These are heavenly beings, created by God to serve Him and help Him carry out His purposes on earth. They often fulfil the role of messengers carrying messages from God to people such as Abraham, Balaam, David, Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph. Choirs of angels announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds. In Ps 104:4 and Heb 1:7 they are described as spirits, as God’s ministers, and as being like flames of fire. They ministered to Jesus after His temptations in the wilderness and in the Garden of Gethsemane. They worship at the throne of God. They are described as being mighty, strong, glorious, fearsome, wise and flaming. They can move swiftly from place to place. They fight in the heavenly realm in answer to prayer on earth (Daniel 10:13). They shout. They speak. They go before and behind. They can bless. They can destroy. They have tremendous power because they are propelled by God’s Word and use their supernatural abilities at His command. They serve the body of Christ – “sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation”. (Hebrews1:14). The Greek word translated as “minister” means to serve, care for, attend to, help, aid, assist, relieve, comfort, console, accommodate and befriend.
In the Old Testament anointing referred to the custom of rubbing, smearing or pouring of oil on things or people to consecrate them and set them apart for God’s purposes. Anointing with oil was seen as an act of God and showed divine favour being given to the person anointed, as well as their appointment to a defined role or function. Priests and kings were placed in office by anointing. The tabernacle and all its furnishings, as well as the high priest and his sons, were all anointed. It is seen as an equipping for service.
Jesus is called the Messiah, which means the Anointed one. Acts 10:38 says that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil”. Just as Jesus needed the anointing of the Holy Spirit to minister in power, so do we. He commanded His disciples to wait till the Holy Spirit came upon them to give them power to be His witnesses. Along with that power come gifts to equip for ministry. We are kings and priests of our God, and He anoints us with His Spirit and equips us with gifts to enable us to minister to Him and for Him.
Individually we carry anointing. 1 John 2:27 “but the anointing you have received from Him abides in you”. His Holy Spirit in us, setting us apart for His purposes, enabling us and equipping us to fulfil the call He has placed on our lives.
Beyond this individual anointing, there is a corporate anointing upon the body when it moves in unity pursuing the heart and will of God. This releases greater degrees of His presence and His power.
James 5:14 tells us to anoint the sick with oil for healing, oil being a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Today we anoint people when we pray for them, recognising it is only the Holy Spirit who can minister the life of God to them and asking and expecting Him to do in them what He desires.
In Mark 3:14-15 it says, “He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him, that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.” This passage gives us 3 basic qualifications as a starting place for apostles. Firstly they must be people who are close to Christ, secondly they must be completely obedient and willing to be “sent ones,” and thirdly they will have authority to do Christ’s work.
The basic meaning of this word is “sent one”, or “one sent with a specific purpose”. It is used to describe the role of the twelve and of Paul. Paul says it is God who appoints him to be an apostle – it is not man who determines this role. It is a governmental position and is the first one of the five fold ministry gifts (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) listed in Eph 4:11, that are for the equipping of the saints to do the work of ministry. Their function is often linked with church planting, as well as a ministry characterised by signs and wonders.
Apostles are also spiritual fathers in the Body of Christ because they are needed for the role of father, and through this Christ wants to bless and strengthen the Church.
The Hebrew word, Kahfar means to cover, make atonement, make reconciliation, to pacify or appease, to clear, purge or cleanse. The English literally means to make one with. Through the sacrificial death of Jesus, we become reconciled to God. Our sins are forgiven because He paid the price for our forgiveness with His shed blood. Where sin separated us from God, the sinless Jesus by His death and resurrection was able to restore relationship and enable us to become at one with God. In the Old Testament, under the old covenant, sin’s price was met by animal sacrifices, but this necessitated repeated sacrifices. It was only a temporary measure. Jesus’ death was a once and for all payment for all of mankind, for all of time.
Baptism in Water.
The Greek word means to immerse. It is a public declaration of one’s faith in Jesus and desire to live a life committed to Him. Jesus Himself was baptised by John the Baptist who was calling for people to repent and be baptised for the forgiveness of their sins. Though Jesus was sinless, He submitted to baptism as an identification with sinful man and as an example to us. He commanded His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations and to baptise them in the Name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Matthew 18:19). Peter’s first sermon on the day of Pentecost declared that for one to respond to the gospel message, one had to first of all repent and then be baptised for the forgiveness of sin. It is the first step of obedience in our Christian walk. It symbolises Jesus’ death and resurrection. Going under the water signifies our old self being buried, coming out of the water signifies being raised from death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life”. Baptism does not make us believers – it says we are believers! It does not save us – our faith in Jesus is where our salvation lies. It says we are now a member of God’s family, part of the body of Christ. “For we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body..” 1 Corinthians 12:12-13.
Baptism in The Holy Spirit.
