The Primary Bible Teaching
The sentences in blue give you additional and detailed biblical explanations. Just click on the hyperlink in blue. Biblical articles are mainly written in four languages: English, French, Spanish and Portuguese
“For this reason, now that we have left the primary doctrine about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying a foundation again, namely, repentance from dead works, and faith toward
God, the teaching on baptisms and the laying on of the hands, the resurrection of the dead and everlasting judgment. And this we will do, if God indeed permits” (Hebrews 6:1-3)
letter of Paul to the Hebrew Christians shows that there is a "primary doctrine about the Christ" and also regarding the Bible. In what follows, there will be a presentation of this important teaching for understanding the Bible as a whole (The Christian Maturity).
God has a Name: (YHWH) Jehovah (Isaiah 42:8)
Jesus Christ, the Son of Jehovah God, made sure to make known the Name and the Fame of his Father:
"Father, glorify your name.” Therefore a voice came out of heaven: “I both glorified it and will glorify it again”” (John 12:28). "And I have made your name known to them and will make it known, in order that the love with which you
loved me may be in them and I in union with them" (John 17:26). In the Our Father Prayer, which many know, the very first request made
to God is as follows: "You must therefore pray thus: ''Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified" (Matthew 6:9). When we carefully examine this model prayer, we find that Christ put the requests made to God, in order of importance. Therefore,
like Jesus Christ, we must conseder the Divine Name, Jehovah, as sacred and use it in our personal relationship with God, but also in the ministry of the Word, the
preaching of the Good News, and the biblical teaching in order to make it known (Matthew 24:14; 28:19,20).
Jehovah is the Only True God we must worship (Revelation 4:11)
"You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the
honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created" (Revelation 4:11 )
Jesus Christ, the Son of God said that it is to his Father
that we must render a sacred service: "Then Jesus said to him: “Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service’” (Matthew 4:10).
Jesus Christ the Son of God said that we must love his Father with all our life force: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” He said to him: “‘You must love Jehovah your God
with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment" (Matthew 22:36-38).
Jesus Christ, the Son of God said that
we will have everlasting life only if we do the will of his Father: "Not all who say to me: 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, is it not in your
name that we have prophesied, and in your name? that we have cast out demons, and in thy name have we done many works of power? 'And yet to them I will then confess: I never knew you! 'illegality "(Matthew 7:21-23).
Jehovah is the Only True God and He is not a trinity
Jehovah God is the Father of Jesus Christ: "You heard that I said to you, I am going away and I am coming back to you. If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going my way to the Father, because the Father is
greater than I am" (John 14:28). Jesus Christ (Yehoshuah Mashiah) is the Son of Jehovah God: "In answer Simon Peter said: “You are
the Christ, the Son of the living God"" (Matthew 16:16). The holy spirit is the active force which comes from Jehovah, of which he can give a part to each of his creatures, visible and invisible: "And tongues as if of fire became visible to them and were distributed
about, and one sat upon each one of them" (Acts 2:3).
We must pray only
to the Father, Jehovah God
Jesus Christ, in his model prayer, clearly showed that we must address our prayers only to his Father: "You must pray, then, this way: “Our Father in the heavens,
let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth. Give us today our bread for this day; and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver
us from the wicked one”” (Matthew 6:9–13).
Therefore, we should not pray to the Son, Jesus Christ. We must not pray to the “Virgin Mary” and we must not
pray to the “saints”, because the prayer is an act of worship which is only due to Jehovah God, the Father and Creator of all things (Revelation 4:11; Matthew 4:10).
Jesus Christ (Yehoshuah Mashiah) is the Son of Jehovah God (YHWH Elohim)
(Matthew 16: 13-20)
"Now when he had come into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus went asking his disciples: “Who are men saying the Son of man is?” They said: “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one
of the prophets.” He said to them: “you, though, who do you say I am?” In answer, Simon Peter said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” In response, Jesus said to him: “Happy you are, Simon son of Joʹnah, because
flesh and blood did not reveal [it] to you, but my Father who is in the heavens did. Also, I say to you, You are Peter, and on this rock-mass I will build my congregation, and the gates of Haʹdes will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom
of the heavens, and whatever you may bind on earth will be the thing bound in the heavens, and whatever you may loose on earth will be the thing loosed in the heavens.” Then he sternly charged the disciples not to say to anybody that he was the Christ"
Jesus Christ (Yehoshuah Mashiah), the Son, the Logos, is not Jehovah God
(YHWH Elohim), the Father (John 1: 1-3)
"In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in [the]
beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence" (John 1:1-3). Reading the whole of chapter 1, it is logical to understand that the Father is a Spirit and the Son is another Spirit,
called besides the Logos or spokesperson of God. In this translation (New World Translation), it is written "the Word was a god", which means that the Word has a divine origin.
other translations, it is written, "the Word was God", obviously implying that these two Spirits would merge into one. However, this understanding comes up against an important obstacle in the verse 1, where it is written: "the Word was with God". If the Word
or the Logos was "with" God, it is clear that these two Spirits, who are God and the Logos, are two different Spirits.
Jehovah God (YHWH Elohim), the Father and
Jesus Christ (Yehoshuah Mashiah), the Son, the Logos, are in union in their purpose
“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30)
The expression "to be one" with another person (or a group), expresses oneness of purpose and action. In one of his last prayers written in the Gospel of John, shortly before his death, here is
the request he made to his Father, for his disciples: “I make request, not concerning these only, but also concerning those putting faith in me through their word; in order that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am
in union with you, that they also may be in union with us, in order that the world may believe that you sent me forth” (John 17:20, 21). It is Jesus Christ himself who gives the meaning of being one with his Father: “just as you, Father, are in
union with me and I am in union with you”. Moreover, in that same last evening, to underline this complete unity with his Father, Jesus said: “who has seen me, has seen the Father”: “Philip said to him: “Lord, show us the Father,
and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him: “Have I been with you men so long a time, and yet, Philip, you have not come to know me? He that has seen me has seen the Father [also]. How is it you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not
believe that I am in union with the Father and the Father is in union with me? The things I say to you men I do not speak of my own originality; but the Father who remains in union with me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in union with the Father and
the Father is in union with me; otherwise, believe on account of the works themselves” (John 14:8-11,20,21).
Jesus Christ is the only way to have the everlasting life
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes
to the Father except through me”
Jehovah God, the
Father of Jesus Christ, made his Son an essential figure to have divine approval and everlasting life. In a conversation with the instructor
of the Law, Nicodemus (In John 3), Jesus Christ explained that to obtain everlasting life, we must have faith in the sacrifice of his human life without
sin, for forgiveness of our sins and in the future, to have the everlasting life: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting
life. (...) He that exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life; he that disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him” (John 3:16,36).
In the expression
“He that exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life”, shows that there is no intermediate solution for humans: either disobedience and lack of faith in the sacrifice of Christ, will lead to destruction. In the other way, the obedience and
the faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ will lead to everlasting life.
second point, about the sacrifice of Christ: those who have faith in the sacrifice of Christ, must commemorate his death once a year, the Nisan, 14th, of the Jewish calendar (between March and April): “Also, he took a loaf, gave thanks,
broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “This means my body which is to be given in your behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” Also, the cup in the same way after they had the evening meal, saying: “This cup means the new covenant
by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf" (Luke 2219,20).
All the disciples of Christ, who obey to Jehovah God and his Son Jesus Christ (after examining their
conscience 1 Corinthians 11:28), may partake of the bread and wine, successively representing the body and the blood of Christ (whatever either the Christian hope of everlasting life (in heaven or on earth)).
Jesus Christ has all authority
"And Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: “All authority has been given me
in heaven and on the earth"”
The above text shows
that Jehovah God, the Father, has given all authority to his Son Jesus Christ, in heaven and on earth. However, this authority will be returned to the Father by the Son at the end of the thousand years of his reign: "Next, the end, when he hands over
the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has brought to nothing all government and all authority and power. For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. As the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing. For God “subjected
all things under his feet.” But when he says that ‘all things have been subjected,’ it is evident that it is with the exception of the one who subjected all things to him. But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son
himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone" (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
Currently, Jesus Christ is King in the heavens, of the Kingdom of God and he is reigning
in the midst of his enemies, according to Psalms 2: "At that time he will speak to them in his anger And in his hot displeasure he will disturb them, Saying: “I, even I, have installed my king Upon Zion, my holy mountain.” Let me refer to the decree
of Jehovah; He has said to me: “You are my son; I, today, I have become your father. Ask of me, that I may give nations as your inheritance And the ends of the earth as your own possession” (Psalms 2:5-8; Revelation (Revelation) 12:10).
It is the current King Jesus Christ who will judge the nations shortly before the Great Tribulation,
according to Matthew 7:21-23 and 25:33-46. It is the King Jesus Christ who will act as “man at whose hips there was the secretary’s inkhorn”, who will mark on the forehead all humans who will survive the Great Tribulation, according to the
prophecy of Ezekiel 9:1-4. It is Jehovah God, the Father, who delegates this right of life and death over all humans to this "man at whose hips there was the secretary’s inkhorn". According to the prophecies of Daniel 12:1 and Revelation 19:11-21, it
is King Jesus Christ who will lead the destruction of the Great Tribulation, supported by millions of angels. This is also written in Psalms 2: "You will break them with an iron scepter, As though a potter’s vessel you will dash them to pieces" (Psalms
2:9). Obviously in the front of this heavenly King, Psalms 2 concludes with this exhortation made to all humans, before the Great Tribulation breaks out: “And now, O kings, exercise insight; Let yourselves be corrected, O judges of the earth. Serve Jehovah
with fear And be joyful with trembling. Kiss the son, that He may not become incensed And you may not perish [from] the way, For his anger flares up easily. Happy are all those taking refuge in him” (Psalms 2:10-12).
After the Great Tribulation, the 1,000-year reign of King Jesus Christ on Earth will begin, accompanied
by the 144,000 heavenly kings and priests (Revelation 5:10; 7:1-8; 14:1-5; 20).
The Holy Spirit is the active force of God
"God’s active force was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters"
The holy spirit, as written in the text of Genesis (above), is an active force
that comes from God. The expression "active force of God" can very well be translated as the powerful spirit (werouah) of God. The word "rouah" being translated as "spirit" or "wind".
we read all the Bible texts regarding the active force of God, we understand two important points. First, the holy spirit, or the active force of God, has a multiple or polyvalence function. Second, the holy spirit is absolutely not a person, but an impersonal
force or power (like the sun, wind, and water), which comes from God.
Let us take attention to the functions of the holy spirit which comes from God. In Genesis 1:1 it is written: "In
the beginning God created the heavens and the earth". The first verse of the Bible summarizes the creation of the material universe and the earth (the heavens and the earth), which scientists have calculated to be about 13 billion years old. From verse 2,
and in the continuation of chapters 1 and 2, there is the narrative of the arrangement of the planet earth in order to create the microbial, plant, animal and human life, over a period of several tens of thousands years, divided into six periods or "days"
(in the Bible the word day, does not only have a duration of 24 hours, but can refer to a period, more or less long). Thus, verse 2, which mentions the action of the active force of God, or the holy spirit, is connected with the creation of the universe with
the planet earth and then in its arrangement to allow life. Jehovah God uses the holy spirit to create.
