One of the controversies that has come up in the BOC is the issue of "Ascending". I have had people come up to me and say, "I don't agree with the ascending thing". They cite instances where people would charter airplanes and fly over an area to do warfare in the heavenlies. On another front, it is equated with the New Age movement and equated with channeling, astral projection or something similar in the activities of psychics, devil worshippers and witches. Hmmm, so where did they get these ideas since the devil cannot create but only pervert truth?
The claim that it is not in the Bible is also brought up as a defense of the critical posture of this position.
OK, valid arguments on the surface and good religious sounding statements. So this raises a couple of questions and I am not going to attempt to answer them in depth here, but I challenge you to be a "More Noble Berean" (Acts 17:10-11) and study the scriptures to see if these thing are so.
Question number one: Why is it so difficult to believe that a person can go to heaven and return, but Christians buy the testimonies of people going to hell and returning, hook, line and sinker without question?
Question number two: Where in the Bible does it declare that you must die to go to heaven?
Moses, his staff and the 70 elders of Israel met with God in what apparently is heaven.
9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. KJV
Apparently there were others, Isaiah, Ezekial, Daniel, John the Revelator and of course Jesus himself in John chapter 3.
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. KJV
This statement by Jesus further complicates the issue by saying "even the Son of man which is in heaven" as quoted in verse 13 of the Gospel of John. So He is on earth but in heaven? Certainly He can't be lying! Maybe he meant He and the Father are one, but isn't the Father in Heaven? Poor Nicodemus, his head must have really been spinning by this point.
Paul the apostle was totally amazed at the trip he took to heaven and was left with wonder and awe so much so that he could not articulate in the language of the day what he heard. In the KJV of the bible he said it was "not lawful" for him to speak.
2 Cor 12:2-4
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven .
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. KJV
Not only did Jesus go to heaven to meet with his Father, he would come back with the manifest Glory shining out of His very being. He took Peter James and John with Him to a mountain top (Similar to Moses and the elders) and they entered into the presence of God. Was it in heaven or on earth? Jesus also stated that the works that he did we would do also and greater because he goes to the Father.
Lastly, I am going to let you chew on this one. Jesus, when he was resurrected told Mary not ot touch Him for he had not yet ascended.
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. KJV
And...here is the kicker, Jesus bought with His life a new and better covenant based on better promises. For FORTY Days, before the Holy Spirit was sent, Jesus was popping in and out of meetings all over the place and visiting folks, having communion with them. So let me ask this question.
Question number 3: Where was He before manifesting and where did He go between all these appearances?
And as a final thought, Jesus is appearing to Muslims all over the earth today and I am sure he is not hanging out somewhere here on earth before he goes to them. I get the notion he is ascending and descending from heaven.
You know, it may just be a matter of semantics.
Just a thought!
I think not!!!
I have heard this statement from well meaning Christians and have heard this kind of "counsel" given to folks that need to believe God for healings or miracles.
Now I thought, "Wow, God has given us great and precious promises and Jesus exhorted us to ask that our joy might be full and numerous other references that talk about God's goodness and love toward us, so why is it assumed that we are manipulating God when we believe Him for His promises?"
So, I'm driving down the road talking with God about this supposedly "Godly" statement, when God spoke to my heart and said, "If I could be manipulated, I wouldn't be God!"
I answered back and said, "True, so show me in the Bible where this issue is directly addressed."
God lead me to Psam 2 and it reads as follows:
Ps 2:1-5 2:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. KJV
Verse one reveals the source of such a religious statement. Vanity of imagination brings such goofy thinking from the devil into our minds and we owe it to ourselves to look into such matters to prove if they are so. In Psam 2, God is talking about Himself and how people try to control Him. Apparently this is not a good idea. Revelation 19:19 tells us that the foolish leaders of the world will actually think that they can defeat God at Jesus return. This too will not work out very well.
19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. KJV
So as far as the idea of manipulating God is concerned, demonic and fleshy doubt and unbelief at best! It takes a whole lot more courage and faith to believe God for His promises than to give in to the worldly unscriptural form of Godliness that lacks the power to show God and His infinite goodnes.
For the Lord is Good and His mercy endures forever.
Just a thought!
FIVE SMOOTH STONES
1 Sam 17:40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. KJV
Five: OT:2568 chamesh (khaw-maysh'); masculine chamishshah (kham-ish-shaw); a primitive numeral; five: KJV - fif [-teen], fifth, five (X apiece).
OT:2505 chalaq (khaw-lak'); a primitive root; to be smooth (figuratively); by implication (as smooth stones were used for lots) to apportion or separate: -deal, distribute, divide, flatter, give, (have, im-) part (-ner), take away a portion, receive, separateself, (be) smooth (-er).
