Yoke Bearing for Christians

The Bible mentioned about yoke in the Old and New Testaments. The more famous and well known verse about yoke Christians like to talk about is 2 Corinthians 6:14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

However, yoke is more than just this verse Christians fancy most. The earliest mention of the word “yoke” is concerning servitude of a people.

Genesis 27:40: And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.

This verse concerns the people of Esau. They would be put under the dominion of Jacob’s descendants. The yoke the children of Jacob applied on the children of Esau would come to an end when they finally dominate over Jacob’s children.

The next verse that talks about yoke has to do with the children of Israel living under bondage as slaves to serve their masters in the land of Egypt. It was a horrible yoke which Jehovah God eventually delivered them by the hands of Moses who led them out of Egypt.

Leviticus 26:13: I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.

In actual literal practice, yoke is applied to an animal. However, some animals when they were not put under the yoke for agricultural purposes, they became sacrificial animals for the purpose of cleansing rituals for the children of Israel.

Numbers 19:2: This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:

Deuteronomy 21:3: And it shall be, that the city which is next unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke;

Deuteronomy 21:4: And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer’s neck there in the valley:

Deuteronomy 21:5: And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the LORD thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the LORD; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried:

After the children of Israel were delivered from the yoke of Egyptian bondage, they were warned that another more terrible yoke would come upon them when they rebel against God and fail to keep their covenant with the Lord.

Deuteronomy 28:48: Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.

Usually, the enemies put the children of Israel under the yoke of bondage. Unfortunately, even the kings of Israel put them under severe bondage. After the death of king Solomon, the people requested Rehoboam who ascended the throne after Solomon to lighten their burdens. But king Rehoboam took counsel from those whom he grew up with to impose a even heavier yoke upon the children of Israel. Hence, the kingdom became divided.

1 Kings 12:4: Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.

1 Kings 12:9: And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter?

1 Kings 12:10: And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.

1 Kings 12:11: And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

1 Kings 12:14: And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

Throughout the writings of prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea and Nahum, the yoke continues to be a source of heavy bondage and servitude. It was not something positive and joyous celebration for the children of Israel. This was just the way it was due to sin and rebellion against God.

One of the most prominent mention of the word “yoke” is found in Lamentations. Jeremiah was lamenting bitterly concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple as well as the captivity of the children of Israel. Although he was not put to death by the Babylonians, he felt the pains of his people and the tragedy that fell upon Israel for their disobedience and rebellion against the God of Israel.

Lamentations 1:14: The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they are wreathed, and come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength to fall, the Lord hath delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise up.

Interestingly, Jeremiah mentioned something positive about bearing the yoke.

Lamentations 3:27: It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.

The reason Jeremiah could relate positively to yoke bearing is the realisation of the goodness of the Lord and trusting the Lord in times of adversity. Most importantly, the yoke is not permanent and hence it is good to bear the yoke in the youth. The Lord is just and knows what He is doing with them in spite of the burdens and sufferings of being put under the yoke.

Lamentations 3:28: He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.

Lamentations 3:29: He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope.

Lamentations 3:30: He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach.

Lamentations 3:31: For the Lord will not cast off for ever:

Lamentations 3:32: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.

Lamentations 3:33: For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

Lamentations 3:34: To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth,

Lamentations 3:35: To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High,

Lamentations 3:36: To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not.

Lamentations 3:37: Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?

Lamentations 3:38: Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

Lamentations 3:39: Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?

Lamentations 3:40: Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.

Lamentations 3:41: Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.

Coming to the New Testament, yoke bearing takes on a new dimension. While yoke always portrays the idea of bondage and sufferings, it has become something desirable. Most glaring are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ who implores His people to take on His yoke.

Matthew 11:29: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matthew 11:30: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The yoke in the world causes a lot of trouble and sufferings but the yoke of the Lord is the complete opposite. Taking on the yoke of the Lord brings rest to our souls.

Whenever a Christian complains it is so hard to live the Christian life, he is lying. The Lord tells us His yoke is easy and His burden is light. They are meant as a source of comfort for His people and not another form of terrible bondage impose upon His people to punish them.

The law of Moses imposed upon the children of Israel for their own good was a form of yoke the children of Israel found it hard to bear. So when a sinner believed and received the Lord, some Jews sought to impose the bondage of the law upon them.

Acts 15:10: Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

Galatians 5:1: Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

This yoke was decisively and conclusively rejected by the apostles when issues pertaining to observance of the law of Moses by the New Testament Christians were brought into question. Surely the Lord does not lie for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Now for the very familiar verse Christians usually apply to marriage, this verse actually covers more than just marriages.

2 Corinthians 6:14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

On the surface, this verse does apply to marital situation and there is nothing wrong with the application. However, the context of this verse is exemplified by the following verses.

2 Corinthians 6:15: And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

2 Corinthians 6:16: And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

2 Corinthians 6:17: Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

2 Corinthians 6:18: And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

So it is not merely for the case of Christians marrying non Christians. It is for Christians not to become yoked with encumbrances with the unsaved in many areas and not just on marriage. This however does not mean a Christian should avoid the unsaved like a plague because the apostle Paul clearly instructs that this would be unrealistic and impossible to do.

1 Corinthians 5:9: I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

1 Corinthians 5:10: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

So common sense prevails over how a Christian should avoid yoking up with an unbeliever and this applies more than just a marital union. This is the negative aspect of yoking in the New Testament.

In all practical purpose, yoking must be done with equal partners. In the business world, yoking is a synergistic partnership between companies to further their business venture for mutual benefits. If one party is a dominant party, such yoking is no longer an equal partnership. It would become a merger and acquisition scenario where the dominant company buying over the weaker company. Pains would be hard to avoid under such yoking arrangement as positions would be made redundant and employees could be retrenched. Hence, being unequally yoked brings no tangible benefits but pains to one party.

The positive aspect of yoking is to become engaged with like-minded brethren in the gospel work. This kind of yoking the Lord is obviously well pleased.

Philippians 4:3: And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

Living in this fallen world, it is unavoidable that there would be a master and servant relationship. Salvation of a sinner does not abolish the present world system for the child of God. Such a Christian is encouraged to serve his master faithfully where the yoke is regarded as part of the Lord’s service.

1 Timothy 6:1: Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

So becoming a Christian does not exempt the child of God from yoking. He is encouraged to yoke positively in the Lord’s work. He is also required to serve his master under the yoke as a form of service to the Lord to ensure the Lord’s name not be blasphemed. Of course, the child of God has to be careful not to become unequally yoked with unbelievers in all aspect of his life for his own safety and comfort as well as blessings from the Lord.

The Chinese has a saying.

吃  得 苦 中 苦 方 為 人 上 人

A person who can endure hardship is a superior man.

Hence, according to the scripture as written by Jeremiah: It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. (Lamentations 3:27)

The apostle Paul also exhorts Christians to be a good soldier for the Lord by enduring hardness.

2 Timothy 2:3: Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Those who have gone through some form of military service would understand the challenges and the toughness require from a soldier.

It is good training to prepare for adversities in the youth. He will stand a greater chance of survival in this spiritual warfare that is waged against him by the flesh, world and the devil. How many Christians have fallen in the battlefields and the scars are too numerous to document because they have failed to heed Lamentations 3:27: It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.

As such, Christians are exhorted to be strong to take the yoke of the Lord which is easy and the burden light. The yoke of man is truly miserable.

1 Corinthians 16:13: Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

Ephesians 6:10: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

2 Timothy 2:1: Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.


Hacksaw Ridge – Thou Shalt Not Kill

The recent movie “Hacksaw Ridge” is concerning a conscientious objector who refused to bear arms based on the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” from the Bible. He was allowed to train as a medic and was involved in saving many lives during one of the battles in Okinawa and subsequently became the first conscientious objector to ever win the Congressional Medal of Honor. This movie however, has brought into focus the question whether Christians who serve in the military should likewise observe this commandment not to kill and refuse to bear arms.

This commandment is one of the ten commandments given to the children of Israel by Moses.

Exodus 20:13: Thou shalt not kill.

Does this mean this commandment is applicable only to the children of Israel? Or should this commandment be extended only to Christians because this is in the Bible? If that be the case, non Christians are allowed to kill with impunity? Does this make sense?

The truth of the matter is, this commandment is a universal commandment applicable to all man on earth. Before even this commandment was given by Moses, centuries ago immediately after the flood, God has made known to Noah and his surviving family members the penalty of taking man’s life.

Genesis 9:6: Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

So this is the first clear cut law on capital punishment for taking another man’s life. It is not just meant for the Jews or the Church. Although no commandment was issued to forbid killing back then, the implication was obvious and the punishment explicitly established. What Moses did was to issue a preventive measure before anyone reached the stage where capital punishment was required to be meted out to those who kill.

The decree according to Genesis 9:6 is understandable where violence plagued the world before the flood and the entire human race had to be wiped out except Noah and his family members. So Exodus 20:13 is a continual affirmation of God’s plan for man to stay away from violence and taking of man’s life.

Just because Moses gave this commandment to the children of Israel, some might have the funny idea to romanticize this commandment and turn Christians into conscientious objectors refusing to kill when there is justifiable cause to do so. What about taking away the life of a murderer so dictated by Genesis 9:6 long before Moses showed up on earth to give this commandment not to kill? Is a Christian just before God for refusing to obey Genesis 9:6 by simply grabbing Exodus 20:13 and put himself on a pedestal to claim the title as a conscientious objector?

The same man Moses who gave this commandment not to kill also commanded the children of Israel to exterminate their enemies that God wanted to be removed from the land.

Deuteronomy 7:1: When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;

Deuteronomy 7:2: And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

Deuteronomy 7:3: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

Doesn’t Moses contradict what he told the children of Israel much earlier not to kill and then sent them to slaughter everyone be they male or female, young or old? Those who hope to hide behind the notion of being a conscientious objector certainly look very silly indeed.