Jesus Christ used the active force of God, the holy spirit to perform miracles
In the account of the miracle which took place without his knowing it, Jesus Christ gives important information: "As he was going the crowds thronged him. And a woman, subject to a flow of blood for twelve years, who
had not been able to get a cure from anyone, approached from behind and touched the fringe of his outer garment, and instantly her flow of blood stopped. So Jesus said: “Who was it that touched me?” When they were all denying it, Peter said: “Instructor,
the crowds are hemming you in and closely pressing you.” Yet Jesus said: “Someone touched me, for I perceived that power went out of me.” Seeing that she had not escaped notice, the woman came trembling and fell down before him and disclosed
before all the people the cause for which she touched him and how she was healed instantly. But he said to her: “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go your way in peace.”" (Luke 8:42-48). As the result of this miracle, Jesus Christ realized
something in him: "Someone touched me, for I perceived that power went out of me". With this biblical information, we understand that Jesus Christ performed miracles with the power of the holy spirit which he had in him, and each time he was doing a miracle,
part of this force went away.
Jesus Christ transferred an important part of the active force of God, the holy spirit, to his twelve apostles
By giving a significant part of the active force of God, the holy spirit, on
his twelve apostles, Jesus Christ gave them the capacity to do miracles: "These twelve Jesus sent forth, giving them these orders: “Do not go off into the road of the nations, and do not enter into a Sa·marʹi·tan city; but, instead, go
continually to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’ Cure sick people, raise up dead persons, make lepers clean, expel demons. you received free, give free" (Matthew 10:5-8).
The gift of the holy spirit, which Jesus Christ gave to his apostles, was free. Therefore, the ministry of the Word, was to be (must be) completely free, without any financial obligation or tithe,
for those who would benefit from the blessings of the working of the holy spirit.
The outpouring of the holy spirit on Pentecost 33 CE,
The birth of the Christian Congregation
"And tongues as if of fire became visible to them and were distributed about, and one sat upon each one of them"
Here is part of the narrative of this important event: "Now while the day of the [festival of] Pentecost was in progress they were all together at the same place, and suddenly
there occurred from heaven a noise just like that of a rushing stiff breeze, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting. And tongues as if of fire became visible to them and were distributed about, and one sat upon each one of them, and they
all became filled with holy spirit and started to speak with different tongues, just as the spirit was granting them to make utterance. As it was, there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, reverent men, from every nation of those under heaven. So, when this sound
occurred, the multitude came together and were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Indeed, they were astonished and began to wonder and say: “See here, all these who are speaking are Gal·i·leʹans, are they
not? And yet how is it we are hearing, each one of us, his own language in which we were born? Parʹthi·ans and Medes and Eʹlam·ites, and the inhabitants of Mes·o·po·taʹmi·a, and Ju·deʹa and Cap·pa·doʹci·a,
Ponʹtus and the district of Asia, and Phrygʹi·a and Pam·phylʹi·a, Egypt and the parts of Libʹy·a, which is toward Cy·reʹne, and sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Creʹtans and Arabians, we hear them speaking
in our tongues about the magnificent things of God.” Yes, they were all astonished and were in perplexity, saying one to another: “What does this thing purport to be?” However, different ones mocked at them and began to say: “They are
full of sweet wine.” But Peter stood up with the eleven and raised his voice and made this utterance to them: “Men of Ju·deʹa and all you inhabitants of Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give ear to my sayings. These [people] are,
in fact, not drunk, as you suppose, for it is the third hour of the day. On the contrary, this is what was said through the prophet Joel, ‘“And in the last days,” God says, “I shall pour out some of my spirit upon every sort of flesh,
and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams" (Acts 2).
The gift of holy spirit that allowed
to do miracles
The narrative of Acts of the Apostles
chapters 2, after the outpouring of the holy spirit, the disciples had the miraculous gift of preaching the good news in others languages. However, as we read the whole book of Acts, we understand that this gift of holy spirit gave them the ability to perform
the same miracles that Jesus Christ had done. Let us read three examples: "Moreover, through the hands of the apostles many signs and portents continued to occur among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solʹomon’s colonnade. True, not
a one of the others had the courage to join himself to them; nevertheless, the people were extolling them. More than that, believers in the Lord kept on being added, multitudes both of men and of women; so that they brought the sick out even into the broad
ways and laid them there upon little beds and cots, in order that, as Peter would go by, at least his shadow might fall upon some one of them. Also, the multitude from the cities around Jerusalem kept coming together, bearing sick people and those troubled
with unclean spirits, and they would one and all be cured" (Acts 5:12-16).
The apostle Peter heals a lame man: "Now Peter and John were going up into the temple for the hour of prayer,
the ninth hour, and a certain man that was lame from his mother’s womb was being carried, and they would daily put him near the temple door that was called Beautiful, in order to ask gifts of mercy from those entering into the temple. When he caught
sight of Peter and John about to go into the temple he began requesting to get gifts of mercy. But Peter, together with John, gazed at him and said: “Take a look at us.” So he fixed his attention upon them, expecting to get something from them.
However, Peter said: “Silver and gold I do not possess, but what I do have is what I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Naz·a·reneʹ, walk!” With that he took hold of him by the right hand and raised him up. Instantly the soles
of his feet and his anklebones were made firm; and, leaping up, he stood up and began walking, and he entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people got sight of him walking and praising God. Moreover, they began
to recognize him, that this was the man that used to sit for gifts of mercy at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they became filled with astonishment and ecstasy at what had happened to him" (Acts 3:1-10).
The apostle Peter resurrects Dorcas: "But in Jopʹpa there was a certain disciple named Tabʹi·tha, which, when translated, means Dorʹcas. She abounded in good deeds and gifts of mercy that she was rendering. But in those days
she happened to fall sick and die. So they bathed her and laid her in an upper chamber. Now as Lydʹda was near Jopʹpa, when the disciples heard that Peter was in this city they dispatched two men to him to entreat him: “Please do not hesitate to come
on as far as us.” At that Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they led him up into the upper chamber; and all the widows presented themselves to him weeping and exhibiting many inner garments and outer garments that Dorʹcas used to make
while she was with them. But Peter put everybody outside and, bending his knees, he prayed, and, turning to the body, he said: “Tabʹi·tha, rise!” She opened her eyes and, as she caught sight of Peter, she sat up. Giving her his hand, he
raised her up, and he called the holy ones and the widows and presented her alive. This became known throughout all Jopʹpa, and many became believers on the Lord. For quite a few days he remained in Jopʹpa with a certain Simon, a tanner" (Acts 9:36-42).
Do some Christians currently have this gift of performing miracles or miraculous healings, or even resurrections?
In the first letter to the Christians of Corinth in chapter 12, the apostle Paul wrote that in the Christian congregation, God gives some gifts of the holy spirit, among which are the "gifts of healings" (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Therefore,
in all "logic" one should expect to see cases of miraculous healings, and even resurrections, in Christian congregations. But the facts are stubborn: there is not. What happened? The biblical answer will be in several parts. Some specific narratives of the
miracles of Christ and the apostles will be analyzed to find that the Biblical definition of "healing" is "recreation", a Biblical word found in Matthew 19:28. The other important aspect will be to understand the purpose of these miracles, namely the accreditation
of God as anointed or Christ, or as a group or congregation approved by God. The last important point, if some Christians claim to perform "miracles", it is important to understand if they are of the same kind as those of the time of Christ or of the apostles.
In addition we will see that for Jesus Christ in the last days there would be people in the congregations who would claim to work miracles to mislead the "chosen ones" (Matthew 24:24).
The healings made by Jesus Christ and the apostles were "recreations"
The diseases and disabilities, whether viral, bacterial or connected to accidents of life, can leave irreversible consequences on the human body: a dry hand, probably a hereditary or genetic deformation (Luke 6:6-11), blindness, by
accident or by heredity (Matthew 9:27-31; Luke 18:35-42), deafness and impairment of the motor skills of speech (Mark 7:31-37), leprosy , a disease caused by a bacillus (Mycobacterium leprae) that causes damage to the peripheral nervous system, skin and various
parts of the body (Mark 1:40-42; Luke 17:11-19). All of these miraculous healings, and many more (John 21:25), required even partial "re-creation" of the part of the human body affected by the disease or its physical after-effects.
The resurrection of Lazarus, the friend of Jesus Christ, was particularly spectacular and required a significant partial recreation of his body for it, to come back to life (John 11:30-44). It is written that Lazarus
had been dead for four days. When Jesus Christ asked for the tomb to be opened, Martha, the deceased's sister, objected: "Lord, by now he must smell, for it is four days", which shows that Lazarus' body was beginning to decompose. The resurrection of Lazarus
was a partial recreation of his human body (palingénesia (in Greek) (Matthew 19:28)). It is therefore evident that these miraculous healings by "re-creation", in our days, do not exist in Christian congregations.
The simplicity and realism of the narrative of the miracles
"Then great crowds approached him, having
along with them people that were lame, maimed, blind, dumb, and many otherwise, and they fairly threw them at his feet, and he cured them; so that the crowd felt amazement as they saw the dumb speaking and the lame walking and the blind seeing, and they glorified
the God of Israel"
As you read the narratives of miraculous healings in the Bible, they are often simple and concise. Sometimes they seem to indicate that Jesus Christ was taking into account
the feelings of the people he was going to heal. Jesus Christ had great insight of what his interlocutors thought (Matthew 9:2-8; Luke 5:17-26 "And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said: “Why are you thinking wicked things in your hearts?""). What was
true for them was also true for some of the ill people he was going to heal. For example regarding the healing of a blind man from birth, in John chapter 9:1-7, Jesus Christ coated the eyes of the blind with clay which he moistened with his saliva, and
commanded him, without going with him, to go and wash their eyes at the pool of Siloam. On the other hand, the gospel account of Mark 8:22-25, for the healing of another blind man, it is written that the people of a village, bring a blind man to him. Jesus
Christ, taking him by the hand, leads him outside the village. He does a gradual, two-step healing process to gradually restore his sight, with the purpose that the blind person, probably, does not have too much emotional shock.
Another account of the healing of a deaf and dumb is very touching: "Now coming back out of the regions of Tyre he went through Siʹdon to the sea of Galʹi·lee up through the midst of the regions of De·capʹo·lis.
Here they brought him a man deaf and with a speech impediment, and they entreated him to lay his hand upon him. And he took him away from the crowd privately and put his fingers into the man’s ears and, after spitting, he touched his tongue. And with
a look up into heaven he sighed deeply and said to him: “Ephʹpha·tha,” that is, “Be opened.” Well, his hearing powers were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he began speaking normally. With that he charged
them not to tell anyone; but the more he would charge them, that much more they would proclaim it. Indeed, they were being astounded in a most extraordinary way and they said: “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the speechless
speak”" (Mark 7:31-37).
