
The next two balls Dhoni smacked over the fence – Irfan Pathan’s ego to bruise and affront!
The super cool Skipper then celebrated with a rare, never-seen-before upper cut stunt!
It was as if he knew that Chennai would go on to win the IPL 3, up-front!
“Dhoni scores 28 out of 29 runs required in the last 2 overs” – that’s what the papers reported in big font!
What Dhoni did atop that stadium in 5000-feet high Dharamshala’s mount,
Reminded me of Jesus who willingly took cuts on his body atop mount Golgotha, to open a fount,
A fount filled with sinless, precious blood that would take away sin of all, who into it, would in repentance and faith, even today, dismount!
(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj, the author of this poem, is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a reader-supported ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. WhatsApp Duke at +91-8886040605).
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!