July 12, 2011

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16 KJV

It’s a sad day when a loved one dies. Will you meet again? Is there life after life? What really happens when you die? Most adults have experienced the awful trauma of losing a loved one. An accident, a prolonged disease, or sudden illness blights the lives of the loved one’s family and a wider circle of friends and colleagues. Tears well up in private and public grief. An awesome and unfillable gap breaches the orderliness of humdrum life. There’s the gnawing pain of loss. Silence shrouds life’s business. Why? is often our first question. Why has this beloved person been taken? Death was so undeserved!  It’s easier when a dear one has led a godly life; easier when you can’t find anyone who can in all honesty say a contrary word; when the life has glowed with joy and helpfulness and faithfulness and sound wisdom and encouragement; when life’s winter follows a productive harvest of good deeds and love and generosity. Then you can rejoice when the minister says that the loved one is “with the Lord” and is happier than conceivably possible. Then you feel you can say Amen when he assures you that the loved one is even now beholding the face of Jesus in heavenly splendor. In today’s world, most people do not have a problem believing in the spirit is eternal. Even those who do not consider themselves “religious” often believe in some form of life after the grave. They just aren’t sure what it is, and many do not want to know. Hell is an unfashionable topic. New Age teachings have settled in almost every facet of our society with vague, cozy feelings of the “afterlife.” Daniel talks of the end of the age where it says, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Daniel 12:2 KJV  This “sleep” is referring to the physical body sleeping, not the soul or spirit. Our spirit is the “real us.” We are a spirit and have a soul, mind, will and emotions that lives in a body. There is a cultic teaching that talks about “soul sleep” which is not scriptural. When people die, they do not enter into a state of eternal sleep, neither do they cease to exist. When we die, our body will go into the ground to decay and return to dust, but our body is not who we really are. The Bible says, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:19 KJV  Our spirit, when we die, goes either to hell or to be with the Father in heaven. There is no in-between place, heavenly sleep or state of non-existence. Yet the troublesome question still remains, why must we die in the first place? The truth is, God never made us to die. Death of the body was not God’s original plan. It is the result of sin. When Adam and Eve committed the first sin, disobedience to God, sin entered into this world; as a result of it, each one of us will face death at sometime. When we die, we will also face judgment before God. The Bible says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Hebrews 9:27 KJV  The Bible speaks of death as an enemy, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:26 KJV  In this world we are seeing death all around us: death by old age, disease, murder, suicide, accidents, disasters, famine and war. All of these have been brought on mankind because of sin and a fallen race. Death is an evil that produces torment, fear, hatred, suffering, agony, pain, grief and heartache. There is only one way that we can overcome both death and the fear of it; that is through the One who conquered death and the grave. The death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, has now made a way for us to also conquer death. In the Bible it says, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans 8:37 KJV  The Bible also says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 KJV  And it also says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Romans 5:12 KJV  In this verse, the one man God is talking about is Adam. We all have the curse of sin in our lives because all of us are descendants of Adam. In the Bible it says, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8 KJV  This verse tells us how Adam and Eve hid from God when they realized they had disobeyed His instruction. From that point on, every human born has the curse of both physical and spiritual death. We all have one appointment with physical death, but our fate with spiritual death depends on what we do with Jesus. Either the person accepted Jesus Christ as his or her savior and will be “judged” as righteous, or rejected Jesus Christ and will be eternally separated from God in eternity. Physical death is considered to be only a change of disposition for the believer. In many instances, physical death is preferred by believers because, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV  The Apostle Paul tells us in the Bible, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:” Philippians 1:23 KJV  The Bible reveals very few concrete details about heaven, the afterlife and what happens when we die. God must have a good reason for keeping us wondering about the mysteries of heaven. Perhaps our finite minds could never comprehend the realities of eternity. For now, we can only imagine. I would like to tell you about my experience with death. Last year on July 11, 2010, my Father-in-Law passed away. He had a terrible disease called Parkinson. He had this for several years, but the last two was the worst. I started helping out being a caregiver in his last years of his life. It was just