(2 Kings 7:1-20)“Then Elisha said, ‘Hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the LORD: ‘Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.’’ So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said, ‘Look, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?’ And he said, ‘In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it.’ Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, ‘Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die.’ And they rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise no one was there. For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses—the noise of a great army; so they said to one another, ‘Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!’ Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact—their tents, their horses, and their donkeys—and they fled for their lives. And when these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank, and carried from it silver and gold and clothing, and went and hid them; then they came back and entered another tent, and carried some from there also, and went and hid it. Then they said to one another, ‘We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king’s household.’ So they went and called to the gatekeepers of the city, and told them, saying, ‘We went to the Syrian camp, and surprisingly no one was there, not a human sound—only horses and donkeys tied, and the tents intact.’ And the gatekeepers called out, and they told it to the king’s household inside. So the king arose in the night and said to his servants, ‘Let me now tell you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we are hungry; therefore they have gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, ‘When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city.’’ And one of his servants answered and said, ‘Please, let several men take five of the remaining horses which are left in the city. Look, they may either become like all the multitude of Israel that are left in it; or indeed, I say, they may become like all the multitude of Israel left from those who are consumed; so let us send them and see.’ Therefore they took two chariots with horses; and the king sent them in the direction of the Syrian army, saying, ‘Go and see.’ And they went after them to the Jordan; and indeed all the road was full of garments and weapons which the Syrians had thrown away in their haste. So the messengers returned and told the king. Then the people went out and plundered the tents of the Syrians. So a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD. Now the king had appointed the officer on whose hand he leaned to have charge of the gate. But the people trampled him in the gate, and he died, just as the man of God had said, who spoke when the king came down to him. So it happened just as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, ‘Two seahs of barley for a shekel, and a seah of fine flour for a shekel, shall be sold tomorrow about this time in the gate of Samaria.’ Then that officer had answered the man of God, and said, ‘Now look, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, could such a thing be?’ And he had said, ‘In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it.’ And so it happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gate, and he died.”Today, we read the entire chapter seven of 2 Kings. Israel had been invaded by Syria, and it was now cornered into its capital, the city of Samaria. This city of Samaria was surrounded by the army of Syria and was cut off from all food supplies, and everyone in the city was facing starvation unto death. So the price of food was extremely high at that time (2 Kings 6:25). Even wild beans and donkey heads, which the people of Israel had not eaten under normal times, were sold at a dear price. A shekel of silver in the Israeli currency at that time was worth about four days’ wages for an average worker. So in order to buy a cup of wild beans, a worker had to pay 20 days worth of wages, and almost his entire annual wages for a donkey’s head. This shows just how little the people of Israel had at that time.As the siege continued on unabated, terrible things happened inside the city of Samaria. The people inside the city were so starved that they were almost driven to madness. In one instance, two women had decided to draw lots and take turns to eat their own children, and one of the children was indeed eaten. Drawing lots for their own children, they had first eaten one woman’s child, and the next day, they were to eat the other woman’s child. But the mother of the child still alive, once her hunger was somewhat lessened from eating the other woman’s child, came to her senses and hid her own child. So a great tumultuous fight arose between them. Hearing this news, the king of Israel ripped his garments and wailed. Even though he was the king of Israel, he was completely helpless as there was nothing he could do, facing a desperate situation where he was only waiting for everyone in the city to die. However, at this time, when Israel was facing such a severe crisis from Syria’s invasion, the servant of God delivered His Word, saying, “By this time tomorrow, crops will abound in the city.” The Background to the Emergence of Heretics in Today’s ChristianityThe reason why I am giving this sermon today is because there are too many heretics inside today’s Christianity. In fact, the origin of heretics and the reason why heretics have emerged in today’s Christianity are traced back to the days of Jeroboam. Jeroboam was the first king of Israel, but he had only sought to fulfill his own carnal lust. This made all Israelites turn into heretics. Originally, Jeroboam was not set to succeed the throne of Israel. Any legitimate successor to the throne of Israel had to be from the house of Judah, and more specifically, a descendant of David. That’s because God had promised this to David. At that time, Rehoboam the son of Solomon was the sole legitimate successor to the throne of Israel. However, King Solomon had worshiped idols so much that God handed over a part of Israel to Jeroboam. This man named Jeroboam was originally an officer in King Solomon’s court, who had overseen the construction of the palace. Nevertheless, God established him as the king of the northern kingdom of Israel. In the southern kingdom of Judah, on the other hand, God ensured that the tribes of Judah and Benjamin would remain loyal to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. As a result, the people of Israel were now split into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah, ushering in the era of the divided kingdom. Previous to this, Israel had been one nation, but now it was divided into two sides. So now there were two kings in Israel. Jeroboam was not from the royal family. You should be fully aware here that it’s all because Solomon had worshiped idols that God tore the people into two and handed one of them to Jeroboam. That is