Receiving the Holy Spirit is linked with water baptism. Peter followed His command to repent and be baptised with the promise that then the new believer would receive the Holy Spirit. Paul says that when we believe we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance in Jesus. (Ephesians 1:13). Paul also calls Him the Spirit of adoption, or sonship, saying that the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirits that now we are God’s children. (Romans 8:15). But Jesus said there was more than this. Before He died, He breathed on His disciples and said that this imparted to them the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22). But He also made a promise to them that there would be another impartation of the Holy Spirit after His death and resurrection. (John 7:39).
In Acts 1, as He was about to ascend to heaven, Jesus told them to wait and that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came on them, power to live for Him, power to be His witnesses. What they had already received when Jesus breathed on them was insufficient, and they needed to wait to receive the fresh filling of the Spirit, so the gift of the Spirit we receive when we believe is only a taste and requires this further impartation of power. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit was poured out in power. They began to speak in tongues and preach Jesus with a boldness they had not known.
Just as being baptised in water immerses us in water, so the baptism in the Spirit immerses us in God. To receive this precious gift we need to be born again and then simply ask in faith for God to baptise us in the Spirit. We surrender to Him and receive from Him. Often speaking in tongues is the first sign that God has filled us, and as an act of faith we should open our mouths and begin to speak and He will take control.
The church is not a building or a denomination. The church is the company of believers, the body of Jesus. We do not go to church. Rather we are the church. The Greek word translated church is “ekklesia” meaning the assembly of believers. In the Greek world it meant an assembly of citizens. In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, it defined the congregation of Israel. From the New Testament on, it refers either to the entire body of Christ across an area or across the world or to one local coming together of His people. We are the church and individually we are members of it. Paul, in Romans 12:5 says “we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another”. Other terms used in the New Testament to describe the church are “spiritual house”, “chosen race”, “God’s people”. We are one, united in and through Him, regardless of which brand of the institution we belong to. The true church, the ekklesia, is a spiritual entity, not an institution.
This is the term commonly given to the Lord’s supper, the sharing of bread and wine in remembrance of His sacrificial death for us. Jesus instituted this at the Last Supper. See Luke 22:19-20 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. It is a fellowship meal in which we celebrate and declare that we are one with Him and one with each other. The English word itself declares this: “with union” literally. The broken bread represents His body broken on the cross, but also speaks of believers who are parts of this one loaf (His body), knit together in Him, but as individuals go out to be ministers of His life in the world. The wine represents His blood poured out for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus told us to do this until He comes again, to remember what He did and to look forward to all that is to come. It is the symbol of the new covenant God made with man through Jesus, fulfilling the promises of the old covenant and restoring full relationship with Himself through Jesus’ perfect, once and for all sacrifice. The constant sacrifices of the old covenant are no longer necessary, for Jesus’ blood did what the blood of bulls and goats could not do: pay the permanent redemption price for our sin. Hebrews 9:13-15.
Covenant is an agreement, compact, treaty, pledge. It may be made between individuals, between a king and his people, or by God with His people. It is irrevocable and binding, a legal action and declaration that cannot be rescinded. Even when we break covenant with God, He will never break His covenant with us!
God made covenant with Noah in Genesis 6:18, the promise of salvation from the judgement He was bringing on the earth, promising that He would never again destroy the earth this way. The rainbow was God’s sign of this promise.
God made covenant with Abraham, pledging that He would be God to him and his descendants forever. This is the foundation of Israel’s relationship with God. Every other covenant promise of the Old Testament is based on this one. See Genesis 17.
He made covenant with Moses… the Ten Commandments and the law represent this covenant. God’s promise was blessing on their obedience. God made promise here of a new covenant to come where His laws would be written on the hearts of His people instead of on tablets of stone. See Jeremiah 31:31-34.
He made covenant with David establishing him and his heirs on the throne of Israel (2 Samuel 7:12-13). This covenant was fulfilled in Jesus who descended from the lineage of David.
Paul talks of the two covenants, the old and the new, the one coming from Sinai as law, and the new one instituted by Jesus, a covenant of grace and mercy sealed in His blood. The old covenant brought bondage to sin, the new one brought forgiveness. The old led to death, but the new brings life. The new fulfils the old, because Jesus met every requirement of the law on our behalf. Hebrews declares it to be a better covenant, established on better promises (Heb 8:6), resting on the sacrificial work of Jesus. This new covenant does what the old could not do: removes sin and cleanses the conscience (Heb 10:2 & 22), rendering the old covenant obsolete (Heb 8:13), and fulfils the promise made in Jeremiah 31.
The dictionary defines deliverance as “the action of being rescued or set free”. It is being set free from spiritual bondages that hinder us from walking in the fullness of all Jesus has for us. There are lots of examples in the Old Testament of deliverance on a natural level: the Israelites delivered out of Egypt being an obvious one.
As Jesus was anointed to bring deliverance to the captives (Isaiah 61:1) so are we commissioned by Him to bring captives to freedom. Matthew 10.8: “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons”. Jesus knew there would be demonic bondage in the lives of people and that they needed to be set free. Deliverance is about bringing people into victory, whether they need to have spiritual strongholds torn down, legal grounds removed, or a demon cast out. Habitual sin forms strongholds that need to be broken. Opening up our lives to anything not of God gives Satan legal access to our lives and those doors need to be closed by repentance, and Satan’s hold released.