after I married his daughter and for our first year and a half, we spent most of our time apart. All of the family members took part in helping take care of him as his health gradually went down. My wife pretty much just moved back home and stayed with her mom and I went over when she was at work. During this time we barely seen each other, because it was a full-time job just to keep care of her father. It was a very trying time, but if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t hesitate. He was a very loving and kind man and his Faith in Jesus Christ was strong. I don’t think the family would have been able to do this task if we were not all Christians. We all put are Trust and Faith in Jesus Christ to help us get through this ordeal. I still remember the last weeks of his life here on earth, as his body got weaker, but his Faith still was strong. He began to stop talking and eating in the last two weeks. If we got him to eat or drink, it was so little I don’t think a small bird would live. But he was not going to give up. I think he was waiting to see someone before he went home to his Lord. For the life of me I could not think who he was waiting for, but when his brother came to visit I knew that was who he was waiting for. He hadn’t seen him in a long time. Now this was around the fourth of July, and we always went to my wife’s brothers house for an outing, you know ribs, chicken, corn on the cob and all the fixings. Her dad loved ribs, but he hadn’t eaten anything to amount to nothing for a week now. I went alone this year, but I made him a plate anyway and took it over to the house. I couldn’t believe it ! He ate everything and said it was good ! We were all glad that he had finally ate something, but in reality, he was just preparing himself for his last days. Giving his body the energy to last until he went to his heavenly home. As we tucked him in for the night, I still remember, he looked me right in the eyes like never before, and he said, God Bless You. For some reason I knew those were going to be his last words to me. After that he seemed to slip into a deep sleep or coma and began breathing very deep and loud. This lasted for exactly for one week. I have no idea how he lasted this long, but he had prepared his body with his last meal and he waited until everybody told him that it was okay to go home. It was hard for some of the family members, but eventually everybody let go. Now this is where I really became very close to God, almost felt His presence. Every child is appointed a Guardian Angel at birth to act as a guide and protector. In the Bible it says, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 18:10 KJV  As his breath got more shallowed, we all gathered around his bed knowing the time was near. We all recited John 3:16 as it was his favorite verse. Then something special happened which I have never experienced. As he took his last breath, he tilted his head back, and took in a deep breath, and slowly let it out. It was as if the Angel was in our presence, and took his soul from his body and took it right up to Heaven. All we did at that moment was stood in quiet and aah. Then in amazement, within seconds, his skin on his face started to smooth out and all of what wrinkles he did have were just about gone ! Then all sin was gone from his body. We did shed tears afterward, just as Jesus wept. Being Christians, we all knew he was with his Heavenly Father and now in no pain. Just like when the beggar died in the Book of Luke, “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: Luke 16:22 KJV  Also in the Bible it says, “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” Psalms 34:7 KJV  As creatures who come before the face of God, angels are powerful intercessors. We must remember that we have a guardian angel and turn to him in our thoughts and heart. When such contact with our angel is missing, he has no means of influencing us. Through out our life span, our guardian angels rejoice in our spiritual achievements and grieve over our downfalls. We must keep in mind that, whatever we do openly or in secret, we do in the presence of our guardian angel and that, on the Day of Judgement, a great multitude of the holy angels of heaven will be gathered around the throne of Christ, where the thoughts, words and deeds of every man will be laid bare before them. When a person dies, the soul recognises his guardian angel, and it is the guardian angel that takes his soul to God. That event helped me understand the significance of the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept” John 11:35 KJV  God the Son wept! He knew the reality of heaven. He was the source of all hope of a future day of resurrection. And yet, Jesus cried. When someone we love dies, we struggle with a wide range of emotions. If a young person dies, we ask “Why?” When death comes after long-term suffering, we struggle to understand why the Lord waited so long to bring relief. We begin to think of God as distant, untouched by our sorrow. We may question His wisdom or His goodness. Then we read, “Jesus wept.” God is deeply touched by our anguish. When a painful situation invades your life, remember the Bible’s shortest verse. Jesus shed tears too. So if you want to go to Heaven when your time is called, why not now open your heart to Jesus Christ, because He is the one that shed His blood on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins so you could have that free gift of eternal life. Amen