how Jeroboam became king of Israel. In the south, Solomon’s son named Rehoboam became king, while in the north Jeroboam became king. However, Jeroboam was facing a serious problem of governance. Once he assumed the throne of the northern kingdom of Israel, he had to take special measures to maintain his throne and power, no matter what he had to sacrifice. This was King Jeroboam’s position. Since King Jeroboam was not a descendant of David, he became even more worried after assuming the throne. Because God had been pleased with David, He had promised that He would give the throne of Israel to David’s descendants and they would keep it. Jeroboam knew this quite well, and so when he became king of Israel, he had to do something to maintain his throne. What he did was change all the institutions that God had established long ago. In Israel, only the descendants of Levi could become priests or High Priests, but King Jeroboam appointed to the priesthood anyone who wanted to become one, even from the common people. He also replaced Jehovah God with golden calves, and changed the date of the Day of Atonement to the fifteenth day of the eighth month from the tenth day of the seventh month. Even though the Temple of God had been located in just one city in Israel, Jerusalem, Jeroboam built shrines at Bethel and Dan, inducing and corrupting the people of the northern kingdom of Israel to offer their sacrifices to God there, rather than in His Temple in Jerusalem. After building shrines at Dan and Bethel, Jeroboam then appointed ordinary people into the priesthood, and made his people replace Jehovah God, the God of the Israelites, with golden calves and worship them as their gods. Out of his own volition, he turned himself into a heretic, someone whom God abhorred the most. In his attempt to guard his throne, he ended up not only walking in the way of heretics himself, but he also led the people of Israel to this road.The people of Israel have various feasts. The greatest of these feasts is none other than the Passover. Marking the day when God had led the people of Israel out of Egypt, this is the time when the entire people are on the move. Another feast was held in the seventh month on the Jewish calendar. The seventh month in ancient Israel corresponds to October in today’s calendar, and it is the month of thanksgiving when crops are harvested and stored, and thanksgiving worship is offered to God. On the first day of the seventh month, trumpets were blown to declare this month as the month of feasts, and it was in this month that the Feast of Weeks—that is, the Feast of Tabernacles—was observed, as well as the Day of Atonement. People travel a lot when holidays come around, so that they can be together with their families. In Israel also, when such feasts came around, all the people gathered in the Temple of Israel. Although by now Israel was divided into the northern and southern kingdoms, all the Israelites were supposed to return to Jerusalem on holidays, and so this caused a great deal of worry for Jeroboam.This issue emerged as the biggest concern for King Jeroboam’s rule. That’s because if his people went to the southern kingdom to offer sacrifices, both the northern and southern Israelites could join together and rebel against King Jeroboam. Jeroboam had assumed the throne temporarily only because King Solomon had committed so much idolatry. God had allowed this to happen only for a while because of the sins committed by King Solomon, and therefore it was quite possible that once the people realized that Jeroboam had no blood of the house of Judah, they might kill him and return to King Rehoboam. So Jeroboam had to take a radical decision in order to prevent the people of the northern kingdom of Israel from going to the Temple of Jerusalem to worship, which was located in the southern kingdom. To this aim, he first changed the Day of Atonement from the tenth day of the seventh month to the fifteenth day of the eighth month; he then made priests out of the ordinary people who wanted, even though only the descendants of Levi could be appointed into priesthood; and he also replaced Jehovah God with golden calves and made his people bow down before them and burn incense to worship them. This was the process by which Jeroboam and the people of Israel ended up turning into heretics before God. This was how Jeroboam not only turned himself into a heretic, but he also drove the people of Israel to the way of heresy. And his indelible impact is still influencing many leaders in Christian communities. We must all realize this fact, that today’s Christianity is clearly emulating and following the sins of Jeroboam. The real God of Israel is Jehovah God. The name of this God in Hebrew is “Yahweh.” Yet King Jeroboam had replaced this Yahweh God with golden calves to be worshiped as gods. So you have to realize here just how grievous his sins were. Having set up golden calves at his chosen places, he said to the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, “These are the gods that led you. These golden calves are your gods.” By thus making his people serve golden calves as their gods, Jeroboam drove all of them into heresy. As Israel was originally founded by the twelve sons of Jacob it had twelve tribes, and of these, only the tribe of Levi could be appointed to God’s priesthood. However, King Jeroboam appointed ordinary people into the priesthood, and in doing so he destroyed the institution of the priesthood established and set by God. Jeroboam also built shrines at Dan and Bethel instead of Jerusalem, placed golden calves there, and made his people worship them as their gods. He changed all the sacrificial system of salvation made by God for the glory of his own flesh.Spiritually speaking, therefore, King Jeroboam is the foremost heretic responsible for leading today’s Christians into heresy. We must identify the cause of the emergence of heretics in today’s Christianity from the sins of Jeroboam, understand this cause, and stay away from his sins. That’s because even today, many Christian leaders are trying to satisfy their own greed with the same motivation and faith of King Jeroboam. To gratify their carnal lust, they believe in unfounded Christian doctrines of their own making, and in doing so, they are turning today’s Christians into heretics before God.What Does the Fact That King Jeroboam Replaced Jehovah God with Golden Calves Tell Us about the Spiritual Condition of Modern Christianity Today?Now as before, a golden calf is a symbol of wealth and power. Just like Jeroboam, Christians today are also trying to satisfy only their carnal lust. In other words, although the existing heretics in today’s Christian communities profess to believe in Jesus as their Savior, in reality, they are just demanding money from their congregation, all in order to gratify their carnal greed. Therefore, even among the so-called Christian leaders, those who teach their followers to ask God