SUBJECT: THE UNSCRIPTURAL TESTIMONY OF PEOPLE SUPPOSEDLY COMING BACK FROM THE DEAD AFTER GAINING ACCESS TO HEAVEN AND HELL THEREBY CAUSING CONFUSIONS, ILLUSION, AND DISTRACTIONS. OPENING TEXT: As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Col 2: 6-10.
People of God!
It is no news that we are already in the last days, the battle for the souls of men is fierce, both God and the devil are more interested in the lot more than ever, and no doubt the end of all things is near. Romans 13:11. I am writing this on the behalf of the truly redeemed of the Lord everywhere, partakers of the heavenly calling and joint-heirs of the kingdom of God who understands the times and seasons and are fully persuaded of the responsibility attached with CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH EARNESTLY Jude 3.
There have been some messages that have been circulating round the body of Christ now in recent times via several ministrations on the pulpit in meetings, crusades, videos, audios etc. These messages have been sourced from the people who supposedly died and came back from the dead with unusual testimony of heaven and hell. However, this treatise or better put, scriptural analysis is not intended to pass judgment although correction and rebuke is permitted in the body. 1Cor6:2-5, Rom14:13, 1Cor4:5, 2Tim3:15-16. But to present the whole counsel of God scripturally regarding New Birth/Salvation, Eternal Life, and the Kingdom of God [ Heaven].
The following are the assertions of those who supposedly have gone to heaven and hell and back although not exhaustive;
1. That there are many bus-stops on the way to heaven where matters like repentance, restitution, sanctification etc each individually will be sorted.
2. That the use of certain things totally disqualifies anyone access to heaven, things like jewelleries, wristwatches, gold, make-ups, attachment hairs, wool, female trousers etc and even eating certain food because they are all made from hell. This is also in agreement with some denominational doctrines today.
3. That salvation depends on works and personal uprightness in following certain traditions, rules, and legalism.
4. That most renowned men and women of God that have slept in the Lord are now in hell because of the aforementioned points.
5. That most renowned men and women of God still living with their ministries are on the way to hell also if they don’t change in accordance with the new gospel brought back from the dead, etc.
Nonetheless, the following is my submission briefly as found in the infallible and perfect law of liberty. James1:25, 2Pet1:20-21, Ps 19:7-11, 2Tim3:15-16, 2Cor3:17-18.
1.The scripture did not reveal any such bus-stops on the way to heaven after death. But this much is certain;
After death, is judgment Heb 9:27.
All men/flesh dead or alive will someday appear before the judgment throne of God Rev20:11-12.
Books will be opened. The book of Life and other books. Whosoever is not found written in the book of Life will automatically go to hell. Rev20:15.
Heaven and Hell [second death] is real. Matt7:12-14, 21. Rev20:14, Rev21:1,8
2. The criteria for salvation/new birth 2Cor5:17, Acts4:12, John3:3-5, John1:12 is simple and it is two things;
Believe in your heart Jesus Christ and that God raised him from the dead Rom10:8-9
Confess Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour Rom10:10-13. Anyone who does those two things is perfectly saved by grace through faith, and not by works. Eph2:1-8-10, Rom3:24. The name of such a one is written automatically in the Lamb’s book of life. Phil4:3, Rev3:5 and is given access and entrance into the kingdom of heaven Rev21:23-27, Rev12:10. And they become part of God’s kingdom now [even while on earth] Eph 1:5-7, exhibiting righteousness, peace, joy, power in the HolyGhost Rom14:17,1Cor4:20 because of what happened within them Gal2:20, Rom5:2.
Now salvation is a continuous process. It is indeed a spiritual process of exclusively conforming to the image of Christ Jesus Rom8:29, John17:3, Phil3:10-11. Conformity to Christ is the hallmark of Christian growth, nothing else matters. However, this is in three stages, as in what takes place in us as human beings because man is spirit, he has a soul, and he lives in a body.
Stage one: The spiritman or innerman is perfectly and eternally saved. Eph2:1, 1Cor15:22,45, Rom5:19,7:6,8:11,1Cor6:17 at conversion instantly.
Stage two: The soul is being saved gradually as we walk with God daily.Rom12:1-2, Eph4:20-24, Col3:1-3.
Stage three: The body will only and finally be saved at the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the end or completeness of our salvation experience. 1Pet1:9, Col3:4, 1John3:1-3.
Friends! You must understand that we are no longer under the law but under grace. Rom6:14. Jesus Christ is the perfection of the law Heb7:19-22, Gal3:13, 24-27, Rom3:20-24. Therefore, it suffices to say here that the use of jewelleries, wristwatches, gold, make-ups, attachment hairs, wool, female trousers etc and eating certain food is not a SIN and cannot be a SIN as far as it is done unto the glory of God and by FAITH. Rom14:22-23, 1Cor10:29-31. However, when all this and so many more of everything that is common to man E.g going to toilet, combing your hair, beholding yourself in the mirror, etc is done with obsession, without giving reference to God, with the intention of causing another to fall from grace, it becomes a SIN OF IDOLATRY. If any act or deed or action no matter how light takes the place of God in the heart of the believer, it becomes a sin of idolatry 1sam15:23, Acts17:16, 1Cor10:14, Gal5:20, Col3:5 for which like every other sin, the wage is death [second death/hell] Rom6:23. God’s law which is LOVE [summing up Old Testament laws] is now written in our hearts, no longer tablets of stone Heb8:10. Every believer through the Spirit of God can live out the life of Christ personally and successfully on earth. John1:12, Rom8:14.
