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JESUS

The Gates of Hell Shall Not
Prevail Against Him

by Wayne C. Bent (1989)

INTRODUCTION

There are multitudes today who say they believe in God. There are some within this number who testify that they believe in Jesus. The shocking truth is, there are only a few who really believe in God. Within this book one can find some insights as to what believing in God actually is.

As we read Biblical history, we can find many instances where Israel began to worship idols instead of the true God. Most Christians today shake their heads in unbelief as they recognize the foolishness of the Israelites in doing this thing. But if the truth were known, it would be seen that that is precisely where modern Christianity is today.

In this book is described the message of Jesus. The author has also made efforts to help construct the mind of the hearers of Jesus. In this way it will be made clear what actually happened that caused the crucifixion of Jesus. It is not hard to recognize that if Jesus came in the same way today that He came on His first visit, the same call to crucify Him would once again be heard.

It is the author's desire that the reader of this book will carefully consider the issues, and then make a decision not to crucify the Son of God. The studies in the Revelation will clearly show the conflict now being waged against the Son of God and it behooves us all to carefully weigh the choice we are about to make or to reconsider the choices we have made.

Who Was He?

CHAPTER I

For generations men have speculated concerning Jesus. Who was He? Was He a mere man? Was He one of many individuals who came to start a new movement? Was He a Jewish offshoot who began His group in response to the Jewish exactions?

Some have called Him a "guru". Some have praised Him and others have cursed Him, but few deny that He was. If Jesus was, and He has made such an impact on the world for thousands of years, it would do us all well to find the answers to those questions which necessarily rise when we consider this man.

Multitudes have made their own saviors out of what they considered Jesus to be. Men have used His name while perverting His intention. Mankind needs a god. We must worship something. Pagans have had a multitude of gods. Even in this age of "enlightenment", there are lords many and gods many. Today they have taken the form of "super" people. Movie stars or characters in the movies are worshipped. There are national heroes or sports figures that are loved and adored.

But who was Jesus? Much has been written about Him. Most of what is written of Him is written by writers outside of the Bible. Why was He so important in history? Why was there a religion surrounding Him? Why do we marvel? There are those who do not worship Him but use His name in cursing instead. Why would He be considered so important that His name would be used in swearing? Even the devil cannot ignore Him.

The Answer

We can find the answer in His testimony concerning Himself. Jesus said that He was God. "He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God." (Matt. 27:43) One reason that the people hated Him so completely is that He claimed to be God. This was their reason for seeking to stone Him. "...For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God." (John 10:33)

Who in history has had the courage to make this claim concerning himself? It does not appear that this is such a mystery 2,000 years later since many have generally accepted His claim; but how would it be if a man claimed that today? Let us suppose a neighbor of yours came over to your house one day and said, "Hello, neighbor; I'm God". Well, that is precisely how those of His day understood it.

Jesus was born of a woman known by all in the village. He grew up as any of us have grown up. He learned as we learn. He got tired as we get tired. He was thirsty as we are thirsty. Now this young man goes around saying He is God. Now, that's nerve. That is what has set the world on fire. That is what has challenged men for centuries. Was the claim of Jesus concerning Himself true or was it not?

The hatred of Him by His generation was so complete that they crucified this man Jesus. His greatest sin in their minds was that He claimed to be God. He claimed to be the one to whom their religion pointed. If His claims were true, then their religion would necessarily crumble to ashes and there would be no more need for all their ceremony and pomp. Since the people were beginning to believe this Jesus, it became necessary in their minds to do away with Him. In this way, they could secure their national religion and their own place in that religion as well.

The Reason For Hatred

Why would men care whether or not one claims to be God? What difference does it make? The reason is evident. Jesus taught that men should have faith in Him. "...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) Jesus was telling the nation that to be considered accepted of God, they had to be like Himself. It is no mystery that men hate being told what to do. They hate being told how to do it. Jesus was saying that men must do it like He did it.

Here was a man who looked like any other man in the neighborhood. He was a man who claimed that He was God and He was a man who said that one must be like Him to be saved. When you think of these things, do not think of them in the context of a historical person about whom you have accepted some truths. Think of these things in the context of the man next door. Think of these things in the context of a little boy down the street who you watched grow up and then went around telling everyone that he was God and that no one could be saved unless they believed he was God; and, furthermore, no one could be accepted of God unless they followed him and did things as he did them. That's the perspective of the people who lived some two thousand years ago.

