Demons believe in Jesus as the Holy One of God (18)

Question #18:   Do demons / evil spirits believe in God and believe in Jesus Christ as the Holy One of God? 

Answer:  YES, they do, but there is no faith in them; there is no trust and obedience in their relationship with God and in Christ. 

Explanation – First, we submit to you Bible passages copying (from ESV) only part of verses that express how these spirits consider God and Christ:

  • James 2:19, “You believe (pisteuousi) that God is one, you do well, even demons believe and they shudder.”
  • Ephesians 2:2, “. . . following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”
  • Ephesians 6:12,  “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
  • Ephesians 6:16, “. . . take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of  the evil one. . .”
  • 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.”
  • Matthew 8:29, 31, Two demon-possessed men of Gadara shouted to Jesus, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God?  Have you come here to torment us before the time? x x x If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.”
  • Matthew 13:19, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.”
  • Mark 1:24, An unclean spirit cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?  I know who you are – the Holy One of God.”
  • Mark 1:34, “And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak because they knew him.”
  • Mark 5:7, An unclean spirit cried with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 
  • John 8:44, Christ said, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth because there is no truth in him.”
  • Luke 4:33, 34, An unclean spirit: “Ha! What have you to do with us Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”

         The word “believe” in James 2:19 means mental knowledge but without trust, no surrender and no humble obedience to the authority of the Triune Godhead.  

Below are some passages that tell us the true shade of believing and faith that leads to salvation:

Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like.” And Jesus tells the parable of the Wise Builder who built upon the rock foundation.

John 14:15, 23, “If you love me you keep my commandments x x x If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

1 John 2:3-5, “And by this, we know that we have come to know him if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this, we may  know that we are in him.”

       In the discussion about the verb BELIEVE and FAITH, we should define what kind of BELIEF or FAITH we talk about. Is it BELIEF that recognizes God’s sovereignty or BELIEF with mere knowledge or information about God Almighty without surrendering to God’s authority? Like the demons in James 2:19.  They believe but they do not love and obey God. There is FAITH that is small like Peter’s faith which brought him down in the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Christ told Peter, “O you of little faith.” That small faith might be incomplete like those who discard baptism from the Great Commission. They know the Great Commission.  They know that being baptized is a command but they say the command needs not to be obeyed. That small faith might be there, but like Peter, they sink into the Lake of Fire.  

      People saying “Faith alone saves” are walking on dangerous ground.  Those who disregard many instructions found in the Bible have little faith. They fail in several things like the following: Lord’s Supper every first day of the week, baptism for the forgiveness of sin in the initial Christian journey, belief in the deity of Christ, belief in the Triune Godhead, belief in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the disciple, the NT church is the same as the Kingdom of God on earth, vocal music in church worship, congregational autonomy with Christ as the head of the universal church, no national church hierarchy, women’s silence in the corporate worship of the church, continuity of the church established by Christ, male-only eldership, and many more doctrines. 

        Some Bible students declare that salvation is all God’s work and nothing is done by one who has been elected to eternal life.  Then that person adds, “we are saved by grace only plus faith only.” So we ask: “Are grace and faith the saviors or the saviors are God the Father and Christ the son?” They surrender their first position by saying that we should also add God and Christ in accomplishing salvation.  So they hasten to say: “Saved by grace only + faith only + Christ only.” Why limited to three items only? Yet the scripture cites many more. 

      We further ask:  “Does a person need to believe? Does he need to repent of his sins?” Quickly, they say that belief and repentance are needed.  So where is the meaning of the term “Only”? The safest interpretation of salvation, therefore, is to sum up all the persons and items that are mentioned in the Bible so that the fallacy of partial view will not be committed.

        Please continue to study with us. Thank you.

Is there blotting out of names from the Book of Life? (11)

Question #11 –  Is there blotting out of names from the Book of Life?  Some friends say that once a disciple’s name is enrolled in the Book of Life, his name would not be blotted out nor erased by God.  They want this view to support the theory of “once saved always saved.” Is this true? 

Answer:  Observe the verses that are submitted below.  It is clear that the names of the disobedient disciples could be blotted out or erased from the Book of Life. 

1.  The Hebrew people considered themselves special and holy people with a covenant with Yahweh God (Exodus 19:5-10).  During the time of prophet Hosea, several hundred years after Mt. Sinai, idolatrous Israel was rejected by Yahweh: “Call his name Lo-Ammi, for you are not My people, and I will not be your God” (Hosea 1:9).  There was a falling away.  The idolatry of the Israelites made Yahweh angry so He allowed Israel to be taken into captivity by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Thousands died in the land of captivity as a consequence of their disobedience.  Jeremiah 24:7 says, “Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.”  After 70 years of Babylonian captivity, a new generation was given a new heart that yearned for Yahweh and a part of Israel returned to Jerusalem when Cyrus, king of Persia, became the ruler (Ezra 1:1). 

