Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
May 4, 1997
Last Updated :
June 12, 2011
There Is No Fast Train To Heaven, Jesus Announces His Coming Death, Jesus Never Ever Encouraged Anyone To Commit Suicide, Jesus Is Our Only Means Of Salvation, Peter Denies The Lord, God Needs Us Alive To Preach The Gospel, Our Human Weakness, Endtime Ministry And Persecution, God Will Never Forsake Us, Empowered By The Holy Spirit, Failure Of The Deceptive Cults, Brevity Of Human Life Span, God Chooses When And How We Die, Second Coming Of Jesus Christ And The Rapture, Modern False Christs, No Secret Return Of Jesus Christ, Resurrection Of The Dead In Christ, Transformed And Clothed In Our Heavenly Bodies, Christ's Ascension And Promise Of Return, Heavenly Saucers?, Every Eye Shall See Jesus Coming In The Clouds Of Heaven, A Wonderful Future In Heaven, God Didn't Promise Us A Bed Or Roses, Our Daily Challenges, God Sees Our Trials And Wants To Help Us, Cast Your Burden Upon The Lord, Don't Try To Usurp God's Authority Over Your Life, Conclusion
While Jesus obviously knew that most of His Disciples would someday die a martyr's death, not once did He ever ask them to kill themselves on the spot in order to prove their faith or their loyalty to Him. Neither did the Lord ever teach His followers that committing suicide was a fast train to Heaven. Quite to the contrary. Consider what He said to the Jews in the Gospel of John:
"Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come."
John 8:21-22, KJV
Obviously, the reason why those Jews couldn't follow Him into Eternal Life, is because they didn't even believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah to begin with. Furthermore, because they lacked the understanding of God's Spirit, some of those thick-headed Jews apparently thought that Jesus was going to commit suicide; but obviously, this is not what He meant whatsoever. Jesus was in fact referring to His imminent Death on the Cross; not by His own hands, but rather by the Jewish Elders and the Roman government. Later on, Jesus said the very same thing to His chosen Disciples in the Gospel of John, as we see here:
"Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you."
John 13:33, KJV
Please notice that in the previous sets of verses, nowhere do we find the Lord encouraging anyone to commit suicide so that they can go to Heaven quicker, ahead of everyone else. It is plain to see that committing suicide in order to somehow gain our Heavenly Reward is not a part of God's current plan, and never has been. As I said earlier, there is no fast train to Heaven, as those poor cult members erroneously believed. God does not need dead Christians; He needs live Christians who are willing to boldly preach the Gospel to those who are not yet saved. By prematurely taking our lives through an act of suicide, we are cutting our Christian ministry short, and at the same time, denying others the opportunity of hearing the Gospel. Of course, God can, and probably will, send someone else in our stead, but we will be denied the blessing of having won more souls to Jesus Christ. The previous verses are followed a chapter later by Jesus saying the following:
"And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
John 14:4-6, KJV
So as I pointed out earlier, believing in Jesus Christ, and accepting His Sacrifice on the Cross as the only means of Atonement for our sins, is the only way in which we can ever hope to obtain Eternal Life; and not by killing ourselves in order to board some fictitious spaceship trailing a comet, as the misguided members of the Heaven's Gate UFO cult foolishly believed. This applies to those other cults as well. Killing yourself will not gain you a quick seat in Heaven.
After the Lord had informed His closest Disciples that one of them would soon betray Him, Peter, perhaps in his own pride, exclaimed that he would never deny Jesus; and that he in fact would even be willing to die with the Lord. The rest of the Disciples also agreed with Peter. To Peter's surprise, Jesus quickly corrected him, and told Peter that he would deny Him three times before the cock crowed, as we see by these verses that are found in the Gospel of Matthew:
"Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples."
Matthew 26:31-35, KJV
Even though His Disciples displayed a willingness to die with Jesus, this wasn't what the Lord expected or required of them at that time. As I said earlier, He already knew that most of them would eventually die a martyr's death anyway; but in the meantime, He wanted them to remain alive as long as possible, so that Christianity could be built upon a strong foundation. To reiterate, this same point also applies to Christians who are living today. God needs for us to remain alive, in order that we might preach the Gospel to the lost. Later that same night, Jesus said the following to the Disciples:
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Matthew 26:41, KJV
Even though the Disciples thought themselves strong enough to stand up and defend Jesus even in the face of death, to their bitter disappointment, Jesus soon revealed their weaker side to them, when they fled from the Garden of Gethsemane at the time of His arrest. It wouldn't be until later, following the Lord's Resurrection and Ascension to Heaven, that the Apostles would receive the precious Gift of the Holy Ghost; and with it the boldness to preach the Gospel, loving their lives not unto the death, as we see here:
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."
Revelation 12:11, KJV
For a related article which discusses at length the Apostle Peter's miraculous transformation from being a coward to a pillar of the Early Church, please consider reading "Peter: Faith Tried In The Fire".