In fact when the children of Israel worshipped the golden calf while Moses was up on the mountain receiving the commandments from Jehovah God, Moses turned into a murderous rage when he saw what happened and ordered the slaughtering of three thousand sinning Israelites that day.

Exodus 32:25: And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)

Exodus 32:26: Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.

Exodus 32:27: And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.

Exodus 32:28: And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.

So much killing in just one day for the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” notwithstanding.

The history of the nation of Israel was nothing short of bloody killing during times of war. When Gideon told his youthful son to kill the captured enemies, he was afraid to do so. Gideon personally killed those kings without blinking an eye. Did Gideon violate the law of Moses?

Judges 8:20: And he said unto Jether his firstborn, Up, and slay them. But the youth drew not his sword: for he feared, because he was yet a youth.

Judges 8:21: Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.

Samuel came along and commanded king Saul to slaughter the Amalekites, young and old, male and female including their animals, but the mission was only half completed. King Saul spared the animals and the king of Amalek.

1 Samuel 15:1: Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.

1 Samuel 15:2: Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

1 Samuel 15:3: Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

As such, Samuel personally hacked the king of Amalek to death. Did Samuel violate the law of Moses?

1 Samuel 15:32: Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.

1 Samuel 15:33: And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.

So the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” does not mean God intends for everyone to die naturally of old age as some would want you to believe. This commandment is simply to prevent anyone having to be executed for violating Genesis 9:6 that requires the execution of the murderer. Cold blooded murder must be punished for those who failed to keep Exodus 20:13 “Thou shalt not kill”.

Numbers 35:16: And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

Numbers 35:17: And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

Numbers 35:18: Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

Numbers 35:19: The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him.

Numbers 35:21: Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him.

Numbers 35:30: Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.

Numbers 35:31: Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.

There will be justifiable cause to kill which is obvious living in this sin cursed fallen world. One such cause would be during times of war. Shedding blood in times of peace is forbidden. David before he died commanded his son Solomon to deal with Joab who murdered Abner and Amasa in times of peace.

1 Kings 2:5: Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet.

1 Kings 2:9: Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.

So should Christians refuse to bear arms especially those who are conscripted to serve in the military by the law of the land? Can such Christians claim Exodus 20:13 to be an excuse from combat service? What does the New Testament have to say about this matter? Are Christians expressly forbidden to bear arms, especially commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ? The answer is yes and no.

When the Lord Jesus Christ first sent His disciples out to preach the gospel of the kingdom, they were sent only to the children of Israel and were not allowed to carry necessities including weapons.

Matthew 10:5: These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

Matthew 10:6: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew 10:7: And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 10:8: Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Matthew 10:9: Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,

Matthew 10:10: Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

Much later before the Lord was about to be betrayed and went to the cross, the operational requirements for His disciples changed.

Luke 22:35: And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.

Luke 22:36: Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

Luke 22:37: For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

Luke 22:38: And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

This time, the disciples were required to be full battle order ready, including weapons at hand. The previous standing order to head out to mission empty handed was replaced.

The carrying of sword wasn’t meant to embarrass Peter when he tried to use the sword to defend the Lord during Judas Iscariot’s betrayal who was leading the mob to arrest the Lord. The Lord’s commandment was for any disciples who may have to bear arms for self defence when necessary.

Furthermore initially when John the Baptist showed up to baptize converts, soldiers also came to enquire what they must do in order to be a qualified candidate for baptism.

Luke 3:14: And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

John the Baptist did not tell them to get out of the military. He told them not to abuse their power simply because they were armed and had the power to do violence. Soldiers are trained to fight wars and in times of battles, they have to kill or be killed. To impose a no arms bearing requirement on soldiers who are believers in the Lord is to send them to their death during times of war.

When the the Lord Jesus Christ came along to further reaffirm the commandments of Moses, the same commandment “Thou shalt not kill” was retained and clearly understood to be meant for potential murderers to take heed.

Matthew 19:18: He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

The apostle John went one step further than Moses when he issued this hard truth for Christians.

1 John 3:15: Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

This pronouncement dealt with the very heart of the matter. This warning is one step before Exodus 20:13, the preventive act of murder itself after which capital punishment takes its course to remove the murderer from the earth. So this Christian warning is even stricter than the commandment given by Moses. It starts with the heart. Hatred for his brother is considered murder even before the act of murder has taken place.

So the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” according to Exodus 20:13 does not even enter into the equation for Christians because the moment a child of God hates his brother, he is already crossing the line into the realm of murder, spiritually speaking.

Claiming to be a conscientious objector and avoiding military duties when required is inexcusable. Whether a Christian likes it or not, he is in a constant state of warfare and he is called to be a soldier to fight spiritual battles.

2 Timothy 2:3: Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 2:4: No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Those serving with the apostle Paul were fellow soldiers and soldiering is not an obscene occupation.

Philippians 2:25: Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.

The primary duty of a Christian is to fight spiritual war because we are in a constant state of tension with wars against the flesh, the world and the devil.

2 Corinthians 10:3: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

2 Corinthians 10:4: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

1 Timothy 1:18: This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;

Christian soldiers are given weapons to engage in this constant spiritual battle and no one will be exempted. Refusing to bear arms and wrestle with the enemies are folly to the uttermost because one cannot imagine the conflict is fictitious and wishes the troubles away.

Ephesians 6:11: Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:13: Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Ephesians 6:14: Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Ephesians 6:15: And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Ephesians 6:16: Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Ephesians 6:17: And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Ephesians 6:13: Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” is not an excuse for a Christian to shirk duties when required to bear arms. Living in this fallen world, there might be times where the warfare could be translated from spiritual state to a literal physical war. A Christian cannot hide himself behind the fanciful notion as a conscientious objector not to take up arms to protect his loved ones from getting killed and raped during times of evil and expects others to risk their lives to protect him and his families.

In the context of today’s heightened state of tension with regards to terrorism worldwide, it is silly that observing the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” will keep one safe. Terrorists do not subscribe to such a law. These criminals are out to exact maximum casualty and damage in population centres to get a message out to the world in order to champion a political cause.

A Christian law enforcement officer is required to take down such criminals when necessary to prevent any or further loss of innocent lives. Refusing to eliminate that treat and allows criminals to harm and kill innocent people is tantamount to becoming accessory to crimes with these criminals and be found guilty of murder should the innocents needed to be protected get killed. This gross negligent of duty is unpardonable, especially naively using the Bible to aid criminals in taking away innocent lives. Such folly indeed causes the name of the Lord to be blasphemed where non believers look down on such believers using the Bible to cover up their own cowardice.

The funny thing is some Christians are so averse to warfare where the Bible is so full of examples to exhort Christians to be a good soldier of the Lord firstly to fight spiritual battles. The believers in the Old Testament had no qualms in obeying the Lord to put an end to lives when commanded to do so. The New Testament Christians seem to think that putting an end to life is a dirty job meant for non believers. They conveniently forget there are soldiers in the New Testament where they were not required to give up their occupation just because they became believers in the Lord. Cornelius is a good Roman solder who believed the Lord. He was never required to quit his post. It would be so silly to insist he surrendered his arms back to the Roman empire once he got converted to Christianity.

Moses commandment “Thou shalt not kill” is not only meant for the Jews, or the Church, but universally applicable to the world. It is a crime prevention measure not a panacea to obtaining eternal life.

The western world led by left wing bleeding heart liberals who object to capital punishment is causing chaos in societies where those who violated the commandment not to kill are spared from death penalty. Hence, as the scripture concludes, the land descends into lawlessness, just like in the days of Noah before the flood.

Ecclesiastes 8:11: Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

Thou shalt not kill is not just a commandment but a warning after which the consequence of capital punishment follows.

Numbers 35:31: Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.

It is not meant to support misguided conscientious objectors in their attempt shirk duties or bask in vain glory for their own self righteousness.

Like it or not, one day all believers in Christ would fight a war with such a scale that will be earth-shattering. This will happen when the Lord returns with His saints to take possession of the earth to set up His Kingdom. Mass killing is assured.

Revelation 19:11: And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Revelation 19:12: His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

Revelation 19:13: And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Revelation 19:14: And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

Revelation 19:15: And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Revelation 19:16: And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

Revelation 19:17: And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

Revelation 19:18: That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

Revelation 19:19: 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.

Revelation 19:20: 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.

Revelation 19:21: 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.

If you are not part of the armies in heaven participating in this battle with the Lord, you are none of His. You may very well turn out to be cannon fodders on earth to be exterminated with the rest of the rebels when the Lord brings in His Kingdom with His saints.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Amen!


Costly Affair for Chinese New Year Celebration

Lunar New Year is here again. Chinese all over the world are celebrating this occasion. Prior to the very day of the new year, reunion dinner is a tradition to be observed where family members gather to have a great meal and a good time enjoying one another’s company. This tradition has been passed down through generations and is still being kept by Chinese everywhere.

This is an important event especially for Chinese in China where they work in cities far away from home and they only get to go home once a year to be with their family. This home coming puts China’s transport infrastructure into great strain with the legendary exodus of hundreds of millions of Chinese returning to their home town. Sometimes, the high way would look like an open air carpark during horrible traffic jams due to traffic accidents or inclement weather conditions.

Nevertheless, reunion dinner is a gathering Chinese will not want to miss longing to see their parents and siblings after months of separation due to work or business or even schooling. However, for Chinese living in small cities where there are constant interaction and regular meals together with family members, this reunion dinner, though a Chinese tradition, has lost some of its meanings. It becomes a chore and a burden for those living in fast pace city lives, hardly have the time to cook at home, let alone prepare dinner for big family gathering.