The fact that Jesus Christ is leading this man out of the crowd, shows that he is understanding that maybe, he is afraid of the uproar of people, excited
to find out if he will heal him. This deaf and dumb man is imprisoned in an absolute inner silence. The crowd introduces him to Jesus, whom he is not supposed to know and what he will do with him. Thus, the description of the gestures of his healing, is perhaps
a way that Jesus Christ has, of making this man understand what he is doing: that is to say, to heal him ("he put his fingers into the man’s ears"), with the help of God ("look up into heaven").
The only narratives of miracles where there are loud voices, cries and convulsions, is when Jesus Christ confronts demons who took possession of human beings. Sometimes causing them to have epileptic seizures very violent (which does not mean that epilepsy
is an illness connected with demonism. The gospel account describes epilepsy as one of the consequences of possession, which can have others, such as unusually human strength or gifts of divination) (Matthew 8:28-34; 17:14-20; Luke 4:31-37). However, most
Bible accounts of miracles are simple and concise.
The gifts of miraculous healings were divine accreditation that the person or group of people had the approval
of God and the Holy Spirit
"Rabbi, we know that you as a teacher have come from God; for no one can perform these signs that you perform unless God is
It was an honest and sincere teacher of the Law,
named Nicodemus, who said these words. Likewise, when the apostles performed such signs, there was no doubt, to the observers, that they had the holy spirit: "Moreover, through the hands of the apostles many signs and portents continued to occur among the
people; and they were all with one accord in Solʹo·mon’s colonnade" (Acts 5:12-16). However, some Pharisees, in the presence of Christ, went so far as to dispute this evidence. Let us read the response of Christ to them:
"Then they brought him a demon-possessed man, blind and dumb; and he cured him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw. Well, all the crowds were simply carried away and began to say: “May this not perhaps be the
Son of David?” At hearing this, the Pharisees said: “This fellow does not expel the demons except by means of Be·elʹze·bub, the ruler of the demons.” Knowing their thoughts, he said to them: “Every kingdom divided against
itself comes to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. In the same way, if Satan expels Satan, he has become divided against himself; how, then, will his kingdom stand? Moreover, if I expel the demons by means of Be·elʹze·bub,
by means of whom do your sons expel them? This is why they will be judges of you. But if it is by means of God’s spirit that I expel the demons, the kingdom of God has really overtaken you. Or how can anyone invade the house of a strong man and seize
his movable goods, unless first he binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. He that is not on my side is against me, and he that does not gather with me scatters" (Matthew 12:22-30).
Logically, Jesus Christ turned this gratuitous accusation of the Pharisees against them with this simple question: "Moreover, if I expel the demons by means of Be·elʹze·bub, by means of whom do your sons expel them?". However, Jesus Christ
did not consider this accusation harmless at all, quite the contrary. He sent them this warning to be taken very seriously; be careful not to sin against the holy spirit: "On this account I say to you, Every sort of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men,
but the blasphemy against the spirit will not be forgiven. For example, whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the holy spirit, it will not be forgiven him, no, not in this system of things nor in
that to come" (Matthew 12:31,32).
The miraculous gifts will cease
whether there are gifts of prophesying, they will be done away with; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will be done away with"
(1 Corinthians 13:8)
Jesus Cristo concedeu a habilidade de fazer milagres principalmente aos doze Apóstolos (Mateus 10:5-8). Eles podiam passá-los
para outros discípulos (Atos 6:6). No entanto, não há nada na Bíblia, e particularmente no relato dos Atos, que indique que os discípulos (que não eram dos doze Apóstolos) pudessem passar esses dons milagrosos
do espírito santo a outros discípulos. Assim, com a morte de todos os apóstolos, esses dons de fazer milagres gradualmente desapareceram das congregações cristãs (Mateus 13:25 "Enquanto os homens dormiam").
According to Malachi 2:15, we are in the period of what it "remains of the spirit", which is the
prayer when we ask his holy spirit to endure until the end (Matthew 24:13; 21:22,36; Luke 11:13). We can have what
it remains of the holy spirit in this spiritual darkened world by regularly reading the Bible, which is a scriptural deposit of holy spirit, and applying it in our lives every day (2 Peter 1:20,21).
night before his death, Jesus Christ said that henceforth, what would identify the disciples of Christ would no longer be the ability to work many miracles, but by the brotherly love that would reign in the congregations: "I am giving you a new commandment,
that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves" (John 13:34,35). The apostle Paul expresses the idea similar to that of Christ to identify
those who belong to Christ, who would have what is remaining of the holy spirit, by its fruit: "On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Against such things there
is no law. Moreover, those who belong to Christ Jesus impaled the flesh together with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:22-24). The disciple James designates them as those who manifest the wisdom from above: "But the wisdom from above is first of all
chaste, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, not making partial distinctions, not hypocritical. Moreover, the fruit of righteousness has its seed sown under peaceful conditions for those who are making peace" (James 3:17,18).
Sin against the holy spirit which has no forgiveness
"On this account
I say to you, Every sort of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the spirit will not be forgiven. For example, whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the holy spirit, it
will not be forgiven him, no, not in this system of things nor in that to come"
The sin against the holy spirit is a stubborn attitude against the active force of God, and more generally against his purpose. Whoever sins against the holy spirit, practices sin stubbornly. Jesus Christ, when on earth, pointed out
that some of the the Pharisees had sinned against the holy spirit: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you traverse sea and dry land to make one proselyte, and when he becomes one you make him a subject for Ge·henʹna twice as much
so as yourselves. (…) Serpents, offspring of vipers, how are you to flee from the judgment of Gehenna? " (Matthew 23: 15,33). The Gehenna was the dumping ground, at the south of Jerusalem, outside the walls, which symbolized everlasting destruction
and in the words of Christ, the death without resurrection.
How did some of these men come to sin against the holy spirit? The disciple Stephen summed up the spiritual process very well:
"Obstinate men and uncircumcised in hearts and ears, you are always resisting the holy spirit; as your forefathers did, so you do. Which one of the prophets did your forefathers not persecute? Yes, they killed those who made announcement in advance concerning
the coming of the righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers YOU have now become, you who received the Law as transmitted by angels but have not kept it" (Acts 7:51-53).
leaders have seen the miraculous manifestations of the Holy Spirit through the many healings and resurrections performed by Jesus Christ. As an example, after the resurrection of Lazarus, it is written in the Gospel of John that the Pharisees sought to kill
not only Jesus Christ, but also Lazarus (John 11:45-53 (the decision to kill Jesus); John 12:10 (The decision to kill Lazarus)). In the context of the declaration of Christ about the sin against the holy spirit, the Pharisees said that Jesus performed miracles
with the spirit of the devil. It represented blasphemy against the active force of God, the holy spirit (Matthew 12:22-30). Those who sin against the Holy Spirit are completely wicked people.
How to avoid this extreme? The apostle Paul gives the answer: "Wherefore, now that you have put away falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, because we are members belonging to one another. Be wrathful, and yet do not sin; let the
sun not set with you in a provoked state, neither allow place for the Devil. Let the stealer steal no more, but rather let him do hard work, doing with his hands what is good work, that he may have something to distribute to someone in need. Let a rotten
saying not proceed out of your mouth, but whatever saying is good for building up as the need may be, that it may impart what is favorable to the hearers. Also, do not be grieving God’s holy spirit, with which you have been sealed for a day of releasing
by ransom" (Ephesians 4:25-30).
Therefore, one should not grieve the holy spirit, that is, not engage in conduct contrary to the biblical commandments. Those who use to be engaged in
this misconduct, the next step can be to "resist" the holy spirit, as the Pharisees did. Some might ask, with quite legitimate fear, whether they have sinned against the holy spirit. How to know it? We can be reassured while remaining vigilant regarding this
It is God who judges through his Son Jesus Christ, to know who has sinned against the holy spirit. It is interesting to re-read and think about the narrative of the prodigal
son (Luke 16:11-23). Jesus Christ portrays the mercy of God in the guise of a father who patiently allows his son to follow his path, which ranges from a fundamentally evil attitude to one that leads to repentance. This illustration shows how Jehovah God is
ready to detect the slightest hint of repentance in order to forgive (1 Kings 18:13 (Jehovah saw something good in the heart of the son of king Jeroboam (an evil king))). Some humans have their conscience charged by serious sins they have committed, some of
them serious. The fact that the conscience reacts and condemns us for our evil deeds, causing great sadness, is an important clue that the irreversible has not been reached from the point of view of God.
Indeed, there is a sadness which leads to repentance: "Hence even if I saddened you by my letter, I do not regret it. Even if I did at first regret it, (I see that that letter saddened you, though but for a little while,) now I rejoice, not because
you were just saddened, but because you were saddened into repenting; for you were saddened in a godly way, that you might suffer no damage in anything due to us. For sadness in a godly way makes for repentance to salvation that is not to be regretted; but
the sadness of the world produces death. For, look! this very thing, your being saddened in a godly way, what a great earnestness it produced in you, yes, clearing of yourselves, yes, indignation, yes, fear, yes, longing, yes, zeal, yes, righting of the wrong!
In every respect you demonstrated yourselves to be chaste in this matter" (2 Corinthians 7:8-11; Isaiah 1:18 "Come, now, you people, and let us set matters straight between us,” says Jehovah. “Though the sins of you people should prove to be as
scarlet, they will be made white just like snow; though they should be red like crimson cloth, they will become even like wool").
However, let us remain constantly vigilant as to the
use of our language because it is with it, that this irreversible sin can be committed, according to Jesus Christ: "For by your words you will be declared righteous, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matthew 12:33-37; compare with Matthew 5:22 "Whereas
whoever says, ‘You despicable fool!’ will be liable to the fiery Gehenna"). The whole of Chapter 3 of the Disciple James Letter is describing the correct and misuse of the tongue. In this chapter, James also shows that it is with the tongue that
this unforgivable sin can be done: "Well, the tongue is a fire. The tongue is constituted a world of unrighteousness among our members, for it spots up all the body and sets the wheel of natural life aflame and it is set aflame by Gehenna" (James 3:6). Let
us manifest wisdom from above to protect ourselves spiritually from committing the irreparable from the point of view of God and of his Son Jesus Christ, to whom he has entrusted judgment: “But the wisdom from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable,
reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, not making partial distinctions, not hypocritical. Moreover, the fruit of righteousness has its seed sown under peaceful conditions for those who are making peace" (James 3:17,18).
The Bible is the Word of God
"All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely
equipped for every good work"
(2 Timothy 3:16,17)
The Bible is inspired
by God: "For you know this first, that no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation. 21 For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were moved by holy spirit" (2 Peter 1:20,21). Forty people participated
in the writing of the Bible.
Reading the Bible allows us to know better the mind of Jehovah and that of Christ: "For “who has come to know the mind of Jehovah, so that he may instruct
him?” But we do have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16). This allows us to have good relationship with Jehovah God and His Son Jesus Christ, as King of the Kingdom of God (Psalms 2). The knowledge of God and of Christ can enable us to obtain everlasting
life: "This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ" (John 17:3).