Thus far, through Scriptural research, I have shown that it is not God's Will for any of us to try to hasten our deaths, so that we can reap the benefits of Eternal Life. If we are God-fearing Christians, the Lord needs us here for as long as possible in order to get the job done; and the closer we come to the end of all things, the more difficult it will become to accomplish this task. However, according to the prophecies of the Prophet Daniel, in the final years of the reign of the Beast and the False Prophet, some people will have a great ministry, as many of the world's lost will seek the truth in the last, dark, dying days of the current worldly systems. Daniel wrote the following:
"And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed."
Daniel 11:33-35, KJV
The above verses are just one example to show what God will require of people who know the truth. Some Believers shall indeed fall, and like the first Disciples, we may possibly even deny our faith due to our own human frailties; but as with them, the Lord will not cast us aside; for we have the promises of His Word, as we see by these verses:
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
John 6:37, KJV
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
John 10:28, KJV
"If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."
2 Timothy 2:13, KJV
". . . for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5b, KJV
As I noted a moment ago, when Peter and the other Disciples abandoned Jesus, and then cowardly hid from their Jewish and Roman persecutors, it was no doubt a sobering lesson to them regarding how weak they really were in the flesh, and how much they really had to depend upon God's Spirit for their faith and strength. Once they learned this lesson, the Lord poured out His Holy Spirit upon them in Acts chapter two, and they became bold witnesses for the Lord. Perhaps they too felt abandoned by the Lord for a time, but in the end, they realized that He had been with them all the while, just as He is now with us during these increasingly dark days.
In the beginning of this series, I pointed out that one of the primary reasons why people in these obscure groups are so easily led astray, is because they depend upon others to tell them what the truth is, instead of looking for it themselves. Of course, if from the very beginning they reject the Bible as the true frame of reference in their lives, then they will be even worse off. The leaders of these groups will have an even easier time in deceiving them, because these lost sheep don't even know what the truth is to begin with.
In the case of New Age and UFO groups like the Heaven's Gate UFO cult, people have been deluded by a false religion which is an odd blend of Christianity, New Age thought and Eastern religions. This is indeed a deadly and very deceptive mixture. For their part, Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple apparently attempted to mix Christianity with atheistic communism. With their stockpile of weapons, Koresh and his Branch Davidians seemed to mix an apocalyptic form of Christianity with some of their political ideologies. The members of the Order of the Solar Temple followed a belief system that mixed ancient Christianity with mysticism. All of these groups failed and ended in violent tragedy, because they weren't truly centered upon God's Word, or at least not a proper understanding of God's Word.
It is an inevitable, foregone conclusion that we will all die one of these days, just as the Moon is sure to rise, and the Sun is sure to set. As the Bible clearly informs us, our time on this planet is very brief. It is like the grass that fades and dies each year, or like a cloud which briefly appears in the sky, and is then gone. Furthermore, our death can arrive at any moment when we least expect it. Consider the truth of the following verses:
"The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away."
Psalms 90:10, KJV
"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever."
Isaiah 40:7-8, KJV
"But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?"
Luke 12:20, KJV
"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
James 4:14, KJV
By God's Grace, some of us will die peaceful, natural deaths. Others may face tragic deaths, either through chronic health problems, accidents, acts of violence, or by whatever means the Lord allows in our lives. As evil times progress, some of us may possibly experience martyrs' deaths, as we saw with the verses which are found in the Book of Daniel.
Regardless of how we die, we all need to recognize that God is in control of our lives, and we should leave it at that. The Lord put us here, and He knows exactly when -- as well as how -- He wants us to leave this place. For us to interfere with His plans in any way is both foolish and selfish; and if we really stop and think about it, it is in fact attempting to usurp His Authority over our lives. That God is fully aware of each of our existences is clearly made evident by verses such as the following:
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;"
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, KJV
"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows."
Matthew 10:29-31, KJV
So to reiterate, God is not only aware of each of our lives, but He has likewise chosen a specific time, place and method for our eventual departure from this world. Therefore, we have absolutely no right to interfere with His plans, and to attempt to do so is foolish.
Well then; if we shouldn't expect to hitchhike a ride on some fictitious flying saucer that is supposedly trailing behind a comet; and if drinking a lethal brew is likewise out of the question, as well as any other ghastly methods of suicide and self-destruction, exactly what can we expect then?
While I obviously cannot answer that question for any person, as I explain in such series as "The Great Tribulation And The Rapture", "Chariots Of Fire: A Voluntary Voyage Home?", "The Triumphant Touchdown Of Jesus Christ", etc., the Bible does offer us a very exciting picture regarding what lies ahead for Bible-believing Christians. For example, consider these verses that are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew:
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Matthew 24:29-31, KJV
As the previous verses clearly indicate, the Second Coming of Christ is going to be an Earth-shaking, Heaven-shaking event. It is not going to be some man like Marshall Applewhite, who for the most part, secretly and quietly trained a small group of followers for twenty years, and then suddenly resurfaced, only to kill themselves by eating poison and drinking vodka.
