Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Lord Took My ______________ (Name Your Relative)

The Lord Took My ______________ (Name Your Relative)

Troy J. Edwards

Often on Saturday our evangelism team goes to the street to share. One woman that we had the privilege of ministering to on one of those Saturdays has remained on my heart. She and her lesbian lover were very attentive and willing to receive the truth about the sacrifice of Christ on their behalf. However, her homosexuality is not the reason she remains on my heart. What has kept me thinking more about her than others we shared with that day is due to something painful she expressed to us.

This poor lady told us at one point that she was still angry with God. She told us that God took her mother through cancer and that she felt empty inside due to this. I have no doubt that it is painful ideas about God such as this that leads people into these types of relationships. The team members made some attempts to explain the love of God to her and how God never kills people through cancer.

Nevertheless, it was after she finally allowed us to pray for her that things began to change. We asked that God would give her an overwhelming sense of His love and presence. God touched her so powerfully and supernaturally that she began to be filled with His joy.

While we intend to follow up with this precious lady and her lover and hope to keep sharing the love of Jesus (and eventually see them free from their sin), it is a reminder of how monstrous lies spread about God from Christian pulpits, books, and other media has a tendency to drive people away from Him. I have attended (and performed) a number of funerals over the years. Very seldom have I been to a funeral where God is not blamed for having “taken” the person lying in the casket. The last funeral I attended several months ago was a cancer victim. Guess who was blamed for her death? You guessed it—God was blamed.

Like this precious woman we ministered to last week, I would not want to serve a “god” who takes people through long drawn out painful diseases such as cancer. People have a right to be angry with such a “god” if he exists.

A quick internet search shows us that there are numerous causes for cancer. Some of these causes include (but are not limited to) smoking, excessive alcohol drinking, bad diet, over exposure to the sun, lack of exercise, and being overweight. Can God be blamed when I smoke, get drunk, eat poorly, become lazy, and fail to watch my weight? I suppose one can blame God for these choices if one rejects the fact that God gives His creatures the freedom to make their own decisions (and many so-called Christians actually do reject what is called “free-will” due to twisted ideas about God’s sovereignty).

Nonetheless, from a Biblical standpoint, God is not in the business of taking anyone through horrible diseases and sicknesses, especially cancer. On the contrary, whenever we are told in Scripture that God “took” anyone it was never through sickness and death. For example, in Genesis 5:24 we are told, “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” If this is not clear enough then note what the divine record says in the book of Hebrews:

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)

Note that when God “took” Enoch, it was through translation and not death. When God “takes” someone then that someone does not experience sickness or death. Keeping in mind that death and sickness are twins (Compare Deut. 28:60-61 with 30:15, 19. See also Jeremiah 21:8-9), it should be further noted that cancer is not God’s method for “taking” anyone. This is also confirmed in 2 Kings 2 where we read:

And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. (2 Kings 2:1)

In verses 2 and 5 of this same chapter the prophets told Elisha concerning Elijah, “Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day?” Further in this chapter we read:

9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
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. (1 Kings 2:9-11)

Like Enoch, Elijah was certainly taken by God but there was no sickness that culminated in his death. Elijah experienced no death at all. Therefore, unless a person went straight to heaven while still in good health and experienced no cessation of life, one should never say that a person who dies a tragic death (sickness, car accident, etc.) was taken by God.

No doubt someone will object and say, “Ah, but Job 1:21 specifically states that the Lord ‘takes’ people through tragic deaths. That is how He took Job’s servants, children and livestock.” Let us look at this passage:

And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (Job 1:21)

Apart from context we could certainly draw such conclusions. This passage is so frequently misquoted at funerals that most people believe this way without ever fully studying it in its entirety. It would defeat our primary purposes to do a full exposition of Job’s tragedies, but I believe that touching on it briefly here will help the sincere seeker of truth who can look at our other materials later in which we give more detailed explanations of Job’s trials. Verse 12 tells us exactly who took away Job’s children and servants through death:

And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.

Centuries later Jesus would contrast the difference between His role and Satan’s role in such tragic events when He said:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

This being the case then why did Job say that God had taken his family and servants through a horrible tragedy and why would it be wrong for us to say it? During Job’s time Jesus had not completed the redemptive work that would legally free us from Satan’s kingdom. In our time Jesus has defeated Satan and now He says, “I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). Satan can only go so far as we, God’s people, let him.

In contrast, Job knew absolutely nothing about Satan’s existence. During the dispensation in which Job lived, God had to take responsibility for all of Satan’s acts until His people had the capacity to receive more revelation of Satan without worshipping him as though he were another god (contrast 2 Samuel 24:1 with 1 Chronicles 21:1 which comments on the same incident though it was written several centuries later).

Unlike us, Job could not read Job 1 and see who was really behind His troubles. Therefore, He did that which was common in His day and found in most portions of Scripture: He credited God with the event. Yet, the New Covenant believer should be more Biblically literate in his or her understanding. God did not take any of Job’s family through tragedy. This was done by Satan.

In conclusion, when faced with the death of a loved one, never, ever use that awful phrase, “God took him/her.” Instead, say as the householder said when He found tares among His wheat, “An enemy hath done this” (Matt. 13:28a).


To get a better understanding of God’s place in relation to death and killing, we highly recommend our book, “Is the God of the Bible Literally a KILLER?”