Reading the Bible allows us to have good thoughts
(Philippians 4:6-9). Reading the Bible allows for the memorization of some important biblical quotes, in order to more easily find biblical principles that will guide us in our decisions. More generally, daily reading of the Bible allows us to obtain God's
blessing, and a better quality of life, to the extent that we apply it in our life: "However, become doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves with false reasoning. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, this one is like a
man looking at his own face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, and he goes away and immediately forgets what sort of person he is. But the one who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and continues in it has become, not a forgetful hearer,
but a doer of the work; and he will be happy in what he does" (James 1:22-25, Psalm 1:2,3).
The Kingdom of God is a Heavenly Government
"Let your Kingdom come"
heavenly government of God was established in heaven in 1914, and whose King is Jesus Christ accompanied by 144,000 kings and priests
who constitute the "New Jerusalem", the bride of Christ: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former
earth had passed away, and the sea is no more. I saw also the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God and prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is
with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things
have passed away" (Revelation 21:1-4).
This Heavenly Government of God will end
the present human rule during the Great Tribulation, and will be settled on Earth: “And in the days of those kings
the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite" (Daniel 2:44).
The death is the opposite of life
"For dust you are and to dust you will return"
It is God himself who defines it. Comparing Genesis 2:17 with 3:19, where it is written that if Adam disobeyed the commandment regarding to the forbidden fruit, he would surely die. At end, Adam
disobeyed. Here is what it is written in the judgment of God against Adam and Eve: "In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return" (Genesis 3:19). Therefore,
death is the opposite of life, and the return to nonexistence (Psalm 146:3,4; Ecclesiastes 3:19,20; 9:5,10). Jehovah God, in his judgment, evokes the return to dust which is more generally designated in the Bible by an expression of symbolic place such as
Sheol (Hebrew) or Hades (Greek), or even the "sea" where de very many humans perished (Revelation 20:13). Therefore, it is not difficult to understand and accept this simple biblical teaching point, death is absolute inexistence. The soul dies and the spirit
or the vital energy disappears: “Do not put your trust in princes Nor in a son of man, who cannot bring salvation. His spirit goes out, he returns to the ground; On that very day his thoughts perish" (Psalms 146:3,4).
The everlasting life in heaven and on earth
There will be an earthly resurrection that will begin after the great tribulation. Jesus Christ foretold it prophetically: "Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice
and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15). The
righteous will be resurrected for the everlasting life, while the unrighteous will be judged on the basis of their behavior during the
1000-year reign (and not on the basis of their past behavior): "And I saw a great white throne and the one seated on it. From before him the earth and the heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and
the small, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. But another scroll was opened; it is the scroll of life. And the dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds. And the sea gave up those dead in it, and
death and Haʹdes gave up those dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds" (Revelation 20:11-13).
Only 144,000 humans will go to heaven with Jesus Christ: "And I saw, and, look! the Lamb standing upon the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand having his name and the name of his Father written
on their foreheads" (Revelation 7:3-8; 14:1-5). The Great Crowd mentioned in Revelation 7: 9-17, are humans who will come out of the Great Tribulation and
live forever in the Earthly Paradise: “After these things I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed
in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands. (…) ASo right away I said to him: “My lord, you are the one that knows.” And he said to me: “These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed
their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9,14).
Paradise will be on Earth: "Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more,
neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away" (Isaiah 11,35,65; Revelation 21:1-5 ).
We are living in the last days of this system of things
"Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign
of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?"
The explanation of Matthew 24 allows us to better understand when the period of the destruction of Babylon the Great occur, followed by the great
tribulation which will last only one day according to the prophecy of Zechariah 14:7 ("one day") . The question
of the disciples followed a surprising statement of Christ about the temple in Jerusalem: "In response he said to them: “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, by no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not be thrown down" (Matthew
24:2). The verse 3, quoted above, tells us that Jesus Christ and the disciples were on the Mount of Olives at the east side of the city of Jerusalem, overlooking the Temple Mount. So, "Do you not see all these things?", hints at the panoramic view of the entire
old city and the temple below.
In the question of Matthew 24:3, there are three important words that allow us to understand its meaning and the answer of Christ: The "sign" (σημαίνω
(sēmeion) (Strong's Concordance (G4591)), which has the sense of indication by "things that will take place". The "sign" refers to two groups of events, stated by Christ: events which show that Christ is present and that he has begun to reign in the heavens (since 1914) (Matthew 24:4-14 and 24:23- 28). The "sign" of the nearness of the end and the end itself (Matthew 24: 15-22 ("sign" focused
on the city of Jerusalem) and Matthew 24:29 at 25:46).
So the question is based on future events that would show that we are during the time of Christ’s presence, and the impending
end of this system of things. Christ's answer has two main parts. This end is the great tribulation mentioned in Matthew 24:21,22. And
the events which announce the nearness of this end, are described in Matthew 24:15-22, as for the answer focused on Jerusalem and Matthew 24:29, regarding the worldwide events, which will lead to the coming of Christ, described in Matthew 24: 30,31 and 25:31-33.
It can be considered to be the second important part of Christ's response (the first being connected to the sign of his presence).
The great tribulation will be the end of this system of things
"For then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred
since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again"
What is the Great Tribulation? To put it very simply, this is the time when Jehovah God, through his Son King Jesus Christ, will end to this system of things (Revelation 14:15-20; 19:11-21 ). Other biblical prophecies refer to the Great Tribulation
as the "Day of Jehovah": "Blow a horn in Zion! Shout a war cry in my holy mountain. Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, For the day of Jehovah is coming! It is near! It is a day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick gloom, Like light of
dawn spreading out on the mountains" (Joel 1:15; 2:1,2; see also Amos 5:18-21; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah chapter 1 and 2:1-4; Zechariah chapters 12, 13, 14).
How long will the Great Tribulation
last? After careful reading of all the prophetic texts mentioning the "Day of Jehovah" or the "Great Tribulation", it can be said, without a shadow of a doubt, that this day will last only ONE DAY. The clearest prophetic text over its duration is that of Zechariah and
the Book of Revelation, both of which describe the Day of Jehovah as one day, or the only date of one day: "And it will become one day that is known as belonging to Jehovah. It will not be day, nor will it be night; and at evening time there will be light"
This text alone shows that it is a 24-hour day, and not a period of few days, because it is written that at the time of day, it will be neither day nor night, and that
at the time of evening there will be light. However, the most explicit text is that of the book of Revelation, where this Day is connected with a date on the Jewish calendar. In Revelation 11:18, it is written: "But the nations became wrathful, and your own
wrath came, and the appointed time came for the dead to be judged and to reward your slaves the prophets and the holy ones and those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth" (Revelation 11:18). This text refers
to the time of the Great Tribulation, when God "will bring ruin to those who ruin the earth". However, what is even more interesting, is that verse 19 repeats this time in enigmatic way, connecting the Day of Jehovah withe the vision of the ark of his covenant:
"And the temple sanctuary of God in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen in his temple sanctuary. And there were flashes of lightning and voices and thunders and an earthquake and a great hail" (Revelation 11:19).
Why has God allowed suffering and wickedness?
God has allowed the suffering in order to respond to the challenge of Satan the devil based the legitimacy of the Sovereignty of God (Genesis 3:1-6). God has allowed the suffering in order to respond to the accusation of the devil
against the integrity of human beings (Job 1: 7-12; 2: 1-6). Satan the devil is responsible for the suffering (1 John 5:19). God doesn’t cause the suffering. He only allows this suffering for a determined time (Santiago 1:13; Revelation 21:3,4). The
suffering is the result of four major factors: Satan the devil can be directly responsible of suffering (but not always) (Job 1: 7-12; 2: 1-6). The suffering is the result of our general condition of sinner inherited from Adam, thus resulting in old age, disease
and death (Romans 6: 23; 5: 12). The suffering can be the result of bad human decisions, in connection with our inherited sinful condition inherited from Adam (Deuteronomy 32:5; Romans 7:19). The suffering may be the result of "time and the unexpected event",
which makes that the person is at the same time, in the wrong place at the wrong time (Ecclesiastes 9:11). The Fate is not a biblical teaching, there is not a fatalistic force which would control our “free will” to do good or to do evil. On the
basis of free will, as a gift of God, we decide to make "good" or "bad" by choice (Deuteronomy 30:15).
Who is Satan the devil?
Jesus Christ described the devil very concisely: “That one was a murderer when he began, and he did not stand
fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie" (John 8:44). Satan the devil is not the abstraction of evil, but a real spiritual person (Matthew
4:1-11). Likewise, the demons are also angels who have become rebels who have followed the example of the devil (Genesis 6:1-3, to compare with the letter of Jude verse 6: "And the angels who did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper
dwelling place, he has reserved with eternal bonds in dense darkness for the judgment of the great day").
When it is written, "he did not stand fast in the truth", it shows that God
created this angel without sin and without any trace of wickedness in his heart. This angel, at the beginning of his life had a "beautiful name" (Ecclesiastes 7:1a). However, "he did not stand fast" in his integrity, he cultivated pride in his heart, and over
time he became "devil", which means slanderer, and Satan, opponent; his old beautiful name, his good reputation, has been replaced by one of the everlasting disgraces. In the prophecy of Ezekiel (chapter 28), against the proud king of Tyre, it is clearly alluded
to the pride of the angel who became "devil" and "Satan": "This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: “You were the model of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eʹden, the garden of God. You were adorned with every precious
stone —Ruby, topaz, and jasper; chrysʹo·lite, onyx, and jade; sapphire, turquoise, and emerald; And their settings and mountings were made of gold. They were prepared on the day you were created. I assigned you as the anointed covering cherub.
You were on the holy mountain of God, and you walked about among fiery stones. You were faultless in your ways from the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you" (Ezekiel 28:12-15). Through his act of unrighteousness in Eden, he became a
"liar" who caused the death of all of Adam's offspring (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12). Currently, it is Satan the devil who rules the world: "Now there is a judging of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out" (John 12:31; Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 5:19)
Satan the devil will be permanently destroyed: "For his part, the God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly" (Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20).
How to please God
"He has told you, O earthling man, what is good. And what is Jehovah asking
back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God?"
We have to think of our personal behavior in terms of relationship with God. When we have a friendship,
as part of that relationship, we pay attention to have a behavior that is in harmony with it. This part of the Bible study will be based on human behavior that pleases and does not please God. Then, in the article based on Christian maturity, we will see how to always improve this precious relationship with Jehovah God and his Son Jesus Christ.
There are behaviors that Jehovah God and his Son Jesus Christ condemn. It is important to know them, and to gradually make the necessary changes to please God and his Son. The attitude of Jesus Christ towards sinners who lived in his
day enables us to better understand how merciful and patient Jehovah God his Father is. Jesus Christ compassionately strove to help sinners to return to the righteous path of God. Let us take several examples showing both his compassion, his patience and his
The Gospel of Luke chapter (19:1-10), Jesus Christ comes to Jericho and there is a great crowd to welcome him. And among that crowd there is a little man, trying to see
that famous Jesus. So he climbs on a tree which is on the way. Zacchaeus is a tax collector known for his dishonesty. As Jesus reaches at his height, he lifts his head and tells Zacchaeus, surprising every one, that he will come to eat at his home. It is written
that people are shocked that Jesus go to eat at the home of such a sinful man. At the end of the narrative it is written the reason that Jesus did this. After Zacchaeus announced that he repented of his sins and that he would concretely make reparation for
it, it is written: "For the Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10).