Inner healing is one aspect of deliverance ministry. Where there are emotional wounds in our lives from abuse, rejection, wounding, and hurt we need healing. The demonic seizes on these things as a foothold into our hearts.
Strongholds are incorrect thinking patterns and behavioural patterns developed over time, often nurtured through lies and deception. They often result in us not seeing God correctly and not seeing ourselves as God sees us.
We have often given the enemy legal grounds to operate in our lives: unforgiveness, offence, unrepented sin, soul ties, inner vows, rejection, spoken self-curses, generational curses, cursed objects, occultic involvement, new age, trauma. All these allow Satan entry points to our soul. Repentance and forgiveness are keys to freedom. Both close the doors so Satan is kicked out and the Holy Spirit is free to move in our lives in a more powerful way.
God has given us the weapons to set people free. We have authority in Jesus’ Name to speak deliverance to the captives, to bind the evil one, and to loose the Holy Spirit to work in their lives. Truth is the ultimate weapon for it breaks through the lies and deception that form the foundation of strongholds and legal access.
When Lucifer (Satan) rebelled against God, one third of the angels joined him and all were cast out of heaven. Look at Jude v 6 and Revelation 12:4. Originally created to worship and serve God, they now have taken on the characteristics of Satan and do his bidding. They are described variously as unclean spirits, demons and devils. Demons tempt, accuse and deceive. Satan is not omnipresent (everywhere at the same time like God) so he uses his demonic host to war against us. See also entries under angels and Satan.
Disciple means both a learner and one who follows his teacher. So he is one who not only learns from his teacher but puts into practice that which he is being taught. Jesus chose twelve men to disciple and become His disciples (Matthew 10:1-4)…they lived with Him 24/7 for the three years of His ministry and were immersed in all He is and all He said and did. Jesus named two characteristics of a disciple of His: they abide in His Word (John 8:31) and they love one another (John 13:35). We don’t just give our lives to Jesus, we become His disciples, being taught by Him as we dig into His Word and walking in obedience and surrender to Him. Luke 6:34 says “a disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher”. Our goal and God’s desire for us is that we become like Jesus!
This is defined as ruling, reigning, exercising authority, sovereignty, jurisdiction, rulership. God gave man dominion over the earth, Genesis 1:28. When man sinned (see entry for Fall of Man), dominion over the earth was transferred to Satan. Through Jesus’ death on the cross and His victory over Satan’s power, dominion again was transferred back to God’s sons. Jesus said that all authority in heaven and on earth belongs to Him, Matthew 28:18, and as His disciples we walk in that authority too. Luke 9:1 “Then he called his twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases”. Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy…” As children of God we are kings and priests, 1 Peter 2:9… a royal priesthood. Revelation 1:6 “and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father”. Revelation 5:10 “and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” That is dominion and it is our privilege and calling to rule and reign under Him.
Eternal Life.
This is God’s gift to us when we believe. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. We are all guilty of sin which is punishable by death, but through the sacrifice of Jesus and our acceptance of it, the punishment has been paid and God gives us life. “for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 6:23. Eternal life is something Christians have now, not just something we receive after our physical bodies die. Everyone’s spirit exists for eternity. The alternative to eternal life is eternal existence not in the presence of God, or in hell. Jesus said He is “the way, the truth and the life” John 14:1. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul talks about death and resurrection. Jesus died and rose again, defeating and overcoming death itself. Though our physical being will die, we will rise in our spiritual body to be with Him forever.
Evangelism is one Christian telling someone else about how much God loves them and what Jesus has already done for them. We can do this by our words, our actions and our lifestyle. God often helps by showing Himself to be real and healing the person. Jesus commissioned His followers to “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). This is evangelism: sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus with those who don’t know it and discipling those who respond. All of us are called to be His witnesses: “but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8. Some are specifically called to the ministry of evangelism: “and He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and some teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” Ephesians 4:11.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1. Faith is defined as conviction, confidence, trust, belief, reliance. It is an absolute assurance and confidence, trust and reliance in God and all that He says. Before we see it, we believe it, for has not God said! And regardless of whether we see it or not, we go on believing and trusting because we know that God is faithful and fully reliable and will do what He promises. It is the basis of our relationship with God – we are saved by faith, and we live by faith. It is our dependence on Him in everything and for everything. Our faith grows and becomes stronger the more we discover of God, the more we get to know Him and the more we see Him move. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17). This is the starting point and the growing place of faith: God’s Word. Faith is worked out in our obedience to Him in every area of our life: “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14). Faith will result in service and ministry. It will produce fruit!
Faith is also a supernatural gift beyond what is normal for us. It is listed among the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:9. Those with this gift move in a higher level of faith, often in specific situations, such as when praying for healing for someone medicine has declared incurable.
Fall of Man.
