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Sunday, March 30, 2014

. . . . . Preparing the Bride. . .The Ten Virgins:

Finding Absolute Assurance of Eternal Life
by
Kay Frances Graves














Matthew 25:
(1) Then shall the kingdom of heaven
be likened unto ten virgins,
which took their lamps, and went forth
to meet the bridegroom.

The parable of the Ten Virgins compares possessing the Kingdom of Heaven, to the Bride preparing to meet the Bridegroom for the greatest event of End Times:  The Marriage Supper of Christ and His Bride--also called "The Marriage Supper of the Lamb." [of God] 
(Revelation 19:9).

Contrary to what many churches now teach, not everyone who thinks or "believes" they are going to enter the Kingdom of Heaven will actually enter therein.  Being convinced in our mind that something is going to happen, will not make it happen.  This is not what Jesus taught regarding genuine "belief" or the type of faith required to inherit the Kingdom.  

Unfortunately "belief" and "faith," like so many other words found in the Scriptures, have been redefined over the years by worldlings who are unable to spiritually focus on the context of the Word of God and therefore become confused by modern, unbiblical definitions of these words.

The type of faith and "belief" required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven involves much more than mental convincing, fuzzy feelings, or even a thorough head-knowledge of the Word of God.  It requires a unique relationship based on the Word of God that testifies to what is actually happening in one's heart--and there will be tangible evidence of this relationship, if it is genuine.

This is the reason Jesus uses marriage as the basic theme of this parable.  When a man and a woman love and trust one another and desire to have an exclusive family relationship, they enter into a morally and legally binding interactive marriage relationship, where they are able to function in the world morally and legally as one unified body/physical structure.

From a distance, Jane Jones can think and "believe" that she is going to become the wife of John Johnson all she wants to, but until they are actually introduced, develop a friendship, and pledge themselves to one another in marriage, Jane Jones will never be Jane Johnson.

When this principle is applied to our relationship as the Bride (believers) to Christ (the Bridegroom), it becomes clear that it is not wishful thinking called "belief" or a giant leap into the dark called "faith" that brings about this exclusive relationship between Christ and His Bride.

We are not all automatically "the children of God" simply because He has created us.  As a result of the fall of humankind in the Garden of Eden, we are all actually headed for hell.  We cannot blame Adam or Eve or anyone else for our sin. 

Blaming others is not going to change our situation.  Humans make choices every day and it is a fact that we choose to sin.  However, instead of sinning our way down the broad road to hell, we have been given a way out of our dilemma.  God has provided that Way through Christ alone.  With the help of God, we can choose to make Christ and His Word preeminent in our life. 

Neither baptism nor membership in a church nor any other religious/humanitarian organization can bring about this exclusive relationship with God.  Only by the grace of God, can we be given an understanding of His Word and the amazing value it has. 

By submitting to that precious Word and the preeminence of Christ, alone, in response to all He has done on our behalf to keep us from the fires of hell, we can therefore be sealed in this relationship by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

When this happens, we are bound to Christ--and similar to an earthly marriage--we then begin to function as one with Him in the world, first of all through a local body of believers and then carrying the message of salvation through the shed blood of Christ throughout the entire world, to those who are waiting to hear what Christ has done for them, so they may also enter into His family.

The virgins went forth.

Jesus tells us in this first verse of Matthew 25, that when the virgins (i.e. unmarried women) "went forth" to meet the Bridegroom, they took their lamps.  So we understand that these virgins are going somewhere to meet the Bridegroom and this journey is going to require the use of lamps.

As we consider this, let us take care not to jump over the steps Jesus establishes to get us from point "A" to point "B" and thereby miss the importance of the details regarding this journey.  The main focus of the story is not about meeting Christ for the first time.  These virgins already know who Christ is and they are waiting to join Him at the Great Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  This parable is about what must happen after they are called, but before they can enter into the Marriage Feast.

The harsh reality is that unless we actually take the steps required to arrive safely to this event, we will not be found among the wise virgins who actually do, one day, enter into the Marriage Feast.  This is the real message Jesus wants us to receive.  He is warning us not to be deceived--we must remember to take something very important with us if we want to safely arrive at our desired destination.