By: Jeff Ellinger


July 2, 2011

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
John 8:32-36 KJV

As U.S. citizens we celebrate our freedom on Independence Day, thanking our founding fathers for giving us our liberty. As Christians we also celebrate our freedom in Christ and the sacrifice he made to set us free from sin and death. According to the encyclopedia, Independence Day is the national day of the United States.  July 4th, 1776 separation of the American colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second According to the encyclopedia, Independence Day is the national day of the United States.  July 4th, 1776 Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.  During the American Revolution, the legal Richard Henry Lee of Virginia.  Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4.  Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, picnics, concerts, baseball games, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. What does the Bible say about Freedom and Independence? There are no verses with “Freedom” or “Independence” in them. What about verses with the word “free”?  There are 58 verses in the KJV. Here are two verses to look at, “As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16 KJV  and, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 KJV As American Christians we take so much for granted. We have freedom of speech. We have freedom to worship. We can attend the Church of our choice. Most of us have more than one Bible in our home. Some of us don’t even read the Bible we have. As Americans today, we believe we are truly free.  We are free to choose how we live, what we say and how we believe.  Some of us choose to live as husband and wife and others choose to live in same-sex relationships.  Others choose not to marry at all and live life alone.  Some practice freedom of speech, through radio and TV broadcasts, books and pulpits.  And others choose to keep their opinions to themselves.  Some choose to worship the moon and stars, idols and Satan.  And others choose to worship and follow God.  Today we all have the right to vote for our leaders and exercise our political freedoms. Our parents taught us to do as we please, live the way we want, within the law,  and be whoever we want to be.  The sky is the limit! Right?  But even though we have all of these earthly freedoms and have been declared independent, are we really free? In the book of Exodus, God chose Moses to lead the Israel people out of Egypt as slaves of Pharaoh.  They had been slaves for hundreds of years and wanted to be set free.  God heard them and decided to answer their prayers. In Exodus it says, “Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” Exodus 6:6-7 KJV  This scripture resembles the similarities that the people from the American Colonies must have felt when they were held in bondage by Great Britain.  They too were freed by God, when they were allowed to legally separate from them to practice their religious freedoms.  We can also refer to this scripture when African-Americans were freed as slaves.  They were also held in bondage for over two hundred years by a race of people who wanted to feel superior over them as well.  This scripture represents being physically enslaved and freed, but what about our spiritual freedom? When God created us, he gave us freedom of choice.  We can choose to believe in him or not.  To sin or not.  There is no gray area.  To live in sin is to be a slave to sin.  When we continue to make bad choices or do evil against others, we choose sin.  But when we live for God, we become free from sin and our spirit is renewed. It says in the Bible, “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” Romans 7:5-6 KJV  If we put our faith and full trust in him, without doubt, then he will provide a way out of them. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:14-15 KJV  Like millions of Americans this week, my mind is on the Fourth of July holiday and what it represents: our freedom as a nation. This freedom is a precious thing, bought with the sweat, toil and blood of countless Americans who initially fought to obtain it as well as those who have fought to secure it in the centuries since that fateful day in 1776. Gratitude without measure wells up in my heart when I consider the brave men and women of the American military who, this Fourth of July, will be fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan to combat the tyranny of terrorism. But even as I prize my freedom as an American, I am moved to consider a greater freedom, my freedom in Christ. It is the freedom that comes with being a disciple of Jesus Christ. “If you abide in my word,” our Lord declares, “you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” As you celebrate the Fourth of July, think of creative ways to make the “Declaration” of freedom in Christ to family and friends. There is no greater feeling of liberation than to experience this freedom from sin and death that you have provided for me through Jesus Christ. Today my heart and my soul are free to praise you. For this I am very thankful. On this Independence Day I am reminded of all those who have sacrificed for my freedom, following the example of your Son, Jesus Christ. Let me not take my freedom, both physical and spiritual, for granted. May I always remember that my freedom was purchased with a very high price. My freedom cost others their very lives. Lord, today, bless those who have served and continue to give their lives for my freedom. With favor and bounty meet their needs and watch over their families. Not many of us will create our own nation, but we all have a kingdom of the heart where we decide who will rule. The apostle Peter wrote, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” 1 Peter 3:15 KJV  “Sanctify” means to set apart Christ as Lord or Ruler of our life. There is something within each of us that longs to be in control of our lives. It may be only a small corner where we assert our spiritual independence and answer to no one but ourselves.But true freedom comes when we allow Christ to rule our hearts. History reveals that when a nation ignores God and rejects His Word, it reaps a bitter harvest.On this Independence Day, we in the United States are reminded again of the liberties we enjoy. For these we should be deeply grateful. But sometimes we take them for granted, displaying little concern for those who are not so abundantly blessed. We are becoming a nation of people who selfishly insist on our own rights, making unfair demands on others and not thinking of their welfare. Worst of all, in this clamor for personal freedom, we hear very little about the rights of God. We should recognize that He is the “Lord of the vineyard.” He expects us to produce the fruits of love and obedience instead of the wild grapes of ingratitude and wickedness. The Bible says, “And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.” Isaiah 5:2 KJV  As we thank God for our rights, let’s not forget the rights of God. Today, recommit yourself to living as one of God’s people. That’s the way to enjoy true freedom. So open your heart to Jesus Christ today because He is the One that died on the cross and shed His blood and paid the penalty for your sins so you could have that free gift of eternal life. Amen