The Gospel of Matthew (9:9-13), informs us that Jesus selected Matthew, a tax collector,
as an apostle to follow him. For his farewell, it is likely that he organized a meal with his now former coworkers, as it is written: “Next, while passing along from there, Jesus caught sight of a man named Matthew seated at the tax office, and he said
to him: “Be my follower.” Thereupon he did rise up and follow him. Later, while he was reclining at the table in the house, look! many tax collectors and sinners came and began reclining with Jesus and his disciples. But on seeing this the Pharisees
began to say to his disciples: “Why is it that your teacher eats with tax collectors and sinners?” Hearing them, he said: “Persons in health do not need a physician, but the ailing do. Go, then, and learn what this means, ‘I want mercy,
and not sacrifice.’ For I came to call, not righteous people, but sinners.””.
Let’s take a last example: It is written, in the Gospel of John chapter 4, that
Jesus was very tired and he sat down near a well to rest. A Samaritan woman approached to draw water. Jesus started the conversation with her. During the spiritual conversation, Jesus told this woman that he was the Christ, something he rarely did (John 4:26).
So Jesus did her a great honor by telling her this. However, in verse 18 of that same chapter, we can read that she lived in sin, for she was with a man without being married (John 4:18). From these three examples, among others, we see that Jesus Christ did
not hesitate to rub shoulders with sinners to encourage them to take the straight path of God. With this in mind, the following Bible recommendations are written.
insult, the hatred, and the murder are forbidden
Jesus Christ formally forbade the hatred, the insult, and the murder: "you heard that it was said to those of ancient times,
‘You must not murder; but whoever commits a murder will be accountable to the court of justice.’ However, I say to you that everyone who continues wrathful with his brother will be accountable to the court of justice; but whoever addresses his
brother with an unspeakable word of contempt will be accountable to the Supreme Court; whereas whoever says, ‘You despicable fool!’ will be liable to the fiery Gehenna" (Matthew 5:21-22).
Jesus Christ showed how to avoid this extremity, by trying as much as possible to resolve the personality conflicts: "If, then, you are bringing your gift to the altar and you there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift
there in front of the altar, and go away; first make your peace with your brother, and then, when you have come back, offer up your gift" (Matthew 5:23,24).
Also in this same chapter,
Jesus Christ said to love our enemies (Matthew 5:38-48). The verb "to love" in this context, is to be taken in the sense of a reasoned love, without necessarily being marked with affection towards our enemy. For example, when someone insults us or behaves
badly towards us, the love based on Bible principles will prevent us from responding to insult with insult, or hatred with hatred. In this way, the vicious circle of hatred by hatred will be broken, by the virtuous circle requested by Jesus Christ: that is,
to respond to the hatred of our enemy, by self-control, a love based on decorum, good manners , good education and common sense (Galatians 5: 22,23 "the fruit of the holy spirit"). Maybe this way of acting can encourage him to change his attitude towards us.
During his arrest which would lead him to death, Jesus Christ forbade the use of weapons, nor even to defend him or defend his cause: "Then Jesus said to him: “Return your sword to its place,
for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword"" (Matthew 26:52). The murder and the homicide are forbidden, for both personal reasons, and even out of religious or state patriotism. This statement of Christ is a reminder of what it is written in
the prophecy of Isaiah: "And he will certainly render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against
nation, neither will they learn war anymore" (Isaiah 2:4).
No longer learning war obviously supposes not to practice both combat sports or martial arts, even those, tinged with religious
propaganda which would consist in saying that it is only with "defensive" purpose. Transforming a human body into a "defensive weapon" can quickly become "an offensive weapon" which can injure and until to kill... Christians should not see violent sports performances
or films extolling gratuitous violence. This is completely detestable in the eyes of Jehovah God: "Jehovah himself examines the righteous one as well as the wicked one, And anyone loving violence His soul certainly hates" (Psalms 11:5).
The theft and lying are forbidden
Regarding the theft, here is the biblical command: "Let the stealer steal no
more, but rather let him do hard work, doing with his hands what is good work, that he may have something to distribute to someone in need" (Ephesians 4:28). And as for lying, it is written, "Do not be lying to one another. Strip off the old personality with
its practices" (Colossians 3:9).
It is important to understand the point of view of God, on theft and lying. When Adam and Eve sinned by the impulse of the temptation of the devil, there was the lie of the devil and the theft of the fruit belonging to God, by Adam and Eve (Genesis chapter 3). Regarding this biblical narrative,
Jesus Christ associated the lie of the devil with homicide: “you are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him.
When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie” (John 8:44). Through this lie of the devil, sin entered the world through the disobedience of the first man, Adam. The result was that
death, spiritually and genetically, extended to all of his offspring (Romans 5:12; 6:23). To this situation which seemed hopeless for the whole of mankind, it
was necessary for Jehovah God, the Father, to consent to the death in sacrifice of his beloved Son, Jesus Christ (Yehoshuah Mashiah), to save the humanity (John 3:16,36).
From this perspective, we understand better, the words of Jesus Christ when he connects the lie to homicide or murder. In the case of the devil, but also for the earthly son of Satan, who constantly sought to kill him (John 5:18; 7:1). Sometimes people
say there are "little" and "big" lies. The problem is, that the "necessity" and the scale of the seriousness of the lies, are often set by the liars themselves. However, to get back to the important idea, it is necessary to know the point of view of God on
this issue through the biblical accounts. A simple statement from Christ shows that humanly establishing such a scale of gravity is a mistake: "The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous
also in much" (Luke 16:10). This can be illustrated by the example of Ananias and Sapphira, his wife, who sold their property to give the money to the Christian congregation in the days of the apostles. However, the record informs us that they withheld some
money from the sale for themselves, while leading the apostles to believe that they had given all of it. The result is that God put them to death for telling such a lie (Acts 5:1-11). The biblical observation is simple: lying can have disastrous consequences
not only for the victims, but also for the liars themselves.
The apostolic decree of Jerusalem
Always remaining on the register of Christian conduct, it is appropriate to ask whether Christians should practice the law given to
Moses, or the Torah. The purpose of this apostolic assembly, mentioned in Acts 15, was to answer the important question. Whether Christians were then and are now, under the authority of the legislative constitution given by God to Moses, to the nation of Israel
fifteen centuries ago. All of these laws, given on the Mount Sinai, are called the Torah by the Jewish people. Although the Torah also includes the Book of Genesis, the Ten Commandments, and the hundreds of other laws, are written in the books of Exodus, Leviticus,
Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The answer will be in several parts, presented as simply as possible, favoring conciseness to allow a good understanding. One should first understand that the purpose of the Law was double.
1 - The law led to Christ (Galatians 3: 24,25)
The purpose of the Law given to Israel was to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah. The Law has taught the need for liberation from the sinful condition of humanity (represented by the people of Israel):
"That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned—. For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not charged against anyone when there is no law"
This Law of God uncovered the sinful condition of humanity, represented in that time by the people of Israel: "What, then, are we to say? Is the Law sin? Certainly not!
Really, I would not have come to know sin had it not been for the Law. For example, I would not have known covetousness if the Law had not said: “You must not covet.” But sin, finding the opportunity afforded by the commandment, worked out in me
covetousness of every sort, for apart from law sin was dead. In fact, I was once alive apart from law. But when the commandment arrived, sin came to life again, but I died. And the commandment that was to lead to life, this I found led to death. For sin, finding
the opportunity afforded by the commandment, seduced me and killed me through it. So the Law in itself is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good" (Romans 7: 7-12).
the Law was a "tutor", "guardian", a teacher or an instructor leading to Christ: "So the Law became our guardian leading to Christ, so that we might be declared righteous through faith. But now that the faith has arrived, we are no longer under a guardian"
(Galatians 3: 24,25). The perfect Law of God, having uncovered the sinful condition of humankind through the transgression of man, showed the necessity of a sacrifice. It would lead to the redemption of the transgressing human by his faith in Jesus Christ
Ransom because of his faith (and not the works of the Law). This sacrifice would be that of Christ: "Just as the Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his life as a ransom in exchange for many" (Matthew 20: 28).
2 - The law is a prophetic shadow of the good things to come (Hebrews 10:1)
The law has a prophetic value which enables us to understand the thought of God (by means of Jesus Christ) regarding the future: "For since the Law has a
shadow of the good things to come, but not the very substance of the things" (Hebrews 10:1; 1 Corinthians 2:16). It is Jesus Christ who will make these "good things" come true: "For those things are a shadow of the things to come, but the reality belongs to
the Christ" (Colossians 2:17). One of the best-known realities of the law in Christ is the command to celebrate the Passover on 14 Nisan (of the Jewish
biblical calendar), which then became the celebration of remembrance of the sacrificial death of Christ on the same date (Exodus chapter 12; Luke 22:14-20).
statements of Christ, make us understand that the nation of Israel of the time, was the pattern or prototype of the future humanity in the earthly paradise: ""Jesus said to them: “Truly I say to you, In the re-creation, when the Son of man sits down
upon his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also yourselves sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel"" (Matthew 19:28). "However, you are the ones that have stuck with me in my trials; and I make a covenant with you, just as
my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 22:28-30). The two texts which mention the 12 tribes of Israel, represent the future
humanity in the earthly paradise, composed of the great crowd that will come out of the great tribulation (Revelation 7:9-17) and the earthly resurrected (John 5:28 , 29; Acts 24:15).
this link between the enigmatic value of the instructions of the law and their spiritual or physical reality, allows us to know the meaning of the prophecies of Ezekiel, Zechariah or the book of Revelation. For example, in the law, the priests in the temple, were to burn incense, the book of Revelation explains
to us that it represents the prayers of the holy ones (Revelation 5:8; 8:4). A last example, among others, in the holy of the temple sanctuary there were lampstands. In the book of Revelation, the seven lampstands represent seven Christian congregations (Revelation
1:2-20). Thus, the law is the shadow or the prophetic prefiguration of realities which are fulfilled in the whole of the Christian congregations, and which will be fulfilled in a much more important way on the future humankind in the earthly paradise, under the administration of the Kingdom
of God (Ezekiel 40-48).
The other sheep
I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd"
As we carefully read John 10: 1-16, we notice that the central theme is the identification of the Messiah as a true shepherd for his disciples, the sheep.
In John 10: 1 and John 10: 16, it is written: "Most truly I say to you, He that does not enter into the sheepfold through the door but climbs up some other place, that one is a thief and a plunderer.
(...) And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd". This "sheepfold" represents the territory where Jesus Christ preached, the Nation of Israel,
in the context of the Mosaic law: "These twelve Jesus sent forth, giving them these orders: “Do not go off into the road of the nations, and do not enter into a Sa·marʹi·tan city; but, instead, go continually to the lost sheep of the house
of Israel" (Matthew 10:5,6). "In answer he said: “I was not sent forth to any but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”" (Matthew 15:24). This sheepfold is also the "house of Israel".
In John 10:1-6, Jesus Christ presented himself before the gate of the sheepfold. This happened at the time of his baptism. The "doorkeeper" was John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13). By baptizing him, he became the Christ. John the Baptist opened the door
for him and testified that Jesus is the Christ and the Lamb of God: "See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29-36).
