Heaven, God's will, death and dying and being born again; God's spiritual road to heaven and the Bible.

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Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.(Proverbs 4:26) Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Revelation 3:12)
Heaven, God's will, death and dieing, God's spiritual road to heaven. What does the Bible say about the road to heaven, the dead, death, dying, after death, dieing, new bodies and being born again? Answers from the Bible about what heaven will be like, will we have new bodies, recognizing the spiritual road, about life, death, dying, dieing and after death.

4~ The Spiritual Road

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God's Messiah graphicHearing From God

If someone represents they have a "word from the Lord" for us or if we believe we’ve received leading from the Lord, we should pray for confirmation. The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah instructing him to buy a field at Anathoth at a time when the Babylonian armies were besieging Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah was about to fall to the Babylonians (Jeremiah 32). Subsequent to Jeremiah’s receiving that word, his uncle’s son came asking Jeremiah to exercise his right of redemption and buy the field. The word Jeremiah had received from the Lord was confirmed by external circumstances and its substance by external realities. Jeremiah acknowledges this is the case by stating, "Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord" (Jeremiah 32:8). One can infer that up to the time his uncle’s son came and confirmed the earlier word of the Lord, no less a prophet than Jeremiah was not sure he had in fact heard from the Lord and hadn’t imagined the situation, as we are all prone, through self-talk.

Jeremiah went ahead and bought the land and the Lord prophesied to Jeremiah, "Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land" (Jeremiah 32:15). Jeremiah announced this to Baruch, his uncle’s son, and before witnesses.

Despite all this, Jeremiah afterwards prayed to the Lord, praised him for making heaven and earth and showing his lovingkindness, for the signs and wonders He exhibited to the people of Israel in the land of Egypt, and for giving them a land flowing with milk and honey (Jeremiah 32:17-22). He then acknowledges that the people did not obey His voice or walk in His law and did not follow God’s commandments, therefore God brought calamity upon them, a precedent we sorely need to learn from. As a result of their rebellion against God, siege mounds had reached Jerusalem and the Chaldeans were at war with the kingdom of Judah. Sword, famine and pestilence, as the Lord had spoken, had come to pass.

After having bought the field, praising God, and informing God his earlier prophecies regarding the Babylonians were now fulfilled, he asks God in Jeremiah 32:25: "And yet you say to buy the field - paying good money for it before these witnesses - even though the city will belong to our enemies" (Living Bible). Jeremiah is not testing God here. He is asking for further confirmation that in fact he is doing God’s will despite external circumstances pointing out the absurdity of his real estate investment. God then reveals his forgiving nature by assuring Jeremiah that despite the people’s rebellion, he will bring them back to this land and make them dwell in safety and they shall be His people and He would be their God (Jeremiah 32:37-38).

Here we see a great prophet of God struggle to ascertain that the word of the Lord he received is accurate. Compare this with the "mile a minute" prophecies lightly dispensed at charismatic services and Bible studies which never transpire and may have occultic roots. In Biblical times false prophets were stoned. "Healers" who claim a sick person has been healed when in fact she objectively has not been are the equivalent of false prophets. A batting average of one in a hundred is not sufficient. Furthermore, we should exercise discernment, even with a perfect batting average, for Satan as an angel of light can heal the sick, naturally exacting heavy payment afterwards, or give accurate words of prophecy (with a barbed hook).

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God's Messiah graphicRecognizing the Spirit of God

How do we recognize the Spirit of God from the spirit of deception, even within the church body?

1. OBTAIN A BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF GOD, His nature, His purpose in creating us, the fall of man, redemption, and the plan of salvation. By thoroughly grasping the preceding, we can generally spot flaws in a counterfeit plan. If we are unsaved and/or still in bondage to the occult, however, this may not be easy, as our minds are dimmed to spiritual realities. Jesus said his sheep know Him and that as the Good Shepherd he calls his own sheep by name and leads them (John 10). We need to become so familiar with Jesus that any impersonator will be readily apparent. To begin this relationship we must first ask Jesus to become our Lord and Savior. A simple prayer in your own words such as the following is the starting point:

Dear God, I am separated from You, but I need You. Come into my life. I accept Your Son, Jesus Christ, as my Savior. I thank you Jesus that you died on the cross to forgive my sins. Please take charge of my life and change me into the type of person You created me to be. Give me eternal life as your Child.