only for carnal blessings are the heretics who have fallen into the sins of Jeroboam. Put differently, these people have replaced the true Christian faith, which believes in Jesus as the Savior, with a lust-filled faith, and in the process they have made Christians bow before golden calves and ask them to fill only the lust of their flesh. That is why Christians now believe in golden calves as their gods, just like King Jeroboam of the old days. From the very beginning, they only followed the lust of their own flesh. Yet because such people are now dominating Christianity today, Christians all over the world see no problem at all with their faith and beliefs, even though they are actually worshiping golden calves. So today’s Christians do not realize that they themselves have turned into heretics before God on account of their wrong faith that has forsaken the gospel of the water and the Spirit established by God. Most Christian leaders today do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and instead they are just leading their congregation to worship golden calves. That is why God is rebuking today’s Christians so harshly and telling them to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord. In short, because Christians nowadays have turned into spiritual heretics in God’s sight, God has allowed false prophets to trap them with false miracles and carnal blessings. God’s Blessed Work That Happened in Just One DayWe just read 2 Kings chapter seven, and this passage is the Word of God recording what happened in just one day. This amazing blessing that occurred around the city of Samaria was realized in just one day, just as God’s servant had spoken. Elisha had prophesied that by this time tomorrow, a seah of fine flour would be sold for a shekel at the gate of Samaria and two seahs of barley for a shekel, and God did so just as He had promised through His servant. The servant of God was prophesying that the grains, which were so expensive now, would become so abundant in just a day that they would be sold at such cheap prices. The people of Israel must have been astonished to hear this Word of promise from God, but even so, they did not reject this Word, as now they could rely only on God in their extreme suffering. But there was one man who did not listen to the words of Elisha nor believed him, an officer on whose hand the king of Israel leaned, and he stood against God and His servant. The Word of God that Elisha the servant of God delivered was all to be fulfilled within 24 hours. So one of the Israeli officers did not believe him, wondering how such a thing could happen, and doubted the feasibility of what Elisha said, thinking, “How can it be possible, even though Elisha is God’s servant and he has been delivering the Word of Jehovah God?” The officer just could not believe in what God had said through Elisha, saying how such a thing could happen even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven. Even though Jehovah had promised through Elisha that He would make the Israelites abound with food by this time tomorrow, the officer said to the man of God, “Look, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” In his carnal thoughts, he thought that this was absolutely impossible. He did not believe in the words of the servant of God, wondering how such a thing could happen even if Jehovah God were to make windows in heaven, given how desperately the war situation was evolving, how the city of Samaria were completely surrounded by the Syrian army, and how all the people and soldiers inside the city were starving to death from the lack of food. This man, even though he was an officer of Israel, did not believe in the Word of the almighty Jehovah God delivered by His servant, but instead he just thought that it was simply impossible. In his carnal mind, he thought that under the prevailing condition, even the God of Israel could not bring about such a thing to happen. So he dismissed Elisha’s words, saying how Jehovah could make it happen even if He were to make windows in heaven. He was scolding Elisha for saying such an impossible thing. Elisha then said to him that he would see it with his own eyes by this time tomorrow, but he would not eat of it. And the next day, just as God had spoken through His servant, a supernatural miracle happened.
The People of Israel Were Leading Their Lives of Faith against the Will of God
The Lord God was the King of His people Israel. He Himself ruled them through His servants. Toward the end of the era of the Judges, however, the people of Israel began to demand a human king to rule over them. Seeing how all the neighboring countries had powerful armies under the rule of monarchs, the Israelites request Samuel, the last Judge, to appoint someone exceptional among them as the king of Israel. As God was not visible to their eyes of the flesh, they wanted the visible rule of a human monarch. The people of Israel also wanted to be commanded by a king to vanquish their enemies and establish a strong nation by themselves. However, God wanted to be the forever-unchanging God to the people of Israel. So He told them through the Prophet Samuel that if they established a human king, they would be enslaved to him, drafted into forced labor, and would be laden with the burden of taxation.
Yet despite this, the people of Israel kept on demanding a human king until the end, and so God told Samuel to grant their wish. Samuel then anointed Saul the son of Kish, a man from the tribe of Benjamin, as the first king of Israel. Saul was an impressive man. He was so tall that most people came only up to his shoulders (1 Samuel 9:1-2). But God wanted to set David as the king of Israel rather than Saul. So after Saul’s death, David became the king of Israel.
Once David assumed the throne, Israel was united from the north to the south and became very prosperous. Solomon prospered from the tributes paid by Israel’s neighboring countries. The foundation of this prosperity had been laid down through his father King David by waging war and conquering them. So it’s said that during the reign of Solomon, silver was used as commonly as stones (1 Kings 10:27).
King David believed in Jehovah God and followed Him as a sheep followed its shepherd (Psalm 23:1). Even though he was the king, he sought God’s permission in everything, listened to the words of the priests and the prophets, believed in the Word of God that he heard through His prophets, and lived his life as commanded by God. Unlike David, however, Solomon did not trust in Jehovah God nor relied on Him wholly. Instead, he relied on his own wisdom, and he tried to maintain peace through his marriages, by accepting princesses from powerful countries such as Egypt to be his wives. When these foreign princesses came to Israel to be wed to Solomon, they brought their national idols. As a result, not only the court of Israel, but, also the entire nation turned into an exhibition of foreign idols.