In John 10:7-15, while remaining on the
same Messianic theme, Jesus Christ uses another illustration by designating himself as the "door", the only place of access in the same way as John 14:6: "Jesus said to him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except
through me"". The main theme of the subject is still Jesus Christ as Messiah. From verse 9, in the same passage (he changes the illustration again), he designates himself as the shepherd who grazes his sheep by making them "go in or go out" to feed them. The
teaching is both centered on him and on how he cares for his sheep. Jesus Christ designates himself as the excellent shepherd who will give his life for his disciples and who loves his sheep (unlike the hired shepherd who will not risk his life for sheep which
do not belong to him). Again, the central point of the teaching of Christ, is Himself as a shepherd who will sacrifice himself for his sheep (Matthew 20:28).
John 10:16-18: "And I have
other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I surrender my soul, in order that I may receive it again. No man has
taken it away from me, but I surrender it of my own initiative. I have authority to surrender it, and I have authority to receive it again. The commandment on this I received from my Father".
Reading these verses, according to the context, Jesus Christ announces a revolutionary idea at that time: he would sacrifice his life not only for his Jewish disciples (in the sheepfold), but also in favor of other disciples who would not be part of
this sheepfold of Israel. The proof is, the last command which he gave to his disciples, regarding the preaching, is this: "You will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). It
is precisely during the baptism of Cornelius that the words of Christ in John 10:16 began to be realized (See the narrative of Acts chapter 10).
Thus, the "other sheep" of John 10:16
apply to non-Jewish Christians in the flesh. In John 10:16-18 it is described the unity in the obedience of the sheep to the Shepherd Jesus Christ. He also spoke of all of his disciples in his day as a "little flock": "Have no fear, little flock, because your
Father has approved of giving you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). By Pentecost in 33 C.E., the disciples of Christ, numbered only 120 (Acts 1:15). In the remainder of the Acts narrative, we read that their number was a few thousand (Acts 2:41 (3,000 souls); Acts
4:4 (5,000)). Be that as it may, the new Christians, whether in the time of Christ, as in that of the apostles, represented a "little flock", comparing with the whole population of the nation of Israel and then to the other nations of that time.
The decision of the apostles
"Hence my decision is not to trouble
those from the nations who are turning to God, but to write them to abstain from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. (…) For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden
to you, except these necessary things, to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication. If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper. Good health to you!"
Thus, the Christians are no longer under the authority of the Mosaic
law, for as the apostle Paul wrote under inspiration, Christ is the end of the law: "For Christ is the end of the Law, so that everyone exercising faith may have righteousness" (Romans 10:4). Therefore, in accordance with the context of Acts 15, Christians
are no longer under the covenant of circumcision, or other legal obligations such as the Sabbath (Acts 7:8 (circumcision); Colossians 2:16 (Sabbath)). However, it is important to repeat this teaching point of Christianity: if we are no longer under the letter
of the law given to Moses, we are under the symbolic and spiritual spirit or meaning of the Law. So that if the Christian is no longer under the obligation of circumcision in the flesh, of the Sabbath or of the tithe, he remains, as in the past, under the
obligation of the spiritual meaning of these laws. What does it mean concretely in the behavior of the Christian?
The spiritual circumcision: It was Moses himself who defined it: "You
must now cleanse your hearts and stop being so stubborn" (Deuteronomy 10:16). The circumcision in the flesh means what corresponds to the heart, being itself a source of life, obedience to God: "Above all the things that you guard, safeguard your heart, for
out of it are the sources of life" (Proverbs 4:23). The spiritual uncircumcision is the disobedience to God and to his Son Jesus Christ, as the disciple Stephen observed: "Obstinate men and uncircumcised in hearts and ears, you are always resisting the holy
spirit" (Acts 7:51-53). The symbolic heart being the spiritual inside part of the human, the symbolic foreskin, is the impure element to be removed, which are the bad motives, the bad reasoning: "However, whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart,
and those things defile a man. For example, out of the heart come wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, sexual immorality, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man; but to take a meal with unwashed hands does not defile
a man" (Matthew 15:18-20). So the apostle Paul sums up very well the matter regarding the circumcision or the uncircumcision in the flesh: "Was any man called circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Has any man been called in uncircumcision? Let him
not get circumcised. Circumcision does not mean a thing, and uncircumcision means not a thing, but observance of God’s commandments does" (1 Corinthians 7:18,19).
Sabbath: Regarding the law of the Sabbath, obviously every human must have a rest. However, this natural necessity is no longer governed by law, but by common sense and personal or family convenience. As it is written at Colossians 2:16, if a Christian wants
to keep a "Sabbath" or a "new moon", which was another form of the Sabbath, he can do it, without being judged. But the opposite is also true: this same Christian must not judge those who do not do like him, and even less must not impose on an entire congregation
an obligation of a weekly Sabbath that does not have Christian foundation. The apostle Paul says that the spiritual Sabbath is to enter into God's rest, which means his approval: "For the man that has entered into God’s rest has also himself rested from
his own works, just as God did from his own. Let us therefore do our utmost to enter into that rest, for fear anyone should fall in the same pattern of disobedience" (Hebrews 4:10,11).
spiritual tithe: Regarding tithe, there is no record in the Acts of the Apostles and in the inspired letters, showing the obligation of a tithe for Christians. It is all about a collection of money to help other Christian brothers and sisters who were visibly
in great material difficulty: "Now concerning the collection that is for the holy ones, just as I gave orders to the congregations of Galatia, do that way also yourselves. Every first day of the week let each of you at his own house set something aside in
store as he may be prospering, so that when I arrive collections will not take place then" (1 Corinthians 16:1,2). It is obvious that this collection of money was done on the basis of voluntary donations and without obligation imposed by anyone. Of course,
every conscientious Christian must contribute, towards the financial costs of a congregation, but this must remain a voluntary act. So spiritual tithe is more linked to the desire to give the best to God, it is also linked to a generous heart (Malachi 3:10).
Jesus Christ said about a widow who had given very little money: "For all these dropped in gifts out of their surplus, but this [woman] out of her want dropped in all the means of living she had"
(Luke 21:1-4). Another woman who gave an "alabaster case of perfumed oil" with an estimated value of 300 denarii, or about one year's salary, Jesus Christ said, "She did what she could" (Mark 14: 3-9). This is the definition of spiritual tithe: "to do what
we can" for God and His Son Jesus Christ and our neighbor.
Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching
(2 Timothy 3:16,17)
The three examples above demonstrate that it is necessary to read the law given to Moses (In Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) (the Torah): to understand the simple and whole instructions of the apostles at the conclusion
of the council of Jerusalem. Moreover, the apostle Paul, who knew of the law given to Moses, wrote that all (biblical) writing is useful for teaching us: "All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight,
for disciplining in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16,17). The instructions of the apostles are of three main categories which will be explained to know what is written in
the law given to Moses:
1 - The exclusive worship to God, especially on what not to do: "to abstain from things polluted by idols".
2 - The sacred value of life and blood, which in the law given to Moses, was closely linked with the worship to God, in its atonement value. The apostolic instruction clearly says not to use blood for food and not to eat meat that is not properly bled:
"To abstain from blood and from things strangled".
3 - To be holy before God, by his behavior, particularly on the aspect of morality: "To abstain from fornication".
The Exclusive Worship to Jehovah God
It was Jesus Christ (Yehoshuah Mashiah) who said that we must worship his Father Jehovah God (Yehowah Elohim):
"Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service" (Matthew 4:10). It is simply, a reminder of the first of the ten commandments: "I am Jehovah your God, who have brought
you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slaves. You must not have any other gods against my face" (Exodus 20:2,3).
It was Jesus Christ (Yehoshuah Mashiah) who said that we
must worship his Father Jehovah God (Yehowah Elohim), without a graven image or worship object, such as crosses, images, statutes and medals, in effigy of Christ or of the Virgin Mary and other "saints" or other pagan gods: "Nevertheless, the hour is coming,
and it is now, when the true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for, indeed, the Father is looking for suchlike ones to worship him. God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth" (John 4:23,24). He only
recalled the second part of the first commandment, which condemns idolatry in all its forms: "You must not make for yourself a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens above or that is on the earth underneath or that is in the waters under
the earth. You must not bow down to them nor be induced to serve them, because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion" (Exodus 20:4,5).
It is again Jesus Christ (Yehoshuah
Mashiah), who spoke of "true worshipers", which supposes that to be into this category of "true" worshipers we must worship his Father, Jehovah God (Yehowah Elohim) in accordance with the "truth" written in the Bible (John 17:17).
How do we understand the expression "things polluted by idols" in our modern day? These are "things" linked with religious practices contrary to the Bible, such as for example the celebration of festivals having pagan
roots, such as Christmas, New Years Day, Easter, Halloween, All Saints' Day (to speak only of those most celebrated in the Western world). The list of these pagan festivals is not complete.
Get rid of past religious practices condemned by the Bible: “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? Further, what harmony is there
between Christ and Beʹli·al? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols? For we are a temple of a living God; just as God said: “I will reside among them and walk among
them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” “‘Therefore, get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’”; “‘and I will take you in.’”
“‘And I will become a father to you, and you will become sons and daughters to me,’ says Jehovah, the Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
It can be religious
rituals before the slaughter or the consumption of a meat. Obviously, as the apostle Paul wrote under inspiration, while being vigilant, the Christian should exercise common sense and discernment, without compromising at the same time with his conscience:
“Eat whatever is sold in a meat market, making no inquiry because of your conscience, for “to Jehovah belong the earth and everything in it.” If an unbeliever invites you and you want to go, eat whatever is set before you, making no inquiry
on account of your conscience. But if anyone says to you, “This is something offered in sacrifice,” do not eat because of the one who told you and because of conscience. I do not mean your own conscience, but that of the other person. For why should
my freedom be judged by another person’s conscience? If I am partaking with thanks, why am I to be spoken of abusively over that for which I give thanks?” (1 Corinthians 10:25-30).
The apostle Paul reminded us of the second part of the first commandment: "Therefore, my beloved ones, flee from idolatry" (1 Corinthians 10:14). "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, and they are fornication, uncleanness, loose conduct, idolatry,
practice of spiritism" (Galatians 5:19-21). To stop practicing idolatry means destroying or getting rid of any object or image linked to some form of idolatrous worship, crosses, statues for religious purposes (Matthew 7:13-23). Christians should not practice
spiritism in its various forms, divination, magic, astrology... And destroy all objects connected to the occultism (Acts 19:19,20).
The sacred value of life and blood
The apostolic decree in Acts 15 repeats Jehovah God's firm decision regarding human life and blood. In
the law given to Moses, God formally forbids the consumption of blood and murder. Since the postdiluvian era, some 800 years before the Mosaic Law, these formal prohibitions on consuming blood and killing have been repeated: “Every moving animal that
is alive may serve as food for you. As in the case of green vegetation, I do give it all to you. Only flesh with its soul—its blood—you must not eat. And, besides that, your blood of your souls shall I ask back. From the hand of every living creature
shall I ask it back; and from the hand of man, from the hand of each one who is his brother, shall I ask back the soul of man. Anyone shedding man’s blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God’s image he made man" (Genesis 9:3-6). This
law on human life and blood was during the covenant made between Jehovah God and Noah and his family, representing the new humanity after the universal flood. Therefore, it concerns all nations.