Besides reunion dinner, preparation for Chinese New Year cost a lot of money. Chinese will want to buy new clothes, new shoes, new bags and if possible even a new car. This is in addition to food and snacks to be purchased to entertain relatives during visits and of course decking up the home after an exhaustive spring cleaning and all these add to the cost of the celebration. Another very costly aspect of the celebration is giving out red packets with cash inserted inside to be given to children once they are married.

So this is the time of the year small kids are taught about receiving red packets containing cash inside. This is supposedly to make them happy with blessings but in reality teaches them covetousness, a time of exploitation and extortion. They would some day grow up having to be givers so might just as well collect as much while they are still eligible, especially to help parents recoup the cash they have to give out to other people’s kids.

Hence, it is so common to hear Chinese bellyaching about having to find money to go through Chinese New Year. On the social media, one guy was complaining about having given his dad who is retired several hundred dollars for red packets to be given out during Chinese New Year, his dad spent them all in a week. Another woman was complaining about the restaurant she works at promised to give employees bonus but failed to materialized in the very last minute. She was given an advance half a month salary a week ago and she had already spent them all on stuff for the new year. She was lamenting where she might find money for expenses for the next few weeks having to pay school fees for children and transportation expenses at the very last moment just before Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year indeed comes with terrible burdens. Some people have been retrenched recently. How are they going to face their family members and relatives during this festive season? There is no end to trouble for those who are in financial difficulty. The article here summarizes services available to make Chinese New Year less stressful for busy city folks.

Four Services Available to Make Chinese New Year Less Stressful

Of course if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, Chinese New Year offers great business opportunity too. The Rent-A-Girlfriend Apps becomes an instant sensation because during Chinese New Year gatherings, instead of genuinely concern about each others welfare, it usually turns into a show-off convention with busy bodies asking personal questions causing embarrassment to some young people.

Girlfriend Rental App

Besides questions about marriage prospects, relatives also take the opportunity to compare occupations, wealth, children’s academic performance and many other vanities in this life. Unless you have money, Chinese New Year is not fun at all. Chinese New Year is all about wealth and getting more wealth.

As Christians, we see through all these vanities of life what the scriptures warn as worldliness and worldly lust. The Psalmists aptly exclaimed:

Psalms 39:5: Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

Psalms 39:6: Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.

Nevertheless, many Chinese Christians still celebrate Chinese New Year. Some no doubt have to suffer the burdens associated with all the encumbrances during this festive season if they are unable to disengage themselves from pesky relatives and all other vain and superstitious practice.

Actually, as Christians, we cannot blame the Chinese for going after all the material things in this life because they don’t know God and don’t have God’s promise to provide for them and take care of them.

Matthew 6:28: And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

Matthew 6:29: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Matthew 6:30: Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Matthew 6:31: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

Matthew 6:32: (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

Matthew 6:33: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

So Christians should not condemn or despise the Chinese for all this pursuit of wealth to impress relatives that they don’t like with the money that they have during this time. We should pity them for the burden they have to go through during this time. Some would no doubt end up with substantial debts to clear once the celebration is over. Of course there is nothing wrong wishing everyone well during Chinese New Year, especially wishing peace and blessings from the Lord.

As Christians, whatever calendar we observe, it is another year closer to the Lord’s glorious coming for us. It is a time to give thanks for God’s goodness for the past years and the rich blessings the Lord bestows upon us that we least deserve. May all Chinese Christian the world over rejoice in the Lord during this Chinese New Year.

Wishing all Chinese brethren God’s peace and blessings from above during this festive season.


Fake News in the Bible

The recent US presidential election has brought the trouble with fake news to the fore front. Fake news are nothing new. Fake news have been used since time immemorial to cause a certain event to occur in favour to the predestined desired results by the issuer of the fake news. This has been employed during times of wars where accounts have been numerous.

Some years back the US justified their invasion with fake news that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The whole world was taken in for a ride. When Iraq was finally destroyed and Saddam Hussein executed, no weapons of mass destruction were found.

In fact fake news are not alien to Biblical revelation as well. One prominent incident was the destruction of the wicked king Ahab. The plan to disseminate fake news took place in heaven. This piece of fake news sealed the doom of king Ahab.

1 Kings 22:19: And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.

1 Kings 22:20: And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.

1 Kings 22:21: And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.

1 Kings 22:22: And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.

1 Kings 22:23: Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.

During one of the wars between Israel and Syria where the children of Israel were under siege living in dire condition, a case of fake news helped to prevent the impending doom of the Israelites.

2 Kings 7:5: And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there.

2 Kings 7:6: For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.

2 Kings 7:7: Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.

The source of this piece of fake news originated from none other than the Lord. Years later, the Lord again sent out fake news to deliver king Hezekiah and his people under siege by the Assyrians.

2 Kings 19:6: And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.

2 Kings 19:7: Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.

2 Kings 19:8: So Rab-shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.

Fake news will become more prevalent during the last days in this digital age. The Lord Jesus Christ warned His people not to be taken in by fake news. There will be false Christs and false prophets who will deceive many.

Matthew 24:4: And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

Matthew 24:5: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Matthew 24:11: And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

Matthew 24:24: For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Mark 13:21: And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:

Luke 21:8: And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

Prevailing fake news will cause many people to be troubled during the days prior to the return of Christ.

Matthew 24:6: And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

The Lord also condemned those unbelieving Jews they would rather believe fake news rather than the truth.

John 5:43: I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

This is sad but nevertheless true that many will be deceived. They would rather believe the devil than the Lord and hence nations of people are deceived and doomed.

Revelation 12:9: And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Revelation 13:14: And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

Revelation 20:3: And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Revelation 20:8: And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

Revelation 20:10: And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

It is actually quite easy to deceive people who don’t like truths from the Bible. Just give them news that the people want to hear and they will swallow it. Manipulating people who reject the truth from the Bible is not very difficult.

So those who hate the Bible and the Lord and they think they can get away with it will be badly mistaken. The Lord will treat them the way they like to be treated.

2 Samuel 22:27: With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.

Psalms 18:26: With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.

Additionally, the Lord will even send them falsehoods and fake news will be one such weapon of choice.

Isaiah 66:4: I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

2 Thessalonians 2:8: And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

2 Thessalonians 2:9: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

2 Thessalonians 2:10: And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

2 Thessalonians 2:11: And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

Don’t ever think you can beat the Lord in your own game. You will be deceived by fake news to your own confusion and destruction. It is not funny at all and it becomes funnier when you found the joke is on you.

Job 12:16: With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his.

So there are many weapons at the Lord’s disposal. One such weapon is fake news. Even the devil and his cohort are operating under the Lord’s permissive will to deal with wayward and froward sinners.

Now is the time to learn some truths. It is definitely possible to know the truth and the truth shall make you free.

John 8:32: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 8:24: I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

John 3:36: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Luke 12:5: But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

Mark 9:47: And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:

Mark 9:48: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Revelation 21:8: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Believe the warnings from the Lord Jesus Christ.

You don’t have to be a victim of fake news.


The Significance of Clothes Rending in the Bible

The are many instances in the Holy Bible where people rent their clothes. Although many of those who rent their clothes recorded in the Bible happened to be Jews, this is not necessarily a predominantly Jewish practice. The earliest recorded case in the Bible on rending of clothes is found in the Book of Job.

Job 1:20: Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

After the Lord allowed Satan to bankrupt Job and take away all his children, Job rent his mantle. It was a sad day for Job and to express his sorrows and griefs, he did what he had to do but at the same time he did not sin against God.

When his friends came to visit him, they likewise rent their clothes to share in his sorrows.

Job 2:12: And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.

Such expressions of griefs predate the existence of the nation of Israel. During the infancy of the nation of Israel, rending clothes was recorded from time to time. Sometimes, rending of clothes is a religious requirement in the case of leprosy.

Leviticus 13:45: And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean.

Other times, rending of clothes is an outward expression due to sudden turn of event with serious consequence impacting those people alive at that time.

Numbers 14:6: And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:

This incident happened when the spies sent out to check out Canaan land came back with evil report and discouraged the children of Israel. They rebelled and refused to take that step of faith to conquer Canaan. Faithful men like Joshua and Caleb rent their clothes in despair for what transpired. They did not expect the ten other spies would bring back evil report to frighten the children of Israel.

When the children of Israel finally stepped foot on Canaan forty years after those rebellious generation had died out, one man disobeyed God and caused the children of Israel to be defeated by their enemies. Joshua rent his clothes and mourned before the Lord.

Joshua 7:6: And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.

Years later when the children of Israel had occupied Canaan, they still rebelled against Jehovah God and fell into apostasy time and again. During one time when when one of the judges Jephthah came back in victory after defeating their enemies, his daughter came out to greet him.

He had earlier vowed to offer a burnt offering to the Lord that first came out from his house and unfortunately, this happened to be his daughter.

His disappointment, griefs and sorrows are understandable. Hence, here is another case of rending of clothes recorded in the Bible.

Judges 11:30: And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,

Judges 11:31: Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.

Judges 11:35: And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.

When the children of Israel had been firmly established as a nation ruled by their own kings, several more cases of rending of clothes are recorded. When David received reports that king Saul and his sons were dead in battle, David and his men rent their clothes to mourn for them.

2 Samuel 1:11: Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him:

After king David sinned against the Lord in the matter of Bathsheba, this resulted in retribution for his sin when one of his daughters was raped by her half-brother; and she rent her clothes in anger and despair.

2 Samuel 13:19: And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.

Rending of clothes is often an outward expression to release pent up anger, frustration and despair due to tragedy that befall those who could not do anything about what has happened to them.

When God pronounced judgment on the sinning king Ahab, the king rent his clothes in repentance and mourning. His act postponed the impending judgment God intended to send him on his wayward ways.

1 Kings 21:27: And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.

When God took Elijah home on a chariot of fire, Elisha rent his clothes as well. He would miss his master dearly who would no longer journey with him to minister to the children of Israel.