After the passing of King Solomon, his son Rehoboam succeeded to the throne. As God had promised David that He would let his throne be succeeded by his descendants, Rehoboam became king. But Rehoboam also worshiped idols following the footsteps of his father Solomon. So God split Israel into two on account of Solomon’s sins. Israel was therefore divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah, and the throne of the northern kingdom was assumed by Jeroboam, who had been Solomon’s officer. However, as I explained a short while ago, King Jeroboam was worried that his people might return to the kingdom of Judah, and so he made golden calves, placed one at Dan at the northern end and another at Beersheba at the southern end, and then declared that these were the gods that had saved the people of Israel from Egypt. As a result, he became God’s most hated enemy. What is important to us here is that today’s Christian believers have also become heretics before God falling into the traps set by Jeroboam.
That is how the people of Israel, led by King Jeroboam at the forefront, all came to worship idols and follow his sins. They now turned into terrible heretics in God’s sight, nearly impossible to reverse. God abhorred their sins the most. So in order to make Jeroboam the king of the northern kingdom of Israel and his people repent, God kept sending foreign armies from the neighboring countries, including the Syrian army, and punished them. When the people of Israel were about to harvest their crops, foreign armies invaded them and took all their harvest away. The Israelites lived under the constant invasion of its enemies. However, during the period when it was ruled by God-fearing kings, God gave peace to Israel. But whenever the Israelites worshiped idols and followed the sins of Jeroboam, which God abhorred, He punished them and made their lives miserable to bring them to repentance. Jehovah God permitted all these sufferings so that the people of Israel would live by relying only on Him and trusting in Him alone.
Although it was Jehovah God’s desire to become the true God and a truly good Shepherd to the people of Israel, the Israelites constantly wanted to leave this God, go on their independent way, and worship golden calves. As opposed to David, who had praised his God Jehovah by singing, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want,” the people of Israel deemed that they no longer needed Jehovah God as their Shepherd. In short, they did not want Jehovah God to be their Shepherd. Basically, the people of Israel were saying to God, “If we don’t have anything to eat, we will till the ground. If we have no water, we will irrigate them by making reservoirs. So please, don’t interfere with us anymore. It’s so annoying!”
Cain had left from the presence of God to dwell in the land of Nod to the east of Eden, and this desire to leave God was the sin of those born as Adam’s descendants. However, the people of Israel could never survive without Jehovah God’s help. Given how powerful its neighboring countries were, it was not possible for such a small nation as Israel to survive on its own strength. But despite this, the people of Israel failed to recognize themselves, and so they thought that they didn’t need God’s power. Far from needing God’s help, they actually wished that He would just stop interfering with their lives. The Israelites were convinced that their lives were up to themselves alone.
Ignoring the blessings of Jehovah God who had led them out of Egypt, saved them from the sins of the world, and protected them to be prosperous, the people of Israel followed the sins of Jeroboam, no longer loving this God. Even though in their flesh they were Abraham’s descendents, spiritually, they were not God’s people anymore.
Even so, God still admonished them to turn around, saying to them: “There is a promise I made to Abraham. I promised him that to his descendants, to the circumcised people, I would be their God. I will be your God and Shepherd, and when your enemies invade you, I will protect you. I am Jehovah your Lord God. Know this in your lives. How can you carry on with your lives unless you believe in Me, your God? Yet have you not put golden calves in My place, and are you not worshiping them as your gods even right now?”
In God’s sight, everyone is born in the likeness of His image, and therefore everyone must live fearing God. Everyone is bound to rely on something while carrying on with his life. Just how foolish is it then to rely on golden calves instead of Jehovah God, and what a spiritually blind life is this life? Even though God had protected the Israelites and blessed them, they abandoned this God and worshiped golden calves instead, and that is why they could receive neither the material nor spiritual blessings of God.
How Is Everyone Seen in God’s Sight?
When the people of Israel were surrounded by their enemies, then some of the parents even ate their own children. It’s absolutely imperative for us to realize just how evil everyone is, and how evil we are, and then believe in the righteousness of God. As the city of Samaria ran out of food from the siege, some Israeli women took turns eating their own children. It’s written, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ So we boiled my son, and ate him. And I said to her on the next day, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him’; but she has hidden her son” (2 Kings 6:28-29).
The king of Israel was devastated to hear this tragedy. Yet there was nothing he could do for his people. Human nature is such that everyone would boil and eat his own children if he had nothing to eat. Isn’t this ghastly image actually yours and mine? If you and I had starved for days, and the starvation got so bad that we were hallucinated, wouldn’t we also end up like these Israeli women? Turn around and take a look at yourself. Both you and I are more than capable of committing this atrocity. That’s because everyone is equally evil. If we were really starving to death, you and I could very well find ourselves doing what the women did here.
The story that I am about to tell you is an authentic account. Long ago, in a year when there was an extreme famine, a son came back from the field, and his mother told him, “Son, I saw a lamb wandering in the yard, and so I killed it and boiled it in a large pot for you. Come, eat it.” So the son went to the kitchen and opened the pot, and there he saw his own son boiled to death. His elderly mother had been so starved that her grandson looked like a lamb to her.