The virgins knew that they would need lamps, so this is what they took when they went forth.  What do the lamps symbolize and why did they need them?
"(104) Through thy precepts I get understanding:  
Therefore I hate every false way.  
(105) Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, 
and a light unto my path"  
-Psalm 119: 104-105

The lamps represent the Word of God and the Word is vital because it contains the light (Holy Spirit) that will show them "the Way."  In other words, it is the Spirit of God that will illuminate the path they are to take, because the Spirit of God resides in the Word of God . . . and Jesus Christ is the "Word" and the "Way."

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14)

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

These virgins know the value of Christ and His Word.  They know that He is also "the Way" to the Father and the Kingdom of Heaven.  But let us not forget the importance of all Christ is.  He also is "the Truth," as much as He is the Way, for we are only "going forth," if we are following Truth.  And without the Truth, we would never be able to recognize the Way or find the Life God intended us to have now and for eternity.

Today we have a "word-fad" that is reminiscent of this idea of "going forth."  A "word-fad" is some word or phrase that is unnecessary, yet repetitiously used to fill in sentences, until it makes one nauseous and wanting to scream whenever it is heard.  One such word a few years ago was the word, "basic" and "basically."

However, the word-fad phrase right now is: "going forward."  Some use this phrase just to sound trendy and fill in a blank spot in their sentence, but others desire to use it to change our minds about what "going forward" really means.

By hearing this phrase over and over again, they would have us believe that our objective in life is to "go forward" regardless of the cost or without considering where "going forward" is ultimately going to take us.  Certainly the devil, himself, is committed to going forward, trampling anything that gets in the way of his agenda. 

However, just moving forward does not guarantee progress or growth.  If we do not see the Way clearly and are not committed to the reality of Truth, then instead of arriving at the imagined destination of our choosing, we may very likely lose our Life by falling into a pit or off a cliff.

The Only Way

This is the path or "the Way" that will lead the virgins to the Bridegroom and the Kingdom of Heaven where the marriage supper will take place.

Why will the virgins need their lamps to see the path?

This is a most important journey.  The virgins have been called and are now attempting to go forth through a very dark, fallen world full of spiritual as well as physical dangers and pitfalls, to meet the Bridegroom, Jesus, at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  "And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Revelation 19:9) 

But there is a huge difference between being "called," being "chosen," and being "faithful." 

Click here for further info regarding "The Called, and Chosen, and Faithful."

(2) And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

Unfortunately these ten unmarried women are not all the same.  

Five of the virgins are wise, but five of them are foolish.

(3) They that were foolish took their lamps,
and took no oil with them: 

The foolish virgins make a crucial mistake.  They fail to take any oil with them for their lamps.

What good is a lamp, if you don't have any fuel to light the lamp?  If a lamp does not have the specific type of fuel to function as a lamp, these virgins will not be able to follow the Way to the Marriage Feast and will be left in a very dangerous situation, stumbling around in the dark.

. . . And what good is the Word of God (lamp) if it cannot serve its intended purpose?--if it is a rewritten perversion of the Word or if the real Word just sits on the shelf gathering dust?

. . . Or how can one benefit from the Word, if it is read as just another text book, instead of being given preeminence and welcomed into the heart of a person as the actual Word/Voice of the Living God?

Considering this fact, we see how it becomes possible to memorize the Word of God--to thoroughly know what the Word says, without ever really allowing the Word of God to penetrate our heart and engage our life or result in a genuine relationship with Christ.

(4) But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

There are also five wise virgins.  Since wisdom comes from the Word of God, we know that these virgins are wise because they long to hear the sound of the Voice of the One they love.  So they keep recalling everything He has ever done and ever said, meditating on His every Word and action, in order to find the strength and guidance they need to follow the Way He has set before them.

When the Word of God is preeminent and valued, the Holy Spirit, which resides in the Word, will illuminate the Word, providing the correct interpretation so the true Bride of Christ will be prepared to see the path she must follow to meet Him at the Marriage Supper.