See Genesis 3. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God when Satan came and challenged them concerning God’s motivation in commanding them to not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This cost them the intimate relationship they had in the garden where they walked with God. Now they hid from God and were clothed in shame. As a consequence of their sin, they lost the dominion God had given them over the earth, ceding it to Satan. Everything in man’s delegated realm now comes under a curse as man’s relationship with God is broken. The ground is cursed with thorns and thistles, man is cursed with hard labour to produce food, women are cursed with pain and suffering in childbirth, and death enters the world. At the same time, God prophesies redemption in Gen 3:15: that through the seed of the woman, Jesus will come who will crush Satan’s power. Jesus took the consequences of the fall on Himself on the cross and restored that which had been lost.
Fasting is self denial, the willing abstinence from food and possibly liquid for a period of time. Fasting is generally linked with prayer. It is never to earn God’s favour or manipulate God to do something for you, but should be done from a desire to go deeper in God, to grow in Him, to produce transformation in us. It allows us to focus more fully on God and to receive from Him more easily. It should be instigated by the Holy Spirit, not seen as a religious exercise. Sometimes fasting has a specific purpose in mind – healing, revival, salvation of others. In the Old Testament fasting was commanded by God at different times, especially on the Day of Atonement. In the New Testament, it is assumed people will fast….Jesus says “when you fast” not “if you fast”. Fasting should be undertaken with wisdom. Some cannot fast food because of medical conditions. Today people fast in many different ways – from technology for instance. Fasting can be total or partial – examples being missing one meal a day, omitting desserts, giving up coffee, eating only fruit and vegetables. God will direct you how He wants you to fast and for the period He wants. It is not for public display – it is between you and God alone when done individually. Sometimes churches call a corporate fast which is slightly more public and you can support one another in how you fulfil that fast. Fasting is an offering to God – David said that he wouldn’t offer to God something that cost him nothing (1 Chronicles 21:24) – and it will be costly as we sacrifice something that is pleasure for us or even essential for us. But the rewards are great as we are drawn into a more intimate relationship with God.
Gifts of The Holy Spirit.
These are freely given grace gifts, distributed by the Holy Spirit as He chooses to everyone who believes. There are three types of spiritual gifts described in scripture.
The first are manifestation gifts, the way God works through the believer to show His power. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 lists these gifts as words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, healings, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues. 1 Corinthians 14 clarifies how these gifts should be used. These are supernatural demonstrations of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power and are used for the benefit of others and to bring God glory.
The second are ministry gifts and are found in 1 Corinthians 12:27-31. This lists these gifts as being apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healings, helps, administration and varieties of tongues. Ephesians 4:11 lists them as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. These are the tools God uses to equip and build up His body the church.
Romans 12 contains a slightly different listing: prophecy, ministry, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership and mercy. These are sometimes described as motivational gifts – the gifts that shape our perspective on life and motivate our words and actions. They are like a lens through which we see people and situations and determine the way we relate to others.
When each member of the body uses their gifts the body functions as God intends, powerfully and effectively. Paul compares the use of the gifts to the functioning of the human body…every one necessary and every one of value.
Every gift is to be used in love. For without love being the source no gift has any value or benefit.
The Hebrew word chabod means weightiness, that which is substantial or heavy, glory, honour, splendour, power, wealth, authority, magnificence, fame, dignity, riches and excellence. The root word from which chabod comes means to be heavy, glorious, notable or to be renowned. Chabod is God’s glory, not only His honour, renown and majesty, but His visible splendour. Moses asked to see God’s glory and God showed Him all His goodness and proclaimed His Name before Moses. (Exodus 33:18-19). All God’s character is revealed by His Name. Solomon’s temple was filled with God’s visible presence like a cloud (1 Kings 8:10-11) and one day His glory will cover the earth (Numbers 14:21).
The Greek word used in the New Testament is doxa which becomes the splendour, radiance and majesty centred in Jesus. He is the glory of God made flesh.
One definition is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Another is unmerited, undeserved blessing, a free gift. It is the free sovereign favour to the ill-deserving. It is love that cares and stoops and rescues. It is God reaching down to a people who are in rebellion against Him. It is unconditional love. Grace is the love of God shown to the unlovely. It is the peace of God given to the restless. It is the unmerited favour of God, given because God desires us to have it, not in any way earned by our actions.
The Old testament word for grace means favour, graciousness, kindness, beauty, pleasantness, charm, attractiveness, loveliness. To act in grace is to show mercy, to be compassionate.
The New testament word for grace is charis which signifies unmerited favour, undeserved blessing, a free gift. This is God’s love offering to sinful man. By His grace we are saved. Grace is at the beginning of our walk with God and it is the means to empowering and completing our walk. We are to grow in grace and in our knowledge of Him. (2 Peter 2:18).
Grace is the basis of our identity (1 Corinthians 1.10), of our standing before God (Romans 5:2), of our behaviour (2 Corinthians 2:12), of our living (Romans 5:7 and 1 Peter 1:7), of our holiness (2 Timothy 2:9), of our strength for living (2 Timothy 2:1 and Hebrews 13:9), of our way of speaking (Colossians 4:6), of our serving (1 Peter 1:10), of our sufficiency (2 Corinthians 2:9 and 2 Corinthians 2:8), of our response to difficulty (Hebrews 4:16 and 1 Peter 1:10), of our participation in God’s mission (Acts 11:23, Acts 13:43, Acts 20:24), of our future (1 Peter 1:13), and of our hope beyond death (Romans 5:21).
