This writing was prompted by an article I read a few days ago. It asserted that Suicide is not unpardonable sin and sufficient grounds for hell. This view was defended by purporting that, in spite of Samson’s committing suicide, he still got listed as one of the heroes of faith in Hebrews chapter 11.
Is the basis of this proposition true? The scriptures doesn’t testify to the theory of Samson committing suicide. No person who committed suicide in the bible is listed in Hebrews 11.
Here is the list of those who committed suicide: Saul, king of Israel and his armour bearer 1 Samuel 31:3-6, Ahithophel 2 Samuel 17:23, Zimri 1 Kings 16:18-19 and Judas Matthew 27:5. Add Samson’s name to this list and he will stand out as a sore thumb. His rightful place is in Hebrews 11, among those whose walk with God was amended.
From Genesis to Revelation, the gem is in the standing up again, not in the falling down and staying there or ending it all.
Samson requested strength from God in verse 28 of Judges 16 and verse 29 is an interlude to show that God answered swiftly and Samson swung into action. Then, verse 30 started with a conjunction, making it a continuation of Samson’s request in verse 28. This means that Samson made two request of God.
The first request was for strength with which to avenge the Philistines who were Israel’s rivals. His request was not for power with which to kill himself.
The second request was for God to let him die along with the Philistines. Samson probably felt he had completed his God given assignment as a Judge of the Israelites for twenty years and didn’t want to continue judging Israel as a blind man.
It is doubtful his request of God to let him die can pass as a suicide. God could have decided to preserve his life amid the wreckage regardless of his request to die.
David at one time also requested to die but, it is God’s discretion to answer our prayers one way or the other 1 Kings 19:4. In this case, He kept him alive. In another scenario, Hezekiah requested for extension of his live and got it 2 Kings 20:1-6. Simeon is another example in Luke 2: 28-30. God is sovereign!
If the assertion that Samson committed suicide is upheld and in spite of it, he was mentioned in Hebrews 11 as one of the heroes of faith then, it’ll be an affirmation that suicide is legitimate though appalling. In which case, what we need to be concerned about is the motivation for choosing suicide—whether the motive is right or wrong. This will be a dangerous phenomenon.
My persuasion on the issue of suicide whether it involves a professing Christian or non-Christian is that it should be discussed with lots of genuine love and heartfelt sympathy. The reason to apply gracious love is because it concerns a departed soul and for the sake of the grieving and pain the families and friends will be going through. The departure of any soul always brings mixed feelings of sorrow, pain and joy.
Before continuing, it’s apt to emphasize that Christians are not permitted under any heading to kill anyone intentionally according to (The law of the spirit of life in Christ) New Testament. It’s a serious issue in God’s heart—so much so that he regards hatred as murder.
Therefore, how could it ever be right in God’s sight for anyone to commit suicide? It’s difficult to grasp Ephesians 5:29a.
What exactly was commendable about Samson’s action, bearing in mind that the Philistines were more often than not at war with Israel, whom Samson represented as a Judge Judges 16:31b? Obviously, it was not him killing himself. What was praised is Samson’s faith that resulted in victory for his people Judges 16:30. It’s along these lines that Samson and others were mentioned in Hebrews 11: 17-36. Each of them had extreme rough times and overcame through their unflinching faith. Overcomers are a tested company—not extraordinarily favoured people.
It’s unfortunate that a Christian or anyone for that matter should suffer depression but is a reality. It’s like any other sickness. Servants of God both in the Old and New Testaments and in our time, have suffered depression. Prophets and kings, Paul the apostles, Spurgeon and many others. It needs not end in suicide.
Being a Christian is not the only way but is the greatest and surest protection against depression from leading to suicide.
So, is suicide a sin punishable by hell? In my opinion, Yes! Avoiding suicide at all costs is a safer option by miles.
Does it mean that everyone that has committed suicide has gone to hell? Frankly, I don’t know the answer. What happened between God and each of those individuals’ in their final moment is unknown to us. However, let each person have His conviction Romans 14:23.
The bible clearly state that we Christians don’t know the answer to everything. Put differently, we know in part—as a people who see though dimly. Therefore, unashamedly, we can be relaxed to say we don’t yet know an answer to some matters.
The final arbiter as per the fate of a person who committed suicide will be God’s.
Suicide is a regrettable waste of the precious gift of life–given to us to steward by God.
Whilst it is only fitting to approach these kind of matters with genuine love and deepest sympathy, it doesn’t seem right to provide a cheap biblical reason to console us when we’re grieving over our loved ones who unfortunately reached the dark alley of suicide.
