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Frequently Asked Questions
Q#1: I was miraculously changed when I was water baptized and gave my heart to Jesus Christ, therefore I must have received salvation at that point. Is that correct?
It is not scriptural to assume this. The disciples of John the Baptist were powerfully changed when they were water baptized by John, and they showed forth fruits worthy of their repentance, yet John clearly stated in Luke 3: 16, “I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” Despite their wonderfully changed lives, it was still necessary for the disciples of John the Baptist to heed Jesus’ words and follow His commandment to “tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power” (the promise of the Holy Spirit) “from on high,” (Luke 24: 49).
Likewise, the people of Samaria responded joyfully to Philip’s words as he went there to preach Christ (Acts Chapter 8). People were miraculously healed of all kinds of sicknesses, and “they were baptized, both men and women,” (Acts 8: 12). However, it was still essential for them to receive the Holy Spirit anointing and the apostles at Jerusalem, recognizing this, sent Peter and John to them, to pray for them “that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost,” (Acts 8: 15-17).
Consider also Matthew Levi, the tax collector, and how he “turned over a new leaf” so to speak after Jesus commanded Matthew to follow him. Yet, Jesus clearly stated in John 3: 5-7, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” Jesus told all of His disciples in John 16: 7, “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter” (which Jesus clearly explains, in John 14: 26, is the Holy Spirit) “will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
The first outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem (Acts 2: 1-4) as Jesus had prophesied, after which Peter commanded to those who witnessed this event, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation,” (Acts 2: 38-40).
Remember that Jesus said to Peter, prior to the Day of Pentecost, “…when thou art converted, strengthen the brethren,” (Luke 22: 32). Peter, despite following Christ for three years and sacrificing his natural life for this; despite performing many miracles by the power of the Lord; and despite displaying abundant zeal and passion, was not yet converted until he was born again on the Day of Pentecost through the infilling of the power of the Holy Spirit.
Q#2: There are many scriptures that simply tell us to “believe” on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and we shall be saved. I wholeheartedly believe in Jesus, therefore I know I’m saved. Is this correct?
The assumption of salvation through simply “believing” has arisen due to a misunderstanding of the context in which scripture was written.
Whenever the term “believing” in, or “confessing” Jesus Christ is mentioned in scripture, it’s referring to believing/confessing that Jesus is the Son of God, the Christ and promised Messiah of whom the prophets of old spoke. It also implies that if one wholeheartedly believes/confesses this then s/he also accepts that all the words Jesus spoke were from God the Father.
The reason for the emphasis on “believing” and “confessing” in scripture can be understood when you consider the time period in which the New Testament was written. There was enormous pressure from the Jews in particular to discredit Jesus as the Son of God, the Christ and promised Messiah. They wanted to reduce His words to those of a mere mortal man; a man of the house of Joseph, a poor carpenter; a man of the insignificant town of Nazareth.
The Jews knew very well the prophecies relating to the King to come that would free Israel (God’s chosen nation descended from Jacob, not the country Israel we know today) once and for all from her burdens. However, the Jews were expecting this promised Messiah to appear in splendor and glory, and to triumphantly rescue them from their enemies (who at that time were the Romans). The persona of Jesus in no way fit with their imaginations and they were stubbornly unwilling to accept His words as ordained, holy words, directly from the Father in heaven.
Those few (few in proportion to the population, much like today) who had eyes to see and ears to hear knew in their hearts that the words Jesus spoke were not His own, and they believed Him. They confessed that Jesus was the Son of God. However, this in no way diminishes the clear instructions Jesus laid out for His followers. Jesus not only gave them clear directives that were necessary for their salvation (refer to Question #1 above), He also spoke to them tirelessly about what was expected of them to walk in God’s ways.
In summary, “believing” and “confessing” Jesus is simply the beginning of His followers’ path to salvation which requires being born again of water and of the Holy Spirit, and then continuing in steadfastness beyond this transforming experience toward eternal life.
Q#3: You mention on your website that “mainstream” Christians preach “watered-down” and “compromising” doctrines. Please explain.
First of all, it helps to emphasize that we do not choose God, but He decides to choose us to be one of His children (John 15: 16, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you…”).
Secondly, the word “Christian” comes from the Biblical Greek foundation word “Christos” which means anointed, or consecrated. So, one is not a “Christian” is God’s eyes until God has chosen to anoint that person with the power of His Holy Spirit. (Refer to Question #1 above for more information on this.)
Thirdly, the disciples of Christ were not actually called Christians by name until many years after the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 11: 26, “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch”). Prior to this, the disciples were simply referred to as “people of the way,” meaning the way of Jesus Christ.
Having considered the above, let us now ponder a hypothetical situation. Please bear in mind that the following “story” is simply an illustration of a point; in no way is fact implied.
On the Day of Pentecost there were 120 disciples of Christ gathered in the upper room of a house, waiting as commanded by Jesus for the promise of the Father (the Holy Spirit). They had already been waiting for nine days, but it was not until the tenth day that the anointing experience occurred miraculously and powerfully (Acts 2: 4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance”).
