Words of Death, Words of Life, by Rick Sterling

The rebellion began a very long time ago. The instigator was a very powerful, intelligent, and brilliantly cunning, being. There is some evidence that indicates that he was, quite possibly, the first created being. This insurrection was effected and accomplished with words; words that were well thought out, words that would promise but only seem to deliver, using requirements that were accommodating, even negotiable.

This deception was successful among heavenly beings, as well as mankind. Lying words and false promises, brilliantly used through circular reasoning-this is how the serpent, the master of deception, accomplished his purpose. With venomous words he caused doubt, and questions to arise, questions regarding the Law of God and His right to rule, with the accusation that God may very well be hiding the whole truth in an effort to remain in control of creation.

The serpent used venomous words to cause doubt and questions to arise, and used these as the foundation of his kingdom; after all, when your realm is built upon lies, facades, and deceptions, venomous words are all you have. His venom causes a change in the intellect, numbing the senses to truth and light. In fact, those beings bitten by this serpent, and injected with this venom, are convinced their reality is what they believe it to be, not what it really is. They are certain they dwell in light, when in fact they live in darkness. They proclaim, and without a doubt they believe, that they practice and worship the truth, and are not and cannot be deceived. They firmly believe that they would never practice a lie; and yet, they are doing just that. They believe that death is life (Gal. 2:19,20, Rom 6:7-8, Rom 7:6,9, Col. 3:3), and life is death (Rom. 6:8). They believe that God is the devil, and the devil is God. Remember, this is the “truth” of the lie believed by those who are being deceived. The evil one has created a virtual reality, a virtual world enjoyed by all he has bitten. This venom is the key to maintaining his virtual world. The ONLY anti-venom that will save all those afflicted are the words of truth, the words that are the testimony of Jesus, recorded by those who heard them first hand, while they followed Him throughout His ministry here on earth.

John 3:11-15 (NASB) “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and you do not receive our witness. “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things? “And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.

When you read these verses do you know the truth the Son of Man is conveying? What you see depends upon your reality. The virtual reality, experienced by those who suffer from the effects of the venom of the ancient serpent, see a wonderful expression of unconditional love, a free gift of life given to those who behold their beloved Savior hanging there on the cross; having given His life for their sins. This reality states that all that is required now is to believe in Him. Yet the actual reality of the truth is not to believe IN Him, but believe Him. And this belief is based in HIS words. We must learn the words of His testimony and put them into practice. The Son of Man uses this example to demonstrate the truth that all mankind has been injected with the venom of the ancient serpent; without the administration of His anti-venom, death will be the outcome. The anti-venom is the words of truth, the testimony of Jesus the Son of Man/Son of God.

The truth of what the Son of God is explaining to Nicodemus is that no one from earth has gone up into the heavens to see and hear the words of truth in the presence of God. The only one who can rightly claim to have received the testimony of truth from God is the One who has lived in the presence of God and received the words of God from Him directly. And after receiving these words this ONE left the heavens and came to the earth to proclaim these very words He had been given. But as the Son of God acknowledged to Nicodemus, you (religious leaders) do not receive our (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) testimony.

The ability to recognize truth is greatly affected by the venom of the serpent. Much like the inebriating effects of an alcoholic beverage, the venom numbs the senses to certain elements that would otherwise alert a person to the beginning of an expected event; a prophetic expectation that is missed because certain elements have been misinterpreted and/or overlooked. These elements are missed because the venom also distorts the reality of the prophetic symbols and expectations. It is no secret that the religious leaders of Israel, who were well versed in the messianic prophecies, misunderstood very important elements of these prophecies, thereby giving substantive support and validation to their rejecting of, plotting against, and ultimate execution of their Messiah (see Matthew 17:9-12). Today, the net effect of this is same kind of misunderstanding of prophecy is that there are many, varied and confusing interpretations of “end-time” prophecies, to the point that most people chose to ignore them, or see them as completely spiritual in application, without any literal consequences.

God begins the year at the time of the spring equinox, in the northern hemisphere. He has authority to do this because He created the clock that keeps time, in this world where time has relevance (see Genesis 1:14). This clock has four moving parts, moving in respect to their relationship to each other; the sun, moon, earth, and stars. In Israel, there were three main religious festivals, Passover, Weeks, Atonement. Passover began the process of purification, and Atonement concluded it. It was not God’s expectation that this would go on year, after year, after year, forever. God’s expectation was to perfect a righteous kingdom, after which He would come down from the heavens and sit upon His throne in the temple, and then work to spread the truth throughout the world. When all the people of the world had made their decision as to whom they would worship God would sit in the seat of judgment and destroy the wicked. The people of these two realms would have made an informed choice, based upon what they chose to believe, and whom they chose to worship. The righteous would be righteous in fact (in deeds); and the wicked would be wicked in fact. The process by which this would be accomplished was demonstrated through the activities of the sanctuary, throughout the year. The topic of the sanctuary is a topic for another article.