No matter our views, to put forth our comments in the guise of giving the truth “in love” at a time others are grieving the loss of their loved ones especially through suicide, speaks volumes of our understanding and participation in Christ’ nature or virtue of “speaking the truth in love”.
All this said, the most important thing that counts at the end of the day, is for us humans to do whatever we can to help one another not to walk down the staircase of suicide.
Finally, as a reminder to those grieving over bereavement and especially of this kind, be rest assured that God is with you and He is your strength. Whilst there are many miserable comforters, there’s always “The Comforter”, the person of the Holy Spirit! Depend on Him. Shalom!
Do not be deceived, hardened or seduced out of the light is a warning not to unbelievers but to believers. And it can be found from the beginning of the bible to the end. If it were not possible to be deceived as Christians, it wouldn’t be in the bible. A warning is always given because what is being warned about has the possibility of it happening or being prevented otherwise the warning is useless and a waste of time.
God does not waste time neither does He waste words or speak useless words. Hence, in warning His beloved children to avoid being shipwrecked or hardened by the deceitfulness of the Antichrist (sin or the man of sin), He has given us the history of the devil and how his awful end will be in order to deter us from yielding to him (sin) Hebrews 3:13, James 4:7. He has given us the names of those who were deceived and got shipwrecked. It is clearly written in the bible starting from Adam and Eve to the five foolish virgins as well as those who escaped being deceived ranging from Abraham to the five wise virgins. So, the two are possibilities.
The Antichrist is at work walking to and fro the whole earth seeking to perfect his dual function of blinding and shipwrecking. The devil is happy for us to be ignorant of this! However, it is more important not to lose sight of the truth that, God’s eyes runs through the earth drawing and keeping those whose hearts and minds are stayed on Christ by grace, faith and patience John 6:44, 65, Titus 2:11, Revelation 3:10.
When we are ignorant of the antichrist’s scheme, we become slothful in making disciples of all men Matthew 28:19. It becomes meaningless to us and at the same time, we increasingly grow wise in our own eyes, careless and disrespectful of God while falling back on “we are the children of Abraham” (we’re born again) and God understands Proverbs 14:16. So, whether God likes it or not, He is at our mercy because we have once received His Son. The Antichrist loves for many of us to hold tightly to this kind of delusion Revelation 3:15-22.
Because it is possible for one’s faith to be shipwrecked, Paul wrote that the devil made ‘shipwreck of the faith of some’ 1 Timothy 5:15, 1 Timothy 1:19. The Holy Spirit brought a word from Christ to Peter to remind the saints that faith in Him has an end which is, the salvation of our souls John 16:13, I Peter 1:9.
No one who has looked away from God, turned away from Christ, disregarded and or blasphemed the Holy Spirit has survived the antichrist’s power. Jesus said, “The devil is a strong man”—that is, a strong blinder as prince of the power of the air and as the father of lies or deceiver who wrecks the faith of saints that look away from Christ. Adam and Eve looked away and could not stand to walk with a gracious Father. Hiding became preferable to them.
Because the only Person who can stop the Antichrist in his tracks is Christ, Paul wrote to warn the Corinthian Church with whom he had spent considerable time in fellowship thus, ‘guard your soft, sincere or pure mind’ 2 Corinthians 11:3, Proverbs 4:23, Philippians 4:8-9, 6. This means, fight to retain your heart of love, faith and hope Jude 1:3. All who are in Christ are bestowed with this gift of a sprinkled mind (a mind amiable to the discipline of the Lord).
With the gift of love, faith and hope (sprinkled mind), no one can be admitted into hell. Therefore, the antichrist’s resources are hugely invested towards luring you away from this precious gift but he can’t unless you submit to him. This is why he lays seduction before our eyes and flesh and sets pride in front of our hearts. In the same manner, God lays before us His precious promises that we may rather choose to continue submitting to His Son, the Way (Christ) 2 Peter 1:4.
Therefore, our response to the Lord’s discipline should be positive not negative. What is being said here? Clearly, we can accept or endure (submit) to God. Or refuse—that is, treat His discipline lightly and continue in our own ways (our old dead self or un-renewed mind) by which the Antichrist lived his life through us in time past. If we refuse to endure God’s discipline (it is possible because we’re not conscripts but beloved children), we put ourselves in harm’s way 1 Peter 2:11. God has warned that, “all who set their minds on the flesh (enmity against God) will not inherit His Kingdom” Romans 8: 7, Galatians 5:19-21. Therefore, God’s discipline is intended for us to participate or share in His holiness Hebrews 12:5-10, 1 John 1:6, 1 Corinthians 11:32.