Have you seen a movie called Alive? This movie reenacted what had actually happened when an airplane carrying players from the Uruguayan rugby team crashed deep in the high slopes of the Andes Mountains by telling the story of the survivors. When the survivors could not find anything to eat in the extreme cold, they hung onto their lives by eating the human flesh of those who perished earlier until they were rescued. In the history of mankind, such things actually happened quite commonly whenever there was shortage of food. Even though we know that we should never do this, if we are physically starved enough, we humans are capable of eating even our own children. Do you think that you are an exception and that you would never let this happen? Then think again. Deep inside, you know yourself that there is no limit to the wickedness of mankind.
The Bible records this historical episode that occurred in the city of Samaria to underscore the fact that everyone living on this planet was fundamentally born with an evil heart from the moment he was born. So before God, everyone was born with an evil heart like this from his very birth. Nowadays everyone professes to be a good humanitarian, but that’s only because the circumstances are benign. If our lives and our circumstances turn bad enough, we will pour out the wickedness that’s dormant in our hearts. Didn’t you see what happened in New Orleans when it was struck by the hurricane Katrina? A lot of people turned into looters breaking into supermarkets, just as it had happened during the New York City Blackout of 1977. While the blackout lasted for only 25 hours, there were over 1,600 cases of looting and arson that resulted in nearly 4,000 arrests. With the law and order broken, it was hard to find any trace of civic virtues and human decency left.
Did that tragedy happen because the people of New Orleans were somehow worse than you? No, absolutely not. I am sure that you’ve experienced this in your own life also. Because everyone’s nature is evil, as soon as people face bad circumstances, they are all bound to commit evil acts. Simply put, everyone is evil like this. And because everyone is so wicked, no one can avoid but face the righteous judgment of God for this wickedness. So the only reason why people try to live virtuously is to gain respect and serve their own interest, as these can be ensured only if they abide by social norms and conform to social rules. But once they face extreme circumstances, they all pour out all kinds of wickedness that’s in their hearts.
Have you watched a fighting sport called K-1? It’s an extremely brutal sport drawing competitors from various martial arts, a modern-day version of gladiators where pretty much anything is allowed. It seems nowadays that boxing isn’t bloody enough to draw interest, as people around the world are instead more interested in watching K-1. This sport has now become quite popular. When people watch such a fight, it provides them with an indirect venue to experience and vent out the wickedness that’s in their hearts. We all want one of the players to be knocked out; it’s boring if the match ends with a win by points. That’s because our hearts already harbor murderous and evil desires. Everyone living on this planet has such violent desires in his heart. So whenever war breaks out in this world and society falls into chaos, it’s only a matter of course before there is outbreak of an epidemic of robbery, rape, murder, and arson. That is the fundament nature of mankind, reflecting the hearts of human beings born with the seed of sin. On the other hand, however, the human heart also has the desire to love others, in addition to self-love. That’s because human beings also want to live a holy life, virtuously and justly, just like God. But they can’t achieve this on their own because they were all born as the descendants of Adam, and therefore from their very birth, they were born into this world with all the twelve sinful desires in their hearts.
Whenever people face difficult circumstances, they are bound to pour out the twelve iniquities that are in their hearts. For instance, it’s a common knowledge that during the Korean War, foreign troops involved in the war raped countless Korean women. So, all the Korean women had to run for their lives whenever they saw foreign soldiers approaching them. Like this, if war breaks out or natural disasters strike, social order is most likely bound to be undermined with it only being a matter of time before people start to kill and rob each other. That’s because the twelve fundamental iniquities in people’s hearts are exposed once such circumstances are in place. What does this then tell us about the fundamental nature of mankind? It tells us that the fundamental human nature is evil like this. All of us humans must admit before God the wickedness that’s found in our hearts. You and I can no longer deny that this is not who we are.
Why do people try so hard to make money in this world? That’s because anyone who doesn’t have money can easily turn into a thief. Does a thief steal because he is told to steal by anyone else? No, he steals because there is greed in his heart from the very beginning. People steal fundamentally because everyone has so many iniquities in his heart. When war breaks out in this world, everyone turns into a murderer. As long as our circumstances turn this way, all of us can turn into murderers. Do you disagree? For everyone alike, what’s exposed when one faces the most difficult and desperate situation is his fundamental, true self. Even if we have not faced such extreme circumstances, since this is what the Word of God is saying to us, we must admit that there indeed is an evil side to all of us. Today’s Scripture passage is talking about the salvation that has delivered us from such conditions.
The city of Samaria was facing a hopelessly desperate situation. But even so, Elisha prophesied that by this time tomorrow, there would be an overabundant food supply in the city. This was indeed to happen, as the servant of God had spoken His Word on His behalf. But one of the king’s officers rejected God’s Word, saying, “Look, even if the Lord would make windows in heaven, how could this thing be possible?” Nevertheless, the reality unfolded exactly as the servant of God had prophesied with His Word. This seemingly impossible thing did actually happen in just a day.
What does this event tell us spiritually? We need to examine this event in a spiritual context, within the gospel of the water and the Spirit. My fellow believers, you must realize that our Lord has blotted out all our sins in just one day, with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. In just a single day, our Lord has blotted out all our sins with the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. Because of our sins, all of us humans are destined to continue to be evil and commit wicked deeds until the day we die, but to save such people like us from every sin, our Lord came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, and He accepted all the sins of mankind in just one day by being baptized by John the Baptist. With this baptism, the Lord took upon Himself and washed away all the sins of the entire human race in just one day. To bear mankind’s sins of the world, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and by being crucified and arising from the dead again, He has at once saved all those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
That is the Truth held in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Lord has ended all the condemnation of sin by washing away every sin of mankind once and for all with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Just as the officer who did not believe what the servant of the Lord said would happen by this time tomorrow died, today, those who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit proclaiming that Jesus Christ has blotted out all the sins of mankind by being baptized by John the Baptist will also face spiritual death. We Christians must believe that Jesus took upon Himself all the sins of mankind in just one day through His baptism.
