Speaking where the bible speaks, and silent where the bible is silent.

Many people wasting their time sitting in a pew each Sunday, with their Bible in hand, listening to a preacher and trying to imitate God-fearing Christians. They appear to be pious, righteous in every respect, but most refuse to submit to God’s Word. Most want God on their terms and not on God’s terms.

These are the kind who read and study the Bible, not in order to obey it, but rather to circumvent it. They purchase every kind of version they can find, every kind of lexicon, and every kind of commentary in order to find someone who can validate their doctrine. They have little regard for God’s Word unless it agrees with their point of view. What is so strange is that most of these reject their native language, while embracing Greek and Hebrew lexicons in order to redefine God’s Word (2 Tim 6:3-10 ff; 2 Tim 2:14 f; 2 Pet 3:16). They search the scripture in order to win an argument.

These are the kind who attend worship each and every Sunday (Heb 10:25). They attend every Bible study and every singing (2 Tim 2:15 f; Eph 5:19). In fact, each time the church door is open, they are there. Yet, besides obeying the gospel, they have not done anything profitable in the work of the church. They are not able to teach, they are not qualified to lead, and they are not willing to follow the lead of those who can (Tit 1:16). They are the ones who reject biblical leadership in lieu of leadership by committee. These are the band of men who lead the church yet are not qualified to be elders or deacons (1 Tim 3:1-13). In fact, they can’t even lead their own families (1 Tim 3:5). Is it any wonder that churches who follow this kind also follow every wind of doctrine? (Eph 4:14).

Then there are those who have obeyed the gospel, they attend faithfully, they are more than capable of teaching and leading, but they lead promiscuous lifestyles. Some have committed adultery. Others are having affairs outside of their marriage. They are the first to preach against the works of the flesh but they are not willing to practice what they preach. (Rom 2:21-22). Some are leading greedy lifestyles and contributing little to those in need (Rom 1:28).

These are those who engage in the propaganda of politics and preach it for doctrine. They are quick to divide the church over their political views and declare all who oppose them to be hell bound. They are the ones who give all their spare time listening to the dogmas of radio and television pundits and then teach it for truth. Some will even run for political office using the church for votes, support, and a religious resume’. I have been witness to someone who once was a preacher, who could quote the Bible word for word, from end to end and was lead astray by politics. Make no mistake about it, he was very strong in the faith in every respect. Politics took him all the way to the Governer’s mansion in Frankfort Kentucky as the top aide to the governor. His goal was to change politics but in the end, politics changed him. The political world led him to parties, which introduced him to social drinking, smoking, and immorality. It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually, he became an alcoholic, a chain smoker, and didn’t know the truth from a lie. He died in a county jail all alone, his abilities wasted away and soon forgotten.

Brethren, what’s the use of wasting your time pretending to be a righteous servant of God, when in essence you are profitable for nothing? If you won’t submit yourself to every commandment of God; If you won’t submit yourself to governments; If men won’t submit themselves to Christ; If women won’t submit themselves to their husbands, then what is the use of being in Christian in name only? If you are going to take the time to obey the gospel, then reject the doctrines of men, and submit yourselves to the doctrine of Christ and His apostles (Acts 2:42 f; 2 Jn 9). If you are going to be a Christian, then walk the walk and talk the talk of a Christian (1 Pet 2:21 f; 2 Tim 2:2). If not, you are nothing more than a reprobate concerning the faith (2 Tim 3:8).

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God was easy to prove in the days of the prophets. God revealed himself in a physical way. If Israel sinned, God punished them until they repented. If Israel did well, God rewarded them. God was to Israel a reality more than a work of faith. Their faith was basically by sight. However, today, faith is the substance of things unseen (Heb 11:1). Man sins and God does not correct him. If man does well he is not rewarded for it (2 Tim 3:12). Thus, faith in God’s existence is to believe that the Holy Bible was totally inspired of God (2 Tim 3:16,17). If mankind believes the bible proceeded from God, then God verily exists. If they don’t believe the Bible emanated from God, then God is no more than a fairy tale created by a group of men.

Faith Is Essential

The Hebrew writer expressed it: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). God is not just an imaginative object. He is living, knowing and active. He is the true and living God as depicted by Paul in Acts 17:24-31 and in 1 Thessalonians 1:9. It is not enough just to believe that God exists. One must also believe He has the power both to reward and punish (Mt 10:28).