2 Kings 2:11: And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

2 Kings 2:12: And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.

One time when the Syrian king sent a delegation to Israel demanding the healing of the Syrian captain Naaman from leprosy, the king of Israel rent his clothes in helplessness. Everyone knew there was no cure for leprosy and the Syrian king was trying to find fault to attack them. Of course Naaman was later healed and believed in the God of Israel.

2 Kings 5:7: And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.

2 Kings 5:8: And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.

There is a case where rending of clothes took place when the children of Israel were under siege. When a case of cannibalism was reported to the king, he was furious and he rent his clothes exposing the sackcloth he was wearing within in a state of mourning.

2 Kings 6:30: And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh.

Another case of Israel under siege happened during king Hezekiah’s time. When the king and his people were threatened with doom, the king and his servants rent their clothes in griefs and mourning. The situation was hopeless and they were truly helpless. Of course, Jehovah God delivered them during that time.

2 Kings 18:37: Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rab-shakeh.

2 Kings 19:1: And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.

Towards the end of the Jewish kingdom, a tender hearted young king rent his clothes upon hearing the words of Jehovah God from the book of the law found in the dilapidated temple. This rending of clothes was an act of mourning in humility and humble submission to the God of Israel for past offences against the Lord by their forefathers.

2 Kings 22:11: And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.

2 Kings 22:19: Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.

Finally, the nation of Israel was destroyed and her people carried away. During their captivity, a genocidal program against the Jews was set in motion.

When Mordecai, the uncle of queen Esther found out this evil scheme, he rent his clothes in despair and mourning. It was a very serious situation they were facing and rending of clothes would be insufficient to comfort those facing their impending doom.

Esther 4:1: When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;

Upon their restoration to their own home land, Ezra rent his clothes in mourning when he learnt that the children of Israel sinned against God by intermarrying with the heathen around them.

Ezra 9:3: And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.

Ezra 9:5: And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God.

By the time of the New Testament, this practice of clothes rending continued to be recorded in the Bible. When the apostle Paul and Barnabas healed a crippled man at Lystra, the people had mistaken them to be Jupiter and Mercurius and were about to offer them sacrifices. Paul and Barnabas rent their clothes to stop them. It was a situation they least expected and in moments of desperation they rent their clothes.

Acts 14:14: Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,

So rending of clothes is an act of extremity. An act acted upon when faced with sudden helplessness and despair and even deep sorrows. It is an outward act to get attention from above to intercede on behalf of those facing perilous times and doom.

The most significant rending of clothes is recorded in the gospel account during the trial of the Lord Jesus Christ. Having concluded that the Lord Jesus Christ had blasphemed, the high priest rent his clothes.

Matthew 26:65: Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.

Mark 14:63: Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?

Apparently, the high priest did not heed the commandments given to him by Moses.

When Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire before the Lord and died, Moses specifically told Aaron and his surviving sons not to rend their clothes.

Leviticus 10:6: And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled.

In addition, the high priests is not allowed to defile himself with dead people, not even when the dead is his own family member and hence, rending of his clothes to mourn for the dead is forbidden.

Leviticus 21:10: And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes;

Leviticus 21:11: Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;

Under no condition is the high priest allowed to rend his clothes. So here is a case where the high priest rent his clothes during the trial of Jesus in violation of the law of Moses.

Hence, since the rending of the clothes by the high priest, after the death of Jesus on the cross God also rent the veil inside the temple separating the holy of the holies, the inner most sanctuary of the temple where the high priest was required to enter before the ark of the covenant once a year with blood sacrifice.

Hebrews 9:25: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

The rending of the veil inside the temple was an act of God because the rending was done from the top to the bottom.

Matthew 27:51: And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

Mark 15:38: And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.

With the act of the high priest rending his clothes, the Lord rent the veil of the temple and forever offer free open access to the most holy place that was once the prerogative of the high priest.

So some years later after the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, in 70 AD, the Romans sacked Jerusalem destroying the temple. Till this day, the temple in Jerusalem remains in the dustbin of history, a reminder of its once remarkable and glorious past. But the children of Israel having rejected their Messiah, the King of the Jews, the temple is no longer necessary for believers to approach to worship God.

The rendering of the temple in Jerusalem and its attending priests obsolete ushers in a new era of priesthood and worship that does not require the assistance of any earthly Jews nor their facilities to enable believers to worship the Creator God of the universe.

John 4:22: Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

John 4:23: But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

John 4:24: God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Earthly priests are now done away with because every child of God is a priest in his own rights.

1 Peter 2:5: Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:9: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

This is because the Lord Jesus Christ is now the great high priest, the only mediator between God and men.

Hebrews 4:14: Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

Hebrews 3:1: Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

1 Timothy 2:5: For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

As such, every child of God now has access to the throne of grace, where in the past, requires an earthly priest to perform the function of a mediator between God and men.

Hebrews 10:19: Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Hebrews 4:16: Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

So Christians should approach the throne of grace often to find grace to help in time of need because the Lord is rich in mercy.

Ephesians 2:4: But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

It was a different arrangement in the past where the Levitical priesthood was the way to approach God but now a new era has dawned upon all men.

Hebrews 9:8: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

Do not go back to anyone on earth as a mediator to intercede on your behalf. The veil in the temple had been rent, in fact, the temple had been done away with and earthly priests are now useless.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the great high priest who has replaced the Levitical priesthood and every child of God can now approach God the Father through His Son, the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.


Pontius Pilate – The Powerless Roman Governor

The trial of the Lord Jesus Christ was the most important trial in the whole world. While miscarriage of justice often happens in the world’s justice system, the miscarriage of justice of the trial of Jesus, the Son of God, was preordained of God. This case resulted in the crucifixion of Christ.

However, the execution order fell on the lap of Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor. The whole episode on the trial of Jesus turned out to be a kangaroo court situation based on public opinion. Unfortunately, the honourable Roman Governor had the dubious honour to become a rubber stamper instead of a righteous judge to put Jesus to death.

It wasn’t because Pilate was a useless, dumb and exceedingly corrupt trial judge. It was because the death of Jesus was prophesied of old not to be carried out by the usual Jewish execution by stoning. In fact, Pilate was a discerning and an intelligent man. He found Jesus innocent and proclaimed the verdict as such. But he was powerless to set Jesus free.

According to prophecy, the Lord Jesus Christ who knew no sin was made sin for sinners, the innocent dying for the guilty where the prophet Isaiah devoted an entire chapter on the suffering Messiah. This is also confirmed by the apostle Paul.

Isaiah 53:6: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

2 Corinthians 5:21: For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Like the serpent of brass lifted up on a pole in the wilderness where the rebellious children of Israel who looked at it were healed, the Lord Jesus was lifted up in death for sinners who look to Him for salvation.

Numbers 21:8: And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

Numbers 21:9: And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

Isaiah 45:22: Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

The Lord also mentioned about His death of being lifted up upon the earth.

John 12:32: And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Moreover, the Son of God is the Passover Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and not one of His bones would be broken in death. So stoning would be out of the question.

Exodus 12:43: And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:

Exodus 12:46: In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.

Hence Roman crucifixion was the method of execution for the case of the Lord Jesus Christ. So Pilate happened to be the historical character in the trial of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalms 22:16: For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

However, Roman execution by crucifixion could involve breaking of the leg bones. This happened to the two thieves crucified with the Lord.

John 19:31: The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

John 19:32: Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.

But the Lord Jesus was the exception because He died on the cross. So not one bone of the Lord was broken according to prophecy.

John 19:33: But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:

John 19:36: For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

In addition, the Lord Jesus Christ would be pierced according to prophecy as well.

John 19:34: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

Zechariah 12:10: And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Revelation 1:7: Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

So Pilate the Roman Governor was the required state actor for the day. Pilate knew very well Jesus was innocent and he tried hard to push the ball back to the court of the Jewish religious establishment but to no avail.

John 18:31: Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:

He realized this whole event was a setup and he was being manipulated to do the bidding of the Jewish religious authorities.

Matthew 27:18: For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

When king Herod happened to be in town on the day of the trial, he pushed the court case over to him without hesitation having found out that Jesus was a Galilaean where Herod had jurisdiction over the accused criminal before him.

Luke 23:6: When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean.

Luke 23:7: And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.

Unfortunately, Pilate could not escape this political hot potato. King Herod played ping pong diplomacy with Pilate and the case was back in his court. Being a political animal himself, at least he scored points with Herod and resolved the enmity between them.

Luke 23:11: And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.

Luke 23:12: And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.

This did not stop Pilate from trying to release Jesus. This was especially the case when his wife warned him about Jesus, a just man in her own words.

Matthew 27:19: When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

Initially, when the Jewish religious authorities brought Jesus to Pilate to be judged, he had already concluded that the Lord was innocent. The crime laid against Jesus was that He is the King of the Jews.

John 18:33: Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?

John 18:35: Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?

John 18:37: Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

John 18:38: Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

Pilate unequivocally concluded that there was no fault in Jesus after direct examination. The only problem was when the Lord Jesus told Pilate He was bearing witness unto the truth, he adopted a cavalier attitude. He didn’t inquire about the truth. He wasn’t interested in the truth although he knew the truth about the whole setup by the Jews to get Jesus executed. Pilate simply said what is truth and then walked off to confront the Jews concerning his conclusion of the court case before him.

Luke 23:4: Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.

Luke 23:14: Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:

Luke 23:15: No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.

Pilate thought he could offer the Jews a compromise under the prevailing custom during the Passover where he could release a prisoner to the Jews by offering up Jesus to be set free. Of course, this got him no where with the Jews. Instead, they demanded for the release of Barabbas a robber, a convicted criminal awaiting execution.

John 18:39: But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?

John 18:40: Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

Pilate thought he could still get Jesus off the hook by torture hoping he could satisfy these Jews baying for His blood.

John 19:1: Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.

John 19:4: Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.

John 19:5: Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!