2. RECOGNIZE FALSE PROPHETS BY THEIR "FRUITS" (Matthew 7:16, NASB):

"You will know them by their fruits." False prophets generally have major character flaws. They may talk about love all day long, but easily lose their temper or act selfishly. They may let their disciples starve while they own a fleet of fancy cars. They may loot their movement’s or ministry’s funds to be paid large salaries and live in palatial homes while pleading for money. They may have the right theology but living immorally, cheating on their husband or wife, usurping ministry opportunities for private enrichment.

Look at the moral standards of the individual and the fruit he bears. "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:15-20, NASB).

False prophets are not necessarily cult leaders or those in the clergy. National leaders, politicians, heads of industry, writers, entertainers can also wear this label. The Old Testament had the following to say about false prophets: "But any prophet who falsely claims that his message is from me, shall die. And any prophet who claims to give a message from other gods must die. If you wonder, ‘How shall we know whether the prophecy is from the Lord or not?’ this is the way to know: If the thing he prophesies doesn’t happen, it is not the Lord who has given him the message; he has made it up himself. You have nothing to fear from him" (Deuteronomy 18: 20-22, Living Bible).

Deuteronomy 13 instructs you that although a sign or wonder comes true but the source of it is from a source who does not worship God, you are not to listen to the words of that prophet or "dreamer of dreams" as God may be testing you to find out if you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul rather than loving the accurate prophecy of a seducing spirit.

3. TEST THE SPIRITS:

"Dearly loved friends, don’t always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God: test it first to see if it really is. For there are many false teachers around, and the way to find out if their message is from the Holy Spirit is to ask: Does it really agree that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, actually became man with a human body? If so, then the message is from God. If not, the message is not from God but from one who is against Christ, like the "Antichrist" you have heard about who is going to come, and his attitude of enmity against Christ is already abroad in the world" (1 John 4:1-4, Living Bible).

The Bible gives clear warning not to consult mediums and wizards, labeling such consultations "defiling" oneself (Leviticus 19:31). The warning is clear, "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so" (Deuteronomy 18: 10-14, NASB). "Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:31, NASB).

The penalty for dealing in the occult is severe: "As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people" (Leviticus 20:6). Saul met a tragic end with his three sons after consulting the medium of Endor (1 Samuel 31).

The spirit of Satan is a spirit of deception and Satan himself may appear as an angel of light ( 2 Corinthians 11:14). These days, as part of the New Age, demonic spirits or fallen angels are made appealing and presented in the guise of counselors, spiritual friends, societal archetypes, guidance from one’s subconscious, spirit masters, saints, extraterrestials, devas, the "child within," visualizations (even of "Jesus" spirits), departed relatives etc...

If you are consulting spirit "guides" through channeling, visualization, mantra meditation, yoga, ask them if Jesus Christ is their Lord and Master. Ask them in the authority of the name of Jesus Christ who they serve. Keep in mind the New Age virus has spread everywhere and even in churches there are individuals who knowingly or unwittingly consult fallen angels and will mask their guidance and prophecies in a Christian cloak. They may believe they are receiving knowledge from the Holy Spirit when in fact they are communicating with familiar spirits (demons). Don’t be overeager to become a "signs and wonders" groupie. Use discernment when allowing others to lay hands and pray for you.

How well do you know the people you are allowing to place their hands on you? Are they really saved? Is it the spirit of Christ or a deceiving spirit leading them to pray for you or giving you a word of knowledge? Test those spirits.

There is only one Spirit who confesses Jesus Christ and that is the Holy Spirit. All spirits should be tested whether they speak through a prophet, a guru, a politician, or one who claims he is Christ himself (of which there are many these days).