Christians must draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith and “faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). We gain faith by what we read in the scriptures. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).

Christians must “hold firm to the profession of our faith without wavering . . . provoke unto love and to good works” (Heb. 10:22, 23, 24). The judgment of God is sure and vengeance belongs to Him (Heb. 10:3). “The Lord shall judge his people.” Thus, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31).

Do You Believe In God?

This is not a question I ask of sinners but of professed Christians. Ask any so-called denominational Christian and they will immediately claim that God exists, but they deny His Word. Jesus said, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Mt 7:21-23).

Belief is a work of God which requires more than words but also deeds.  Jesus answered and said unto them, “This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent” (Jn 6:29). James said, “Faith without works is dead” (Jam 2:19,20). Man is not justified by “faith only” but also “by works” (Jam 2:24). Jesus, after his resurrection from the dead, commissioned his own apostles to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every person. They declared by God’s consent, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes not shall be condemned (Matt 28:18-20 f; Mk 16:15,16). Thus, the works God wants each of us to do is to believe Jesus is the Christ and to be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 22:16). If one is not a believer, then to be baptized is worthless. Even so, if one is a believer and is baptized not, this too is worthless. Faith requires action and that action has been properly defined as baptism.

Why call Jesus Lord and do not the things which he says? Why say you believe in God, who gave utterance to every word Jesus and his apostles said and wrote in the scriptures, and yet obey not the gospel of Christ (Jn 12:49,50 f; Jn 16:13)? Paul said, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate (Tit 1:16). If we truly believe in God we will do the works of God. If we believe in God, we will obey the gospel (Rom 10:17 ff; Rom 10:10; Acts 2:38; Rev 2:10), we will worship God in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:23,24), and we will continue in the apostle’s doctrine which is the doctrine of Christ, which is the doctrine of God (Acts 2:42 ff; 2 Jn 9; Jn 7:16,17).

And they come unto thee as the people comes, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear your words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their covetousness.  And, lo, you are unto them as a very lovely song of one that has a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear your words, but they do them not” (Ezek 33:32,33).

Many are called to the kingdom of the Lord but few are chosen. Way too many will “drop out” before their journey is complete. They will develop the ways of the world, and in the end, they depart from the faith.

Consider some of the reasons why Christians forsake the Lord:

1. They don’t retain what they have heard. In becoming Christians we must hear the gospel, believe it, and obey it (Rom. 10:17 ff; Mk 16:16; Heb. 5:9). Then we must remain faithful unto death (Rev 2:10). We are taught the reward of obedience and we are warned about the punishment of disobedience. Unfortunately, many Christians either forgot or never understood what they have heard. James talks about the man who looks in a mirror, but turns away, forgetting what he saw. This man is called “a forgetful hearer” (Jam. 1:24-25). Remember, Jesus didn’t just say hear the Word, he said, “Hear and understand” (Matt 15:10).

2. They turn to the world. When we obey the gospel, God separates us from the world, adding us to the church. Unfortunately, many look back longingly to the ways of the world just like Lot’s wife looked back to Sodom (Lk 17:32). They will not remember the sadness and hardships of sin (Prov 13:5). They only remember the instant gratification and pleasure it brought to them. They forget the commandment, “love not the world” (1 Jn 2:15-17). They will not remember the teaching of God’s word which says, “And be not conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2). Soon these are living again in the same old sinful way they were living before they became Christians. “They are again entangled therein, and overcome” (2 Pet. 2:20). They are sin’s victim again and lost to the Lord.

3. They are unprepared for temptations. Satan is after the souls of the saints of God.  Peter warned about the workings of the Devil, telling Christians to be sober or watchful: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). As Jesus was tempted, even so are we (Matt 4:1-11). Christians are often tempted and sometimes they are captured. Paul used the word “overtaken” to describe this situation: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted” (Gal. 6:1). Even the apostle Peter himself fell back into sin and was restored by Paul (Gal. 2:11-14). God provides us with “a way to escape” temptation, enabling us to bear it (1 Cor. 10:13). Sadly, many Christians are ill-prepared because they have not put on the whole armor of God and fall prey to temptations (Eph 6:11-18). Jesus said, “Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). Many will lose their souls because they were not watchful, as they were taught to be (Mk 13:37).