Upon presenting the severely tortured Jesus to the Jews, this might assuage their anger against Him. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. There was no compromise as far as the Jews were concerned. They would stop at nothing other than the death sentence for Jesus.

John 19:6: When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.

By now Pilate was obviously upset. Being a Roman Governor, having to come so low to appease these Jewish slaves was really embarrassing. Pilate concluded the second time he found no fault in Jesus. He challenged the Jews to crucify Jesus themselves.

So what when someone claim to be a king among his people! If there be any insurrection against the Roman empire, they would be brutally put down. Pilate had proved to be a ruthless and brutal ruler.

Luke 13:1: There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

Luke 13:2: And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?

The Romans had no qualms not only in suppressing rebellion, if need be they could even desecrate religious practices. So the charge against Jesus as the King of the Jews was rather lame. There was no evidence to support Jesus leading a violent uprising against the Roman empire. Pilate knew full well the Jewish religious authorities envied Jesus and they were making use of him to execute Christ which he was not willing to comply.

Pilate definitely didn’t lose sleep over the charge that Jesus was the King of the Jews. However, the Jews upped the ante against Pilate when they realized this Governor was not willing to pass the death sentence on Jesus. They amended the charge that Jesus not only was the King of the Jews, he was the Son of God.

John 19:7: The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

This was new territory here for Pilate to consider. Being a King of the Jews wasn’t a problem. The moment anyone claiming to be a ring leader seeking to rebel against the Romans, Pilate could easily handle such rebellion. Military options were never off the table. But being charged as the Son of God, this was a completely different situation.

This had raised the earthly affairs to the next level of spiritual war beyond the realms of Pilate and the Roman empire. Upon hearing the new charges against Jesus, it was reported that Pilate was more afraid. So another round of direct examination was in order.

John 19:8: When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;

John 19:9: And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.

Since Pilate didn’t want to know the truth earlier but simply said what is truth and walked off, the Lord Jesus won’t entertain him anymore. He didn’t get any where with the Lord either with this new charge laid against Him. In order to coax the Lord to cooperate with this second direct examination, he issued threats to the Lord, which was quite laughable.

John 19:10: Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?

He didn’t even succeed earlier with power bestowed upon him by the Roman empire to release Jesus, he thought he could still exercise that power under him to get Jesus off the hook after this second inquiry. He simply thought too much of himself where he was merely a pawn in this whole affair.

John 19:11: Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Right now, it wasn’t the Lord Jesus that was standing trial. It was Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor that was on trial. He knew Jesus was innocent but he could not release him. His wife warned him against passing sentence on Jesus and he had to factor in his wife’s concern into his calculation regarding what to do with Jesus. It was silly of him to still think that he had the power to kill and set free and he could exercise that power to do according to his wishes.

He was empowered by Rome to exercise lordship over these Jewish slaves but he found it hard to go against them. Military solution was a possible option to suppress rebellion if he did what was right but he wasn’t willing to go through such trouble. Dealing with an accused criminal not of this world was beyond him. His veiled threats against the Lord were useless. He realized the power bestowed upon him by the Roman empire was nothing if it were not firstly authorized from heaven.

So Pilate continued to belabour himself with this unwanted court case before him trying to secure the release of Jesus. Thinking out of the box was useless against the maddening Jewish crowd out there baying for the blood of Jesus. Pilate had already tried to soften the ground by scourging Jesus but to no avail.

The crowd now charged that Jesus was not just a human King of the Jews but the Son of God. He had no answer to this charge. Was it a crime against the Roman empire? Not necessarily. A crime against the Jewish law on blasphemy perhaps but what had this got to do with the Roman penal code? He couldn’t go back out to the crowd to offer a compromise.

Pilate didn’t choose to get himself into such a situation. His conclusion was right but he could not deal with the Jews now on the verge of rioting if he didn’t accede to their demands to put Jesus to death by crucifixion. Finally, the Jews checked mate Pilate by charging him instead of Jesus for trying to protect Jesus for His crime against their Jewish law.

John 19:12: And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.

The Jews now turned personal and were resorting to personal threats against Pilate, the honourable Roman Governor. How audacious were these Roman slaves! They charged Pilate for siding with Jesus and issuing threats against him close to treason against Caesar and of course the Roman empire. This got Pilate into a bind. He found himself caught between a rock and a hard place.

Being a political beast that he was, to save his own skin and not get himself into trouble jeopardizing his own political career, he made deals with the Jews. He asked the Jews whether he should crucify their King. Was he being sarcastic? This was ridiculous. Since when a Roman Governor needed to ask permission from those he lord over?

John 19:15: But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

The reply from these Jews was epic. They had soundly rejected their Messiah and claimed a Gentile ruler to be their own king. The moment these Jewish religious elites made that claim, they had rejected the Law of Moses.

Deuteronomy 17:14: When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;

Deuteronomy 17:15: Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

Being custodians of the Law, these religious Jewish elites were willing to transgress the Law of Moses just to get Jesus crucified. How blinded they were with hatred against the Rock of Israel, badly tortured standing before them who gave them the Law!

Matthew 27:22: Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

Matthew 27:23: And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

Pontius Pilate didn’t get it! He couldn’t figure out the crimes Jesus had committed against the Jews. Like king Herod, he had probably heard about the miracle worker Jesus going around healing the sick, restoring sights to the blind, casting out devils and even raising the dead. Were these crimes against the Jews? Definitely not crimes against the Roman empire. In fact, Jesus was an asset to the Roman empire for helping to reduce health care cost! Moreover, Jesus paid tax as well! Jesus was no trouble maker.

Matthew 17:24: And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

Matthew 17:25: He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?

Matthew 17:26: Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

Matthew 17:27: Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

To issue death sentence on Jesus by crucifixion would go against his professionalism not to mention his conscience. He had already issued a verdict that Jesus was not guilty more than once. He was demanding to know what evil Jesus had done. This might offer him the justification to sentence Jesus to death. But he was given none other than Jesus was charged as a King of the Jews and the Son of God.

It was ridiculous to enter such crimes into record to put Jesus to death knowing full well there was no justification behind the sentence. The whole episode was political. If there were such a crime known as political crime where Pilate could agree to pass the death sentence, he would have done so.

The innocent Jesus, whom he had already scourged hoping this would assuage the Jews to set him free failed. When the Jews turned personal against him and in not so many words charged him for colluding with Jesus against Caesar and the Roman empire, it became too hot to handle. His own political career and even his life could be at stake.

Now with the Jews about to turn violent that day, trying all ways and means to set the guiltless Jesus free was hopeless. To extricate himself from passing the death sentence, he did what he had to do by washing hands before these raging mad Jewish crowd. The situation was red hot in Jerusalem while angels and devils watched this unfolding event with Jesus Christ, the Son of God subjected to abuse and judgment by mere sinful human creatures.

Matthew 27:24: When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Pontius Pilate couldn’t bear to pass the death sentence on Jesus knowing too well He was innocent. But by virtue of the fact that he held the office as a Roman Governor, the power to pass this death sentence rested on him. Has was merely acting as a rubber stamper, rather embarrassing, that was all. He dissociated himself from this death sentence he had to pass which came to pass. Moreover, the Jews were willing to cover for Pilate on this crime against the innocent Jesus when he went along with them to act according to their wishes.

Matthew 27:25: Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Those chilling words uttered two thousand years ago still ring loud and clear till this day. The Jews have been paying the price since for going against the Law of Moses to accept a Gentle king over them as well as rejecting their Messiah and had Him crucified.

All these happened according to the foreknowledge of God to bring salvation to the world through Christ. While the raging madness of the Jews witnessed against Jesus that day and the lame compromising Roman Governor who couldn’t perform his duty with dignity resulting in the crucifixion of Christ, the apostle explained about wisdom beyond this world.

1 Corinthians 2:6: Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

1 Corinthians 2:7: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

1 Corinthians 2:8: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

The Creator God in eternity past knew every heart of man before they come into this world. God allows event to unfold to fulfill His will to redeem Adam’s lost and helpless race, yet still holding those actors accountable for their actions that revealed their wicked hearts in this whole episode on the miscarriage of justice in human affair.

Acts 3:13: The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.

Acts 13:28: And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.

Pontius Pilate was the state actor for the day, completely humiliated to act against his own will and judgment. To say he had a bad day that day would be an understatement of galactic proportion. He failed to heed his wife’s warning. He failed in his own professionalism. He failed to uphold the high and lofty dignity of the Roman empire before these Jewish slaves. It was not as though he had no physical military means to back up his own verdict. Being a political animal, he was a wimp acting on self-preservation mode.

So he passed the death sentence on Jesus and crucified Christ, the King of the Jews. To get back at the Jews, he deliberately wrote the inscription the crime the Jews originally brought against Jesus, their King and Messiah. Pilate was acting on the power bestowed upon him to crucify the King of the Jews so what were you lowly despicable Jews going to do about this! At least this showed the Jews who was really the boss.

John 19:19: And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

John 19:20: This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

While rejoicing they had their wish fulfilled when Pilate sent Jesus to be crucified, the title the Jews saw set tongue wagging. This was now humiliating. Of course the Jews rejected this. The reason why they wanted Christ crucified was because they didn’t want Jesus to be their King. They were so desperate to even accept Caesar as their king! So they brought the matter to Pilate to change this title.

John 19:21: Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.

John 19:22: Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

Now having done what he didn’t want to do, Pilate told these Jews off in no uncertain terms. He was very curt with them. He should have told them off concerning the crimes laid against Jesus in the first place. He tried so hard to compromise with these unreasonable Jews but got him no where. He was not about to compromise with them on this matter as well. There would be no where for him to hide his face having been led around by the nose by these Jews and he was even personally threatened by them for treason against the Roman empire.