Today, We Should Praise the Lord Placing Our Faith in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
Those who don’t believe that our Lord has blotted out all the sins of this world once and for all with the gospel of the water and the Spirit are the real heretics in Christian communities. The gospel of the water and the Spirit proclaims that the Lord came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, took upon Himself the sins of the world once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist at the age of 30, carried these sins to the Cross, and blotted them out permanently all at once through His shed blood unto death. Therefore, those who don’t believe in this gospel with their hearts are the real heretics in Christianity. The officer of Israel on whose hand the king leaned said, “Look, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” Today, if there is anyone who doesn’t believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit like this officer, he surely is a heretic before God. In other words, heretics are those who don’t believe that our Lord took upon Himself all the sins of the world once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist and He paid off their wages all at once, not twice, by being crucified on the Cross.
There is no doubt that we are bound to commit sin until our flesh dies. So as those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior, we must hold onto the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit with our hearts and ruminate on it at our every breath. All those who believe in Jesus must ruminate on the gospel of the water and the Spirit in their hearts time after time. Because our sins were passed onto Christ once and for all through the baptism the Lord received from John the Baptist, we believe that our sins have disappeared, and we have become righteous all at once by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. By this faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have united with the Lord, and when He was baptized and shed His blood unto death on the Cross thus providing atonement for our sins, our sins were washed away, and we had also died with Christ. And because Jesus Christ rose from the dead again, we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will also be resurrected together with the Lord to enjoy His glory and splendor with Christ forever. Now, in our hearts we must always ruminate on the gospel of the water and the Spirit by faith.
As we carry on with our lives in this world, our wickedness is poured out everyday and our insufficiencies are exposed day after day. This is why everyday we must ruminate on the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, the Word of the righteousness of God, and wash away all our transgressions by our faith in this true gospel. Although the sins of this world have already been washed away with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, because we still continue to commit sin everyday in our lives, we must solve it by placing our faith in this powerful gospel. Indeed, with the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord, we must solve all the iniquities we commit out of our weaknesses by faith. Those of us who now believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are truly God’s people, but if we have not been able to live the kind of life that God wants us to live, then it’s only proper for us to admit all the sins that we’ve committed under the prevailing circumstances, confirm that the Lord has already blotted out even these sins to perfection with the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, and with this faith of ours, give thanks to God who has truly saved us. That is how we keep our holiness, by constantly professing our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We should confirm the gospel of the water and the Spirit based on the Word of God, and be assured that our hearts have indeed been washed clean from all our sins, saying, “I am this insufficient and I’ve done these wrong deeds. But didn’t the Lord already take upon Himself all my sins by being baptized?”
Why must we come to God’s Church and worship there? Why is it that we have to continue to listen to the sermons that preach about the Word of God? When you come to God’s Church, you will hear all of the Word of God and especially the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. The Truth is that the Lord came to this earth, took upon Himself all our sins once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist, was crucified to death once, rose from the dead, and has thereby saved us all at once. Our Lord has saved mankind from the sins of the world once and for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He has saved us by coming to this earth, being Himself baptized with our sins, then dying vicariously on the Cross and rising from the dead.
Yet some people wonder, “How could Jesus have taken away the sins that we haven’t committed yet?” But there is nothing about which to worry. In today’s Scripture passage, even under a hopelessly desperate situation, when the inhabitants in the city of Samaria were facing such extremely difficult circumstances that they were starving to death under the relentless siege, the servant of God had prophesied that by this time tomorrow, God would fill the city with overflowing food. Believe in these words of the servant of God.
Just as only those who believed in the words of God’s servant were saved from such a hopeless situation in Samaria, God’s salvation is given only to those who actually believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even though we are insufficient, the Lord has saved us from our sins once and for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. By being baptized Himself by John the Baptist and crucified, and by shedding His blood unto death and rising from the dead again, Jesus has all at once saved all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, before we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we must first admit that we are fundamentally evil and destined to hell. We must believe in the gospel of Truth proclaiming that our Lord bore upon Himself our sins once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist, and that He has saved us perfectly by being crucified, pouring out His blood unto death, and rising from the dead again.
Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit know that they are always sinless no matter how insufficient they may be, for they believe in this true gospel, and therefore they are able to call God the Father, “Abba, Father.” They can also lead their remaining lives by trusting in this gospel. Even though we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit still remain insufficient, we are all God’s children. So let us all live by our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even for us the righteous, unless we live by our faith in the righteousness of God, we may also stumble over the iniquities of the world and perish away. In other words, even though you have received the remission of sin, unless you live by faith, you cannot live your life as a righteous person. Just how prevalent are iniquities in this world? How can the righteous live in such a sinful world? They can’t live in this world unless they have faith in the righteousness of God, that is, unless they believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
What Elisha the servant of God had said would happen by this time tomorrow all came to pass exactly as he had said. Likewise, God has saved you and me from the sins of the world through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is with this gospel of the water and the Spirit that God has blotted out the sins of mankind once and for all. The gospel of the water and the Spirit has washed away all your sins as white as snow. If we only look at our carnal aspects, there is no difference between us the born-again and the sinners who still don’t know the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The only difference is that even though we had been destined to hell, we have now been saved from all our sins once and for all by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
In contrast, all the other Christians believe that they can be saved even if they believe only in Jesus’ blood shed on the Cross and that’s why they are living in their sinful state. Put differently, they have fallen into the religious trap of this world. So as they believe in and follow the doctrines made within the framework of the prevailing Christian dogmas, they have fallen into a grievous spiritual error and turned into heretics before God. Today, all those in Christian communities who don’t believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are spiritual heretics. No one else is a heretic in God’s sight. Spiritually speaking, heretics are none other than those who don’t believe in God according to His Word; they don’t accept the Truth that God has saved us from all the sins of the world once and for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
As we believe that the Lord has saved us from all the sins of the world through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, we are the real Christians. Therefore, those among today’s Christians who have no proper understanding of the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, and instead think that Jesus has saved them from their sins through His blood alone, still remain sinners trapped in heresy. That is why there are so many Christians who have fallen into heresy on their own account, as their own righteousness and their own goodness exceed those of God. Heretics don’t even realize that they are heading straight to hell, nor are they aware of how completely depraved they are before God, and they remain oblivious to the righteousness of God—that is, they don’t realize that the Lord has saved them from all their sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Heretics in God’s sight are these people who don’t know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and who can neither believe in nor acknowledge the real Truth of salvation given by the Lord. As we were born into this world with weaknesses, there is nothing in our flesh that we can trust.
As such, we are saved only if we grasp and believe with our hearts that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is constituted by the baptism Jesus Christ Himself received and the blood He shed on the Cross thereby providing a proper atonement for us. In other words, we must believe in the gospel of Truth, that Jesus has saved us from all the sins of the world once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River to bear our sins, dying on the Cross, and arising from the dead. And we must spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the entire world.
“Is the gospel of the water and the Spirit the true gospel? And does this gospel bring our true salvation?” Only when we can address these questions properly and know their answers are we saved from all our sins once and for all by faith. By believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can overcome the evil wiles of Satan and defeat him. By believing in this gospel, we can overcome the Devil while we carry on with our lives in this world. By believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can receive all the God-given blessings by which we are endowed through our inherited entitlement. And by believing in this true gospel, we can attain the qualification to be blessed by God.
Believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have been forever blessed by God through our bestowed inheritance from Him. Those who now believe in this gospel of the water and the Spirit are not doomed in God’s sight. We are the ones who will be forever blessed by God; we are the ones who can now deliver and save everyone from all the sins of the world; and we are the ones who will enjoy splendor and glory with God. God will seat us next to His throne in His Kingdom. Even though we are now living like everyone else on this earth, in the future, when we are transformed to enter the Kingdom of the Lord, we will enjoy the same splendor, glory, and majesty that our Lord enjoys. You and I, who now believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, have received such blessings from God on account of our present faith in His righteousness. All of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are such blessed people before God. Because we have forsaken our flesh in order to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit, in our carnal appearance we may seem lowly, but we have attained the blessings of Heaven by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Now, all that remains for us to do is to just believe in the righteousness of God and spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit by this faith.
Even those of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can sometimes lose our strength when we look at our weaknesses, and from time to time, we may also find ourselves worried about our future. So we may even wonder, “My situation looks so desperate now, I have no money, and I am not good at anything. What if I end up turning into a homeless person?” However, my fellow believers, we have already passed all our sins to Christ by receiving spiritual baptism with Him, and we were crucified with Christ and resurrected with Him. Therefore, it is by looking toward Jesus Christ who has made us forever perfect that we can truly overcome our adversities, not by staring at only our own weaknesses. Just as Jesus Christ put on His spiritual body and recovered His divine glory with His resurrection, so will we each also be brought back to life in a spiritual body and live gloriously like God (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
Now, we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have humbled ourselves to lowly places in order to save from sin those who have not received the remission of sin, and we are indeed saving sinners. Just as the Son of God Himself had forsaken His throne to come to this earth and lived like us for 33 years, we too are humbling ourselves for a short while for the sake of the sinners of this world. It’s not because you and I are somehow dumb that we have dedicated and sacrificed our lives to spread the gospel like this. Our hearts’ faith in the Word of God is unsurpassed, and it’s only because this faith has not been fully realized in this world yet that we may seem wretched momentarily. The Lord says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony” (Hebrews 11:1-2). In reality, we have been abundantly blessed, for everything will turn out as God has said when we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Just as God is great, so are the righteous believers of faith great.
For all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, on what we rely is an absolutely critical question. If we don’t rely on the righteousness of God, then God will see us as heretics. In other words, unless we rely on the gospel of the water and the Spirit that constitutes the righteousness of God, we would turn into heretics in God’s sight. If we now cast aside our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, refuse to let our lives be governed by God, no longer listen attentively to His Word, and instead desire to worship golden calves against God’s wish, we will then lose the boldness of the faith that comes from the righteousness of God. Once we stop listening to the Word of God in His Church, Satan will condemn us like this. The Devil will lay his siege on us, saying to us, “How is it possible for someone like you to receive the remission of sin? There are so many people who are so much better than you! You have too many fundamental flaws. You are not the type of a person who can lead a life of faith. Consider yourself. You don’t really believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.”