One characteristic of wisdom is found in the ability to understand that life is filled with times of famine as well as times of feasting and that it is, therefore, wise to prepare.  "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth" (Proverbs 27:1).

The wise virgins know that carrying lamps will do them no good unless they remember that their lamp (Word of God) also requires oil/the Spirit of God to light their way, therefore they faithfully pay attention to the details and bring oil for their lamps.

(5) While the bridegroom tarried
they all slumbered and slept.

Jesus Christ will tarry.  He will give us as much time as possible and every opportunity to receive His Word, so one day we can be blessed by living forever in the new home He is presently preparing for those who really love Him.  (John 14:2)

While Christ's arrival is delayed, we find them all sleeping.  There is nothing wrong with resting while they wait, but some of them are not ready and should, no doubt, have been preparing instead of sleeping.

(6) And at midnight there was a cry made,
Behold, the bridegroom cometh; 
go ye out to meet him.

Nevertheless, His coming will not be delayed forever.  One day, very soon, we will hear a cry announcing His return and will be instructed to go forth to meet Him.  Perhaps some of us have already heard the cry and are already preparing to enter into the Marriage Feast.

Trimming the Lamps

(7) Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

When all of the virgins heard the cry, they arose and "trimmed" (Greek #2889) their lamps, meaning that they prepared their lamps and made their lamps ready for that spiritual journey through the final events of this fallen world toward that moment when they will finally see the face of the One they love with all their heart.

True love is a very splendid thing--when it is mutual.  Marriage without love is a disaster. 

Jesus died so His Bride could have eternal life.  He is not going to enter into a loveless, disastrous marriage.  Since the Holy Spirit is God and "God is love," (1 John 4:8) we can conclude that these five wise virgins are actually igniting the love God has placed in their heart as they have eagerly received His Spirit, which resides in His Word. 

This is not just a story about personal choices.  This is a story that describes genuine faith and love.  Neither genuine faith nor real love can be faked--either you have it or you don't.  Real faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).  It is impossible for anyone to conjure up real faith.  Jesus is the sole "Author and Finisher of our faith"  (Hebrews 12:2)He is the One who gives us the faith to be faithful.

For this reason, the parable of the Ten Virgins is a "So Be It" story.  Some will arrive and some will not.  So be it.  God already knows who the five foolish virgins are and who the five wise virgins are.  Nothing surprises Him.

However, it is also a "Wake Up" call for those who really love Him, but have become distracted by the things of this world.  Now is the time to focus on the most important thing in life--the preeminence of Jesus Christ and His Word.  When we really love Jesus, He and His Word will be preeminent in our life.

As time was running out, some of the foolish virgins began to stir from their slumber:

(8) And the foolish said unto the wise,
Give us of your oil;
for our lamps are gone out.

The foolish became anxious because they realized that they were really not prepared to meet the Bridegroom.  Now they wanted the wise virgins to give them their oil, because their own lamps had gone out.

(9) But the wise answered, saying,
Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you:
but go ye rather to them that sell and buy for yourselves.

The wise virgins would not be wise if they were selfish.  Therefore, there has to be another reason why the wise virgins would not give the foolish virgins any of their oil.  Perhaps this type of "oil" is not something one person can give to another, but is something each virgin must acquire herself.  Because of this, each wise virgin only had just enough oil for her own personal journey.

So they told the foolish virgins to go purchase oil for themselves.  But it was too late.

(10) And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came;
and they that were ready went in with him
to the marriage: and the door was shut.

While the foolish virgins went off to try to acquire oil at the last minute, the Bridegroom came in the meantime and the wise virgins--those who had been prepared and ready--went in with Him to the marriage.  And the door was shut.

(11) Afterward came also the other virgins, saying,
Lord, Lord, open to us.

Later the foolish virgins, who had failed to follow His Word and prepare, came and begged the Lord to open the door and let them in.

(12) But he answered and said,
Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

When He heard them knocking, He told them that He did not even know them.  They were not the Bride that had developed a deep relationship with Him through His Word.  They were not among those who loved the sound of His Voice and were prepared and waiting for Him.  They were, in fact, strangers to Him.