With this as a background, you can now consider the attitude of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were the religious authorities of their day. They were the pastors and teachers. Suppose you entered church one day and sat down for a nice hour of worship and a neighbor whom you know came in and sat down. He then said to the Pharisee, "I am God". The Pharisee (minister) would then answer him, "You can't say that, you are only a man. It is blasphemy to say you are God". Then the young man would say, "You have to follow me to be saved. I am the way, the truth and the life. I always do whatever God tells me". Can you get the feeling that the pastors of his day might have had?

Consider the hatred that was blasting against this man. Here was a blasphemous man. Besides this, He worked miracles. The conclusion was, that since He was blasphemous, His miracles were from the devil. Any man who said the things that this man said must be of the devil. This was their conclusion. Their hatred grew as He was working great wonders that made the people marvel. They could not compete with such a performance. All that they could do was to kill Him.

Was Jesus "God"? How can that be proven? He said He was and His followers said He was, but what proof is that? If I say I am God, and others say I am God, does that make me God? Do miracles prove one is God? Do not men perform miracles today? Does this make them God? These are the questions that are and were raised. Today, Christians have accepted this assertion, but we are 2,000 years down the road. We must stand where the Jews stood to see if we really believe this man Jesus. We would have to view Him as a neighbor boy who grew up and said He was God. We have to look through their eyes to know whether or not we would have believed.

When one grows up in a church and everyone has always said that Jesus was the Son of God, where is the test? Where is the trial of our faith? There is none. The trial comes when we have to face hard circumstances and we are willing to make the Christian profession in the face of death or contempt. Now we can know whether or not we believe.

We cannot trust the fact that everyone has always said Jesus was God, so He must be. If that were enough, then the Mohammedans would be excused for taking Mohammed as a prophet since everyone always said he was. This principle could be taken to include the whole world. The worshippers of idols would be justified since these worshippers grew up with parents who always taught them that these idols were gods. If one were to believe his society, then anything would be true if the claim was made by the society that it was true. This is precisely why the whole world believes as it does. Dad and Mom always told them that it was the way it was and that was sufficient.

Our beliefs are variable depending on the society in which we live. If Jesus was the way, how could a man be found wanting if he had always been taught that Jesus was not the way? Would that be reason to turn aside this man? Can Mohammedans be excused because they never were told that Jesus was the way? Could the worshippers of Baal be excused because their mothers taught them that Baal was the true God?

How Do We Know?

How do we know who He was? How can we come to understand who He was? How did He know who He was? If Jesus was indeed the creator, did He lift His little baby head off His mother's breast and say, "Planet, move to yonder place"? Did He understand all the mysteries of the universe while He needed his diapers changed? Was He instructing angels when He was just a small two-year-old? How can someone who needs his diapers changed be God? In Jesus' day, do you think anyone changing His diapers would have considered Him God? Would you, while changing the baby's diapers, say, "I know that you are God"?

The record states that some did have an understanding that indeed this child was the Messiah. This was the Savior of the world. Some knew this, but how did they know it? The answer to this question is also revealed in the Scriptures. Many are perplexed when invited to receive Christ in their hearts. They say, "How can I be sure there is a God?" "How can I know?" "Yes, I see trees growing and flowers growing, but how is that evidence that I should accept this man Jesus who claims to be God?" "How is this proof enough that I should trust my life to an idea someone tells me?"

How does one know that Jesus is God? There is one clear answer to this question. One knows because he knows. This knowledge is tested if he will trust his life in that knowledge. Those who have been taught to believe that Jesus is God, and give mental assent to that truth while not fully knowing, will in some way deny Him by their actions. When their "self" is threatened, they will turn aside from their resolve. When they are to obey, they will make up a reason not to obey. But when one knows, heaven and earth could not budge him from the faithfulness he possesses. He would give up his life for this one great truth that Jesus is the Son of God and He has saved me from my sins. This is the experience of all who know.

Many Worship a Phantom

It is true that the masses of this generation worship a phantom that they have named Jesus. Their mothers told them that this was the Son of God. But there are others who know the Son of God. It is not a mere "belief" but a deep knowing that has been implanted by God. It is that Spiritual Force who understands the truth of all things. "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." (1 John 2:20)

When men yield to the mind of God, they receive the unction. They know that Jesus is the Christ. They know all things. "And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." (1 John 5:19-20) "...Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Rom. 8:15) We have received a Spirit. We do not merely believe something our mothers taught us. We know something. We have something. There is no other way to know who Jesus was.