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Blaming God for Natural Disasters (Meme)

Even today insurance companies are quick to call natural disasters “an act of God.” Things have not changed much over the centuries. God is still blamed for things that He did not do. p. 33

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sin Opens the Door to Satan and Sickness

Sin Opens the Door to Satan and Sickness

Troy J. Edwards

And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. (John 5:13-14)

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Acts 10:38)

The interconnectedness of the Bible and its ability to interpret itself is astounding. When we allow the Bible to define its own terminology and act as its own commentary then we will become less reluctant to accuse God of doing things for which He is not the least bit guilty. We will learn to point the finger where it actually belongs – at ourselves first and then at the devil secondly.

John 5:13-14 tells us that it is sin that caused the man that our Lord Jesus healed to be sick in the first place. Jesus told him to stop doing it or he could possible open himself up to something worse. It should be no wonder to us that forgiveness of sin and divine healing go together (Psalm 103:1-5; Mark 2:1-12; James 5:14-16). It is sin that brought death in the world (Rom. 5:12-14) and sin continues to lead to this result (Rom. 6:23; James 1:12-15). Death and sickness are twins (Compare Deut. 28:60-61 with 30:15, 19. See also Jeremiah 21:8-9).

This is by no means intended to accuse all who are sick of sinning. Some are sick by no personal fault of their own. Nonetheless, sin is at the root of all sickness whether or not the sick one is personally responsible. The primary point here is that God is not the author of sin and, therefore, is not the author of sin’s consequences. 1 John 3:8 tells us that Satan is the author of sin. A similar passage found in Hebrews 2:14-15 also points to this malignant being as the author of death.

Sin leads to death and Satan is the author of both. God is the author of neither. On the contrary, He is the deliverer from both (Psalm 107:17-21). In Acts 10:38 we are told that our Messiah and Lord Jesus was able to heal and set men free from Satan because God the Father was with Him. Jesus came to undo the destructive work of Satan (John 10:10). The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that sickness is Satan’s work (Matt. 12:22-28; Luke 13:11-17; 1 Cor. 5:5). Though Scripture sometimes attributes sickness to God a simple comparison of such passages shows that He was merely taking responsibility for what He did not prevent Satan from doing (For example, compare Job 2:3 and 42:11 with Job 2:7).

The fact is that in most cases, especially in the Old Testament, when God’s people choose to rebel against Him then His only part in sickness is to remove His protective presence that usually restrains the attack of sickness and disease. As the Lord told Moses, “I won’t protect them, and they’ll be eaten alive. They’ll be in so much trouble and distress then that they’ll say, ‘We must be in all this trouble because our God isn’t with us anymore!’” (Deut. 31:17b; The VOICE Translation). A paraphrase by Dr. Jack Blanco in “The Clear Word” gives even more clarity to this:

“When they do this, I will have to withdraw my protection from them and leave them at the mercy of their enemies. Many terrible things will happen to them, and they’ll say to themselves, ‘All these disasters and sicknesses have come on us because we have turned against the Lord our God, so He’s not with us any more.” (p. 236)

Therefore, sin is not something to be taken lightly. When we sin we open ourselves up to assaults from Satan upon our bodies because we remove ourselves from God protection and place ourselves in satanic territory. The good news is that God will manifest His miraculous healing power in our bodies when we repent and turn from sin. Nonetheless, it is better to avoid sin. This keeps us out of Satan’s territory and prevents attacks of sickness upon our bodies.

However, should we choose to sin and suffer the inevitable consequences, let us at least have enough integrity not to blame God for that which we actually did to ourselves.

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Does Sin Disqualify You?

Does Sin Disqualify You?

I appreciate the insights of many of today's Bible teachers. They build my faith and help me to make adjustments in my walk with Christ where I find myself falling short.

However, sometimes, in our attempts to comfort believers and reassure them of God's unconditional love, mercy, and grace for them and our desire to strengthen their faith, we might make statements that cannot be fully reconciled with Scripture. For example, I have heard some men, men who are otherwise excellent Bible teachers, make statements such as, "Sin does not disqualify you from God's kingdom."

This statement, left alone, falls quite short of the Bible's plain teaching on this subject. Note the following Scriptures:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9, 10)

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal. 5:21)

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Eph. 5:5)

The writer of the book of Hebrews further states, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).

Now this is NOT to denigrate the good men who make statements such as, "Sin does not disqualify you from God's kingdom." I believe that what most of them are saying is that the SINCERE Christian who attempts to walk in the light of God's Word and who repents and seeks God's forgiveness when they do sin are never disqualified. This is is usually what most of them are saying and I am in 100 percent agreement on that fact (see 1 John 1:7-9). Furthermore, many of these wonderful men and women of God would point out the fact that their statement is not giving anyone a license to sin.

However, having been in the ministry for over 30 years and much of that being in some form of pastoral ministry, I have found that people have SELECTIVE HEARING. They will hear the part that they want to hear and sort of dismiss the rest. Some people only hear the part that says, "Sin does not disqualify you from God's kingdom" and use that as an excuse to indulge their flesh while believing that they will remain in the kingdom. This is known in most circles as "Once saved, always saved."

Hence, my blog post this morning is a warning to those who actually are looking for a license to sin while believing that they will still qualify for the kingdom. Do not be deceived. Scripture is clear that sin that is not repented of will indeed disqualify you.

On the other hand, for the sincere believer who loves Christ but, like the rest of us, stumbles on occasion and come short of God's glory, take comfort in the fact that, because you love the Lord and you always repent and seek His forgiveness, your sin does NOT disqualify you because it was washed away by the blood of Jesus the moment you told Him, "Lord, I'm sorry. I will never do that again." I believe that this is the best understanding of the statement, "Sin does not disqualify you from God's kingdom."

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