2.  The Hebrew family kept a genealogy table identifying their tribe and family tree. This gives the idea to the Hebrew mind that there is a Book of Life kept by God where the names of genuine family members are kept. 

3.  There was a group of people who counted themselves as Israelites but they could not produce any genealogical table as evidence of their claim so they were not accepted as genuine Israelites. (See Ezra 2:59, 62; Psalm 87:6; Ezekiel 13:9). 

4.  Moses and the Hebrew people were taught by revelation that Yahweh God kept a list of obedient people in the Book of Life.  The humble and obedient ones are listed in this Book of Life, but the disobedient ones are blotted out or removed from the list is clear from Exodus 32: 32-33, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book” (v. 33).  Psalm 69:28 says, “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” In the New Testament, we have Rev. 3:5, “. . . I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life. . .” Please read also Philippians 4:3; Luke 10:20 and Hebrews 12:23.

        When does the blotting out or erasing of names happen?  Most likely it is done when a person becomes seared in his conscience when repentance is no longer possible when the Lord’s longsuffering comes to an end during the lifetime of an unbelieving person.  When a person commits the sin unto death where the prayer of saints is no longer effective. It is not at the time of Judgment that the blotting out happens because at the Judgment Day it will be a time of opening the Book of Life says Revelation 20:12. 

5.  Hebrews 3:12-19, the life and journey of Israel in the wilderness, is an illustration of the Christian life. In Exodus 19:5-10, all Israel consented to enter into a covenant with God that made the Israelites a people of God. On many occasions, in the span of 40 years, part of Israel rebelled or murmured against Yahweh with unbelieving hearts. That was a departure or separation from God (Heb. 3:12).  Among Christians, there is an exhortation to hold fast to the end of one’s faith in Christ (v. 14). How many among those who came out of Egypt with ages 20 years and above who succeeded in setting foot on Canaan? Many fell in the wilderness because they sinned or rebelled (v.17). The group of Moses and 70 Elders plus Eldad and Medad, (a total of 73 leaders), even with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, failed to maintain strong belief and obedience to Yahweh (Num. 11:16-30). Only two people among the 73 (Caleb and Joshua) maintained a good record and were able to cross the Jordan River unto the Land of Promise. This is a proof of the possibility and actuality of falling from God’s grace. 

6.  1 John 5:16-17 says, “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.”  The one committing a sin is a “brother.” God is long suffering waiting for a time for repentance.  But there is a cut-off date like in the time of Noah. For about 120 years, Noah constructed the Ark and at the same time preached to the people to repent. Then the rains came pouring down 40 days and 40 nights and drowned all except the 8 people in Noah’s family that entered the Ark.

        From the above presentation, it is clear that a disciple who is genuinely converted, if he is not careful could fall from grace and lose his being a child of God.  Let us watch and pray for inner strength.

Does “Everlasting” mean “Without End”? (4)

Question #4:  Is it true that the term “everlasting” means without end, eternal, forever, perpetual in duration?  Is it true that when a disciple has started living the spiritual life, that spiritual life is everlasting and will never cease, never withdrawn from him? 

Note:  Recently, the following lines appeared in a blogsite: “How can one have ever . . . lasting life and still be lost?  Or is it that the life Jesus gave us is not ever . . . lasting life?”  The insinuation is that once a person has started his spiritual life, which is called everlasting life or eternal life, that Spirit injected life will never cease in the individual disciple?  There is what is called “eternal security of the saints” or “once saved always saved” among some religious groups, the belief that falling from grace is impossible.   

Answer:  No, the idea of everlasting life once started will never cease or stop in a person’s journey is a theory not consistent with Bible teaching.  We cite several passages to prove our negation to the teaching of “once saved always saved.” 

  1. Habakkuk 3:6, “He stood and measured the earth; He looked and startled the nations. And the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills bowed. His ways are everlasting.” (NKJV) 

The passage points to the mountains as “everlasting.” Will all these mountains remain forever and eternal without end into eternity?  We have that answer in 2 Peter 3: 10-13. This earth, including the mountains and hills, will be burned with fervent heat. Even today, our technology with explosives, bulldozers and giant trucks, man can level hills and mountains even carried off and make islands in the middle of the sea.  We have mountains and hills that have been leveled off and in Zambales. Many hills have been bulldozed to ground level by mechanized contractors of public highways. So the usage of the term “everlasting” in the context of Habakkuk does not mean without end. It just means a long duration of time compared to man’s life on earth.