(13) Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day
nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
--Matthew 25:1-13

Here is the lesson of Christ:  Watch.  You do not know the exact moment He is coming back for those who really love Him.  Be ready.  Be prepared.  Be listening to His Word and following His will, taking the path He has laid out for you, so you can find your way through this dark, fallen world to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Revelation 19:
(8) And to her was granted that she should be arrayed
in fine linen, clean and white:
for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
(9) And he saith unto me,
Write,
Blessed are they which are called unto 
the marriage supper of the Lamb.
And he saith unto me,
These are the true sayings of God.
(10) And I fell at his feet to worship him.  
And he said unto me, See thou do it not:
I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren
that have the testimony of Jesus:
worship God:
for the testimony of Jesus
is the spirit of prophecy.


God is identifying the Bride with this mark of purity, specifically telling John to describe it in the BOOK/Holy Bible.  God, Himself, is going to grant the genuine Bride of Christ real, tangible, obvious purity that comes from the imputed righteousness of Christ via His payment for her sin through His shed blood.  This will distinguish her from the false bride/false "church"/Whore of Revelation that seduces people and nations through her uncleanness.  

While the genuine Bride's purity is not something she can accomplish herself--because of her genuine relationship with Christ--He will give her the ability and motivation [the Lamp and the Oil/the Word and His Spirit] to help her prepare so she will be pure, ready, and waiting for His return:

That He might sanctify and cleanse it 
[speaking of His genuine Church/Bride] 
with the washing of water by the Word.  
That He might present it to Himself 
a glorious church, 
not having spot or wrinkle, 
or any such thing; 
but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5:26-27

How will the true Bride know prophecy?  How will she be able to discern the signs of the times and understand what lies ahead?

The true Bride is indwelt by the Spirit of God which resides in the Word of God.  It is the Spirit of God who will lead her, because Jesus Christ is the Word. 

By knowing the Word, the Bride knows who the real Jesus is--what He has said, what He has done, and what He is likely to do in the future, because of the unbreakable promises He has made. 
  
To find absolute assurance of salvation right now,
scroll to the top of this page
and
click on the gift wrapped in gold on the left side.
Be prepared to be eternally blessed. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

. . . . . . . . . . . . . What Do Sheep Eat? . . . . . . .


But he [Jesus] answered and said,
It is written,
Man shall not live
by bread alone,
but by every word
that proceedeth out
of the mouth of God.

Our Creator has told us that we have been designed to eat two types of "food"--physical bread and spiritual "bread" (i.e. Word of God), therefore, we can only conclude that those who do not feed on the Word of God are only half alive.  They are in fact, the walking dead, regardless how religious they may appear to be.  (This means personally feeding on the Word daily, as opposed to waiting for someone else to read us the Word, to preach the Word to us, or interpret the Word for us).

This Concerns Survival
Discover what sheep must eat to survive.
at
Free Blog Book:  
Mystery of the First Love Lost
Mystery of Faith - Chapter 5 - Part 4

Friday, December 27, 2013

. . . . . . .Have You Forgotten to Remember?

Or have you been deceived?

. . .Remembering is not an option.
  
Read:  
Mystery of Faith - "The First Works" - Ch.6 - Pt. 2
Click Here:
"Mystery of the First Love Lost"

Thursday, December 5, 2013

. . . . . . . . .Faith: A Giant Leap into the Dark?

Discover the Truth
Read:  "Mystery of Faith" - Ch. 6 - Pt.1
Click Here:
Mystery of the First Love Lost 
(Then see chapter list on left side of page)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Paranormal Deathbed Experiences

. . .What Do You Believe?
by
Kay Frances Graves
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Have the gates of death been opened unto thee?
or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
-Job 38:17
 
There is no man that hath power over the spirit
to retain the spirit;
neither hath he power in the day of death. . .
-Ecclesiastes 8:8
 
Belief Matters

The Word of God tells us that we have no power over death--death comes regardless what we try to do to stop it.  Nevertheless, we also have our Creator's unfailing Word that what we believe about death definitely determines where we will spend eternity.
 
You don't believe the Word of God?  You don't believe in eternity?  You think that Heaven and Hell are just a figment of someone's imagination and when you are dead, you are dead?
 