It was the time of the third great feast of that year, the year of the testimony of the Son of Man. Up to that time His teaching had produced much interest; but few results. There was more respect and honor shown to Him from His few pagan/gentile contacts than from His own people. There was the healing of the centurions servant (Matthew 8), the Canaanite woman, from the region of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15), and the woman of Samaria (John 4).

John 7:37-39 (NASB) Now on the last day, the great day of the feast. Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, and the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’”

The time (duration) of the testimony of the Son of Man was about to be completed; within six months He would be executed, placed in a tomb, rise from the dead, and ascend back to His Father. His hope and desire that He could bring Israel back to God (Dan. 9:24) was rapidly losing out to reality, and He knew what He would have to do; He would have to take the kingdom of God away from the Jews and offer it to any and all who would meet the requirements to enter His Kingdom. He clearly spelled out these requirements in His testimony. Those who would take the time to learn His testimony would be sanctified/consecrated by the words of truth. These words of truth would find a place in their hearts and minds, and then these principles would be practiced in the lives of the people of the Kingdom of God; only then would God have a righteousness people on the earth. Of necessity there would have to be a significant change away from the original plan wherein Israel was the Kingdom of God on earth; and that is that the Messiah would not make His throne (His dwelling place) in Jerusalem. Jesus came to His people, and His people rejected Him; they did this two times. He therefore had to return to the heavens, where He would work through the efforts of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the requirements of restoration in His final Kingdom (Dan. 2:44-45). This righteous Kingdom will be taken to the heavens after the great tribulation. The great tribulation begins with the casting down of the censer, runs through the seven trumpets and six bowls, and concluding with the coming in the clouds of the Son of Man.

The Feast of Booths was at hand. Jesus was there, and this was the half way point of the festival year of Israel, and of the ministry of Jesus on earth. The Son of Man stood up on the last day of the great feast, it was the twenty-first day of the seventh month. Those present at this great feast may have been thinking to themselves, or saying to their friends or family, “There goes that guy again, making foolish statements which no one listens to anyway!”

John 7:37-39 (NASB) Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The fiery serpent had injected his venom over and over throughout the generations in Israel. They were near death, and totally unaware of this fact; the venom had been very successful in effecting the perception of truth and the expectation of Israel. All they needed to do was to believe the words of the Messiah and they would have been inoculated against this venom. But the venom was too potent, and they succumbed to it’s toxin. My concern today is that I see the same effect among those who attest to a belief in “their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ”, without knowledge of His testimony.

The Christian complains, “How could the Jews have rejected their Messiah? If I had been there among them I would have followed Jesus, I would have stood up for Him, I would not have fled when He was arrested!” But in point of fact you were not there, you are here, and you now have the same opportunity today (as they did then) to demonstrate what you will do, and yet, like them, you refuse to stand upon the testimony of Jesus. The venom of the fiery serpent is very powerful, it’s effect is to make you see the truth as a lie, darkness as light, the wide road as the narrow way, judgment as allegory, law as an ideal more than a requirement, and the certainty of salvation as a function of the unconditional love of God. Believing in the words of the Son of God is truly believing in Him. Learn from the testimony of His disciples, Matthew, Mark (writing for Peter), and John; no other New Testament writers can be trusted to tell the truth.

When the children of Israel refused to enter the promised land, the Lord God sent fiery serpents to bite them. They cried out in their distress and the Lord God heard them. None of those who had refused to enter the promised land the first time ever entered it, they all died in the wilderness. The promised land is the earth made anew, and only the righteous will live to enter it. Time is running out very quickly. Only those who are willing to learn the testimony of Jesus and keep the commandments of God (Rev. 12:17) will be healed from the effects of the venom of the fiery serpent; that bright shinning one, who was called Lucifer. He is master of magic, deception, and fraud. He is the prince of darkness, and uses his best efforts to maintain the darkness using all the crafts he has mastered. Please look to the one who has shown the way to the kingdom of light and healing and will give you eternal life.

Rick Sterling