Stones: OT:68 (eh'-ben); from the root of OT:1129 through the meaning to build; a stone:
The phrase, “…five smooth stones” is literally in the Hebrew as follows. The fact that the word “scrip” is used as the place where he carried the stones into battle is also a key. So let us look at the phrase translated as it is literally.
Five: God’s ability to put us over
Smooth: to apportion or separate/receive, separate self
Stones: to build,
Scrip: to gather; specifically, to glean:
David gathered five smooth stones in order to establish and receive his rightful role as the leader of Israel and build the Kingdom of God in the country, remember he had already been anointed the next king of Israel. Here also you can say that the Grace to lead was symbolically shown in the number five. Grace in its strictest sense means literally “God’s ability to put us over”. David was saying not by might nor by power but by the Spirit of God, would he win the battle and rule the nation.
Stone was the primary building material of the day. So, by slaying the giant with one stone, he established his singular authority and power over the enemy and announced his leadership over the military might of Israel. David was a man that an army would follow into battle. He is a leader and true leaders go into battle in front of the army to inspire and gain loyalty. Warriors will follow someone’s orders, who is willing to put his life on the line with them. Symbolically, he separated himself from Saul’s kingdom. This, of Course, was foreshadowed when he refused Saul’s armor. He is going to be a new type of leader that would not be conventional, but follow the leading of God’s Spirit.
With the remaining stones he symbolized his rebuilding of the kingdom under the rule of God and how those that were divided would be united and out of that unity he would glean the best of Israel’s leaders and place them in his personal court. He would be rebuilding the kingdom of Israel, but not like Saul’s leadership. This is the symbol of the gleaning bag (scrip) where he would carry the responsibility of the remnant faithful to God and country.
Just a thought!
JESUS HEALED THEM ALL
Alright all you folks with an evangelistic bent. I am going to rock some theology that has been around for quite some time, but has no scriptural foundation. Matter of fact, this may ruffle a lot of feathers.
When you are finished reading this, I encourage you to be a good Berean by investigating these things if they be so. Paul and Silas were sent to Berea after the religious folks in Thessalonica threatened to have a throw down over Paul's teaching.
Acts 17:10 ...And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. KJV
The New Testament does not begin with the opening remarks of Mathew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts. Jesus of Nazareth, The Son of God, operated 100% under the Old Testament while He was alive. Foundationally, the New Testament had not been written yet and was actually being played out while Jesus walked the earth as a man. So what does that have to do with evangelism as we know it?
Forgive me if I am the only one that was taught that you had to lead someone to Jesus for them to be healed, or something to that effect. The bottom line is, get them saved and then get them healed. I just don't find it in the scripture.....anywhere....at all!
God was constantly providing for healing under the Old Covenant before Jesus arrived on earth. Jesus Himself directed peoples attention to the signs in the OT that pointed to Him. The New Testament explains this at every turn. The problem becomes that we all think that we need to point to Jesus before anyone can get healed when the reality is we need to be like Jesus who was so in touch with His Father, that healing flowed from Him and drew people to Himself. Dr. Kenneth E. Hagin said that, "Healing is the dinner bell for salvation." So let's pray for healing, allow God to flow into the lives of people and when they get healed, they will run to Jesus the same way they did in the Gospels. Not only will they run to Jesus, they will drag the community with them. We carry the same Spirit of Christ that Jesus flowed in. I believe that the closer we get to God, the more of His power and anointing will flow out of us as we go out into the world. I am not against preaching, teaching and healing, it's just that it isn't convenient at times as we go about our daily lives.
Here is another point; you do not have to be called into the 5 fold ministry to do the same works as Jesus. You only have to believe. Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18.They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. KJV
If you look carefully at the highlighted portion of the above scripture, you will notice a semi-colon after the word believe. The original Greek did not have punctuation marks as English has today. So if you remove the semi-colon, it reads this way: And these signs shall follow them that believe in My Name;. If you are going to use the semi-colon, it needs to be moved to the end of the statement! What the scripture, as it is in Mark 16 is saying is, you only have to believe (in God) and the name of Jesus will work. Partially true, but also partially effective. James declares about believing, in James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. KJV So believing in God isn't enough, you have to believe in the Name above all names, Jesus (Yeshua for all you Hebrew students) and that His name will invoke the legal authority given to us by Jesus Himself to do the works of Jesus. That is where the power lies. The devils believe in God, but there is zero power in their believing.
So, now where do I get off saying that the New Testament doesn't start in the Gospels? Not one person could be saved until Jesus was raised from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus is the hinge that turns the chapter from the Old Testament to the New. Up until the resurrection, it was all Old Testament.
What does that mean? It means that every person Jesus healed or delivered was not born again as we are taught the new birth means! So get 'em healed and they will get saved!