We can believe whatever we want.  We are free to do so.  We are free to gamble with the Heaven and Hell concept, if we like.  But if we are wise, we will consider the consequences--because what if we happen to be wrong?
 
Even what we believe about "belief" may matter more than we realize.  Our ultimate destination depends on how we define that little "B" word.  While we are free to believe whatever we want, if what we believe is just a figment of our own imagination that has nothing to do with reality, we have just made the worst decision of our lives.  By choosing our own opinion, or someone else's opinion, over God's unfailing eternal Word; we have chosen the reality of Hell by default.
 
Remember, whatever God predicted in the past, has always come to pass.  So how can we possibly think that everything God has told us about death, Heaven, Hell, and eternity will not come to pass in the future as well?
 
God's Definitions vs. Man's Definitions
 
Jesus Christ is the "Word" in the flesh.  In Genesis we can read the historical account of how the entire world was created as a result of God speaking all things into existence.  Since God invented/created the mind of man to use the method of words to think and communicate, He alone is able to give us the correct definition of the Words He uses.  To apply our own definition to words is to place our own opinion above His declared definition, thereby usurping God's position and trying to make ourselves the god of our own life.
 
Noah Webster understood this when he wrote America's first dictionary, published in 1828, which defined the English language according to the Word of God, based on the original languages of the Bible.

When God defines the word, "belief," in the context of "eternal life," it is found in the Greek word, (#4100) pisteuĊ.  It means "trust," "dependence on," and "commitment to," which indicates that God expects Jesus Christ to have "preeminence" in the lives of those He has created.

On the other hand, man's definition of the word, "belief," today usually means "opinion" based on one's own imagination or the opinions, interpretations, and imaginations of others who have influenced his thinking.  Again, this places man at the center of his own universe, thinking that he or anything or anyone he wants to call "god," (other than the real God) is god.

Hmmm. . .I do believe it is going to rain (i.e. in my opinion/I think it is going to rain).

While we are free to believe whatever we want, to define "belief" incorrectly, is to bring about eternally disastrous results.  Therefore it is wise to face our mortality, consider what the Word of God says, and make the right choice now--while we still can.

Have the gates of death been opened unto thee?
or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
-Job 38:17

Have the Gates of Death ever been opened to anyone who has lived to tell about it?
 
Throughout history, the Bible records three ways we leave this earth:
 
          1)  by death
          2)  by translation/rapture
          3)  by resurrection 
 
Death:  Stephen at the Gates of Death
 
 (54) When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart,
and they gnashed on him [Stephen] with their teeth.
 
 Stephen had been preaching to a crowd of people, who suddenly went crazy.  They could not stand to hear the truth of the Word of God, which brought strong conviction to their hearts because of their evil ways, and rejection of Christ.  They were so hate-filled that they actually attacked Stephen, biting him with their teeth!
 
 (55) But he, being full of the Holy Ghost,
looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God,
and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
(56) And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened,
and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
(57) Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears,
and ran upon him with one accord. . .
-Acts 7:54-57
 
While Stephen was in the process of being stoned to death, the Spirit of God came to him and filled him with His Spirit.  He was given the ability to actually look into heaven and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God in all His glory.
 
Translation:  Enoch and Elijah "Taken"
 
 (23) And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
(24) And Enoch walked with God:
and he was not; for God took him.
-Genesis 5:23-24
 
(11) And it came to pass, as they still went on and talked,
that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire,
and parted them both asunder;
and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
(12) And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father,
the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.
And he saw him no more:
and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
2 Kings 2:11-12
 
Yes, Elijah was "taken."  He was taken by God.  But I would not be too eager to be "taken" unless I have the assurance that I have a genuine relationship with God through Jesus Christ, because God Almighty is not the only one "taking" people these days.
 
Resurrection:  Body Waking from Death Sleep
 
When Lazarus died, Jesus referred to his death as "sleep" (John 11:11) and later made it clear that He was, indeed, speaking of Lazarus' death (John 22:14, 12:1).
 