The gospel is all about God’s grace through Jesus.
Healing is the restoration of health, cure, repair. One of God’s Names is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord my Healer. Healing is part of the nature and character of God. He is the restorer of all things. Salvation is God’s rescue of the whole person and healing is His restoration of every area of that person’s life. Healing is not only physical, but emotional and spiritual, because salvation is a total work of transformation to bring wholeness of body, soul and spirit.
Malachi 4:2 says of Jesus: “the Sun of Righteousness shall rise with healing in His wings”.
Healing is one of the gifts of the Spirit and we have been given authority by Jesus to heal the sick. “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons”. (Matthew 10:8) “Is anyone sick among you? Let him call the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise him up.”(James 5:14-15).
Healing is part of the work of the cross. “By His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). It is ours by right of His suffering and His finished work.
Heaven is the dwelling place of God (Psalm 33:13). It is our eternal destination (Philippians 1:21-23). Jesus said He was going there to prepare a place for us (John 14:1). It is compared to a mansion with many rooms (John 14:1-3) and a magnificent city (Revelation 21). God’s throne is there. The angels are there. Paul says we are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). Jesus called it Paradise (Luke 23:43). Revelation 21 describes heaven as a place where the streets are paved with gold, the gates are made of pearls and the walls made of precious jewels; a place of great beauty and of joy – no tears, no sickness, no death. It is where Jesus is now as He waits for God to tell Him it’s time to return to claim His bride (Acts 1:11).
The kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God is talked about by Jesus many times in the gospels (Matthew 13). Jesus brought the reality of the kingdom of heaven to earth. He tells us the kingdom of heaven is within us (Luke 17:21). This is the rule and reign of God in our lives – His kingdom on earth in us, His Lordship over us, His working out His glory through us. When we pray “your kingdom come” we are asking for the reality of His rule to come to earth and for all the fruits of His rule to be made manifest here. The values of the kingdom of heaven are not worldly values – Jesus said His kingdom is not of this world. It is a spiritual kingdom, manifest in spiritual ways: Paul describes the kingdom as righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14.17). The kingdom will be culminated with the coming of Jesus when He “delivers the kingdom to God the Father.” (1 Corinthians 15:24).
This is the opposite of heaven. God is absent. It is typically presented as a place of eternal torment, fire and damnation where those who haven’t accepted Jesus as Saviour will spend eternity separated from God. But how Biblical is this picture?
Three words are translated as hell in the New Testament. Hades refers to the grave, the pit or the place of the dead. This is where Jesus went in the period between the cross and the resurrection. Gehenna represents the lake of fire in Revelation 19:20, unquenchable fire that will totally destroy the unrepentant (Matthew 10.28.) Tartaroo only appears once, in 2 Peter 2:4, and refers to a condition of restraint for fallen angels (demons) until their later judgement.
Paul says the wages of sin is death. John in Revelation 20:14 talks about the second death, where the fate of the unbelievers is the lake of fire after they appear before the judgement seat of God. “Then death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”. The concept of torment is found in Revelation 20:10, “the devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever”.
Hell is seen as the abode of Satan, hence it becomes linked with the term the kingdom of darkness. The kingdom of darkness is wherever Jesus is not Lord. He is Light and whatever is not of Him is rebellion against God. The characteristics of this kingdom are listed in Galatians 5:19-21, the results of following the desires of a sinful nature.
But when we come to faith in Jesus we are translated from that kingdom of darkness where we are slaves to sin, and subject to Satan’s rule, into the kingdom of light, the kingdom where Jesus reigns and rules. “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” Colossians 1:13.
Lamb of God.
John the Baptist gave this title to Jesus when He was baptised. (John 1:29). Peter compares Jesus’ death to a spotless lamb, “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and or spot” (1 Peter 1:19).
The linking of Jesus with the sacrifice lambs began with Abraham when God asked him to offer up his son Isaac to show his faith in God and His promises. As Abraham went to slay his son, God stopped him, providing instead a ram to be sacrificed. (Genesis 22).
When God sent plagues to Egypt to force Pharoah to release His people, the last plague was the angel of death taking the firstborn of the Egyptians. Only the blood of a lamb sprinkled on the doorposts of the Israelites protected their firstborn from this angel. (Exodus 12:1-28). They were commanded to observe this same ritual yearly forever once they entered the Promised Land. This is what is known as the Passover feast. The sacrificed animal was either a young lamb or goat, male, one year old, and without spot or blemish. This is a prophetic picture of Jesus, the perfect man, the sinless one and of God offering Him up as the atonement for sin for all people, for all time. A once and for all sacrifice! Hebrews 10 speaks of this. “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy”. (v14).