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God's Messiah graphicBeing Born Again

Jesus told Martha regarding her brother Lazarus that her brother will come back to life again (John 11:23). Martha said, "Yes, when everyone else does, on Resurrection Day" (John 11:24, Living Bible). " Jesus told her, ‘I am the one who raises the dead and gives them life again. Anyone who believes in me, even though he dies like anyone else, shall live again. He is given eternal life for believing in me and shall never perish. Do you believe this, Martha?’" "‘Yes, Master,’ she told him. ‘I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one we have so long awaited’" (John 11:24-27, Living Bible).

With tears in his eyes, Jesus went to Lazarus’s tomb. It was a cave with a heavy stone rolled across its mouth. Jesus told the people to roll the stone aside. Jesus thanked God for hearing his prayer so that the people would believe God had sent Him. He then shouted, "Lazarus, come out," and Lazarus, bound up in the gravecloth, came out. If Jesus hadn’t addressed Lazarus by name, all the dead in the cemetery would have come out for, as he told Martha, He is the one who raises the dead.

One dark night when Nicodemus, a leading Pharisee, came to Jesus, telling Jesus his miracles were proof God had sent him, Jesus replied, "Unless you are born again, you can never get into the Kingdom of God." Jesus then explained, "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Men can only reproduce human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven" (John 3:3,5,6, Living Bible). It is the mighty power of God which raised Jesus from the dead. By believing and trusting in Him the Holy Spirit comes and dwells in us, transforming our lives and delivering us from death itself.

Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians informs them, "His weak, human body died on the cross, but now he lives by the mighty power of God"(2 Corinthians 13:4). Because he lives, we have his promise and assurance we will live too.

Paul explains reflecting his legal training, "Death came into the world because of what one man (Adam) did, and it is because of what this other man (Christ) has done that now there is the resurrection from the dead. Everyone dies because all of us are related to Adam, being members of his sinful race, and wherever there is sin, death results. But all who are related to Christ will rise again. Each, however, in his own turn: Christ rose first; then when Christ comes back, all his people will become alive again" (1 Corinthians 15:21-23, Living Bible). Christ has become "the first of millions who will come back to life again" (1 Corinthians 15:20).

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God's Messiah graphic New Bodies

Paul tells us that the answer to what type of bodies we will have is in our own garden. "When you put a seed into the ground it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it ‘dies’ first. And when the green shoot comes up out of the seed, it is very different from the seed you first planted. For all you put into the ground is a dry little seed of wheat, or whatever it is you are planting, then God gives it a beautiful new body - just the kind he wants it to have; a different kind of plant grows from each kind of seed." In effect a metamorphosis occurs. A new body "sprouts" out of the old one. The earthly body is shed and a spiritual one replaces it.

"And just as there are different kinds of seeds and plants, so also there are different kinds of flesh. Humans, animals, fish, and birds are all different. The angels in heaven have bodies far different from ours, and the beauty and the glory of their bodies is different from the beauty and the glory of ours. The sun has one kind of glory while the moon and stars have another kind. And the stars differ from each other in their beauty and brightness."

"In the same way, our earthly bodies which die and decay are different from the bodies we shall have when we come back to life again, for they will never die. The bodies we have now embarrass us for they become sick and die; but the will be full of glory when we come back to life again. Yes, they are weak, dying bodies now, but when we live again they will be full of strength. They are just human bodies at death, but when they come back to life they will be superhuman bodies. For just as there are natural, human bodies, there are also supernatural, spiritual bodies."

"The Scriptures tell us that the first man, Adam, was given a natural, human body but Christ is more than that, for he was life-giving Spirit. First, then, we have these human bodies and later on God gives us spiritual, heavenly bodies. Adam was made from the dust of the earth, but Christ came from heaven above. Every human being has a body just like Adam’s, made of dust, but all who become Christ’s will have the same kind of body as his - a body from heaven. Just as each of us now has a body like Adam’s, so we shall some day have a body like Christ’s."

"I tell you this, my brothers: an earthly body made of flesh and blood cannot get into God’s kingdom. These perishable bodies of ours are not the right kind to live forever" (1 Corinthians 15:36-50, Living Bible).