By: Jeff Ellinger


March 31, 2011

TO ALL MY FOLLOWERS, THIS SITE WILL SOON TRANSITION AND MOVE TO: https://www.thecupofsalvation.com Thanks,Jeff

The word “disciple” refers to a learner or follower. The word “apostle” means “one who is sent out.” While Jesus was on earth, His twelve followers were called disciples. The twelve disciples followed Jesus Christ, learned from Him, and were trained by Him. After His resurrection and ascension, Jesus sent the disciples out to be His witnesses.

Synoptic Gospels

The Canonical gospels give varying names of the twelve (see also the Gospel according to the Hebrews). According to the list occurring in each of the three Synoptic Gospels, [Mk 3:13-19] [Mt 10:1-4] [Lk 6:12-16] the Twelve some of whom chose to follow Jesus, and some who were called by Jesus, near the beginning of his ministry, those “whom he also named apostles”, were, according to the Gospels of Mark and Matthew:

  1. Peter: Renamed by Jesus to Peter (meaning rock), his original name was Simon bar Jonah;[Mk 3:16] was a fisherman from the Bethsaida “of Galilee”[Jn 1:44], cf. Jn 12:21. Also known as Simon bar Jochanan (Aram.), Cephas (Aram.), and Simon Peter.
  2. Andrew: The brother of Simon/Peter, a Bethsaida fisherman, and a former disciple of John the Baptist.
  3. James, son of Zebedee: The brother of John.
  4. John: The brother of James. Jesus named both of them Bo-aner’ges, which means “sons of thunder’.'”[Mk 3:17]
  5. Philip: From the Bethsaida of Galilee[Jn 1:44][12:21]
  6. Bartholomew, son of Talemai; usually identified with Nathanael, who is mentioned in Jn 1:45-51.[15]
  7. Matthew: The tax collector. The similarity between Mt 9:9-10, Mk 2:14-15 and Lu 5:27-29 may indicate that Matthew was also known as Levi.[16]
  8. Thomas: Judas Thomas Didymus – Aramaic T’oma’ = twin, and Greek Didymos = twin. Doubting Thomas.
  9. James, son of Alphaeus: Generally identified with “James the Less“, and also identified by Roman Catholics with “James the Just“.[17]
  10. Thaddeus: In some manuscripts of Matthew, the name “Lebbaeus” occurs in this place. Thaddeus is traditionally identified with Jude; see below.
  11. Simon the Zealot: Some have identified him with Simeon of Jerusalem.[18]
  12. Judas Iscariot: The disciple who later betrayed Jesus.[Mk 3:19] The name Iscariot may refer to the Judaean towns of Kerioth or to the sicarii (Jewish nationalist insurrectionists), or to Issachar. Also referred to as “Judas, the son of Simon.”[Jn 6:71][13:26] He was replaced by Matthias as an apostle shortly after Jesus’ resurrection.

The list in the Gospel of Luke differs from Matthew and Mark at two points:

  • It lists “Judas, son of James” instead of “Thaddeus.” In order to harmonize the accounts, some traditions have said that Luke’s “Judas, son of James” refers to the same person as Mark and Matthew’s “Thaddeus,” though it is not clear whether this has a good basis. (For more information see Jude the Apostle).
  • In the Authorized Version of the Bible Luke 6:16 refers to the first Judas (not Judas Iscariot) as the brother of James, not the son of James, but the words “the brother” are in italics in that Bible translation and thus the translators indicated there are no corresponding Greek words for “the brother” in that verse.
  • The wording in Luke may be translated “Simon the Cananean” instead of “Simon the Zealot”. These are generally thought to be the same person. (See Simon the Zealot).