Suppose, however, that on the eight or ninth day after the disciples had started gathering daily, seeking the Lord diligently and fervently in prayer, two of the disciples (let us call them “One” and “Two”) began to discuss their zeal and passion. Perhaps they encouraged one another, saying that because they were so “fired up” – more than ever before – surely they must have this Holy Spirit that Jesus had spoken of. Perhaps, so convinced by their emotions, One and Two departed, eager to get on with spreading the good news. With unshakable commitment they traveled about the land, preaching and teaching the words of Jesus Christ and perhaps even water baptizing repentant hearers.
Before long, these two disciples gathered unto themselves quite a fellowship, all claiming to be following the ways of Jesus Christ the Messiah. Perhaps certain of these followers also departed to different areas and began to preach what they had been taught by One and Two, causing other fellowships to develop.
Now let us consider that some of the disciples who stayed until the tenth day heard about these other fellowships that had sprung up in the land, and they went to visit them, the first being the fellowship of One and Two. The disciples, recognizing One and Two as they entered the fellowship gathering, asked them why they had left so early and why they hadn’t waited until the tenth day when the Holy Spirit was poured out. One and Two replied, “What do you mean the tenth day? We knew beyond doubt that we had the ‘power from on high’ that Jesus spoke of and we didn’t want to waste any time, so we left to begin the work we had been called to do.”
The disciples explained the powerful and miraculous anointing they had all experienced on the tenth day, and that One and Two, in their haste and driven by the emotions of their flesh, had missed out. At this point, One and Two could have humbled themselves and realized their error and disobedience to Christ’s command, but they did not. Unwilling to admit to their fellowship members that they had not been teaching the fullness of Christ’s salvation message, they rejected the disciples’ loving rebuke and continued the same path of preaching.
Thus, while the “people of the way” were spreading the good news in truth (with humble hearers receiving the same powerful experience as the “people of the way” had on the Day of Pentecost, which proved the preachers’ words were truth), One and Two and their followers went about literally spreading a lie. In effect, two separate Christ-based messages began, one true and one false; and the false path, because it was not founded on the power of the Holy Spirit, quickly began to mutate into many different doctrines.
This story helps us understand the difference between today’s widespread “Christianity” which incorporates many elements of Christ’s teaching versus the truth of the Biblical salvation message of whom the “people of the way” were the original ambassadors. Although a hypothetical story in detail, the essence of the situation is very believable.
In 2 Corinthians 11: 3-4, the Apostle Paul urgently warns the church (fellowship) at Corinth: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him,” (meaning resist, or hold oneself up against him).
Paul also wrote the following to the Galatians: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ,” (Galatians 1: 8-10).
These moving and matter-of-fact words from Paul are a lesson to all self-proclaimed “Christians” to examine the doctrine(s) they have willingly accepted into their lives in the light of the fullness of the salvation message that Jesus revealed to his disciples and was confirmed to His obedient followers on the Day of Pentecost.
Q#4: What does the Bible mean when it mentions we are saved by faith/grace?
There are many who believe that to be saved by faith in Christ means we simply need to give our hearts to Jesus, or that we need to read and proclaim some sinner’s prayer and, at that moment, we are born again. They believe there is power in the “acceptance” of who Jesus is as their Lord and Savior i.e. that simply believing or having faith that Jesus died for their sins, coupled with a change (sometimes) in personal behavior, makes them ready to “go to heaven”.
The concept of what is truly meant by faith in Christ as our Savior becomes clearer when we look at the time period in which Jesus appeared on the scene. Thousands of years prior to this, the Israelites had been given the contract of circumcision as well as the Mosaic and Levitical laws to follow in order to be in right standing with God. However, Jesus and His disciples came along and turned upside down everything the Israelites had known and grown up with. They were being told by these “people of the way” that if they were “born again” they would longer be required to have their sons circumcised, and they would no longer be bound by the letter of the law.
Many of the people struggled with this concept and, as we read in Galatians 4: 9, they turned again to the “weak and beggarly elements” they were freed from. They had a difficult time believing that once they had been born again (John 3: 5), they could relax and have faith that they would obtain salvation through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ.
It’s of absolute importance that we first understand what was expected of anyone receiving the Gospel of Christ regarding being born again. People were told they needed to be born of water and of the Holy Spirit to enter into the Kingdom of God, and scripture clearly shows us that the infilling of the Spirit was a tangible, powerful event (as explained in detail throughout this website). It was after following these new requirements for salvation that the concept of having faith in Christ came into play.
Now that they had received the earnest (down payment) of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s followers were told to believe in this new relationship they had with God through His Son and that this was all they needed to prepare them for salvation. They no longer needed to sacrifice animals for their sins. They were no longer required to follow the multitude of rules and regulations that accompanied adherence to the law. They were now freed from all this by the blood of Jesus Christ and through their born again experience (of having been baptized by full immersion in water and anointed by God with the Holy Spirit).