4. They are lukewarm. Many Christians are indifferent toward the Lord and his church. This kind God will spew out of his mouth (Rev. 3:15-16). More Christians are in danger through this sin than perhaps any other. Too many of us just simply will not listen to the admonition of the Lord. Peter warned, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall” (2 Pet. 1:10).

7. They neglect to read and study the Word. One of the consistent messages of the Scripture is that we are to study to show ourselves approved unto God (2 Tim. 2:15). We are to give attendance to reading, exhortation, and doctrine (1 Tim. 4:13). We are to understand what the Lord’s will is (Eph. 5:17), and this understanding comes by reading the word (Eph. 3:3-4). Through this study, God describes our duty as a Christian. A failure to do our duty is sin (Jam 4:17). Because many refuse to study God’s word and do their duty as a Christian, that they fall.

Conclusion: Do you feel yourself in danger of falling away? It is possible for anyone! Paul warned us to take heed, lest you fall (1 Cor. 10:12). The Bible says “Save yourselves” (Acts 2:40). Fear the God who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man (Matt 10:28 f; Eccl 12:13).

But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, and not that he should turn from his ways and live? But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die” (Ezek 18:21-24).

People are capable of changing and often do just that. Just as a sinner can become righteous by turning to God, a righteous person can become a sinner by turning away from God. The goal of being a Christian is to rid ourselves of sin. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom 6:1-2). Sin is a problem we deal with continually. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. … If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8, 10).

If you allow sin to remain in your life and refuse to change, then you will be judged accordingly and receive your just reward of hell and damnation (2 Thess 1:7-9).

One should feel bad for sinning, but you should also look at yourself and be thankful that you are not that way any longer. “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter” (2 Cor 7:10-11).

The gospel of Christ was preached to all the world in order to seek and save that which was lost (Col 1:23 ff; Matt 28:19,20; Lk 19:10). Even so, one can fall away from the gospel which saved them and turns to another gospel (Gal 1:6,7 f; Gal 5:4). Simon the Sorcerer in Acts chapter eight obeyed the gospel and then was lead astray seeking the miracles of the apostles. Peter said to Simon, “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you” (Acts 8:22). The fact is, Christians can and do sin and some fall away. This is what James was referencing when he wrote, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (Jam 5:19,20).

Both the sinner and saint sin, but the saint has an avenue to have their sins to be forgiven. The greatest sin is not to fall away. The greatest sin is to fall away and not repent of your sins (Lk 13:3 f; Acts 17:30). If you have never obeyed the gospel, please do! If you have obeyed the gospel and have fallen away, please come back! If you have obeyed the gospel and are sound in the faith, please seek both the sinner and the fallen Christians. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Tim 4:16). Remember the words of Solomon, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise” (Prov 11:30).

 

 

There are Christians who attempt to justify their actions by saying some things are in the gray area of the Bible. We need to understand that God is not ambiguous in His Word. There is an absolute right or an absolute wrong and nothing in between with God. Paul said, “But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No” (2 Cor 1:18). It is yes or no and no maybe with the Lord our God.

Sin is doing anything that violates God’s law of righteousness. 1 John 5:17 says: “All unrighteousness is sin” and “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 Jn 3:4). When we transgress or do things that are against God’s law, we have committed sin and sin is not ambiguous.

Everything that we do that is contrary to Bible teaching falls into one of these three categories. It is either the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life that gets us into trouble. James tells us that friendship with the world is enmity with God (4:4) and that we are to submit ourselves to God while resisting the devil (4:7). We are also told, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (Jam 4:8).

Gray areas are things that some Christians are involved in, often claiming that there’s no divine guidance, and therefore try to justify that these are acceptable. But are they? Are there really gray areas to in God’s Word? Jesus said: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16). There can be no “gray areas” as far as God is concerned.

