Hidden Messages in Genesis 5

Excerpted from the book Learn the Bible in 24 Hours by Dr. Chuck Missler:

This section will begin with a riddle: Methusaleh is well known to be the oldest man in the Bible, yet he died before his father.  How can that be?

Enoch, Methusaleh’s father, didn’t die; he was transferred directly to heaven without passing through death (“raptured,” as some would say).  It is interesting that the oldest prophecy in the Bible was uttered by Enoch before the flood of Noah and concerned the Second Coming of Christ.  (It is not found here in Genesis but in the next-to-last book of the Bible, Jude).
Another fact about Enoch is that at age sixty-five, something very special happened in his life.  From that day on, for over three hundred years, he “walked with God.”  It seems that when his son was born, he was told that as long as his son was alive, the forthcoming judgment of the flood (the flood of Noah) would be withheld.

Enoch thus named his son using two Hebrew roots: muth, which means “his death,” and shelac, which is a verb form that means “bring,” or “sent forth.”  So the name Methusaleh means “his death shall bring.”  The flood of Noah did not come as a surprise; it had been predicted for four generations.

The significance behind the  name Methusaleh also hints that a message might be hidden behind these other names found in chapter 5.  Adam had a son named Seth, Seth had a son named Enoch, and so on.  The problem with Genesis 5 is that these proper names are not translated for the reader from their Hebrew meanings, so you have to unravel these by digging into the meaning of the Hebrew roots that make up the names.

  • Adam: (adomah) “man”
  • Seth: “appointed” (Genesis 4:25)
  • Enosh: (from root anash, “to be incurable”) “mortal,” frail,” “miserable”
  • Kenan: “sorrow,” “dirge,” “elegy”
  • Mahalal’el: “the Blessed God” – (mahalal) “blessed”; (El) the name for God
  • Jared: (from the verb yaradh) “shall come down”
  • Enoch: “commencement” or “teaching”
  • Methusaleh: “his death shall bring” – muth, a root that means “death”; shalach means “bring” or “send forth”
  • Lamech: “despairing” (from which we get “lament” or “lamentation”)
  • Noah: (derived from nacham) “comfort” or “rest” (Genesis 5:29)

We now can look at the genealogy with more insight.  The sequence – Adam – Seth – Enosh – Kenan – Mahalaleel – Jared – Enoch – Methusaleh – Lamech – Noah – reads, in English, “Man [is] appointed mortal sorrow; [but] the blessed God shall come down teaching [that His] death shall bring [the] despairing rest.”

There are several profound lessons here.  First, here is a summary of the New Testament Gospel tucked away in a genealogy in the Torah.  This demonstrates something we will encounter throughout the Scripture: every detail is there by design.  It also tells us that God’s plan of redemption was not a knee-jerk reaction to chapter 3.  God had ordained it before the foundation of the world.

Yes, there are hidden messages in the Bible, and I don’t mean just the equidistant letter sequences that have caused such controversies in recent years.  There are dozens of other kinds of codes that don’t require a computer to decipher; they are there if you know how to look.  The Scripture is inexhaustible – you can never get to the bottom of its depth.  And that’s what you would expect from the Word of God.

Let me remind you: the New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed, and the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.  Many things in the Old Testament do not seem to make sense until you illuminate them with the New Testament.

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Words and Music…

Well-spoken words can impart a certain depth of meaning to the hearer.  Likewise, music can evoke passion in the heart of the one receiving the melodic notes.  However, when music and words are combined, and the Holy Spirit breathes on them…well, there are just no words to express that feeling!

So, it is in this mindset that I share the following song.  This is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest praise songs I have ever heard or had the pleasure and honor of singing.  I hope you enjoy as I did!  The chills are still running down  my spine as the final notes linger in the air…  I give you Total Praise:

Blessings!

You Reap What You Sow…

Good morning said a woman as she walked up to the man sitting on ground.

The man slowly looked up.

This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new.. She looked like she had never missed a meal in her life.

His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before..  “Leave me alone,” he growled….

To his amazement, the woman continued standing.

She was smiling — her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. “Are you hungry?” she asked.

“No,” he answered sarcastically. “I’ve just come from dining with the president. Now go away.”