In conclusion, scriptures such as “by grace ye are saved” (Ephesians 2: 5) and “The just shall live by faith” (Galatians 3: 11) can easily be misinterpreted and taken out of context if not considered in the light of the time period within which they were written. Scriptures such as these were simply intended to comfort and admonish those who were hesitant or reluctant to let go of their Old Covenant traditions, especially those who were trying to enforce certain elements of the law (such as circumcision) upon the Gentiles (non-Israelites) who were born again. The “ye” and “just” in the scriptures above refer to those who had been born again and had thereby been baptized into the Body of Christ. These words did not and do not refer to “we” as society as a whole.
“Q#5: Is there a heaven and a hell? What will happen when Jesus Christ returns?” is locked Q#5: Is there a heaven and a hell? What will happen when Jesus Christ returns?
There is not a “heaven” and a “hell” in the context that many man-made religions believe. That is, when you die, you don’t (as is commonly assumed) either “go to heaven” or “go to hell.” When we examine the Bible, we understand that God’s plan for the future is more complex than this, and even then we only know in part (1 Corinthians 13: 12, “For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known”).
This “age” (time period) is the time God has appointed for the building of the Body of Christ, the one and only Church, or “ekklesia” in the Biblical Greek language which means “a calling out”. The new age (being the New Covenant) began on the Day of Pentecost with the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit and it will continue until Jesus returns to be united with these called members of His Body:
I Thessalonians 4: 16, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ” (members of the Body of Christ) “shall rise first: Then we which are alive” (in Christ) “and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (Note that here Paul is writing to the church at Thessalonica whose members had been baptized into the Body of Christ through water baptism and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it’s incorrect to assume the words “we which are alive and remain” refer to mankind in general.)
Matthew 24: 27 & 30-31 & 37, “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be…then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other…But as the days of Noe” (Noah) “were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Jesus shall be united with His Body for a purpose. Revelation 20: 6 describes that “they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Note that no one knows if this span of time will be literal or not). Revelation 20: 3 explains that Satan will be bound during this time period “that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
The same chapter explains that those who are not raised to be united with Christ upon His return will remain asleep until the end of the age (time period) of freedom from evil influence: “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished,” (Revelation 20: 5). The next verse is interesting as it explains how blessed the members of the Body of Christ will be to partake in the first resurrection (uniting with Christ in His kingdom) because they will not be judged on the day of judgment to come. Essentially, their judgment will come when they are found worthy to be raised with Christ upon His second coming: “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power,” (Revelation 20: 6).
Revelation Chapter 20 goes on to describe the battle that will follow Satan’s release, and God’s final destruction of evil. Next will come the Day of Judgment when all others (i.e. everyone other than those who will already be in the Kingdom) who have ever walked the earth will be brought to stand before God to be judged according to the way they conducted themselves while they lived. Of these “others,” those who are judged worthy will enter into the Kingdom of God at this point:
Revelation 20: 13, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” (Note that there are different words and meanings for “hell” in the Bible. In this scripture, the word “hell” comes from the Greek word “hades” which means “grave”.)
Revelation 20: 12, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
Following this, scripture describes the second death when death and hell (hades, or grave) will be cast into the lake of fire along with all those whose names are not found written in the book of life:
Revelation 20: 14-15, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
No one knows the criteria that these “others” will be judged by. We do know that everyone who lived prior to the New Testament age will be included in this judgment because they lived prior to the opportunity to be baptized (by water and the Holy Spirit) into the Body of Christ, and it is reasonable to expect (given solid scriptural evidence) that the names of the mighty, faithful servants of the Lord mentioned in the Old Testament (such as Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Elijah) will be found in the book of life:
Matthew 8: 11, “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 17: 1-3, “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias” (Elijah) “talking with him.” (Note that this was simply a vision of a time to come; this scripture does not imply that Moses and Elijah are currently in the Kingdom of heaven with Jesus.)
Nevertheless, it is critical to remember that we are now living in the New Testament age and we are being given the remarkable opportunity to be born again (by water baptism and the anointing of the Holy Spirit) into the Body of Christ, and to continue in the ways of Jesus until He returns for us. It would be foolish of us, having been made aware of this salvation opportunity (and expectation), to cast it aside, hoping to “take our chances” on the Day of Judgment:
2 Peter 2: 21, “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.”
Q#6: When Jesus Christ returns, will John the Baptist be raised to be with Him in His Kingdom?
No. This is a common misconception. John the Baptist was killed before the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
The Day of Pentecost signified the beginning of the New Testament (covenant, or agreement) between God and mankind, the beginning of the gathering of the Body of Christ that is to be raised and united with Jesus in His kingdom when He returns. All those who died prior to the beginning of the New Testament will remain asleep (Revelation 20: 5, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished”) until they are raised to stand before God on the Day of Judgment spoken of in Revelation Chapter 20. This includes John the Baptist, and all the other mighty prophets and men and women of faith in the Bible.
Luke 7: 28 clearly states that “Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” And, Jesus was very forthright when he explained in John 3: 5-7, “Verily, verily” (truly, truly) “I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
Note: While the gospels are located in the New Testament section of the Bible, the actual New Covenant (agreement) between God and mankind did not take effect until the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2.
Please refer to Question #5 for more information.