Paul told Timothy to “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Nowhere do we read in God’s word where instrumental music is authorized, only that we are to “sing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16 f; Eph. 5:19). Therefore, instrumental music is wrong in worship to God. In the area of immodesty we are told to prove all things (1 Thess. 5:21), do all in the name of the Lord (Col. 3:17), do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31), live beyond reproach (1 Pet. 3:150, and to wear the proper clothing (1 Tim. 2:9-10). We have now placed immodesty in the “black” column. What about dancing? God’s Word says to prove all things and abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:21-22), and that lusting is wrong (Matt. 5:28). Can we control the other person’s thoughts when dancing? “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor. 15:33). Many Christians are now watching movies that have bad language and sex scenes all through them. Surely we have read God’s word which says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8), and also the words of Paul which tells us what kinds of things to think on (Phil. 4:8). See also Titus 1:15. Movies with bad language and sex scenes are certainly something that Jesus would not approve for his disciples to watch. Is smoking something that God approves of? Would that be a work of the flesh or a fruit of the Spirit? Surely a Christian would know and understand that smoking hurts his influence (Matt. 5:16), is an addiction and enslavement (1 Cor. 6:12; 9:27), is offensive to others (Matt. 7:12), and is harmful to one’s health (1 Cor. 6:19-20)! Do you think this is something Jesus would do? Of course not! Finally, we are left with social drinking. Would a Christian consider himself part of that chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar person (1 Pet. 2:9) while taking another drink of alcohol? Drinking alcohol is not a fruit of the Spirit, it is a work of the flesh. Therefore, the social drinker is sinning (1 Thess. 5:21-22). We have gone to the word of God in order to “rightly divide” all those things that some Christians would call “gray!” Did you notice where all those “gray” things ended up?

Conclusion: The law of God is made for the lawless, disobedient, ungodly, and for sinners. It is for all those who practice things that are contrary to sound doctrine (1 Tim. 1:9-10). The Bible teaches us that “if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 Jn 1:7-10). The apostle Paul wrote: “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:24-25). Children of God know what things are right and what things are wrong because they know there is nothing half right or half wrong with God.

There have been many attacks on the word of God. Some are insidious while others make no pretense about the desired goal of undermining faith in God’s revelation. We are not surprised when the atheist or infidel attacks the Bible, but it is sad when so-called Bible believers embrace doctrines that repudiate God’s word as complete and final.

Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). Way too many are ashamed of the gospel today. They must be because they seek to teach another gospel, another doctrine, and prove such by another source contrary to the Word of truth.

The gospel will accomplish what God wants to be accomplished. It is the only message that will make men what they need to be, namely Christians. No other power on earth can equal God’s power. The messages of men always fail and fall short.

Peter said, “Seeing that his divine power has granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3). God’s power is seen in the creation (2 Pet. 3:5), in the punishment of the wicked world by the flood (2 Pet. 3:6), and will be seen in terminating the world we live in (2 Pet. 3:7-12). These things were and will be accomplished at God’s word. The Bible provides information on “all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” Man needs direction and guidance in life (Jer. 10:23). Man who is lost in ignorance needs to be enlightened. Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32). Knowledge of truth is essential (1 Tim. 2:4). The Bible also provides needed motivation. 2 Timothy 2:25 says, “In meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth.” Sometimes a motivation gap exists between knowing and doing. The Lord reveals what sin is and what sin will do. That should be the driving force us to turn from wrong and serve the Lord.

The Bible also provides preservation. Peter says we are guarded by faith as we wait for our final reward in heaven (1 Pet. 1:5). It is not “once saved always saved” but it is an assurance from the Lord that we can obey and be acceptable in his sight. “For whatsoever is begotten of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 Jn. 5:4). Loving God rather than the world (1 Jn. 2:15-17), walking in the light of truth (1 Jn. 1:7-9), and confessing our sins as we repent (1 Jn. 2:1-2), all help to provide needed confidence as we remain safely tied to the anchor of hope (Heb. 6:19). Let us continue to walk with the Lord, studying the Bible, trusting and obeying it each and every day.

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law– (1 Jn 3:4). “Therefore to him that knows to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (Jam 4:17). We understand this teaching is from the Bible. We can reject it, despise it, minimize it, forget it, or try to explain it away, but, we can’t change it.