Pilate was the most unwilling state actor for this earth-shattering trial in the entire universe. He went against his own conscience to pass the death sentence on Christ. This however, didn’t make him any less culpable for his crime and cowardice even though he washed his hands before these murderous Jews.

After capitulating to the demands of those unreasonable Jewish elites and their raging mad followers, what was Pilate thinking? What was he going to tell his wife that day? Was he satisfied with washing his hands from this sentence of Jesus could get him some peace? Was he angry with himself or with the Jews?

Just when Pilate thought the whole episode was settled and he could get over with this sorry kangaroo court trial and the resulting miscarriage of justice, this same bunch of Jews came to trouble him again. This time was concerning the body of Jesus buried in the tomb.

Perhaps he might be thinking what these crazy Jews were up to again when they could not furnish reasonable evil deeds that caused Jesus to be crucified. Now these mad religious elites were worry about the disappearance of the body of Christ. Were they really insane? Why were they so obsessed with Jesus when he was a live and now even in death? Pilate won’t get it, he never would.

Matthew 27:62: Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

Matthew 27:63: Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

Matthew 27:64: Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

At least these religious Jews were not as crazy as they were made up to be. They took the words of Jesus seriously when the Lord told everyone he would rise again on the third day. The irony was that the Lord’s disciples failed to take heed about this and failed to believe the resurrection of Christ.

They were disappointed and dejected after the crucifixion of Christ. They were completely lost. The promised kingdom was gone as far as these followers of Jesus was concerned. They were totally defeated wallowing in despair.

But this was not the case with the Jewish religious authorities. They took the resurrection of Christ seriously. Even though some might not believe in the resurrection like the Sadducees, they could not afford to lose the body of Jesus. So they came to trouble Pilate one more time.

By now the exhausted Roman Governor would be glad to tell them to get lost and not trouble him. He was already very curt with them earlier. He must be really annoyed. He gave order for the tomb of Christ to be secured.

Matthew 27:65: Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.

Matthew 27:66: So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

What was Pilate thinking then? Now the responsibility of securing the body of Jesus was passed on to these Jewish accusers and prosecutors. Of course this was carried out in conjunction with the Roman soldiers.

Were they thinking those Roman soldiers were not professional in their duties? They could pay with their lives if things went wrong. The Roman jailor was about to kill himself when he thought the prisoners had escaped during an earthquake.

Acts 16:26: And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

Acts 16:27: And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

Could Pilate become really disgusted with these troublesome Jews that had caused him so much trouble that day and now even doubt the professionalism of his own men? Did Pilate think they would succeed in securing the tomb and prevent the resurrection of Christ if the resurrection was possible?

Pilate didn’t even want to waste time to reason and debate with these religious Jews in high places. He could have just mocked them to get back at them for forcing his hands to crucify Christ but he did not. Maybe he thought these Jews were hopelessly lost in this whole affair trying to nail an innocent man and they had lost their mind. Even in the death of the convict they were not satisfied.

Perhaps Pilate was secretly hoping Jesus would come back to life so he could undo what he had done wrong on that day. Was there something bordering Pilate now after having Christ crucified? Could he quietly and secretly repented and trusted in Jesus like the centurion and those with him who witnessed the death of Christ on the cross and confessed Jesus was the Son of God?

Matthew 27:54: Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

The trial leading to the crucifixion of Christ was the most momentous event since the creation of the world. It was this day that the Devil was thoroughly defeated.

Hebrews 2:14: Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Hebrews 2:15: And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Though Pontius Pilate was instrumental in the crucifixion of Christ, he and others were unwilling actors in the entire affair blinded by their own sins and living under the dominion of Satan to destroy the Lord of glory. This turned out to be exactly what God the Father had planned to destroy the Devil and offer salvation to the whole world. Moreover, the Lord Jesus Christ also prayed for everyone before he gave up the Ghost on the cross of Calvary.

Luke 23:34: Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Pontius Pilate, the coward and powerless Roman Governor might be found among the just if he had repented of his sins and trusted in the Lord having dealt with Him so intimately on that fateful day. That face to face confrontation with the Lord and having to deal with those Jews steep in hatred for Christ must have been troubling and exhausting.

At least he knew Jesus was innocent and he washed his hands in the entire affair to dissociate himself from the sentence of Jesus. But without repentance and faith in Christ, there would be no salvation for him. He was born into this world to confront the Lord and had the dishonour to be the executioner of the Saviour of the whole world. Some one had to do this job. It happened to be Pontius Pilate! He wore the badge of dishonour as the powerless Governor of the Roman empire.


The Danger of Selective Listening

It is very common to listen to what we would like to hear. This however, is very dangerous, especially concerning spiritual matters. We could go off on a tangent and miss important doctrines and truth if we approach scriptures with preconceived biases and try to fit scriptures within the framework of our own understanding or suit our own narratives.

A pertinent case in point is the episode where the Lord blasted Peter calling him Satan for saying something that was completely contrary to the will of God.

Matthew 16:18: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:19: And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Matthew 16:20: Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Matthew 16:21: From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Peter was initially told he was given the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Next, the Lord’s revelation about His sufferings, death and resurrection upset Peter so much that he was so audacious to rebuke the Lord.

Matthew 16:22: Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

What did Peter miss or misunderstand that caused him to impose his will on the Lord Jesus Christ?

Peter must have gone over his head for being told he was given the keys of the kingdom of heaven!

Was he trying to exercise the powers of those keys given to him to bind and loose earthly matters concerning the kingdom and expect endorsement from heaven?

It was so strange for Peter to do what he did here as though he could lord over the Lord.

What offended Peter so much that he just blew his top to rebuke the Lord?

Peter and the other disciples had been following the Lord for quite some time. They had witnessed first hand all those miracles performed and ministering to thousands who came to hear the Lord preached.

A revolution was about to take place under Roman occupation of their homeland. It was promising and got the attention of the ruling religious elite who came to question the Lord. People were talking about the Lord trying to figure out who Jesus was.

Matthew 16:13: When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

Matthew 16:14: And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

Everyone was intrigued about the Lord. He was doing extraordinary things no man could do. This put the religious elite to shame who constantly confronted the Lord but the common man followed the Lord. So this question was put to the Lord’s disciples.

Matthew 16:15: He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

Without hesitation Peter confessed and gave the absolutely correct answer. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God.

Matthew 16:16: And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Confession is one thing but faith and self-will are something else. These disciples including Peter had been following the Lord day in and day out and had become so familiar with Him. It is so easy to take the Lord for granted and treat Him like one of them.

They were full of optimism concerning the kingdom with their Messiah physically with them who could do all things; healing the sick, cast out devils, rebuke the wind to still the storm and even walk on water. What is stopping them to share the glory of the coming kingdom and Roman occupation would become a thing of the past when the Son of David finally sits on His throne in Jerusalem?

The evidence of the coming coronation was apparently so evident that the Lord had to get out of the way.

John 6:14: Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

John 6:15: When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

The disciples surely feel the same way too. They were already jostling for power even before the Lord ascends the throne.

Luke 9:46: Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.

Mark 10:35: And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.

Mark 10:36: And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?

Mark 10:37: They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.

Some time later Peter even wanted to know their rewards for following the Lord.

Matthew 19:27: Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

Hence the kingdom was very real to these disciples. They were expecting the arrival of the kingdom. John the Baptist was disillusioned too when he was in prison and sent disciples to ask whether the Lord was indeed the Messiah or should they look for another.

Matthew 11:2: Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,

Matthew 11:3: And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

As far as John the Baptist was concerned who manifest Christ to Israel, if the kingdom was so real, why should he be languishing in prison? Unfortunately, the message the Lord sent to him might not be what he liked to hear.

Matthew 11:6: And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Of course in the flesh John the Baptist could be offended in circumstances that turned out the way he least expected. There was no message of comfort or deliverance for him.

So Peter and the rest of the disciples were truly looking forward to the coming kingdom. Now with Peter given the keys of the kingdom of heaven, a great confirmation no doubt, but with the revelation of the Lord’s impending sufferings, death and resurrection, this threw the future of the kingdom into great uncertainty.

Peter was definitely offended.

What the Lord revealed were three folds. Firstly His sufferings, followed by His death and then His eventual resurrection on the third day.

What did Peter actually missed hearing? Did he ignore the last part about the Lord’s resurrection?

Was his focus only on the Lord’s sufferings and death? This would be obviously not something he would like to hear.

What is so good about the keys of the kingdom of heaven when their Messiah the King of the Jews would suffer and die?

What could the keys do when the King is no longer around?

What is there glory to share in the future?

Peter’s selective listening to what the Lord revealed was causing this outburst to get out of hand. For conveniently ignoring the Lord’s eventual resurrection, the Lord’s plan of salvation for the whole world, his chastisement came fast and furious.

Matthew 16:23: But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

It is noteworthy here that Peter turned Satan for that moment when he sought to impose his will on the Lord’s will. Peter in his self-will was looking through the lens of the flesh and not the eyes of faith.

It is important to realize that even believers in the Lord are not out of reach from the Devil if the Lord so allows it. In fact, Peter was always the main target and was right in the Devil’s crosshairs.

Luke 22:31: And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

Luke 22:32: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Satan is actively desiring and planning to touch God’s people but the Lord is also actively countering his every move. Notwithstanding, some believers would pay a price for their folly when they allow Satan to play a role in their life.

Acts 5:3: But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Acts 5:4: Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

Acts 5:5: And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

The difference here is Peter being called Satan survived while Ananias dropped dead after Peter rebuked him for allowing Satan to fill his heart to lie to the Holy Ghost.

The Lord’s furious rebuke of Peter is instructional here.

Peter was not simply trying to protect the Lord and prevent His sufferings and death but his lack of faith in the resurrection.

If Peter failed to heed the Lord’s revelation of His resurrection on the third day, then Peter indeed could not hide his disappointment concerning the coming kingdom. They had left all and followed the Lord and if the kingdom turned out to be a piped dream, it would be disastrous to all these followers of Christ.