This command was in the Mosaic law: "As for any man of the house of Israel or some alien resident who is residing as an alien in your midst who eats any sort of blood, I shall certainly set my face against the soul that is eating the blood, and I shall
indeed cut him off from among his people" (Leviticus 17:10). After repeating this prohibition, this time Jehovah explained why He absolutely did not want the blood to be consumed: "For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have put it upon the
altar for you to make atonement for your souls, because it is the blood that makes atonement by the soul in it. That is why I have said to the sons of Israel: “No soul of you must eat blood and no alien resident who is residing as an alien in your midst
should eat blood" (Leviticus 17:11,12). The blood has an atonement value and could only be used for the sacrifices (for clean animals) which symbolized the restitution of life to God, at that time, on the sacrificial altar. This restitution of life is the
shedding of blood on the ground, of an animal whose flesh was going to be consumed: "Only the blood you must not eat. On the earth you should pour it out as water" (Deuteronomy 12:16).
Mosaic law had a legislative procedure for the avenger of blood, to show that in the eyes of God, both volontary and accidental homicide represents a serious act. It should first of all be specified, that we are no longer, as Christians, under this legal procedure
because Christ is the end of the law (Romans 10: 4). It is forbidden for Christians to apply this judicial process of revenge because now it is exclusively for God to apply it. However, these legal provisions allow us to better understand the thinking of God,
regarding the sacred value of life and blood (1 Corinthians 2:16).
For God, both voluntary or an involuntary manslayer is a very serious act. In the old Mosaïque Law, there was
the law of the avenger of blood. Of course, we are no longer, as Christians, under the authority of this set of laws. Nevertheless, we can learn from God's way of thinking about the sacred value of human life: "You should choose cities convenient for yourselves
to serve as cities of refuge, where the manslayer who unintentionally kills someone should flee. These cities will serve as a refuge for you from the blood avenger, so that the manslayer will not die until he stands trial before the assembly. The six cities
of refuge that you provide will serve this purpose. You will provide three cities on this side of the Jordan and three cities in the land of Caʹnaan to serve as cities of refuge. These six cities will serve as a refuge for the Israelites, for the foreign resident,
and for the settler among them, for anyone to flee there who unintentionally kills someone" (Numbers 35:11-15).
Verses 16-29, it is written about the provisions that allowed to accidental
manslayer to find protection in these cities of refuge. Verses 22 to 25, especially, it is written that a court would rule whether he was a willful homicide or not. In the case of accidental manslayer, he was allowed into the city of refuge to protect himself
from the blood avenger until the death of the high priest. Even if this disposition was merciful, it was a very serious obligation because it was so to speak, this man was under house arrest (city of refuge), maybe even until the end of his life, because he
had to wait for the death of the high priest. In the case of a murderer, the blood avenger, the closest relative of the victim, could put him to death without incurring a bloodguilt before God (verse 19-21).
We are no longer, as Christians, under this legal procedure because Christ is the end of the law (Romans 10:4). However, these legal provisions allow us to better understand God's thinking about the sacred value of human life and blood
(1 Corinthians 2:16). The Christian is no longer allowed to take revenge, especially by using violence: "Return evil for evil to no one. Take into consideration what is fine from the viewpoint of all men. If possible, as far as it depends on you, be peaceable
with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: “‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ says Jehovah.” But “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something
to drink; for by doing this you will heap fiery coals on his head.” Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good" (Romans 12:17-21).
Jehovah God closely associates the sacred value of blood with the sacred dimension of human life, prohibiting murder, therefore, God forbids shedding blood in the name of the Fatherland and in its Name: "Then Jesus said to him: “Return your sword to
its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword"” (Matthew 26:52). "Pay back, therefore, Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God" (Matthew 22:21).
"He will render judgment among the nations And set matters straight respecting many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares And their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, Nor will they learn war anymore"
(Isaiah 2:4). To no longer learn warfare, obviously means not to practice at once, combat sports or martial arts, even tinged with religious propaganda which would be to say that it is for a "defensive" purpose. Transforming a human body into a "defensive
weapon", can quickly become "an offensive weapon" that can hurt or kill... Christians should not feast on violent sports shows or films extolling gratuitous violence. This is completely detestable to Jehovah God: "Jehovah examines the righteous one as well
as the wicked one; He hates anyone who loves violence" (Psalms 11:5).
Jehovah God forbids the vengeance of blood, for henceforth this vengeance belongs to Him: "And they cried with a
loud voice, saying: "And they cried with a loud voice, saying: “Until when, Sovereign Lord holy and true, are you refraining from judging and avenging our blood upon those who dwell on the earth?”" (Revelation 6:10). "Do not avenge yourselves,
beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says Jehovah"" (Romans 12:19) . God will exercise the vengeance of the innocent blood at the great tribulation through King Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:11-21).
The Human Body is a Spiritual Temple
The Apostle Paul and also the Apostle Peter emphasized
that on an individual level, the human body represents a temple to worship God: "Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that the spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him; for the temple
of God is holy, and you are that temple" (1 Corinthians 3:16,17). "But I consider it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you with reminders, knowing as I do that my tabernacle is soon to be removed, just as also our Lord Jesus Christ made clear
to me" (2 Peter 1:13,14).
It is forbidden to put one's life in danger unnecessarily and that of others. The Christian must abstain from practicing dangerous sports, which can cause wounds,
to see the death of the imprudent one and that of others (for example the life of the rescuers who would come to assist him), which would constitute a bloodguilt before God: "The shrewd person sees the danger and conceals himself, But the inexperienced keep
right on going and suffer the consequences" (Proverbs 27:12).
It may be added that a careless attitude, such as driving a vehicle dangerously, which could not only put us in danger,
but also endanger the lives of others, even involuntarily mortal wounds, could constitute a bloodguilt before God : "If you build a new house, you must also make a parapet for your roof, so that you may not bring bloodguilt on your house because of someone
falling from it" (Deuteronomy 22: 8; Exodus 21:29). Even if we are no longer under the Mosaic Law, and therefore not allowed to apply such a sentence, this law shows God's point of view on murderous negligence...
In the introduction, we have seen that the human body is a spiritual temple to be cared of it (1 Corinthians 3:16, 2 Peter 1:13,14, Romans 12:1). Therefore, suicide is forbidden. In addition, all forms of drug use that destroy the
body and its mobility, creating physical dependence is prohibited. The Bible condemns the excess of alcohol and not its moderate consumption. In the Bible, the excesses of the table are condemned: "Do not be among those who drink too much wine, Among those
who gorge themselves on meat" (Proverbs 23:20 condemnation of excess; 1 Timothy 5:23: moderation in the consumption of wine).
The abortion is a homicide against
the unborn child
According to the Bible, the voluntary abortion of an embryo or fetus is strictly forbidden. In the Bible, the child to be born, in the belly of his mother,
has his own individuality before God, from conception, whether in the form of an embryo or a fetus: "Your eyes even saw me as an embryo; All its parts were written in your book Regarding the days when they were formed, Before any of them existed" (Psalms 139:16).
The New World Translation of the Bible (TMN), uses the word "embryo". The comparison with other translations has confirmed the accuracy of this word. The "Interlinear Hebrew Bible" (OT), based on the Manuscript, Leningrad's Westminster Codex with vowels, translates
as "embryo". According to the KJV and the YLT Bible Translations, it is translated as "Unformed Substance" or "Substance". There is no doubt that the Hebrew text describes the baby to be born from conception, as soon as it is hardly an "embryo". Here is what
we read in the Mosaic Law, concerning the aggression, even accidental, of a pregnant woman:
"If men should struggle with each other and they hurt a pregnant woman and she gives birth
prematurely but no fatality results, the offender must pay the damages imposed on him by the husband of the woman; and he must pay it through the judges. But if a fatality does occur, then you must give life for life" (Exodus 21:22,23). This law does not fix
a minimum number of weeks of gestation, to consider that such an accident, in case of abortion, is a proven homicide on the child. The use of abortion pills is an act of voluntary abortion. The Bible does not prohibit birth control, decided by the couple (they
must not provoke the abortion). Abortive methods used as contraception, are condemned in the Bible.
The Christians Respect the Sacred Atonement Value of the Blood
The Christian must eat only the meat of a properly bled animal. He must not eat the meat of a strangled animal which blood has remained its body. He should not eat black pudding, stew of meat with
blood (civet), industrial foods that contain blood, like plasma.
According to the Apostolic Decree, the prohibition of the consumption of blood was repeated (Acts 15:19,20,28,29). This
decree applies directly to the prohibition of food with blood and also to the therapeutic use of blood: such as blood transfusion, or the transfusion of plasma, platelets, red or white blood cells. Are there medical alternatives to transfusion? Yes, there
are. Nevertheless, these products must be available in the part of the world you live. For this, you must talk to your doctor, your surgeon or anesthetist, who may help you in this way. You can get help from a mature Christian in the congregation, who can
give the list of blood transfusion substitutes available where you live. He may be able to help you prepare for your interview with the anesthetist who should be involved in the surgery. If the anesthetist or surgeon refuses to operate without a blood transfusion,
the mature Christian may be able to give you the name of a surgeon, anesthetist, or a hospital who would accept to operate without transfusion of blood.
if there is Sincere Repentance
The narrative about King Manasseh, which has shed much blood, is the demonstration of how far Jehovah's mercy can be applied to sincere repentance.
In the biblical narrative, it is written about wickedness of King Manasseh: "Ma·nasʹseh also shed innocent blood in very great quantity until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to the other, besides his sin of causing Judah to sin by doing what was
bad in the eyes of Jehovah" (2 Kings 21:16). Because of his bad deeds, God punished him: "Jehovah kept speaking to Ma·nasʹseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So Jehovah brought against them the army chiefs of the king of As·syrʹi·a,
and they captured Ma·nasʹseh with hooks and bound him with two copper fetters and took him to Babylon" (2 Chronicles 33:10,11). However, for as incredible as it may be, this king ended up sincerely repenting of his evil deeds and obtaining Jehovah's
mercy: "In his distress, he begged Jehovah his God for favor and kept humbling himself greatly before the God of his forefathers. He kept praying to Him, and He was moved by his entreaty and heard his request for favor, and He restored him to Jerusalem to
his kingship. Then Ma·nasʹseh came to know that Jehovah is the true God" (2 Chronicles 33:12,13). What is the reason for this biblical example?
Many men and women have made irreversible
mistakes, such as killing many humans (in the context of conflict) or taking part in abortions, sometimes even late. Many of them think that it is impossible that God would forgive them. Add to this a deep feeling of remorse and indignity. Regarding Jehovah's
immense mercy, this is what it says: ""Come, now, and let us set matters straight between us,” says Jehovah. “Though your sins are like scarlet, They will be made as white as snow; Though they are as red as crimson cloth, They will become like
wool"" (Isaiah 1:18). This verse is especially addressed to those men and women who sincerely repent before God, asking for forgiveness: God forgives sincere repentance on the basis of the precious blood of Jesus Christ: "My little children, I am writing you
these things so that you may not commit a sin. And yet, if anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one. And he is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s"
(1 John 2:1,2). Moreover, Jehovah God will resurrect the millions of dead who were victims of the many genocides (John 5:28,29). What is irreversible for man, is not for God (Matthew 19:26 "to God all things are possible").