The only way to know who Jesus was is to know Him. The only way to know Him is to receive the Spirit of knowing Him. This Spirit bears witness with our spirit and we cry out, "Abba, Father". We know. That is how we know. The miracles Jesus worked were not proof that Jesus was the Son of God, but they were evidence. The righteousness that Jesus exhibited was not proof, but it was evidence. The proof is in the "knowing" that the sons of God have.

Peter was asked by Jesus, "...But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed are thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." (Matt 16:15-17) Jesus knew that there was only one way that Peter could have known that He was the Son of God and that was through the Spirit of adoption. The "knowing" that comes from God was given to Peter. Jesus went on to make a most revealing statement. "...Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matt 16:18) This is the basis for all the power of the church. It is in knowing that Jesus was the Christ. It is in knowing that Jesus was the Son of God. The gates of hell could not prevail against this knowledge. Nothing could overcome this knowing, for it was a knowing of the Spirit. It is the understanding of God.

This "proof" cannot come from the preacher. It cannot come from our mother, father or church. This is the proof that comes from God alone. He gives this to the sons of God. He shows us the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. We have faith that Jesus was who He said He was--not because we have only heard it, but because we have known it. The unction that comes from God has come to us. We have heard the voice. We have seen the evidence. We have known.

Jesus Knew

This also was how Jesus knew who He was. He was not born with an adult mind which was fully educated as to what His future would be. No, He was given this knowledge the same way Peter was given the knowledge. "For the first time the child Jesus looked upon the temple. He saw the white-robed priests performing their solemn ministry. He beheld the bleeding victim upon the altar of sacrifice. With the worshipers He bowed in prayer, while the cloud of incense ascended before God. He witnessed the impressive rites of the paschal service. Day by day He saw their meaning more clearly. Every act seemed to be bound up with His own life. New impulses were awakening within Him. Silent and absorbed, He seemed to be studying out a great problem. The mystery of His mission was opening to the Saviour." (DA 78)

Jesus was given "the knowing" of His mission as His followers receive the knowing about Him. This knowing has come from the Spirit and the unction is experienced. This is the only way one can know who He was. It is in the same way that He knew who He was. This is the knowledge of the Son of God. This is the knowing and the unction. This is the proof of our experience.

The anger of the nation would not have been evident if a man were not believed. Consider a man, living next door to your house and visiting one day, saying that he was a yellow banana. Suppose he said, "Yes, my wife purchased me from the store this morning nice and fresh". You would probably laugh and consider the man quite out of his mind.

Suppose someone came to you saying, "Yes, I am God and I came down to see how things were going on here". You would probably consider sending the poor man off to the hospital, but you would surely not be angry. But when this man Jesus opened up His Sonship to the masses, the unction of the Spirit made this believable. This brought up the anger. This developed the hatred. This man Jesus became a threat because He was believed. When the Spirit of God bore witness, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased", it caused a sensation that few fully understood. "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)

This is the true evidence. It is the light that "lighteth every man that cometh into the world." We have all had evidence. We have all heard the voice, but few, when counting the cost, will accept the voice and yield to the unction. Men today hate that voice as they have hated it for centuries. They let doubt and skepticism move them to say, "I will not have this man to rule over me. I will not have any man tell me what to do!" "Many are unwilling to accept of Christ until the whole mystery of the plan of salvation shall be made plain to them. ...They refuse to walk in the light of the Sun of Righteousness, until the reason of its shining shall be explained. ...God will never remove every occasion for doubt. He gives sufficient evidence on which to base faith, and if this is not accepted, the mind is left in darkness." (PP 432)

Yes, there is evidence that Jesus was the Son of God. Yes, history has clearly revealed the mysteries of the ages. Even though men hate God, they still keep the seven-day cycle given from the foundation of the world. There is no natural reason for seven days a week except that God said it. Even though men deny God, they still must curse this man Jesus. They must take His name in vain because His name is true and forces the truth from their lips even though it comes out as a curse. When men curse, why don't they say, "Oh, John Doe"? Even though men hate this Christ, they must explain Him away. They must say, "Oh, He was a good man, but so were all the other religious leaders." They must do away with Him. They cannot just forget Him.

Those who love this Son of God have yielded to that unction. They have taken of His Spirit and rejoiced in it. Yes, we know who He was. He was Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God. How do I know? God told me.


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