"For we know that when this tent we live in now is taken down - when we die and leave these bodies - we will have wonderful new bodies in heaven, homes that will be ours forevermore, made for us by God himself, and not by human hands. How weary we grow of our present bodies. That is why we look forward eagerly to the day when we shall have heavenly bodies which we shall put on like new clothes. For we shall not be merely spirits without bodies. These earthly bodies make us groan and sigh, but we wouldn’t like to think of dying and having no bodies at all. We want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will, as it were, be swallowed up by everlasting life. This is what God has prepared for us and, as a guarantee, he has given us his Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:1-5).

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God's Messiah graphicDeath of the Body and Passing Into Eternal Life

"For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22, NASB). It is only in Christ that you can be made alive. Jesus said it was to our advantage that he went, because the Holy Spirit would not come to us unless he went. Jesus sends the Holy Spirit. "I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness, and judgment" (John 16:7-9, NASB). When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior the Holy Spirit indwells in us (John 14:17). It is the power of the Holy Spirit which raises men and women from the dead.

"Yet, even though Christ lives within you, your body will die because of sin; but your spirit will live, for Christ has pardoned it. And if the Spirit of God, who raised up Jesus from the dead, lives in you, he will make your dying bodies live again after you die, by means of this same Holy Spirit living within you" (Romans 8:10-11, Living Bible).

By looking at the resurrection of Jesus Christ we can get a good perspective on the type of body we are promised having accepted Him. Jesus’s resurrected body transcended physical limitations and could pass through shut doors (John 20:19). At times His body was not recognizable (Luke 24:13-16; John 20:14, 15; John 21:4,12; Mark 16:12), however Jesus by breaking bread or the tone of His voice had the power to make himself known.

For a believer in Jesus Christ, death is a transition into a vibrant, joyful eternity in which he or she will have never been so much alive. "Now we look forward with confidence to our heavenly bodies, realizing that every moment we spend in these earthly bodies is time spent away from our eternal home in heaven with Jesus" (2 Corinthians 5:6, Living Bible). Just like the plunge into an ocean where one marvels at spectacular coral reefs and incredibly beautiful sea creatures, so is the transition of the physical body to the eternal, superhuman body. Residing for eternity in the company of He who is the source of life will be the reward of all those who accept God’s free gift, salvation through faith in the Son of God.

Death for those who are in Christ is not a time of mourning. We will all die sometime. Because of the sin of Adam death of the flesh is unfortunately inevitable. However, death for those who trust in Jesus Christ has lost its sting. "His weak, human body died on the cross, but now he lives by the mighty power of God" (2 Corinthians 13:4, Living Bible) and so will you in Him.

Paul in Romans 8:11 explains, "If the Spirit of God, who raised up Jesus from the dead, lives in you, he will make your dying bodies live again after you die, by means of this same Holy Spirit living within you" (Romans 8:11, Living Bible). Jesus’ words are clear, " I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (John 11:25,26, KJV).
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More insights from Sherif Michael at his Biblical Perspectives Blog

Saved by the Blood of the Lamb

A graphic image of Jesus Christ Son of God who can forgive our sins and give us salvation and eternal life in heaven. Click clipart to enlarge.

Jesus was crucified between two criminals. An inscription above Jesus said “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” One of the criminals ridiculed Jesus by telling him that if he were the King of the Jews he should save himself and them (the two criminals).

The other criminal protested, “Don’t you even fear God when you are dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done one thing wrong. Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom” (Luke 23:40-41).

Jesus replied, “Today you will be with me in Paradise. This is a solemn promise.”

By dying on the cross Jesus took away our sins. His blood washes away our sins. All we have to do is reach out to him. The repentant criminal recognized he’d done evil and just asked Jesus to remember him. He didn’t ask for forgiveness. He just asked to be remembered. Just that simple desire was sufficient to receive eternal salvation.

God loves you and wants you to know him. He created man as a companion. “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die” (John 3:16)... Click to continue Sherif Michael's most recent blog: "Saved By the Blood of the Lamb"

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