The woman’s smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm. 

“What are you doing, lady?” the man asked angrily. “I said to leave me alone.

Just then a policeman came up. “Is there any problem, ma’am?” he asked..

“No problem here, officer,” the woman answered. “I’m just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?”

The officer scratched his head.  “That’s old Jack. He’s been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?”

“See that cafeteria over there?” she asked. “I’m going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile.” 

“Are you crazy, lady?” the homeless man resisted. “I don’t want to go in there!”  Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up.  “Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything.”

” This is a good deal for you, Jack” the officer answered. “Don’t blow it.” 

Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner..  It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived…

The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his table..  “What’s going on here, officer?” he asked.  “What is all this, is this man in trouble?”

“This lady brought this man in here to be fed,” the policeman answered. 

“Not in here!” the manager replied angrily. “Having a person like that here is bad for business..”

Old Jack smiled a toothless grin.  “See, lady. I told you so. Now if you’ll let me go. I didn’t want to come here in the first place.”   

The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled… “Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?” 

“Of course I am,” the manager answered impatiently. “They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms.” 

“And do you make a goodly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings?”

“What business is that of yours?”

I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company.”

“Oh.” 

The woman smiled again. “I thought that might make a difference.”  She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a giggle. “Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?”

“No thanks, ma’am,” the officer replied. “I’m on duty..” 

“Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?”

 “Yes, ma’am.. That would be very nice.” 

The cafeteria manager turned on his heel, “I’ll get your coffee for you right away, officer.” 

The officer watched him walk away. “You certainly put him in his place,” he said.

“That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this.”   

She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently..  “Jack, do you remember me?”

Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes.  “I think so — I mean you do look familiar.”

“I’m a little older perhaps,” she said. “Maybe I’ve even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry.”

“Ma’am?” the officer said questioningly.  He couldn’t believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.

“I was just out of college,” the woman began. “I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn’t find anything.  Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days.  It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat.”

Jack lit up with a smile.  “Now I remember,” he said..  “I was behind the serving counter.  You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.” 

“I know,” the woman continued. “Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it..  I was afraid that you would get into trouble… Then, when I looked over and saw you put the price of my food in the cash register, I knew then that everything would be all right.”

“So you started your own business?” Old Jack said.

“I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up.  Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered.” She opened her purse and pulled out a business card.. “When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons…He’s the personnel director of my company. I’ll go talk to him now and I’m certain he’ll find something for you to do around the office.”  She smiled.  “I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet… If you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you.”

There were tears in the old man’s eyes. “How can I ever thank you?” he said.

“Don’t thank me,” the woman answered. “To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus… He led me to you.” 

Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways….

“Thank you for all your help, officer,” she said.

“On the contrary, Ms. Eddy,” he answered. “Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And..And thank you for the coffee.”

Blessings!

Speak the Word!

Speak the Word!
Revised 1983 Edition
Copyright © 1982 by Marilyn Hickey

Your tongue is the most powerful weapon and force of your life.  Proverbs states that the tongue has the power of life and death in it.  In James 3, James states that you can control your whole body by that small member you have, called the tongue.  As a rudder guides a ship and a bit in the horse’s mouth cause him to go the right direction, so also your tongue can guide your thoughts, your emotions, and your body into paths of prosperity and success and be a tremendous power for good.

But on the negative side, your tongue can be used to damage and destroy your physical body, your thought life, and your emotional reactions.  Corrupt words can destroy those about us, for the Psalmist states that words are like the piercing of swords.   You set on fire the course of nature by what you speak because hell acts on your words.  Eve had to speak wrong words before Satan could act.  Hell can act only on your words, so every negative word you speak sets hell into activity.  This is why God spoke to Joshua (Joshua 1:8) and said,

    “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall
      meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do
      according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way
      prosperous and then you will have success.”  (NASV)

This little verse in Joshua is the key to all prosperity and success.  In fact, this is the only place the word success is found in the Bible.  Speaking God’s Word can make you successful in every area of your life.

What about those words spoken against us and our loved ones?  Will those negative confessions set hell into activity in our lives?  As always God’s Word has an answer.  It is found in Isaiah 54:17, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their righteousness is of me.”  Condemn wrong words spoken against you and yours in the name of Jesus.  Never condemn the person who speaks, only the words spoken against you.  Then these negative word weapons cannot harm you.