  1. Exodus 40:15, “their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.”
  2. Num. 25:13, “. . . a covenant of an everlasting priesthood. . .” which refers to the descendants of Phinehas who were zealous in eliminating the worshippers of the golden calf sculpted by Aaron in the wilderness. This priesthood of Phinehas’ descendants lasted many generations until the Messianic Covenant came into effect. So we have
  3. Hebrews 7:11-12 tells us that the priesthood has been changed, “For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.” The term everlasting in this context is dispensation lasting. Until the end of the Mosaical Dispensation which was abrogated by the Messianic Dispensation upon Christ’s death at the cross (Heb. 9:16-18). 
  4. Jeremiah 31:3, “. . . Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love. . .” referring to God’s choice of Israel over that of Esau. Later on, Israel went into idolatry preferring Baal over Yahweh. So the love of Yahweh towards many idolatrous individuals turned into anger and fury resulting in the invasion and destruction of Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 16:5, Yahweh declares, “. . . for I have taken away My peace from this people . . . loving-kindness and mercies.” There you are, love was taken away!

See the picture of desolation in Jeremiah 19:21-23, “. . . deliver up their children to the famine, pour out their blood by the force of the sword; let their wives become widows, . . . bereaved of their children. Let their men be put to death, their young men be slain by the sword in battle x x x  Provide no atonement for their iniquity, nor blot out their sin from Your sight. But let them be overthrown before You. Deal thus with them in the time of Your anger.”  It is clear that God’s everlasting love may turn into anger and discipline to those who show no fear and respect for Yahweh and His covenant. In the end, Israel as a nation was rejected and cut off.  Only a small remnant remained attached to the stump of the olive tree where the wild olive branches, the Gentiles, are grafted in. This picture we see in Romans 11. 

Does the word ever . . . lasting mean without end among the individuals in the history of Israel?  To those who fear and respect the true God, His love continues on unto eternity, but to those who disrespect and dishonor God, it is condemnation. Note the past tense verbs in Romans 11 which signify actual falling away from the grace and love of God: “they stumbled”- v. 11; “their fall”-12; “their being cast away”-v. 15; “some branches were broken off”-vs.17, 19, 20; “hardening in part has happened”-v.25.  Conclusion: God’s love is everlasting, but it can be withdrawn from individuals who play the harlot.   

“Everlasting life” is a description of the quality of that spiritual life injected by the Holy Spirit into the spiritually dead image of God in our humanity because of sin. Its everlastingness is in its quality but not in the duration of its residence in a person who chooses to grieve the Holy Spirit who gives that spiritual life. Stephen tells the Jewish leaders, “You always resist the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 7:51b). Ephesians 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”  In the case of King Saul, the Holy Spirit departed from him which we read in 1 Samuel 16:14, “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, . .”  Clearly, the spiritual life which is initially given to a believing disciple if nurtured would last into eternity, but if not appreciated and nurtured, it would be removed from him and eternal condemnation takes its place. 

Hebrew 9:14 mentions the blood of Christ as the propitiation for sins was offered to God “through the eternal Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is eternal and is given to indwell every believing and obedient disciple say Acts 2:38 and Acts 5:32.  But the eternal Holy Spirit, when grieved, would depart from a profaning disciple. Likewise, the spiritual life whose quality is “everlasting life” would also depart and cease to exist in one’s life if a person continually profanes holiness of life. 

Remember Hebrews 6:4-8, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessings from God; but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.” (NKJV).  This passage clearly indicates that there is enlightenment, there started a taste of heavenly gift, the Holy Spirit has started its indwelling in a disciple, the disciple had started appreciating the word of God. Bearing thorns and briars mean unholy life instead of the fruit of the Spirit described in Gal. 5:22. Apostasy is shown in the above passage.  

Conclusion:  The idea of “everlasting life” once started in a disciple’s life that it will stick forever and eternally and everlastingly in a person is not true. Beware! Once saved always saved as a theory in the application of redemption is not consistent with biblical teaching. The term “everlasting” is employed hyperbolically to emphasize the high value of spiritual life and its desirability. Everlasting used as an adjective describes the value and desirability of that spiritual life, not its permanent residency in a disciple’s life if that disciple grieves the eternal Holy Spirit. 

Did the Catholic Church Give the Bible to the World?

Q2:  Is it true that the Roman Catholic Church under the Pope gave the Bible to the world as claimed by some bloggers? 

NOTE:  This is a follow-up to a previous article to make clearer the issue. 

A2:  No, the Roman Catholic Church did not give the world the Bible.