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, we do not find any record in the Scriptures that Lazarus shared his death experience with anyone, which leads us to assume that death for Lazarus really was a type of "sleep."  Lazarus didn't experience anything until Jesus resurrected him, because he was asleep and did not know what was going on around him until then.
 
Resurrection and Translation:  Return of Christ
 
 (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,
that we which are alive and remain unto [until the time of]
the coming of [the return of] the Lord
shall not prevent them which are asleep.
(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 shall rise first:
(17) Then we which are alive 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.
-1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
 
 The point is:  Sooner or later we will face God, Himself.  Judgment is coming and a determination will take place regarding where each of us is going to spend eternity.
 
 "Have the gates of death been opened" unto anyone today?
 
Has anyone "seen the doors of the shadow of death?"
 
What about "near-death experiences?"
 
 Paranormal Experiences
 
Through mankind's efforts to eliminate the reality of God and consequently avoid submission to Him and His Word, man has unfortunately followed the broad road of deception that will one day end beyond the gates of Hell.
 
This deception has been designed by satan and his agents to hinder focus and create confusion in the minds of men, rendering them unable to correctly define the Word of God and accurately interpret reality.
 
Therefore when people find themselves victims of paranormal experiences they have been influenced to believe that these experiences are from good aliens or evil aliens, fairies, spirits of dearly (and often not so dearly) departed humans that "were not able to successfully pass over," or the "Angel of Death" who, they believe, comes for every person at the time of death.
 
Even "religious" people, who are scripturally ignorant, often believe the "good angels" are somehow involved in every unusual occurrence, UFO, or unexplainable chilling breeze they feel or ball of light they happen to see.
 
Near-death Experiences
 
The Bible tells us nothing about any "Angel of Death."
 
On the other hand, the Word of God has a lot to say about good angels--the messengers of God--as well as demons, fallen angels, and evil spirits.
 
Many people today claim to have had near-death experiences.  Some of the reported experiences are wonderful, but others are terrifying.  Nevertheless, they are all life-changing.
 
Why are some experiences wonderful, while others are terrifying?
 
Only Christians, who are familiar with the Word of God, are able to see the connection between the type of belief system we have and the type of experience one will have when the gates of death actually begin to open for us.  God has specifically outlined in His Word who Jesus Christ really is, what it really means to "believe," and what a real realtionship with Christ looks like.
 
Any other definition than believing God's definition with all our heart, mind, and spirit, will end in disaster.  Many who "believed" (presumed in their opinion) that going to church and being a "good person" was the way to Heaven will be very surprised and disappointed on the last day, when Christ proclaims that He never knew them because they missed Heaven by default, when they decided to live life their own way or someone else's way, instead of God's Way, as specified in His Holy Word, the Bible.
 
 
 Have the gates of death been opened unto thee?
or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
-Job 38:17
 
 
 
Would this question from the Book of Job have been asked, if it were not possible for some people to see the gates of death being opened?--and living to tell about it?
 
We have the Apostle Stephen's testimony to confirm that he saw the "gates of death" opening as he was being murdered in the street.  Nevertheless, this was a wonderful experience for Stephen because the gates of death opened to a view of Heaven where he saw Jesus waiting for him.
 
But for many others, the gates of death open to a view of Hell, as dark shadows reach out to carry them away into a terrifying, pitch black dimension, instead of the comforting stairway filled with the light of Heaven that leads to the mansion Jesus has prepared for them in His Father's house located on a street lined with pure, transparent gold.
 
Jesus assures true believers that they have a place in Heaven when He said:
 
 (1) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God,
believe also in me.
(2) In my Father's house are many mansions:
if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
(3) And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again, and receive you unto myself;
that where I am, there ye may be also.
-John 14:1-3
 
And the twelve gates were twelve pearls:
every several gate was of one pearl:
and the street of the city was pure gold,
as it were transparent glass.
-Revelation 21:21
 
 Deathbed Experiences
 
We can sometimes understand why a very wicked person would not have a happy deathbed experience.  Even unbelievers, can comment with an emotional response, as they witness the death of an evil person, that "If there is a Hell, this person should be going there."
 