Defeat the enemy today.  Speak the following words of Life every day.  In harassing time, speak them three times a day.  God’s Word works.  Try it – you’ll love it!  Speaking aloud causes your spirit man to hear.  This is the way to grow strong in spirit.  Make your faith effective.  Say the Word, say the Word, say the Word.  “Let the words of my mouth be acceptable in your sight today, O Lord.”

KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM

I have an anointing from the Holy One and I know all things.  Today Jesus is made unto me wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, for I have the mind of Christ.  Through wisdom I build my house and by understanding it is established (1 John 2:20; 1 Cor. 1:30; 1 Cor. 2:16; James 3:17; Prov. 24:3).

God’s wisdom will put me over today for God’s wisdom is from above.  As I speak His words of wisdom, I will bring peace and mercy to my situation.  I shall not walk in darkness today for the Holy Spirit will guide me into all truth.  The Lord will give me understanding in all things and wisdom and knowledge shall stabilize my times for I have the mind of Christ (James 3:17; John 16:13; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Tim. 2:7; Isaiah 33:6; 1 Cor. 2:16).

Satan cannot overcome me for God has given me a mouth and wisdom the enemy cannot gainsay nor resist (Luke 21:15).

I walk not in darkness for it is given unto me to know the mysteries of the kingdom.  The Lord instructs me and teaches me in the way that I should go: He guides me with His eye (Matt. 13:11; Rom. 1:19; Ps. 32:8).

Today I am persuaded that I am filled with goodness, all knowledge, and ability to help my brother.  I am good in the sight of God and he gives me wisdom, and knowledge, and joy (Rom. 15:14; Ecc. 2:26).

I am filled with the knowledge of the Lord’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; I am a new creation in Christ; I am His workmanship created in Christ Jesus.  Because of this, I have His wisdom and my decisions are ordered of Him (Col. 1:9; 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Cor. 2:16).

God, the father of my Lord Jesus Christ, gives unto me the spirit of wisdom and revelation and my eyes are enlightened that I may know the hope of the glory of His inheritance in me and the exceeding greatness of His power that flows through me (Eph. 1:17-19).

JOY

Today I shall have joy because I shall speak words that bring life to me and others.  The joy of the Lord is the strength of my life, so I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Prov. 15:23; Prov. 25:11; Neh. 8:10; Phil. 4:13).

No corrupt communication shall come out of my mouth today for I speak words of faith and edification.  Therefore, my words bring life and joy
(Eph. 4:29).

I will have joy by the answers of my mouth so today I speak His words of power.  I will enter into the joy of the Lord today and I will be a helper of the joy of others.  I will speak words of faith to others (Prov. 15:23; Matt. 25:23; 2 Cor. 1:24).

I love righteousness and hate iniquity; therefore God, even my God, has anointed me with the oil of gladness above my fellows.  I put my trust in the Lord and rejoice; I shout for joy because he defends me; I love His name and am joyful in Him (Heb. 1:9; Ps. 5:11).

My heart rejoices in Him because I trust in His holy name.  I greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul is joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation.  He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.  Your Word is unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord God of Hosts (Isa. 61:10; Jer. 15:15).

HEALTH AND WEALTH

The Lord sent His Word and healed me and delivered me from all destruction.  I serve the Lord and he blesses my food and drink; and He takes away sickness from me and my family; He heals all our diseases (Ps. 107:20; Ex. 23:25; Ps. 103; 3b).

The Spirit of Him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in me; therefore He that raised up Christ from the dead has quickened my mortal body, making it immune to every sickness and disease (Rom. 8:11).

All my needs are met in Christ Jesus for my God supplies all my needs according to His riches in glory.  Christ has redeemed me from the curse of poverty, sickness and spiritual death; and because I am the seed of Abraham, blessing He will bless me and multiplying He will multiply me.  I receive the bountifulness of God to me today (Phil. 4:19; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 6:14).

I give and it is given unto me, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over (Luke 6:38).