We summarize the following reasons that will clarify this issue and add some information: 

  1. The Jewish people received and confirmed to the world the Hebrew Scriptures, closing the OT scripture canon by the middle of the 4th century before Christ’s was the incarnation.  That was long before Christianity was born. Long before Roman Catholicism under the Bishop of Rome began. See Romans 9:1-5.
  2. Churches on the eastern side of the Roman Empire spoke Greek, so the churches were known as Greek Catholic Church or Greek Orthodox Church because they did not recognize the rule of the Roman bishop over them.  These churches in the East had more ancient manuscripts of the Old Testament (Septuagint or Greek Version of the Hebrew Scriptures) than the Latin churches in the West. Also, the Eastern churches had more Greek manuscripts of the New Testament than the West.  Therefore, it is not true that the Roman Church under the Bishop of Rome could truly say that Roman Catholicism gave the world the scriptures. 
  3. The difference between the Roman Catholic Bible today and the so-called “Protestant Bible” is the presence of what is called the Apocryphal Books (In the first of this series we submitted the fact that the Latin Vulgate which was the work of Jerome launched in 404 A.D., considered the Apocryphal Books as “books of the church” but not included as canonical.) 
  4. Martin Luther, the German Dominican priest, assailed the sale of indulgences in his area of Germany. This signaled the start of the European Reformation Movement. Indulgence as a belief springs out from the Roman Catholic sacrament of penance.  A related belief in Roman Catholicism is the idea of extra merit of Christ and the saints that are within the disposal of the Roman Catholic Church headed by the pope. An indulgence is an act of mercy pronounced by the Catholic Church whereby offenses or sins of those in purgatory could be atoned for or satisfied to obtain forgiveness of sins.  The Bishop of Rome called the Pope (Papa in Latin) issued out certificates wherein rates of payment or works had the equivalence of years forgiven.  The traveling agents of this indulgence sale had a big metal box with them. The assurance was made that the donor’s money upon hitting the bottom of the box, would cause the soul of a departed relative to whom the money/work is dedicated to transfer out of purgatory into paradise or heaven. The belief in prayer for the dead is found in one of the apocryphal books.  Evidently, to have an official basis for prayer for the dead and the sale of indulgences, the Council of Trent in 1546 A.D. made an official declaration creating the “deutero-canon” composed of the apocryphal books attached to some Old Testament books. It should be noted, however, that the Jewish prophets and rabbis did not recognize these apocryphal books as part of the Old Testament canon.  

Importance of the canon

Canonical books contain the revelation and will of God to mankind.  Please read John 12:44-50. In there we are warned that the words of Christ are the basis of judgment on the last day.  So we have to make sure that we believe and follow instructions of faith and practice derived only from canonical scripture.

Catholics Claim that Pope Gave the Bible to the World

Q1:  Is it true that the Roman Catholic Church under the Pope gave the Bible to the world as claimed by some bloggers? 

A1:  No, the Roman Catholic Church did not give the world the Bible. The following reasons will clarify this issue.

1.  Please read Romans 9:1-5.  It is clear that the Jewish people had the privilege of receiving the law, the covenants, the service of God, and the promises.  Christ Jesus refers to the Law and the Prophets in Matthew 5:17. So the Jews knew what were the inspired books of scriptures.

2.  The recognized Hebrew Scriptures are the books from Genesis to Malachi.  Josephus (born about 37 A.D.), who wrote the book “Antiquities of the Jews” says that the Jews had all the books from God by the time Artaxerxes I ruled the Persian Empire (464-423 B.C.).  Malachi is dated about 430 B.C. So the OT canon closes with the Book of Malachi. 

Note:  The Roman Catholic declared the 7 Apocryphal books as “Deutero-Canonical” meaning “Second Canon” in the year 1546 during the Council of Trent.  This was a Roman Catholic reaction to the European Church Reformation which started with Martin Luther in 1517 in Germany. Luther strongly denounced the sale of indulgences in Germany which had no basis in the Hebrew scriptures.  But prayer for the dead is found in the deuteron-canon.

E.Tanicala

3.  It is said that there are about 295 OT quotations in the NT but there is nothing quoted from the Apocryphal books of the deuterocanon of the Roman Catholic Church.  Christ never quoted from the Apocryphal books.

4.  There was the Synod of Jamnia (a town in Palestine) circa 96 A.D.  This synod had doubts about the Book of James. The Greek-speaking churches on the eastern side of the Roman Empire had a collection of canonical books before a Roman bishop made any declaration of canonical books. 

5.  Mileto, bishop of Sardis, a city in Asia Minor, a Greek-speaking area, mentioned books that correspond with the 39 books in the Old Testament.  He did not list down the 7 apocryphal books as part of the canon of scriptures.   

6.  Jerome, deputized by the Roman Bishop Damasus, made a new Latin translation of the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek Scriptures which were finished in 404 A.D.  He listed the apocryphal books as “Books of the Church” for edification. He did not consider the apocryphal books canonical. Again, observe that it was only in the year 1546 in a Roman Church Council that the 7 additional books were declared canonical.