Sacrifice is no longer necessary to cover our sins, because the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, is sufficient forever!
A miracle is something that happens that has no natural or scientific explanation and so is attributed to God. A dictionary definition is that it is “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.”(Merriam-Webster dictionary). They are dramatic and demonstrable. You can’t argue with them!
There are many types of miracles in the Bible. Creation itself was a supernatural act: God spoke and it was done! There are miracles where the laws of nature were suspended: Jesus stilling the storm, Jesus walking on the water, the sun going backward for Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:11.) There were miracles of physical healing: the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the paralysed getting up and walking. There was resurrection of the dead: Elisha (2 Kings 4:32) raising the widow’s son, Jesus raising Lazarus (John 11:43-44). Deliverance from demons can be seen as miraculous (Matthew 12:22). Acts like Jesus turning water into wine (John 2:1-11), multiplying a boy’s loaves and fishes (John 6:1-14). Miracles in the plant and animal kingdom: Balaam’s donkey speaking (Numbers 22:28), a fig tree shrivelling up at a word from Jesus (Matthew 21:19).
Miracles are listed among the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. Jesus has given us authority to work miracles in His Name.
The children of Israel were slaves in Egypt and God chose Moses to bring them out from bondage and to take them to the Promised Land (Israel). Pharoah was unwilling to let them go and so God sent a series of ten plagues, each one more severe than the previous one, until finally Pharoah agreed to let them go.
The final plague involved the angel of death travelling through Egypt and causing every firstborn to die. To protect themselves, the children of Israel were to kill a lamb, eat every bit of it, and smear its blood on the doorposts of their homes. When the angel saw the blood, he would pass over their homes, leaving their firstborn untouched.
This is the origin of the feast called Passover, for the angel of death had passed over God’s people and spared them.
Read the whole story in Exodus Ch 3 to Ch 15.
See also the entry Lamb of God for further information.
A pastor, literally, from the Latin root of the word, is a shepherd, one who leads to pasture, sets to grazing, causes to eat. Pastors are one of the fivefold ministry gifts to the body of Christ (see also Gifts of the Holy Spirit) put in place to equip the saints. The pastoral role is one of caring for the body. Depending on the denomination, various other titles are used to describe the pastoral role: minister, priest, elder, bishop. All are servants to the body, just as Jesus, who called Himself the Good Shepherd, came to serve.
The Jewish feast of Pentecost, also called Shavuot, the feast of weeks, the feast of harvest and the latter firstfruits, is celebrated on the 50th day after Passover. In Leviticus 23:15-16 God commanded His people to count seven weeks from the second day of Passover and then present offerings of new grain to the Lord as a lasting ordinance. The term Pentecost comes from the Greek word meaning fifty. It was a time of giving thanks to God for the blessings of harvest. It is also tied to the giving of the Law, the Ten Commandments: Jewish belief is that it was on this date that God gave Moses the Law on Mt Sinai.
For Christians Pentecost is the day God poured out His Holy Spirit on the early believers. Jesus had told them to wait for His promise to be fulfilled (Acts 1:4-8). They had waited together in obedience to Jesus. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon them with the sound of a mighty wind and tongues of fire, and they all began to speak in tongues. Peter preached to explain to the crowds what had happened, for the crowds thought they were drunk. He declared that what they were witnessing was the promise made to Joel that in the last days God would pour out His Spirit on all flesh (Joel 2:28-29). As he continued to preach the good news of Jesus, three thousand people came to faith in Jesus. Read the story in Acts chapter 2.
Promises of God.
There are over 3000 promises God makes in the Bible. Some say there are many more. And our God is faithful to His Word – He always does what He says. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says “for all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him amen, to the glory of God through us.”
Prophecy is speaking out, or forth telling, declaring the will and counsel of God. It is not a telling of the future, like fortune telling, but is speaking out the heart and mind of God as shown to us in words or pictures, dreams or visions. To put it really simply, it is hearing God for others.
Prophecy is for the edification of the body, to build up individuals and the body as a whole. Paul writes that we should all desire to prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14:1-3). “he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men”.
2 Peter 1:20-21 says that “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”. The prophetic word comes by revelation given by the Spirit and the speaker shares what he has heard so others are encouraged.
Redemption means deliverance from some evil, by paying a price. It is not simply deliverance, but release based on a payment of some kind. The word is used in Greek to describe a conqueror releasing prisoners, a master ransoming a slave, and redemption from an alien yoke through a release secured by the payment of a ransom.
We are described as being slaves to sin in the New Testament. The cross of Jesus is the price paid to release the slaves, to let the condemned go free. Jesus paid the price for sin in His death (“the wages of sin is death” Romans 6:23). He redeemed us from sin’s penalty. We are free because of that price He paid.
Redemption also contains the idea of buying back what once belonged to us, but has fallen into someone else’s possession. We belonged to God in the beginning, created by Him for His glory. Through Adam’s sin, we became slaves to Satan, in bondage to him and to sin itself. Jesus bought us back and restored us to be again God’s treasured possession.