In fact, after the Lord’s death, the disciples were indeed disillusioned.

Luke 24:18: And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

Luke 24:19: And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

Luke 24:20: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

Luke 24:21: But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

The hopes of the kingdom were gone when the Lord died and everyone was trying to move on from this sorry episode. Euphemism gave way to despondence.

Even Peter went back to his fishing business when their Messiah the King was no longer around and the rest followed him.

John 21:2: There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.

John 21:3: Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

So Peter’s strong reaction to the Lord’s revelation concerns the issue of resurrection in the context of the kingdom.

Without death how can there be a resurrection? But Peter was standing in the way of the cross by his own understanding and self-will.

Regarding the issue of resurrection, the Jews do believe there is a resurrection. But this is a fuzzy idea where the present reality of a resurrection is not something so easy to grasp. They had seen the Lord raised the dead but apparently, they were still grappling with this issue. The raising of Lazarus is a case in point.

John 11:22: But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

John 11:23: Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

John 11:24: Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

The Jews believe in the resurrection at the last day but not the present day. And Martha did not believe his brother could rise again that day in which he did.

So the Lord had to drill into the disciples concerning this issue of the resurrection. The message of dying is gain takes centre stage.

Matthew 16:24: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Matthew 16:25: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Matthew 16:26: For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Dying is gain is a strange concept to the world. Followers of Christ must practise self-denial and bear the cross to stay spiritually profitable.

There is no point entering the kingdom with our corruptible body of flesh and blood. The Lord has a better plan for His people.

The resurrection of Christ should be the central theme and His sufferings and death are just signposts but for selective listeners, they miss the forest for the trees. Selective listening by ignoring the most important part of the entire message brings fear and confusion.

Thus, the Lord had to reiterate His subsequent coming in glory with rewards for every man to assure His disciples.

Matthew 16:27: For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Moreover, the Lord is always and ever gracious despite the lack of faith and self-will of His people. The Lord promised some of the disciples present would experience the glory that should come in their earthly life.

Matthew 16:28: Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

This culminated in the transfiguration of the Lord on the mountain with Moses and Elijah where Peter, James and John had the privilege to have a glimpse of the world to come.

Matthew 17:1: And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,

Matthew 17:2: And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

Matthew 17:3: And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

As such, beware of selective listening, especially concerning the spiritual things of God. This would lead to trouble, confusion and fear. There might be things we do not like to hear from the Holy Bible that do not fit into our intellect, our upbringing, our own understanding and preference, but we have to accept the whole counsel of God by faith.

With eyes of faith, we should look to the glorious world to come and the things in this life would turn strangely dim.

John 5:25: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.


Apostolic Succession – Peter the Misunderstood Keyman

Apostolic succession seems like a logical and natural progression to perpetuate the authority of the Church to prevent confusion to the flock. This is especially the case when there is biblical evidence to support such a doctrine to keep the followers of Christ on the straight and narrow gospel road. There is no better place in the New Testament than the passage found in Matthew 16:15-20 to justify apostolic succession.

Matthew 16:15: He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

Matthew 16:16: And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Matthew 16:17: And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 16:18: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:19: And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Matthew 16:20: Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Peter was seemingly the rock upon which the Lord declared he would build His Church. He was also given the keys of the kingdom of heaven as well wielding great powers to bind and loose earthly matters with heavenly concurrence. If this were the case, then numerous scriptures would have to be rewritten in order to support this assertion.

There are several places in the Holy Bible where rock is mentioned. It is imperative to examine such scriptures in order to arrive at a biblically correct conclusion on this matter rather than to suit the narrative of some church authority.

Deuteronomy 32:4: He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

Peter definitely cannot be this rock unless he is God.

Deuteronomy 32:15: But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

It would be ludicrous to suggest that the Rock here was Peter. It is obvious Peter could not be the Rock of Salvation for Jeshurun.

Deuteronomy 32:18: Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

Here is another verse that shows Peter could not be the person who is capable of begetting anything. He only came into this world much more than a thousand years later.

Deuteronomy 32:30: How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?

Again, Peter was non existent. He couldn’t have help the children of Israel fight battles that scared their enemies into flight of frenzy. If Peter was present, he would be of ancient proportion. When the Lord claimed eternal existence much older than Abraham, the Jews wanted to stone Him.

John 8:56: Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

John 8:57: Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?

John 8:58: Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

John 8:59: Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

The implication is painfully obvious. If Peter claimed to be an ancient entity, this would be classified as blasphemy and a cause for execution by stoning.

Deuteronomy 32:31: For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.

The enemies of Israel also is a rock but a different kind of rock.

Deuteronomy 32:37: And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,

These enemies of Israel also trust their own gods their own rock which is distinctly different from the Rock of Israel.

King David also mentioned the Rock.

2 Samuel 23:3: The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

The Rock of Israel could not be Peter as well.

The apostle Paul also wrote in the New Testament about the Rock mentioned in the Old Testament.

1 Corinthians 10:4: And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

He conclusively connected the Rock in the Old Testament as the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

Moreover, the Lord also gave us the meaning of the name of Peter.

John 1:42: And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

So the interpretation of Peter’s name is a stone and not the rock upon which the Lord promised to build the Church. There are a lot of difference between a stone and a rock.

The size of both objects is one difference where a rock is huge and meant for support such as Moses stood upon (Exodus 33:22) while a stone is held in the hand for execution like in the case of David killing Goliath (1 Samuel 17:50).

A rock could be smitten and water gushed out to provide sustenance for the children of Israel (Exodus 17:6) and a stone could not.

A rock could be spoken to to provide water as well (Numbers 20:8) and a stone would be too small and insignificant.

A rock is a place of refuge (Numbers 24:21) and a stone can’t protect you.

There are many more so it is ridiculous to conclude that Peter was the rock spoken of when the scriptures clearly stated that the Lord Jesus Christ was only speaking to Peter and did not indicate that Peter was the rock. The Lord was referring to Himself being the Rock of the Old Testament and at the same time giving the keys to Peter to fulfill new missions for the New Testament Church. Peter was just the keyman and not the foundation.

Matthew 16:18: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:19: And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Insisting that Peter is the rock instead of a stone would do violence to scriptures. In addition, can Peter be the head of the Church, the firstborn from the dead?

Colossians 1:18: And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Despite the Lord’s open approbation for Peter and given the keys in relation to the kingdom of heaven, he had never bragged about this matter. As a matter of fact, he wrote about himself in relation with his fellow disciples of Christ as follows:

1 Peter 5:1: The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

He humbly submitted that he was simply one of the elders among others. He had never claimed to be the chief apostle. In fact, his Christian behaviour was far from being perfect.

Galatians 2:11: But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

Galatians 2:12: For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

Galatians 2:13: And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

Galatians 2:14: But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

Even though he was blasted by the apostle Paul for his inconsistency in his walk with his fellow followers of Christ, he wrote lovingly about Paul addressing him as a beloved brother.

2 Peter 3:15: And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

There was no mention of Peter ever passing those keys given to him to anyone to succeed him. Apostolic succession is a myth and not a biblical fact.

By the way, Peter was a family man. He was not some pious bachelor pretending to be pure and holy living spiritually pure life above everyone else. He had never claimed to be so sanctified that he must not get married and had never encouraged anyone to follow such misplaced ideals.

Matthew 8:14: And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.

1 Corinthians 9:5: Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

As far as the Lord revealed to Peter, he was given keys to use in relation to the kingdom of heaven and the Lord Himself is the rock where the foundation of the Church is to be built. The historical fulfillment of this prophecy is recorded in the book of Acts.

When asked by the disciples when the Lord would restore the kingdom to Israel after His resurrection just before the Lord’s ascension into heaven, they were told about the three categories of people they had to deal with.

Acts 1:6: When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

Acts 1:7: And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

Acts 1:8: But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

They were to be witnesses for the Lord firstly to the Jews, and then to the Samaritans and finally to the Gentiles. The keys were in the hands of Peter where he would play a major role as a vanguard for these missions.

So on the Day of Pentecost, it finally happened.

Acts 2:38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Peter was preaching to the Jews and proselytes present in Jerusalem. He offered them salvation in the form of repentance and water baptism for the remission of sin and they would then receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. So the Jewish believers were the first to enter the Church when Peter opened the door to them.

Next would be the believers in Samaria. Philip had earlier preached the gospel to them and those folks did believe but it was incomplete until the apostle Peter showed up in Samaria according to the prophecy mentioned in Acts 1:8.

Acts 8:14: Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

Acts 8:15: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

Acts 8:16: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

Acts 8:17: Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

So these believers in Samaria finally received the Holy Ghost when Peter the keyman arrived. This was a historical event and not a doctrinal truth where those living in Samaria today have to go through the same pattern when they believe in the Lord such that they also have to wait for some apostles from Jerusalem to show up and lay hands on them to receive the Holy Ghost. Anyway the apostles had been long dead and so Peter who had the keys had a job to do on that fateful day and that was all.

Finally, it was the Gentiles turn to receive the Holy Ghost. It was not easy to coerce the Jews to go the the Gentiles. It was something unlawful and unthinkable. There is a huge cultural divide and enmity between the Jews and the Gentiles and even with the Samaritans. In fact, the Samaritan woman was surprised when the Lord Jesus Christ spoke with her.

John 4:9: Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

The disciples of Christ marvelled as well.

John 4:27: And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?

So in order to prepare Peter to go to the Gentiles, the Lord had to put Peter through visions so that he could justify himself to go to the Gentiles.

Acts 10:28: And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Peter told Cornelius it was the Lord who revealed to him not to consider the Gentiles unclean. He was also confronted by his own Jewish brethren after ministering to the Gentiles.