Today I rejoice in all that I put my hand to, He blesses the labor of my hands.  I am happy and all is well with me and my household needs are met abundantly through Him who supplies all my needs (Ps. 128:1-2; Deut. 12:7, 18b).

Wealth and riches shall be in my house and my righteousness endures forever (Ps. 112:3).

SAFETY AND RELEASE FROM FEAR

Today there is safety for me and my loved ones for there is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord (Prov. 21:30).

I hear the voice of the Lord through His Word.  Therefore, I dwell safely and am quiet from fear of evil (Prov. 1:33).

My loved ones and I are delivered from the powers of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of His dear Son.  No evil shall befall, neither shall any plague come near my dwelling.  I overcome all the fiery darts of the enemy and nothing can harm me because greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world (Col. 1:13; Ps. 91:10; Eph. 6:16; 1 John 4:4).

I am established in righteousness: I am far from oppression; for I do not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near me.  God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (Isa. 54:14; 2 Tim. 1:7).

The Lord is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.  He has given me power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; so nothing shall by any means hurt me (Ps. 91:2; Luke 10:19).

FAMILY

God has set before me life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore I choose life; that both my seed and I may live.  I know that my home shall be in peace; and I shall visit my habitation and shall not sin.  I know also that my seed shall be great, and my offspring as the grass of the earth.  The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but my house shall stand (Deut. 30:19; Job 5:24-25; Prov. 12:7).

I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and I am saved, and my house (Acts 16:31).

The seed of the righteous shall be delivered.  The Lord is righteousness: he has cut asunder all the cords of the wicked in my household (Prov. 11:21; Ps. 129:4).

My children are wise and make my heart glad: they are taught of the Lord and great is the peace of my children (Prov. 27:11; Isa. 54:13).

I train up my child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6).

I teach God’s Word to my children, speaking of it when I sit in my house, and when I walk by the way, when I lie down, and when I rise up.  I tell my children of it, and my children tell their children and their children another generation (Deut. 11:19; Joel 1:3).

My sons and daughters (name them) will not forget God’s teachings but will let their hearts keep His commandments.  For length of days and years of life and peace will they add to them.  They do not let kindness and truth leave them; but bind them about their necks and write them upon the tablets of their hearts.  So will they find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man (Prov. 3:1-4).

You, God, will not allow my children’s feet to slip or to be moved except toward you.  You keep them and will not slumber (Ps. 121:3).

Lord, you are righteous; you have cut asunder the thick cords (list specific sins) by which the wicked Satan enslaved us (Ps. 129:4).

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

I let love be without dissimulation.  I abhor that which is evil, and I cleave to that which is good (Rom. 12:9).

And this I pray, that my love abounds yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; and I know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, and I am filled with all the fullness of God (Phil. 1:9; Eph. 3:19).

I thank you, Father, that you surround me with favor as with a shield and therefore I have favor with my family and co-workers and also with all the people with whom I come in contact today (Ps. 5:12).

Father, I thank you that, because we are both reconciled to Jesus by the blood of His cross, _______________________ and I are also reconciled to each other, regardless of anything we have done to each other in the past (Col.1:20-21).

FOR THOSE IN AUTHORITY

Today I pray for my President and those in authority over me that their hearts are in the hand of the Lord and He turns them whithersoever He will (Prov. 21:1).

Our nation, pastors and church are blessed because our God is the Lord and we are the people He has chosen for His inheritance (Ps. 33:12).

The Body of Christ and I are the righteousness of God; therefore I exalt this nation and bind principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness and render them ineffective against my nation, my church, my family, and myself, in the Name of Jesus (2 Cor. 5:12; Prov. 14:34; Eph. 6:12).

Our Incomplete Gospel…

Excerpted from John Bevere’s Driven By Eternity (Chapter 5: Pages 82-98)

OUR INCOMPLETE GOSPEL

Unfortunately, we only quote such Scriptures as, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9). So we tell people all they have to do is quote the magical prayer and they’re in. Yet, why don’t we also quote Jesus’ own words: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke46). As we’ve seen, “Lord” means Supreme Master, it carries the meaning of Ownership. So Jesus is saying, “Don’t call me Master and yet still own your own life, better to call me ‘Great Prophet’ or ‘Teacher’ so that you do not deceive yourself.”