The idea of Jesus secretly returning and making Himself known only to a select group of followers is a false doctrine which has apparently pervaded a number of these modern cults, and it seems even certain Christian churches and organizations. If we stop to consider how many of these cult leaders have claimed to be Jesus Christ incarnate, it is easy to see how ludicrous such a claim really is. Obviously, these deceivers are lying, because they cannot all be Jesus Christ; unless we foolishly choose to believe that Jesus Christ has decided to inhabit multiple human bodies simultaneously.
But returning to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the blessed future of the Saints, the Bible clearly informs us what is going to happen Christian believers at His Return. As an example, please consider the following verses which are found in the Apostle Paul's first Epistle to Corinth:
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
1 Corinthians 15:51-52, KJV
If you are interested in learning more about Paul's in-depth description of the Resurrection of the Dead, please consider reading the entire fifteenth chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians. However, for now, please notice that the previous verses inform us that the dead in Christ shall be resurrected and transformed first; and then those of us who are still alive upon the Earth at the time of Jesus' Return will likewise be transformed and given our Heavenly Bodies as well. This fact is confirmed for us by the following verses as well, which are found in the Apostle Paul's first Epistle to the brethren at Thessalonika. Please notice that in these verses, the Old English word "prevent" actually means to precede, or to go before:
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, KJV
Notice that these verses state that all living believers in Christ will be caught up into the clouds, and not just some small hidden group of believers, like the misguided members of the Heaven's Gate cult believed. Exactly how the Lord is going to accomplish this task, I am not really certain. What I do know is that when Jesus ascended into Heaven following His Resurrection, after a period during which He revealed Himself to His Disciples, a similar event occurred. Consider what we find in the first chapter of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles:
"Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
Acts 1:2-11, KJV
Whether or not the event which is described in the previous verses is implying some kind of celestial craft, such as appears to be described in the visions of Ezekiel and other Old Testament Prophets, I am not certain. I have given some serious thought to this matter, and you will find my current musings expressed in the three-part series called "Chariots Of Fire: A Voluntary Voyage To Heaven?". I encourage you to read it. It may challenge your thinking.
Just as Jesus Christ ascended into the clouds when He made His last departure from the planet Earth, as with the verses we just read in the Book of Acts, the following verses also confirm that the Lord will return at the end of the world in the same manner. What I find particularly interesting in the following verses, is that they don't state that He will come IN the clouds, but rather they say that He will come WITH clouds. Could this possibly be implying something even more dramatic than what we have come to believe? Again, please refer to the aforementioned series, as well as the rather challenging series "Under The Cloud: UFOs And The Holy Bible":
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."
Revelation 1:7, KJV
"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
Revelation 22:20, KJV
In light of all of these exciting events which are going to happen in the future, possibly even during our lifetimes, is it truly wise to even consider committing an act of suicide? I think not. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have so much to look forward to; so please don't throw it all away by listening to a deceptive, misguided cult leader. I'm reminded of another verse which is found in the Apostle Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians. It says:
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
1 Corinthians 2:9, KJV
On a more personal note, please understand that God never promised any of us a "bed of roses" in this life. Let's face it. The fact is that every single one of us has problems and faces different challenges throughout our lives, some people more than others. Sometimes our problems may seem like they are more than we are able to handle, and we may be tempted to give up and end it all through suicide; but this is not what the Lord desires for us. As I point out in such articles as "The Battle Is Not Yours Alone" and "The Lord Will Lift You Up", God is always there to help us when we reach out to Him. His ear is always turned to us when we are trying to please Him. As King David and the Prophet Isaiah once declared:
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Psalm 46:1, KJV
"Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:"
Isaiah 59:1, KJV
So rather than throw our lives away through suicide, isn't it much better to turn them over to God and let Him use them for His Glory? The Bible tells us to cast our burdens upon the Lord, and He will sustain us. Consider these verses:
"Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."
Psalms 55:22, KJV
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30, KJV
Jesus can not only take upon Himself the burden of our sins, as He did almost two thousand years ago, but He can also help us with the burden of our daily problems in this life; so please give Him a chance. Call out to Him and He will hear, and He will answer.
In conclusion, as you should be able to see by now, there is absolutely no indication in the Scriptures whatsoever, that we are supposed to prematurely terminate our lives by our own hand through an act of suicide, so that we can be promoted to the Heavenly Realm, as the misguided members of the Heaven's Gate cult, the Peoples Temple, the Order of the Solar Temple, and possibly the Branch Davidians, erroneously believed. The Lord knows the time and the means that He has chosen for each of us to return to Him. As Christians, and representatives of our faith, it is His Will for us to remain on the Earth for as long as possible; because His Word seems to indicate that a Great Harvest may occur in the final years of the Earth's history.
Someone is going to have to be here in order to tell people the truth in the midst of Satan's deception. By cowardly taking your own life through an act of suicide, you may in fact be cutting short the very ministry that the Lord has reserved for you, so please don't do it. Let God choose the time of your departure from this life. Don't try to usurp His Authority over your life, because you may regret it.
Please give serious consideration to my words. And if you are someone who is currently trapped in a cult of any kind, and if you have opportunity to read this series, I pray that your eyes will be opened, and that you will be able to find a way to escape your current situation soon. My hope is that this series has been a blessing and an inspiration to many.