Acts 11:2: And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,

Acts 11:3: Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

So Peter being the keyman had no choice but to go to the Gentiles. The Lord did not use other apostles to reach the Gentiles first. When Peter had preached to the Gentiles about Christ, they immediately received the Holy Ghost.

Acts 10:43: To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Acts 10:44: While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

It was a departure from the past where the apostles had to baptize the believers first and then lay hands on them. The Lord here opened the door to the Gentiles as though Peter had forgotten to bring the keys! Nevertheless, the presence and preaching of Peter were necessary being a keyman for the purpose of fulfilling Acts 1:8.

Acts 10:45: And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 10:46: For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

Acts 10:47: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

Peter and those Jewish brethren present were obviously shocked. It was a new normal for them to experience. They recognized the Gentiles had received the Holy Ghost like they did.

So water baptism for these Gentile believers became a non event. No more gift of the Holy Ghost follows as a result of water baptism. Water baptism henceforth becomes symbolic as a testimony of the faith of those who profess they believe in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

To build a case where Peter was the rock upon which the Lord would build His Church is totally unscriptural. The keys given to Peter had been put into action during the transition period where the nation of Israel had completely rejected their Messiah even after His resurrection with the preaching of the Jewish apostles.

Moreover, Peter was exposed to be a compulsive boaster who eventually denied he knew the Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 26:33: Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.

Matthew 26:34: Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

Matthew 26:35: Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

Luke 22:33: And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.

Luke 22:34: And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

Furthermore just after being given the keys of the kingdom of heaven, Peter was scolded as Satan by the Lord Jesus Christ when Peter rebuked the Lord who spoke to them about His sufferings, death and subsequent resurrection.

Matthew 16:22: Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

Matthew 16:23: But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Peter’s selective listening regarding the Lord’s revelation got him into serious trouble with the Lord concerning this episode of self-will.

There is no point trying to build a holy aura around the apostle Peter to make him into somebody he was not. His subsequent service for the Lord was remarkable being obedient in using those keys given to him to fulfill prophecy in the historical past opening the gospel door to the Jews, the Samaritans and the Gentiles. He then bowed out of the way with Israel being set aside and the apostle Paul took over as the Lord deals with the Gentile believers unto this day.

The fallibility of Peter is cleared for all to see in the scriptures and his humility thereafter is an example for all to follow. Christians are not to elevate him to be put on a pedestal creating an unscriptural office for others to succeed pretending to be the new recipients of the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

The priesthood of believers is now universal and all believers in Christ have full and equal access to the throne of grace before the Lord as the apostle Peter clearly declared.

1 Peter 2:9: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Hence, apostolic succession is unscriptural and to be rejected by all Bible believing Christians.

Don’t ever mistake a keyman as the owner of the house!

Peter is just a servant and the Lord Jesus Christ is the Master.

The Church of the living God is the ground and pillar of truth and not the keyman Peter.

1 Timothy 3:15: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.


Healing According to the Apostles’ Protocol

The Apostles’ Protocol is one of the many marketing materials circulating on the Internet touting some amazing breakthrough you would do well to take heed. It comes with religious connotations though. It is supposedly quite stunning that even Christians are stunned. Here is part of the marketing punch lines.

Jesus’ Lost Words Stun Christians (Not in the Bible!)

Take a look at this ancient scroll.

Biblical scholars are calling it one of “the most extraordinary archeological discoveries in the modern world.”

It was found in a cave near Nag Hammadi, Egypt. And Claremont Graduate University has confirmed it dates to just a few years after the crucifixion.

More important… it contains Jesus’ lost words.

So here is another so called latest discovery from Egypt that is so revolutionary that many diseases could be healed and of course, it is not free. If you wish to know how this elixir formula might be of help to you, the cost isn’t exorbitant though. It is priced at a level many can afford. For an annual subscription fee of $49 for some natural health publications, this Apostles’ Protocol could be yours to keep along with other books like The Little Bible of 77 Censored Health Cures and Daniel’s Diabetic Miracle.

The trouble is using our Lord Jesus Christ as the poster boy to sell some remedy is not right and in fact, reprehensible. With a catchy name “The Apostles’ Protocol”, this is biblically misleading and actually, unbiblical to say the least.

When the Lord sent out the apostles on a mission where healing was part of their work, their protocol was never to accept payment. Here is the original commandment.

Matthew 10:8: Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

So performing healing is not supposed to be compensated, especially monetarily.

After the Lord’s resurrection and ascension into heaven, the apostles continued such practice of healing without compensation.

Acts 3:2: And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;

Acts 3:3: Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.

Acts 3:4: And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.

Acts 3:5: And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

Acts 3:6: Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

The apostles themselves were poor. Yet they did not ask for compensation or rewards for healing of this handicapped man.

The marketing page on this healing book is very convincing citing fantastic testimonials and scientific research as well as throwing in free gifts to sweeten the deal. It is just a no brainer not to subscribe and get a hand on The Apostles’ Protocol together with other useful and helpful free gifts.

However as a Bible believing Christian, the moment when Jesus’ lost words not found in the Holy Bible are mentioned, it is time to dismiss such claims. Jesus is being conveniently use to peddle some products for the benefits of some people. Haven’t Christians been warned about such tricks from unscrupulous people?

2 Peter 2:3: And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

So the peddling of “The Apostles’ Protocol” as some stunning cure is just another one of those money making schemes devised to milk unsuspecting folks of their money thinking such information has biblical support and offer them hope out of this sin cursed world. Such products are certainly cancerous to bible believing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ drawing them away from the authority of the written words of the living God.

The most important healing the world ever seen was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 53:5: But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

It was further confirmed by the apostle Peter as follows:

1 Peter 2:24: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

The most important aspect is the healing of your fallen soul.

Have you been healed?

If you have been healed by the Lord’s vicarious death on the cross of Calvary, your perfect glorious body awaits you in glory.

Philippians 3:21: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

This is the true apostles’ protocol. And it won’t cost you a cent!


Fellowship of the Accursed

Ever since the fall of man, the earth is cursed and men are born in a fallen state. Despite the fall of man, man was not originally cursed. The first man to be cursed was Cain who murdered his brother in cold blood. The next man to be cursed was Canaan, the son of Ham, during the drunken episode of Noah after the flood. When Balak hired the prophet Balaam to curse Israel, he was prevented from doing so.

Deuteronomy 23:5: Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.

While every man is born dead in trespasses and sins after the fall, not everyone is cursed. So being cursed is a serious matter. Here is an interesting event where the issue of who are living under the curse should be examined.

John 7:45: Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?

John 7:46: The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.

John 7:47: Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?

John 7:48: Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?

John 7:49: But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.

During the earthly ministry of Christ, the religious elites had become unnerved with the success of the Lord’s ministry attracting huge crowds performing miracles showing signs and wonders these people in the high society of the religious realm couldn’t do. So they ordered the religious police to arrest Christ. Unfortunately, the religious police failed to do so and couldn’t give a proper account to those high minded elites.

The rebuke from these religious elites came quick and swift. They questioned the religious police whether they had been likewise deceived. They demanded these poor officers who failed in their duty to apprehend Christ whether they knew any of those elites believed Jesus was their Messiah. The most audacious judgment they passed on those lesser mortals were words of condemnation: But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.

By inference, these religious fundamentalist elites were those who knew the law and they were not cursed. However, the poor peasants who ought to listen to them and obey them were cursed. So being custodians of the law had benefits and one could be promoted to a status free from the curse. Is it the case where one could be educated out of the curse by knowing the law?

The scriptures make it abundantly clear that this is not the case. In fact, contrary to knowing the law as an advantage, this has turned out to be a curse instead.

Romans 5:13: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Sin is not imputed in the absence of the law so how can knowing the law alone becomes a blessing and be curse free? It is so much better with the absence of the law as far as accountability is concerned. Knowing the law adds burden where man is held accountable for such knowledge and that leads to being cursed for non compliance of the law.

Romans 3:20: Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Galatians 3:10: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Galatians 3:11: But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

Galatians 3:13: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

While it is true salvation is of the Jews as the Lord Jesus Christ also affirmed, the God of creation is not the exclusive possession of the Jews.

John 4:22: Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

Didn’t these religious elites remember Jehovah God sent Jonah to preach to the Gentiles in Nineveh? Didn’t they know it was God who commanded the Gentile kings to release and instruct the Jews to return to Israel to rebuild their Temple and reside in their own homeland after their captivity in Babylon?

How arrogant of them to pronounce judgment on those who knew not the law are cursed? The Lord has words for these self-conceited fools.

Matthew 23:1: Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

Matthew 23:2: Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:

Matthew 23:3: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Just because they occupied the seat of Moses they could dispense curses on the lesser mortals? Even Balaam failed in his endeavour to curse Israel and these religious elites were behaving like religious thugs. Thus it turned out that they were those who were actually living under the curse according to scriptures.

Galatians 3:10: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

These religious thugs were talkers and not doers. Hence, they rightly deserved to be cursed for their pride and obstinacy. The psalmist aptly described these people who err from the commandments of the Lord.

Psalms 119:21: Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

Unfortunately in Christendom, there are those who are so enameled with the law of Moses that they seek to bring Christians under bondage again by adding the law of Moses to the grace of God during this Church Age. The apostle Paul had to deal with those who seduced Christians to follow their errors who preached another gospel.

Galatians 5:4: Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

Acts 13:39: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Those who corrupt the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and fail to repent are consigned to the accursed category, a fate worse than ordinary fallen man since not every man born into this world is cursed.

Galatians 1:8: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

Galatians 1:9: As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

These modern day religious authoritative figures have now replaced the Pharisees of old to become the new accursed category forming a new alliance of the fellowship of the accursed.

Meanwhile fallen man continues to be born into this world dead in trespasses and sins. Only the pure gospel of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, without the law of Moses can save such an one to a future world of the blessed where the curse will be a thing of the past.

Revelation 22:3: And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.