So, the Antichrist will keep offering us his own gift of unbelief, hard heart and wickedness to replace the heart of faith, love and hope Christ has offered us—which we willingly and gladly accepted or received. The reason the Antichrist offers his own gift is because, without we receiving it, he can’t live his lifestyle through us nor will we be admitted into his awful abode, hell. To this end, Christ’s dimensions— apostles, prophets, teachers, shepherds, evangelists and all His gifts to the saints have been blowing the trumpet saying to the world, “repent (accept or receive Christ into your lives) and to the gathering of His people (Church) “endure, remain, abide, persevere and keep looking unto Christ to the end by the power of the Holy Spirit in you. Don’t now leave the relationship you have with Christ and turn to the Antichrist through religion no matter what name is attached to it.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
The Antichrist will not come through any other religion other than the “Christian religion”. While, it may be painful and provoking, it is true. It’s not a ridiculous statement. The angel known as the Antichrist or Satan was initially an angel of light. Selah!
By his evil example of rebelling against God, Satan succeeded in derailing some angels. He was one of them—it’s not like he came from nowhere and just made them choose to fall with him. Interestingly, some chose to remain with God. The fact that the angels were clothed with immortality meant they couldn’t ever repent. Thankful to our loving, omniscience and gracious eternal Father, man (Adam and Eve) were not clothed with immortality when Eve was deceived and both of them sinned.
Now, Christ did not come down to earth as Jesus to establish His religion. He is not interested in man searching for Him no, not at all. He came that He may dwell in man and man in Him referenced as Christians (disciples or followers of Christ’s life) John 14:20, Acts 11:26. God wants His tabernacle to be with men on earth as He originally intended.
But, the Antichrist has quickly set up “religion and attached the word Christian to it” to counter God’s intent. “Christian religion” is a counterfeit of “the way” —that is, Christ’s relationship or operation in mortal men. “You will seek Me and find Me…Jeremiah 29:13” simply means to accept Him in the heart and not, crisis crossing the world searching for the God who is Omnipresent.
The Antichrist does not come to deceive (blind) just the world; if that is his only task, his work is easy and done because the whole world is already blinded. But there is a body of people in the world that is not of the world—that is, the Church (those in Christ Jesus). He also wants to deceive them—this is the hard task he has. It is the main reason he masquerades as an angel of light through his set up (Christian religion and others).
The world does not love light. The people interested in the light or the way is God’s children. For him to deceive the world, he does not need to masquerade.
Dual function of the Antichrist
Blinding: So, his first function is to keep those outside Christ in their blindness since man is born blind into the world. This is meant to stop them from seeing and accepting Jesus Christ who laid down His life for mankind’s redemption 2 Corinthians 4:4, 1 John 2:2. Hardly, any Christian denies the devil is still carrying out this duty and truth be told, he is succeeding largely, which accounts for why many are still on the broad or blind way.
Shipwrecking: His second function is what Christians are in denial of. And it is not too hard to figure out why. While through blinding he keeps those who have not received Christ from doing so, he uses blinding to shipwreck the faith of those who have once accepted Jesus Christ 2 Peter 1:9-11. Frankly, it’s regrettable and painful many of us Christians are in denial that the Antichrist is active and sadly also succeeding in this. The denial only serves to accentuate the falling away (turning to the broad or fake way). Zion Awake!
Because God gives His children light they are able to love the light Psalm 119:105. Therefore, on one hand, believers are exhorted to continue to love the light and on the other hand are admonished thus, “if you be in the light (love the light), walk in the light”. Jesus said it in many different ways, “abide in me”, and ‘if you love me (light) obey my commands—not ten commandments on a tablet of stone.
Close to the admonition to believers to ‘abide in Christ, to continue to love and walk in the light’ is, “Do not be deceived”. Meaning, don’t look back or down having put your hands on the plow. Rather, keep looking up where Christ Jesus is seated as our High Priest Hebrews 12:2, 6:20. Remember Adam and Eve, Lots wife, Demas, Judas and the strayed widows who failed because they stooped looking — abiding or obeying Christ 1 Corinthians 10:11. They stopped living by faith and drew back forgetting that God’s righteousness runs its full course—from faith to faith Romans 1:17, Hebrews 10:38.
Hence, we need to be watchful and careful as we remember those who in the last few centuries, recent decades and now, went/have gone from believing in the resurrection to being Sadducees, from believing in life after death to annihilation, from believing in marriage between man and woman, to man and man, or woman and woman.
Also, from believing that God’s grace persuades and enables His people to live godly and righteously in this present world by faith, to believing that His blood and gracewaits on us hand and foot to ensure that as we continue in sin God remains handicapped to spit us out of His mouth.