3. That salvation depends on works is not scriptural. Eph2:5.The first stage of salvation [that happened in the spiritman] is totally by GRACE Titus3:5. It has no effort or work of man included. God did it alone, freely giving us eternal life for coming to Him. The second stage of salvation [happening in the soul] that begins immediately at conversion is also not void of GRACE 1Cor15:10, John15:5. But requires the continual cooperation of man to be effective and productive. This is where what appears to be a working out [by way of constantly choosing to obey the Lord daily] comes in. Phil2:12, 3:12-14, Col3:1-5, 4:1-6. And yet His grace abounds more on us to WILL AND DO OF HIS GOOD PLEASURE. Phil2:13, 2Cor12:9, 1Cor10:13. Every believer must take a personal responsibility to serve the Lord and live wholly for Him. Rom12:1-2,5-8,11, 2Tim2:15 and depart from iniquity 2Tim2:19,21,22. For everything done in the body [as our walk with God and work for God] will all be tested or examined with FIRE [to ensure it was done in LOVE Gal5:7] 1Cor3:13-15, James5:3, 1Pet1:7, 2Pet3:7, Matt25:34-40. The third stage of salvation will only happen when Jesus Christ returns to take away his ready-bride [church/body of Christ] 1Cor15:51-54.
4. That most patriots of faith are now in hell because of the aforementioned factors could not be further from the truth. Since, it is very clear from scriptures the already explicit conditions for eternity. Only if they defaulted at any point in their life while on earth Heb 12:14 and didn’t repent until death would they have missed heaven. 1John2:1-5, 9-10.
5. That most renowned men and women of God and their ministries are on the way to hell is not for any man or spirit to judge. Surely, the Lord knows those that are his John10:14 and everyman will give account of his stewardship to God someday. Rom14:11-12. Jesus Christ is still the Saviour and Lord of his church otherwise called the ‘body of Christ’ and he watches over it jealously. John17:11-26, Titus2:14, Phil2:15, Eph5:26-27. Such that the gate of hell can never prevail over it. Matt16:18.
The manual for our living is the scripture 1Pet1:19-21,25, 2Tim3:15-16, and it is our road map to heaven as pilgrims on earth. We indeed are looking forward with HOPE to the second coming of our SAVIOUR AND KING to reign with him. Rom15:4,16-26, 2Cor3:12, Gal5:5, Eph1:18,2:12, Col1:5,23,27, 1Thess5:8, Titus1:2, 2:13, 3:7, Heb3:6,11,19, 1Pet1:3,13,21, 3:15, 1John3:3. Without this HOPE, we are of all men most miserable. 1Cor4:4, Eph2:12. The gospel we have believed is the gospel of Jesus Christ Rom1:16, Phil1:27, 1Cor2:2. Any other gospel is surely from the devil 2Cor11:4,14, Gal1:6-9, 2Cor4:4. The kingdom of God does not even come with observation Luke17:20-21. It has only regard for being in it already and living a kingdom-centered life James2:5, Acts1:3, Rom14:17, 1Cor4:20. This understanding will reveal in our heart the LOVE OF GOD towards the world and especially the household of faith Gal6:10, Eph2:19. Which is the paramount thing in our lives today for God is LOVE Gal5:7, Rom 13:8-10, 1 John4:17-18, as we yield continuously to the Spirit of God. Rom5:5, 8:9,14.
Friends! It is noteworthy for me to add that all the instances of those that were miraculously raised from the dead in the scriptures did not include bizarre testimonies of heaven and hell. 1Kings17:18-23, 2Kings4:32-36, 2Kings13:20-21, Mark5:41-42, Matt11:5, Acts3:26, Acts9:40-41, Acts20:9-10. Even the story of Jesus’ friend, Lazarus who was dead the longest for four days didn’t have such testimony John11:43-45, 12:1,9,27 else scripture would have recorded it. And lastly the classic story of heaven and hell told by Jesus Christ himself Luke16:20-25 showed plainly that hardly would any testimony of heaven and hell make any difference to the living if the scriptures, teachers, preachers of the Word today will not be believed. It is also fascinating that Jesus’ description of the afterlife from this story is so glaringly at variance to these new revelations brought back from the dead by these so called ministers.
Because of the peril of the end time and last days, it is very possible that such bizarre revelations of heaven and hell were manufactured by the devil 2Thess2:1-12 in order to shipwreck the faith of many by the release of errors Matt22:29, 1John4:6 and heresies 1Tim4:1-6. But there will always be a REMNANT BY GRACE who will stand tall for the truth 2Cor13:8, Rom1:18, John18:37, 17:17,19, 14:6 and the whole counsel of God for humanity/mankind against all odds. Rom11:5. The counsel of Jesus Christ for such a time as this holds very true. Matt15:6-11. However, for as many that would ultimately miss heaven and make hell, their status is no more than the fact that they must have been overtaken completely by the works of flesh. This is also explicit from the following scriptures. Gal5:19-21, 1Cor6:9-10, 1Cor15:50, Eph5:5, Rom1:28-32, Rev21:8. The Good news here is that we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Heb10:39, Phil4:5.
People of God! We are not witnessing the gospel of Christ through fear Heb 2:15. We are witnessing the gospel of Christ through LOVE John3:16, Rom5:5, 12:9, and the finished work of Christ Rom8:1-2, Gal3:13. Who has become for us our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption 1Cor1:30, 2Cor5:21. Because the wrath of man cannot work God’s righteousness James1:20. 2Thess5:21, Eph5:10. I hereby commend you to God and the word of his grace which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified Acts20:32, Eph5:8-11, Phil4:4-7. And it is my prayer that the Holy Spirit 1John2:27 of God will order and preserve our lives unto the appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory now and forever. Amen.
Yours In Christ,
Emuze Godfrey O.
Sons Of Prophet Ministries Intl.
Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.