When all is said and done, God’s word will still conclude the same thing: Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:“ That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged” (Rom 3:4). Do not affirm you believe the Bible and then deny the power of God to judge you (Heb 10:30). Do not say you believe God’s Word is truth and then you do your best to contradict it by your traditions (Matt 15:7-9). Do not say you are a child of God when you are doing the works of Satan (Jn 8:44). Don’t say you are a saint of God on Sunday while you are living like the Devil the rest of the week (Rom 2:21,22). If you are a child of God, then preach the Word of God and do the works of God (2 Tim 2:2 f; Jn 6:28). If you are on the Lord’s side, stop trying to change His Word and start doing and proving the perfect Will of God (Gal 1:8,9 ff; Rom 12:2; Matt 7:21).

Many people believe in Hollywood’s version of demons, monsters, vampires, ghosts, and evil spirits. As the old adage goes, “If you repeat something that is false long enough, people will believe it as truth”. Nevertheless, what saith the scripture?

The character and nature of demons suggest that they are spirit beings and are in subjection to the devil, that is Satan (Matt 9:34 cf; 12:24, 26-28; 25:41). We know that the demons or devils are called “Satan’s angels” (Matt 25:41 ). There is no denying that Satan and his angels are spirit-beings who have sinned (Jn 8:44 ff; 1 Jn 3:8; 1 Tim 4:1; 1 Jn 4:1; 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6 ).

The Old Testament says little about demon activity beyond idolatry to the worship of demons. However, there is no indication that any prophet demonstrated the kind of authority that Jesus and his apostles had over the demons (Matt 12:28 ff; Lk 10:17; Mk 16:17 ).

In the New Testament, Jesus did what the prophets of old could never do and that is exercises over the demons (Matt 8:16 ff; Mk 3:14-15, Lk 9:1 cf; 10:17). Demon possession in the New Testament was a sign of the approach of Messiah’s Kingdom (Matt 12:28-29 ff; Lk 11:20-22; Mk 3:22-27). It is apparent that the activity of the demons was limited and temporary.

We know that Jesus came to “bind the strong man” and “spoil his house” (Matt 12:29 f; Mk 3:27). Jesus attached His own power over the demons as being essential to binding Satan in order that his house could be spoiled. This overthrow of the demons would be an undeniable sign of the Kingdom having come (Matt 12:26 f; Lk 11:20). The New Testament reveals an appointed time for the sending of the demons into ‘the bottomless pit’ (Mk 5:1-13 ff; Matt 8:28-32; Lk 8:26-33 ).

The demons knew that there was an appointed time for their torment (Matt 8:29) and that the appointed place for them was “the deep” (Matt 8:31) where they would be tormented (2 Pet 2:4 f; Jude 6 ) and where they await their final judgment (Matt 25:41). We know that this occurred at some point during the first century while the apostles were ministering under the great commission. Peter speaks of the angels that sinned as being “delivered” and “reserved.” Jude says they are in “everlasting chains” unto “the great day.” Their release was only temporary (and they knew it (Matt 8:29), but their return to imprisonment is permanent (Jude 6). Therefore, we do not need to be concerned about the supernatural manifestations of demons today. Their release was for the purpose of providing a sign that Christ indeed had power over Satan and his followers. Namely that the god of this world was most certainly judged and his kingdom destroyed (Col 2:15) and as a result, we have received a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.

Most people would define a ghost as ‘the spirits of those who have died’ who walk around as vagabonds among the living haunting the earth. However, the scripture would stand in direct opposition to such understanding of the departed and clearly reveals their state and limitations. The Bible never portrays souls as lingering after death (Lk 16:22-23 ff; Lk 23:43; 2 Cor 5:8). There is no evidence whatsoever that spirits are committed to a roaming existence in the material realm (Lk 16:30-31).

Samuel is the only case of a disembodied spirit returning to the material realm (1 Sam 28:7-19). However, we take note that he was “brought up” and “disquieted” (28:15) and returned to Hades saying Saul would join him there (28:19). Therefore, Samuel is the exception that proves the rule (28:17). At death, the spirit “departs” (Philip 1:23) as opposed to “abiding still” (Philip 1:24-25 f; Mk 6:10 ). The spirit goes to back to God who gave it (Eccl 12:7 ), we are “gathered to our people” (Gen 25:8 ) and (if found righteous) we will be with the spirits of just men and of angels (Heb 12:23-24). We will not have knowledge of things on the earth (Eccl 9:5-10). Therefore, the dead no longer directly influence the people or events of this world.

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