Furthermore, from believing there is hell to believing in ultimate reconciliation or universalism and from believing in Acts 4:11-12, to subtle inclusivism.
There’s a difference between having discernment and having the gift of discernment of spirits. The understanding of their difference is getting narrower in the Church today. Yet, the importance of keeping them wide apart and praying God to bless the church with both is needed now more than ever before.
A simple definition of discernment is, to have the ability to distinguish between things—knowing the difference between a male and a female (so we don’t marry a man thinking he is a woman and vice versa), a plane and a helicopter, an ocean and a creek, facial expressions, economies etc. To this extent, every human has discernment though, at varying levels especially when the distinction required gets more technical e.g., the ecology of an ocean compared to a creek or reading humans beyond facial expressions.
So, the more complex and technical a thing is required to be discerned, the more the depth of knowledge required to accomplish the task of discerning. Besides the intuitive knowledge all humans are born with which is limited, education plays an important role to condense and deepen our knowledge in specific fields e.g., while we may have a basic understanding from biology about the human body, medical doctors know far better.
Discernment for God’s people
Consistent heart involvement in reading the bible educates us to know or discern between good and evil ordinarily. This leads us to loving, praying and reverencing God and helps us to obey God in the things He instructs. It teaches us to love others and do right by them and to receive love from them as they do right by us. To this extent, all Christians know right from wrong.
Over time, consistent fellowship with the Holy Spirit, study of the scriptures and both pleasant and unpleasant practical experiences within and outside of the community of the faith, we acquire discernment at the level of our individual walk with God.
In Acts 17, the Berean Christians exercised discernment by checking the scriptures after Paul and Silas (Apostles) taught them the word of God. They understood that the word of God is light and it exposes lies and darkness. Every child of God is commanded to study consistently and meditate always on God’s word because it reveals God’s will for man. It renews the mind and a renewed mind is en-graced to do God’s good and perfect will which is the essence of all discernment.
This kind of discernment that comes from a relationship with Christ, study of His word and fellowship with the saints is used for one’s benefit and for others. A person with spiritual discernment gains protection and blessings for him or herself and others.
How does it benefit others?
By sharing the same insight with others—this is possible because Christ speaks to His sheep and speaks through them by the power of the Holy Spirit Heb 3:13.
Negative sources of discernment
Many people undertake studies and practical training to acquire dark knowledge within and outside religious circles to enable them gain discernment. The fields mostly used to gain this dark knowledge are rooted in ESP (extrasensory perception).
Those who subject themselves to these studies and its practical exercises acquire skills which can enable them discern or read people beyond the surface and so know how to predict them and possibly gain mastery over them for whatever purpose! More often than not, it’s used primarily for gaining power and control and only secondarily for material gain. The point I’m making is this; most of the people who get involved in this craft, are not so much money hungry as much as they’re hungry to have control of souls to rule. Discernment is a big thing with rulership or leadership. Those seeking discernment from sources other than God understand the preciousness of the soul and know that to have one soul under them is to advance over that soul as its god, master or guru. The god or master status can be nicknamed any circular or religious title depending on the purpose of the persons involved. Those in the business world take on the title suited for them and those in religious empires take on religious titles and mix their theology with HPM (human potential movement) teachings or its latest versions.
To achieve their objective, they can sacrifice and endure anything knowing that whatever they lose in the short term can be gained even much more if they chose to be materialist after souls are under their control. It’s for this reason, that some become super rich through fooling and exploiting others or their congregations without any application of force. Still, others will even chose to be modest but have multitudes all over the world follow and worship them as their guru. For those sitting over religious people, their words carry more weight than even God’s word in the bible to their subjects. They become the source for authenticating the truth of God’s word and not the word itself. Regrettable disaster!
Though there are limitations to this type of discernment, I just want to state its two major limitations which are:
It deals primarily at the mind level (the soul realm). It works by influencing people’s minds. This is why both the people who practice it and those it is practiced on get demonized.
It can’t discern the mind of God.
The Gift of Discernment of spirits
The difference between the gift of discerning spirits and having discernment is like the distant between continents. Majorly, it does not just deal with the mind realm and its motive but detects the kind of spirit in operation. It bypasses whether the motive is good or bad. This is an important point to note. A deceived person may have good intentions but is controlled by satanic spirits. It’s for this reason God has gifted some in His body with the gift of discernment of spirits which travels deep into a thing or being to discover if the propelling spirit is of God or the devil. People who have this gift can be uneducated because it has nothing to do with intellect.
The scripture warns believers to discern the body of Christ. In other words, we’re to recognize Christ’s Spirit in the midst of the gathering of saints and reverence His presence by sincerely loving and honouring one another. This includes esteeming God’s word above ourselves and subjecting everyone’s teaching and service to a healthy scrutiny through God’s word.