Repentance means to turn or return and is applied to turning from sin to God. It is to turn away from sin and our own ways, and to turn to God with all our heart, soul and strength. It is a change of mind, a radical transformation of thought, attitude, outlook and direction.
We have a picture of repentance as confessing our sins, but it goes beyond confession into a new lifestyle contrary to our old life, one where we walk in holiness and righteousness before God instead of in our sinfulness. Confession of sin that doesn’t result in a changed lifestyle is not repentance.
In repentance, we lay hold of the mercy of God in Jesus. Repentance and faith go hand in hand in the process of salvation: Luke 1:15 “repent and believe”; Acts 2:38 “repent and be baptised”. Romans 2:4 says that it is the kindness or the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. Repentance really is initiated by God drawing us to Himself by the revelation of His love.
“The entrance of Your Words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple”. Psalm 119:130. This is revelation. God opens our eyes to see and understand truth, to know the mysteries of heaven. It is like a light being turned on in our mind so we suddenly understand what we have not understood before, or we see things we haven’t seen before. It might be something in His Word, or it might be His Word being spoken to us apart from the written word. It is a revealing, an unveiling of something that was previously hidden, so that it is seen and known for what it is.
Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:16-21 asks God to impart to the believers the spirit of wisdom and revelation, the eyes of their understanding to be opened so they would know all they have in Him and all He is.
Dictionaries define righteousness as behaviour that is morally justifiable or right. The Bible’s standard of righteousness is God’s own perfection in every attribute, attitude, behaviour and word. This is impossible for any man to attain in his own efforts. Isaiah says all our righteousness is like filthy rags before the righteousness of God. (Isaiah 64:6).
Hebrews 11 lists those God called righteous because of their faith, who died not seeing the fulfilment of God’s promises in Jesus. But through Jesus, God accredits righteousness to us. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
He calls us righteous, says we are justified in His sight, and so we are accepted and acquitted at His judgement seat. Our righteousness is not based on the Law, because the Law is impossible for man to keep in its entirety. It is not by works, because nothing we can do can earn us righteous status in God’s sight. It is totally a gift of grace because of the shed blood of Jesus and our faith in Him. See Titus 3:5, Ephesians 2:9, Galatians 2:16.
Saint is the New Testament term for those who believe. The Latin word it comes from means holy. It is not the select few who are called saints by various churches, but every believer is a saint. We have been washed, we have been sanctified, we have been made holy and righteous by the blood of Jesus…this is the qualification of a saint.
Salvation is to be forgiven, delivered from sin and its penalty. Salvation is in Jesus and is Jesus. Acts 4:12: “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus, through the finished work of the cross.
The Greek word sozo,, which translates as saved, means to save, heal, cure, preserve, keep safe and sound, rescue from danger or destruction, deliver. Salvation is a total work in our lives: not just a spiritual reality but a physical and emotional one too. Jesus works wholeness in every part of our being. We are saved from physical death by healing, and from spiritual death by the forgiveness Jesus pours on us. It can be translated at its simplest as “to give new life” and to “cause to have a new heart”. We become new creations when we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour: “therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
There are three dimensions to salvation. The first is that we are saved by faith. (Ephesians 2:8). It is a finished work. The second is that it is a progressive work: “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). It is an ongoing work of transformation, of God working in us to bring us to total conformity to the image of Jesus. The third is in the future when all things culminate with the return of Jesus and the judgement of God: “he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Mark 13:13). Though a finished work on the basis of faith, it has to be worked out in our lives, until the very end, when we enter into the fullness of all salvation guarantees us.
This is defined as hallowed, set apart, dedicated, consecrated, separated, sanctified, made holy. It is a state of holiness in opposition to being common, or unclean. In the Old Testament, places, things and ceremonies were described as holy, as being set apart for God. In the New Testament, the term describes a life that is characterised by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
We are sanctified as believers, set apart for His glory. But there is also a process of transformation that takes place in our lives, a process of sanctification. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). God will finish the work He has begun in us, making us like Jesus.
There is a choosing to walk into deeper levels of sanctification: to not be conformed to the world, to allow Him to transform our minds, to die to the flesh. We are called to “grow up into Him in all things who is the Head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). We are called to holiness: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter1.16). And as we choose, He works it in us.
Created as one of the angelic host, Lucifer rebelled against God and as a result was cast out of heaven along with a third of the angels. (See also entries under Angels, under Demons and under Fall of man.)
The Scriptures commonly understood to describe this are Ezekiel 28:15-18 and Isaiah 14:12-14.
The word satan means opponent, hater, accuser, adversary, enemy, one who resists, obstructs and hinders whatever is good. He stands opposed to God in every way and withstands all God is and does and would do. As hater, he stands opposed to God who is love. Though his attacks appear focussed on man, in reality his every move is an attack upon God.
Jesus defeated him on the cross, but his ultimate defeat will be before the judgement throne of God and we will witness his end (Revelation 20:10).