First Epistle to the Corinthians

Paul of Tarsus, in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, appears to give the first historical reference to the Twelve Apostles:

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 KJV

The text has some unresolved issues. Paul does not refer to “the Twelve” anywhere else in his writings, nor did he ever limit the usage of the word “Apostle” to the Twelve disciples who by definition were the ones appointed as Apostles. Also, by the time Jesus resurrected, the number of Apostles in the Markan tradition should have been down to eleven, since Judas Iscariot was not among them any more. Furthermore, the text seems to have two redundant lists: the first starting with Cephas (Peter) and the second starting with James.

Paul would have included Mathias as one of those Twelve who saw the Lord. Remember that they had chosen Mathias based on that the two candidates where there with them from the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. Mathias would have seen the risen Lord. Hopefully, this resolves the “unresolved issue” mentioned above.

Death of the Twelve Apostles

Christian tradition has generally passed down that all but one were martyred, with John surviving into old age. Only the death of James, son of Zebedee is described in the New Testament, and the details of the other deaths are the subject of pious legends of varying authenticity. In some cases there is near unanimity in the tradition, and in other cases, there are widely varying and inconsistent accounts.

Judas Iscariot, originally one of the Twelve, died after the death of Jesus. Matthew 27:5 says that he hanged himself, and Acts 1:18 says that he fell, burst open, and his “bowels gushed out.” Matthias was elected to take his place as one of the twelve.

According to Christian tradition:

Original Twelve picked by Jesus:

Replacement for Judas Iscariot picked by the surviving eleven:

  • Matthias, Judas’ replacement, was stoned and beheaded.

Other Apostles in the New Testament


Main article: Barnabas

In Acts 14:14, Barnabas is referred to as an apostle.

Andronicus and Junia

Main article: Junia

In Rom 16:7 Paul states that Andronicus and Junia were “of note among the apostles,” subjectively this has been traditionally interpreted in one of two ways: 1) That Andronicus and Junia were “of note among the apostles,” that is, distinguished apostles.[23]

2) That Andronicus and Junia were “well-known among the Apostles” meaning “well-known to the Apostles”.

In the first view it is believed that, Paul is referring to a female apostle.[24][25] Unhappy with reference to a female apostle, editors and translators have often changed the name to “Junias,” the masculine version of Junia, as in the Revised Standard Version.[25] While “Junia” was a common name, “Junias” was not.[25] This alteration is part of a pattern by which later editors changed Paul’s epistles to make them less favorable toward women in positions of authority.[25]

In the second view, it is believed that Paul is simply making mention of the outstanding character of these two people which was acknowledged by the Apostles.

Historically it has been virtually impossible to tell which of the two views were correct. The second view has however, in recent years, been defended from a scholarly perspective by Daniel Wallace and Michael Burer.[26] Following a careful examination of this Greek phrase (episēmoi + the preposition en) in biblical Greek, patristic Greek, papyri, inscriptions as well as Hellenistic and classical Greek texts, they convincingly reveal that the normal way one would attempt to convey the meaning ‘to the Apostles’ rather than ‘among the Apostles’ was employed by Paul. Thus, revealing the second interpretation to be correct.


Main article: Silas

Silas is referred to as an apostle in 1 Thes. 1:1 and 2:6 along with Timothy and Paul. He also performs the functioning of an apostle as Paul’s companion in Paul’s second missionary journey in Acts 15:40ff.


Main article: Saint Timothy

Timothy is referred to as an apostle in 1 Thes. 1:1 and 2:6 along with Silas and Paul. However, in 2 Cor. 1:1 he is only called a “brother” when Paul refers to himself as “an apostle of Christ”. Timothy performs many of the functions of an apostle in the commissioning of Paul in 1st and 2nd Timothy, though in those epistles Paul refers to him as his “son” in the faith.


Main article: Apollos

Apollos is included as “us apostles” in 1 Cor. 4:9 (see 4:6, 3:22, and 3:4-6) along with Paul and Cephas (Peter).


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