Having this gift does not make the bearer a Prophet. However, a Prophet not just a prophetic person carries this gift. All those with ministry gifts have it— especially Apostles and Prophets for the sake of their foundational work in God’s great house (Church) in the earth. While Simon had a bitter spirit and bond in iniquity which separated his heart from Jesus and denied him any portion with Christ though a believer, he was active in evangelism with Philip the Evangelist till, an apostolic team arrived to strengthen the gathering of the saints who were seeing new believers added to them. Please see Acts 8:9-25. Jesus knew when Satan entered Judas though he was participating in breaking of bread John 13:27. Also, Jesus knew when Satan spoke through Peter though Peter had good intentions Matt 16:23. By discernment, Peter knew that Ananias heart was overtaken by Satan—not that he made a slip of tongue Acts 5:3.
Possessing this gift doesn’t mean one can’t be tricked by people with wrong motives. Paul had this gift yet he suffered in the hands of false brothers 2 Cor 11:26.
Its focus is discerning which spirit is at work and not reading people’s minds or motives. Having a wrong motive is not always a sign of the presence of an evil spirit. For example, many zealous Christians want to eradicate poverty from the world. So, they work harder and smarter to make lots of money for charitable purposes than they devote themselves for intimacy with God. If the example startles you, it means you need to study and meditate on the scripture more and devote yourself to a lifestyle of prayer.
Today, we’re fighting the deceiving spirits the early Church fought with an added tilt. While, one of the major focuses of the early church was to withstand those who wanted to take the church back to Judaism, ours is the infiltration of occult teachings by many false teachers with loads of doctrines to mislead the undiscerning. With so many occult words becoming increasingly acceptable for Christian leaders to use, the lines are vanishing fast.
The depth of the mixture of truth and error is showing that the end is nearer than any other prophetic sign I know in the bible. They have succeeded in misleading many vibrant and good intentioned Christians who have the trust of God’s people. Therefore, the danger has become even more wide spread and harder to detect. In time past, a Christian has to deliberately go out of his or her way to be able to join occult organizations but now, one can easily imbibe occult teachings and even practice it while in a supposedly decent Christian community. Think of yoga, the different forms of transcendental meditation, crowd or mind control techniques blatantly used in the Church today.
In the early Church, those who exercised their spiritual gifts and those with the five-fold ministries, especially the Apostles and Prophets fought against these dangers with all they had—but in our time, there has been a lot of failing to do this. As a result, diviners and sorcerers are now ministering in the camp and are even highly respected as they do so!! Acts 16:16, 8:9-21 and 5:3, 1 Tim 1:19-20. Voo doo doctors are springing up in the gatherings of saints all over the world. They have abandoned their dressing styles by which they are usually known and are now dressed in clean suits or stylish modern jeans and T-shirts with leather bibles in their hands. It would have been marvelous if they had also dropped the spirit of their trade but no, they haven’t—they don’t have the Spirit of Christ.
There are many young and vibrant men and women (26-50 years old) in the church now who have imbibed occult teachings and are perfecting blending it with Christian doctrines. These are leadership minded folks who’ll do anything to sustain their ambition. Now and in no distant time, they are causing and will yet cause the church such problems as never before. There is much need now to stop the mouth of some people in the church. The leaders who have nurtured these people should have been stopped decades but it didn’t happen. No one wants to be seen as a trouble maker. No one wants to lose their reputation. Most people want acceptance, great following and to accomplish some great things for God—all at the expense of God’s pleasure. A pleasure God sacrificed His only Son to purchase.
We’re in need of not only discernment but also the gift of discernment of spirits.
If you have the gift of discernment of spirits (not the gift of suspicion), may the Lord our God strengthen you to speak out in the community of saints where God has set you Isaiah 62.
Exposing the false spirits that have come into the church gatherings and warning and sharply rebuking those who may have unknowingly been ensnared is within the context of the word edify. And those who’ve understood their error but are bent on travelling that route must be handed over to Satan by the church that they may be ashamed and repent—turning again sincerely to the Spirit of the Lord of glory, Christ Jesus.
2 Tim 3:16, tells us that the word of God is the substance of discernment and edifying as His Spirit through His sheep use the instrumentality of teaching, reproofing, correcting, and training in righteousness (participation in divine nature or character). The prompt application of these instruments of God is crucial for the assemblies of God’s people to abide in the mind of Christ (have one mind) Rom 15:5, enjoy unity of the spirit Eph 4:3 and its attendant benefits Ps 133:1-3.