But when a loved one, someone we consider to be "a good person," has a terrifying deathbed experience, it is difficult to face the fact that one does not always have to be obviously evil to go to Hell, because our eternal life does not depend on any good works we do.  In searching for a way to interpret a terrifying scene in this case, it might be easier to compromise the Word of God, get confused, and consider that even good people must have to face some type of "Death Angel" at the time of death.
 
Unfortunately it is this very stubborn disbelief that anyone, who performed so many "good works" during his lifetime, could ever go to Hell, that keeps us from finding the truth regarding salvation ourselves.  It just seems so unfair, because by only looking at death from our own perspective, we become unable to see God's perspective and the true value of the death of Christ, His preeminence, and the importance of following the specifics of His Word and will.
 
The Bible plainly tells us that there isn't any way our own good works can save us or guarentee us a place in Heaven.  It is "by grace through faith" that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8). 
 
The good works we do are a result of our genuine relationship with Christ and these works will be assigned to us according to His specific will.  They are not the way to salvation.  Jesus Christ is the only Way.
 
This means that all that is necessary to miss out on Heaven, is to reject what Christ has done on our behalf and avoid a genuine relationship with Him through His Word and Spirit.
 
He desires to have a saving relationship with us, but we must also desire to have a relationship with Him.  This relationship must be the most important thing in our life--because He is preeminent.
 
 (25) For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world,
and lose himself, or be cast away?
(26) For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words,
of him shall the Son of man be ashamed,
when he shall come in his own glory,
and in his Father's and of the holy angels.
-Luke 9:25-26
 
(21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven.
(22) Many will say to me in that day,
Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in they name?
and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works?
(23) And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
-Matthew 721-23
 
 Death and the Wicked
 
 There is no man that hath power over the spirit
to retain the spirit;
neither hath he power in the day of death:
and there is no discharge in that war;
neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
-Ecclesiastes 8:8
 
(11) God judgeth the righteous,
and God is angry with the wicked every day.
(12) If he [the wicked] turn not [repent]
he [God] will whet his sword;
he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.
(13) He [God] hath also prepared for him [the wicked]
the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows
against the persecutors.
(14) Behold, he [the wicked]
travaileth [is committed/pushes forward] with iniquity,
and hath conceived mischief,
and brought forth falsehood.
(15) He [the wicked] made a pit, and digged it,
and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
(16) His mischief shall return upon his own head,
and his violent dealing
shall come down upon his own pate [head].
(17) I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness:
and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.
-Psalms 7:11-17 
 
 When the End Comes
 
 (12) When he maketh inquisition for blood,
he remembereth them:
he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.
(13) Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble
which I suffer of them that hate me,
thou that liftest me up from the gates of death:
(14) That I may shew forth all thy praise
in the gates of the daughter of Zion:
I will rejoice in thy salvation.
(15) The heathen
[those who do not have a real relationship with Christ]
are sunk down in the pit that they made:
in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.
(16) The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth:
the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.
Higgaion. Selah.
(17) The wicked shall be turned into hell,
and all the nations that forget God. 
For the needy shall not always be forgotten:
the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.
(19) Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail:
let the heathen be judged in thy sight.
(20) Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations
may know themselves to be but men.
Selah.
-Psalms 9:12-20
 
 Christ saves the spiritually poor and "humble," those who cannot defend themselves or who know that they are unable to rid themselves of their own sin.  They understand that only the Blood of Christ can take away their sin and they are sincerely grateful for all He has done to save them from the terrors of death and Hell--grateful enough to submit to His preeminence.
 
Safety and Eternal Life Only Found in Christ
 
John said:
 (17) And when I saw him [Jesus Christ],
I fell at his feet as deadl
And he [Jesus] laid his right hand upon me,
saying unto me,
 
"Fear not; I am the first and the last:
(18) I am he that liveth, and was dead;
and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen;
 
and have the keys of hell and of death."
 
-Revelation 1:17:18
 
 We cannot stop death--We can only prepare for it.
 
To find assurance of eternal life with Christ and reserve your home in Heaven, scroll to the top of this page and click on the gift wrapped in gold on the left side of the page.
 
Then leave a comment here to testify to your new life in Christ.