It is possible that even if the mercy of God applies to sincere repentance, a feeling of remorse and indignity will continue to harass them. However, they must know that God is greater than hearts: "By this we will
know that we originate with the truth, and we will assure our hearts before him regarding whatever our hearts may condemn us in, because God is greater than our hearts and knows all things. Beloved ones, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have freeness of
speech toward God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we are observing his commandments and doing what is pleasing in his eyes" (1 John 3:19-22).
with the wife of your youth"
Jehovah God created man
and woman with the capacity to procreate life, through sexuality, as part of the marriage covenant made by God between a man and a woman, sealed before God and men: "And God proceeded to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male
and female he created them. Further, God blessed them and God said to them: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that
is moving upon the earth”” (Genesis 1:27,28). When God united the first couple, Adam and Eve, by asking them to have children, they had to have sex. Thus, the forbidden fruit, mentioned in Genesis 2:17, did not represent the sexual relations, allowed
by God, within the framework of the marriage between a man and a woman.
The Bible describes the sexuality with both a great deal of frankness and delicacy. It describes the first stage
of seduction between a man and a woman. For example, when God presented Eve to her husband Adam, before so much beauty, he spoke a poem to define her: “Then the man said: “This is at last bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh. This one will be
called Woman, Because from man this one was taken"” (Genesis 2:23). Verses 24 and 25 define the law of marriage between a man and a woman as a sacred relationship, and as the most intimate in human relationship: “That is why a man will leave his
father and his mother and he must stick to his wife and they must become one flesh. And both of them continued to be naked, the man and his wife, and yet they did not become ashamed” (Genesis 2:24,25).
The book of the Song of Solomon, describes the preliminary love, before marriage, between a young man shepherd in love with the Shulamite, herself, at the same time in love with him. This preliminary love can be sealed by an engagement
which represents a promise of marriage, but which does not allow sexual relations. Here is part of the poetic and romantic dialogue between the Shulamite and her shepherd bridegroom: “A black girl I am, but comely, O you daughters of Jerusalem, like
the tents of Keʹdar, yet like the tent cloths of Solʹomon. Do not you look at me because I am swarthy, because the sun has caught sight of me. The sons of my own mother grew angry with me; they appointed me the keeper of the vineyards, although my vineyard,
one that was mine, I did not keep. “Do tell me, O you whom my soul has loved, where you do shepherding, where you make the flock lie down at midday. Just why should I become like a woman wrapped in mourning among the droves of your partners?” “If
you do not know for yourself, O you most beautiful one among women, go out yourself in the footprints of the flock and pasture your kids of the goats alongside the tabernacles of the shepherds.” “To a mare of mine in the chariots of Pharʹaoh I
have likened you, O girl companion of mine. Your cheeks are comely among the hair braids, your neck in a string of beads. Circlets of gold we shall make for you, along with studs of silver.” “As long as the king is at his round table my own spikenard
has given out its fragrance. As a bag of myrrh my dear one is to me; between my breasts he will spend the night. As a cluster of henna my dear one is to me, among the vineyards of En-geʹdi.” “Look! You are beautiful, O girl companion of mine. Look!
You are beautiful. Your eyes are those of doves.” “Look! You are beautiful, my dear one, also pleasant. Our divan also is one of foliage. The beams of our grand house are cedars, our rafters juniper trees” (Song of Solomon 1:5-17).
The Song of Solomon is an excellent description of this preliminary love, which overwhelms man and woman into a form of ecstasy which they cannot imagine will not be eternal. Obviously, this relationship
evolves, solidifies with the engagement, through a greater complicity, a friendship, which they wish, through the force of mutual love, to materialize through the permanent pact of marriage.
Once married, Jehovah God, the Creator of marriage, allows them to rejoice one another: “Drink water out of your own cistern, and tricklings out of the midst of your own well. Should your springs be scattered out of doors, your streams of water
in the public squares themselves? Let them prove to be for you alone, and not for strangers with you. Let your water source prove to be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth, a lovable hind and a charming mountain goat. Let her own breasts intoxicate
you at all times. With her love may you be in an ecstasy constantly” (Proverbs 5:15-19).
The apostle Paul, exhorted the married couples who wish to protect their marriage, not
to deprive themselves of this intimacy, always in common agreement: “Yet, because of prevalence of fornication, let each man have his own wife and each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife her due; but let the wife also do likewise
to her husband. The wife does not exercise authority over her own body, but her husband does; likewise, also, the husband does not exercise authority over his own body, but his wife does. Do not be depriving each other of it, except by mutual consent for an
appointed time, that you may devote time to prayer and may come together again, that Satan may not keep tempting you for your lack of self-regulation” (1 Corinthians 7:2-5). This text shows that sexuality within a married couple, imbued with love, understanding,
communication and self-giving, can prove to be a source of protection concerning the permanence of the marriage covenant (particularly for the one who has a lack of self-control).
it is obvious that sexuality is only one condiment of the whole relationship between man and woman. Still, the apostle Paul summed up what this general balanced relationship between a man and a woman should be in marriage: “Be in subjection to one another
in fear of Christ. Let wives be in subjection to their husbands as to the Lord, because a husband is head of his wife as the Christ also is head of the congregation, he being a savior of this body. In fact, as the congregation is in subjection to the Christ,
so let wives also be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, continue loving your wives, just as the Christ also loved the congregation and delivered up himself for it, that he might sanctify it, cleansing it with the bath of water by means of the word,
that he might present the congregation to himself in its splendor, not having a spot or a wrinkle or any of such things, but that it should be holy and without blemish. In this way husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his
wife loves himself, for no man ever hated his own flesh; but he feeds and cherishes it, as the Christ also does the congregation, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his
wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This sacred secret is great. Now I am speaking with respect to Christ and the congregation. Nevertheless, also, let each one of you individually so love his wife as he does himself; on the other hand, the wife
should have deep respect for her husband” (Ephesians 5:21-33).
Honor your father and your mother and take care of your family
"Children, be obedient to your parents in union with the Lord, for this is righteous: “Honor your father and your mother”; which is the first command with a promise: “That it may go well with you and
you may endure a long time on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not be irritating your children, but go on bringing them up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah” (Ephesians 6:1-4).
What Jesus Christ thinks about divorce and remarriage
"And Pharisees came up to him, intent on tempting him and saying: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on every sort of ground?” In reply he said: “Did you not read that he who created them from the beginning
made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh’? So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has yoked together let
no man put apart.” They said to him: “Why, then, did Moses prescribe giving a certificate of dismissal and divorcing her?” He said to them: “Moses, out of regard for your hardheartedness, made the concession to you of divorcing your
wives, but such has not been the case from [the] beginning. I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except on the ground of fornication, and marries another commits adultery”" (Matthew 19:3-9).
Thus, the divorce and remarriage are only allowed on the grounds of fornication, that is, sexual practices that the Bible condemns, such as adultery, homosexuality and other perverse practices. What breaks up the bonds of marriage are the death of the
spouse and fornication, usually adultery. Of course, in cases of adultery, divorce is not automatic. The offended spouse can forgive. In this case, by mutual agreement, married life can resume. In this situation, the previously offended spouse will not be
able biblically to reverse his decision (and if this were to be the case (when there is no other finding of adultery), he could not remarry). In the case of a repeat offense with a finding of adultery, and this time the offended spouse does not forgive, he
can divorce and remarry. For those who would make the perverse calculation of resorting to adultery, or manipulation to expose their spouse to adultery, to use the expression of Christ (by the sex strike, without any reason, in order to push the spouse into
the need, to the fault), in order to break up the sacred bonds of marriage, then counting on the mercy of God to be forgiven, mislead themselves: "Let marriage be honorable among all, and the marriage bed be without defilement, for God will judge fornicators
and adulterers" (Hebrews 13:4).
“To abstain from fornication”
The fornication is sexual practices condemned in the Bible, the Word of God: The adultery, the sexual relations without being married (Man and Woman),
the masculine and feminine homosexuality, the bestiality: "Or do you not know that unrighteous people will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Do not be misled. Those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts, men who
practice homosexuality, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners will not inherit God’s Kingdom” (1 Corinthians 6:9,10). “Let marriage be honorable among all, and let the marriage bed be without defilement, for God will
judge sexually immoral people and adulterers” (Hebrews 13:4).
The Mosaic law is very detailed regarding what Jehovah God considers to be unacceptable sexual practices. We can consider
that, reading Leviticus chapter 18, gives us a fairly complete overview of the matter. From verses 6 to 18, there is the list of sexual relations considered to be incestuous. By the way, this law against incest was a protection of children against pedophilia
which unfortunately is widespread, even within families, but also in organized criminal networks, whether in Western countries or even around certain "tourist" destinations. The King Jesus Christ will punish with the utmost severity those criminals who prey
on helpless children, at the great tribulation, which is fast approaching (Revelation 19:11-21). In addition, this incest law protected the people of Israel against consanguineous marriages. They could result in fathering children with genetic disabilities,
such as blindness, deafness, mental retardation and many other disabilities, inherited, a genetic dysfunction at conception or during the gestation of the mother...
Verse 19 forbids
sexual relations during a woman's period. Verse 22 condemns same-sex relationships. Verse 23 condemns bestiality. In that same verse, Jehovah God adds: "It is a violation of what is natural" (Leviticus 18:23b). This very short sentence sums up very well all
forms of deviant sexual practices; they are a "violation of what is natural" (that married couples, husbands and wives, exercise good discernment because God will judge even what is done in the greatest privacy (Hebrews 13: 4) "Let marriage be honorable in
all, and that the marriage bed be without defilement, for God will judge fornicators and adulterers "). And for those who would try to justify themselves by saying "we are no longer under the law": these different aspects of sexual morality are permanent,
because what Jehovah considered to be detestable under the Law, it remains so. Jehovah God has not changed and does not change, his way of thinking is stable over time, all the more so under the present law of Christ which takes over what constitutes the substance
of the Law. This is what is written at Malachi 3:6: "For I am Jehovah; I have not changed".
The Bible doesn’t allow polygamy, therefore, the man in this situation who wants to
have God's approval, will have to legalize his situation before God: He must remain only with one woman; the first with whom he gets married (1 Timothy 3:2 "a husband of one wife"). Perverted sexual practices and also masturbation are forbidden by the Bible:
“Deaden, therefore, your body members that are on the earth as respects sexual immorality, uncleanness, uncontrolled sexual passion, hurtful desire, and greediness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5).
The whole forbidden situations by the Biblical Principles are not in this part of this biblical study. The Christian maturity based on the knowledge of the Bible, the Wisdom of God, will help us to know what is right and what is wrong:
“But solid food belongs to mature people, to those who through use have their powers of discernment trained to distinguish both right and wrong” (Hebrews 5:14).