Sin is literally missing the mark, failure, offence, taking the wrong course, guilt, wrongdoing. Paul says we have all sinned and so fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). At its root is the heart attitude in opposition to God. David said that it was against God that he had sinned (Psalm 51:4).
Transgression is going against the law, rule or code of conduct. It means abandoning trust, departing, stepping aside, violating, rebelling, disobeying, diverting from the true way to another way. Our transgressions take us out of the will of God into our own ways.
Iniquity is evil, fault, sin, guilt, blame, moral illness, perversion, crookedness. The root word in Hebrew means to bend or distort. This makes iniquity the evil bent within us that makes us susceptible to temptation and so to sin. It is what lies within the heart of man.
Jesus was “wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). He paid the price for our sin in all its totality – for the evil intents in our hearts to the outworking of those intents in action. And He gave us new hearts, hearts of flesh, that enable us to pursue God and walk in obedience to Him.
See also Deliverance.
A stronghold is an area of darkness within our mind or personality that causes ongoing spiritual, emotional and/or behaviour problems. They mean we have an ongoing struggle with thoughts, emotions, and habits that war against our walk with Jesus. They can be put in place by persistent sinful habits or by sins committed against us. They are based on lies we have believed that distort or confuse our thinking. Lies can gain footholds in our mind and emotions, which will then affect our behaviour patterns. If the lie is not renounced, it will distort the way we see and think.
The sins of others affect us deeply. Words spoken or actions committed against us wound our spirits and leave us open to the lies of the enemy and the formation of spiritual strongholds. Forgiveness is a key to breaking the enemy’s power in these areas of our lives.
Paul says “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). The strongholds are rooted and built up in our minds.
Jesus said we would know the truth and the truth would set us free (John 8:32). Recognising the truth God speaks over us reveals the lies the enemy has put in place. Acceptance of God’s truth and then repentance will see strongholds broken and the believer set free.
To tempt is to put to the test, to try, prove. God tests us to prove our faith – 1 Peter 1:7. When our faith is tested by the trials we walk through, God wants to see the genuineness of our faith shining to His praise and glory. God does not tempt us to do wrong.
Temptation, on the other hand, comes from the enemy. He wants to see us fall, to succumb to his lies and deception and to act in rebellion to God.
Temptation is not sin. It is only sin when we give in to it! But God’s promise to us is “ no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
James tells us to “resist the devil and he will flee” (James 4:7) and we resist by submitting to God. Jesus resisted the devil when tempted in the wilderness encounters in Matthew 4 by quoting the Word of God – the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) which is our very effective weapon. We wield truth, we wield with authority, all the authority of God, and Satan must yield.
There are two words used for testimony in the New Testament. Marturia is to describe what you have seen and heard (John 19:35). It is a witness, a historical statement. John described what he saw. This is like legal testimony in a court of law – a witness speaks what he has seen firsthand. The English word martyr comes from this Greek word – one willing to die as a witness to what he has believed.
Marturion is used in Revelation 5:5 and is the proclamation of evidence, proof, personal experience. This verse declares that the tabernacle, which is the evidence of God’s presence, is a testimony to the covenant God made with His people.
Revelation 12:11 says “they overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony”. Our testimony is our personal story of what we have seen and heard and experienced of God’s work in our hearts and lives. There is a saying that history is His story and our testimonies are His story in us. Testimony can be of how we came to salvation, or simply about how God encountered us today, and they can minister to people powerfully.
Tithes and Offerings.
The Old Testament law states that “the seed of the land, the fruit of the trees, and of the herd and flock” (Leviticus27:30-32) were to be tithed – one tenth of all was to be given to God. For us today that becomes a tenth of our income. It is a way of showing that God is our first priority and it really is an offering of thanksgiving to Him for providing for all our needs. It should be our first action when paid: “honour the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase.” (Proverbs 3:9).
Malachi 3:10 says “bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And test me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”
Some would say this is old covenant and that Jesus fulfilled the law so we no longer have to tithe. But Abraham tithed to Melchizedek (Genesis 14) before the law was instituted. Melchizedek, whose name means my King is righteous, is a picture of Jesus (Hebrews 6 and 7).
We are told to give cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7) and to give freely (Matthew 10:8). Offerings are free will gifts to God above and beyond our tithe. And beyond giving of money we are meant to make our whole lives an offering to God – giving of our income implies the more total offering of ourselves.
Our tithes and offerings support the work of God – the pastor’s income, the needs of the building, the various ministries of the church within the four walls and outside the four walls of that building. We give with a thankful heart because He has given us everything and He promises we will lack for nothing – He will provide all we need. (Philippians 4:19).
Word of Knowledge.
A Word of Knowledge is information given supernaturally by God to someone giving God’s perspective about something that is current or past, something that is happening or has happened. It’s information that makes people feel connected to the fact that God knows them and that they are important. It is God communicating to a person, “I know your name. I know where you live. I know the season you’ve been in, and I’ve been there every step of the way. I love you.
Word of Wisdom.
A Word of Wisdom is basically a revelation from God about what to do with other revelation, life mission, calling, purpose and destiny. They activate what is already inside of people.