So now let’s reexamine Jesus’ statement with which we opened this entire discussion: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 7:21a, NIV).

As we’ve already stated, not everyone who calls Jesus Christ Lord will be in heaven. So that emphatically tells us just saying the “sinner’s prayer” doesn’t secure us heaven. Then my question is this, “Jesus, who will enter into the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus answers by saying, “But only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21b, NIV).

Interesting. These were almost the exact words of Polycarp. So it is not confessing Jesus only, but confessing Jesus and doing the will of God that will get us into heaven. And the only way we can do His will is through the grace He gives us when we humble ourselves by denying our own lives and receiving Him as Lord. It is as simple as confessing, but the difficult part comes in yielding ourselves entirely to the reality of His lordship.

Hear now why I’ve stressed this point so passionately:

      When the Judgment Day comes, many will say to me,
      “Lord, Lord! In your name we spoke God’s message, by
      your name we drove out many demons and performed
      many miracles!” Then I will say to them, “I never knew
      you. Get away from me, you wicked people!”
           Matthew 7:22-23, TEV

In the late 1980’s, God gave me a spiritual vision. I saw a multitude so large you couldn’t see the end of it. It was a sea of humanity. I knew there were no atheists in this group, no self-acknowledged sinners, no followers of other religions; rather, all confessed being Christians through the lordship of Jesus. This multitude had come to the Judgment and were fully expecting to hear Jesus say, “Enter into the joy of your Lord; the Kingdom of God.” But instead they heard the words, “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 7:23).

I beheld the utter shock and terror upon their faces. Can you imagine feeling secure in a salvation you don’t possess? Can you imagine being exiled into the flames of hell forever when you fully believed you were heaven bound? Forever and ever having to deal with the memory that you, and possibly those who preached to you , took your eternal destination so lightly? Is there room for a seeker-friendly ministry that shuns the admonitions of Jesus? Can you understand why we are to proclaim the whole counsel of God, not just the positives or benefits? Yes, we love the benefits, and we should tell them and enjoy them, but not at the expense of neglecting the warnings!

I recall in a conference stating the reason for preaching these truths is that “I don’t want anyone screaming at me at the Judgment, ‘Why didn’t you tell me the truth!’, while their blood is dripping off my hands!”
After my session, a pastor immediately approached me quite upset; in fact, he was irate. He said, “How dare you put that Old Testament theology on us ministers. I won’t have blood dripping off my hands for not proclaiming the entire gospel.” He obviously liked the positive aspects but stayed clear of the confrontational portions of God’s Word.

I then said, “Sir, look at what Paul stated to the leaders of Ephesus.” Having my Bible in hand I turned to Acts and asked him to read: “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27).

He looked up at me in shock, his eyes and mouth wide open. He said, “All the times I’ve read the New Testament, I’ve never noticed this.” We then had a friendly conversation. I mentioned that in order to present every human being mature in Christ, we must not only teach, but warn them (see Col 1:28). What is the warning? To not drift away from truth, to not be swayed by the message propagated by impostors who seduce not only themselves but countless others from godliness.

Paul had been with the people of Ephesus for quite some time. He loved them dearly and knew by the Spirit of God he would not see them again until heaven. Think of how carefully you would choose your words knowing they would be your last to those who were like your children. His parting words were:

      Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which
      the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of
      the church of God, which he bought with his own
      blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come
      in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your
      own number men will arise and distort the truth in order
      to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!
      Remember that for three years I never stopped warning
      each of you night and day with tears.
           Acts 20:28-31, NIV

How would they distort the truth? Possibly by words, but most likely by actions. Notice that Paul felt so strongly about this that he didn’t stop warning them day and night for three years. Again, we see the emphasis; we are to affirm these things constantly.

Affirm Constantly…

Excerpted from John Bevere’s Driven By Eternity (Chapter 5: Pages 82-98)

AFFIRM CONSTANTLY

Notice in the above Scripture that we are commanded by the Word of God to affirm or teach these things constantly. Did you hear that? I find these things are rarely spoken of from pulpits or amongst believers today, let alone continuously. For this reason, we’ve drifted from the importance of maintaining good works through the grace of God. We in essence are allowing the power that is in us to remain dormant through the lack of belief and acknowledgment. Our faith, which accesses grace, must remain active through verbalizing our beliefs. Paul says, “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus” (Philemon 6, NKJV).

If we don’t affirm these things constantly, then we will drift away from the truth. This is clearly seen by the writer of Hebrews:

      Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the
      things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word
      spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every trans¬
      gression and disobedience received a just reward, how
      shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation.
           Hebrews 2:1-3 (Emphasis Mine)

By affirming these things, constantly we keep before us the urgent matters of eternity that keep us from drifting away. I remember when I used to fish as a boy. While focused on fishing, the boat, if not anchored, would drift unnoticed to us. We’d look up forty-five minutes later and wouldn’t even recognize our location. The drifting occurred because we had our mind on other matters, namely fishing. This has been quite costly for some, as there have been many who’ve been fishing in certain rivers that led to deadly waterfalls. Countless numbers have gone over falls to their death because of drifting away from where they were first positioned.


The same is true with the important matters of eternity. If God says we are to affirm these things constantly, then this should be our emphasis. Why are we not highlighting the power of grace, which gives us the ability to maintain godly lifestyles of obedience? I find that the early church did this. I examined some of the writings of the early church fathers and found they taught things that would almost seem foreign to our teachings today, but they didn’t teach contrary to the Scripture. The Fathers of the first few centuries believed that works played an essential role in the evidence of our salvation. Let’s look at a few examples.

The first man I’ll quote is Polycarp (A.D. 69-156), bishop of the church at Smyrna and a companion of the Apostle John. He was arrested in his very old age and burned at the stake. He wrote: “Many desire to enter into this joy (of salvation), knowing that by grace you are saved, not of works.” This would be an accepted statement in today’s Evangelical circles, as we have stressed the fact that we are not saved by our own good works. However, he also wrote to believers: “He who raised Him up from the dead will also raise us up – if we do His will and walk in his commandments and love what He loves, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness.”

You won’t hear this spoken often from our pulpits today. Notice the word “if.” We are told we have to do His will and walk in His commandments in order to be raised up in the believer’s resurrection. You’ll see shortly that this is exactly what Jesus said as well.

The next man I’ll quote is Clement of Rome (A.D. 30-100), a companion of the Apostle Paul and Peter and an overseer in the church of Rome. He wrote, “We are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own godliness, or works. But by that faith through which Almighty God has justified all men.” This too would be a widely accepted statement in today’s circles of Christianity. However, he also wrote to believers, “It is necessary that we be prompt in the practice of good works. For He forewarns us, ‘Behold, the Lord comes and His reward is before His face, to render every man according to his work’ (Rom 2:6-10).”

Could this truth be why Paul stated while on trial, “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance”? (Acts26:19-31, emphasis mine). Since Paul stressed this importance, it seems to follow suit that his companion, Clement of Rome, would do the same.

The next one I’d like to point out is Clement of Alexandria (A.D 150-200). He was a leader in the church of Alexandria, Egypt, and was in charge of the school of instruction for new believers. He wrote about unbelievers: “Even if they do good works now, it is of no advantage to them after death, if they do not have faith.”

This too, would be heartily cheered among Evangelicals today. We know, as I’ve already pointed out in the last few chapters, that no matter how many good works an unbeliever accomplishes, they still cannot gain him entrance into the eternal Kingdom of God; it is by God’s grace we are saved. However, look at what else Clement wrote to believers:

“Whoever obtains the truth and distinguishes himself in good works shall gain the prize of everlasting life…some people correctly and adequately understand how God provides necessary power (to be saved), but attaching slight importance to the works that lead to salvation, they fail to make the necessary preparation for attaining the object of their hope.”

Some of you may be thinking, It sounds like these guys didn’t read the New Testament. But they did. Josh McDowell points out in his book Evidence that Demands a Verdict that Clement of Alexandria took 2,400 of his quotes from all but three books in the New Testament. The same is true of the others. I have to say that many books in our Christian bookstores today have very little Scripture in them. Could it be that we have drifted due to the fact we have not affirmed constantly what is important.