As such, we must always trust in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and we must spread this gospel in our lives. Let me tell you a scary story here; I heard this story from one of our sisters. There was a married couple living in a high-rise apartment building—let’s say that it had 300 floors. One day, the elevators at the apartment building broke down, and so this couple had to take the stairs all the way to the 300th floor. So they decided to climb up the stairway, promising each other to take turns to tell various stories, some funny, some sad, and some scary, until they reached the 300th floor. In this way, as they shared interesting stories, they didn’t feel that it was so hard to climb up that high. Eventually, they reached the 299th floor. The husband then said to his wife, “Honey, would you like to listen to a really scary story?” So the wife said, “Sure, why not; go ahead.” Her husband then said to her, “I’ll tell you the scariest story in the world. I actually left the key at the guardroom on the first floor!” Can’t you feel goose bumps all over your body?
Like this, if you and I lead our lives of faith without knowing the gospel of the water and the Spirit despite having believed in Jesus all our lives, and we are still convinced that we ourselves would still go to the Kingdom of Heaven, then we will find out at our last breath that we actually can’t go to where the Lord is, all because of the sins that still remain in our hearts. This will be the scariest thing ever to happen to us. All this time, you have believed in Jesus with the hope of entering Heaven one day, but if you find out at your deathbed that you can’t go to Heaven because you don’t have the key to Heaven, which is faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then just how devastated would you be? Aren’t you terrified of this prospect?
If we really believe in Jesus as our Savior, and if we really believe that we have been remitted from our sins by our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then all of us will surely enter Heaven. However, many people do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and therefore their sins remain intact in their hearts. Since such people are not God’s children, they cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. That is why many Christians professing to believe in only Jesus will bear the most terrifying punishment by paying the wages of sin from God, all because they are ignorant of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. However, for those of us who have now received the remission of sin by believing in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit with all of the heart, there is nothing to worry about for our salvation is assured even unto our deathbed. By believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have already received eternal life from God as well as the washing away of our sins, and we have also been moved from death to life to never reach (John 5:24).
Even so, however, we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit still continue to live bound by our weak bodies. Therefore, it’s absolutely indispensable for us to listen to the Word of God preached in His Church and follow it by faith. It’s because the righteous are still weak and their acts are still full of flaws that God has established His servants for them, and that is why there are brothers and sisters who are ahead of you in God’s Church, and why the Holy Spirit dwells in your heart and mine to lead us. It’s all because even after receiving the remission of sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our bodies cannot but be still weak, and therefore we still commit sin from time to time. That’s why we all need to ruminate on the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit constantly. When we keep on hearing the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit and ruminate on it as often as possible, it is then that the Holy Spirit gives us faith and guides us, so that we may boldly come out into the presence of God by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Word of God.
The Lord is removing the dross of our hearts with the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. Whenever we are ashamed of our sins that have been committed out of our weaknesses, He says to us, “Why is your heart burdened? Are you afraid to come before Me? Why is that so?” By exposing our hearts’ iniquities that make us hesitant to come before God, the Holy Spirit leads us to confess our wrongdoings. He then cheers us up to stand upright with the blessed gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit assures us of the Truth that the Lord has blotted out all our sins, including the very sins we just committed, with the gospel of the water and the Spirit fulfilled by His water and blood.
Therefore, when the righteous ruminate on the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit that holds the righteousness of God, then their hearts are cleansed and restored. When we come to God’s Church and listen to His Word, we see that our guilty hearts are washed clean with the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. Since the righteous believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then they have no sin and their hearts remain clean everyday. However, whenever we commit sin out of our weaknesses, we feel uneasy in our hearts. In times like this also, we should admit our transgressions and place our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Put differently, we should first acknowledge that we are so fundamentally weak that we can’t help but commit sin, and once again confirm the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. It is then that our hearts can truly be cleansed. It’s when we thus ruminate on the Word of God through the gospel of the water and the Spirit that our faith is maintained. Thanks to the Spirit of God, therefore, we are now able to call God “Abba, Father.” The life of the righteous is a life of “chewing the cud,” that is, ruminating on the gospel of the water and the Spirit. That’s why the Old Testament says in its statutes on clean or unclean animals, “Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof, having cloven hooves and chewing the cud—that you may eat” (Leviticus 11:3).
By believing in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, where the righteousness of God is manifested, we have become His children. We are the ones who have attained the qualification to receive God’s blessings by believing in His righteousness. All that now remains for us to do is spreading the work of God by preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit. That we are serving God’s gospel of the water and the Spirit is the greatest of all His blessings. That’s because unless we carry out God’s righteous work, we are bound to go astray, commit sin again, and do nothing but evil. Even after believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, if we stomp out of God’s Church to serve false idols, then we will be trampled by the people in the world. We will turn into a completely useless people in both this world and the Kingdom of God alike. Such people cannot be of any use in the Kingdom of God either, as it is written, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matthew 5:13).
Even before the foundation of the world, God had planned to save you and me from all the sins of this world through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And when the time came, God the Father sent Jesus Christ to this earth. John the Baptist then passed the sins of this world to the body of Jesus Christ once and for all by baptizing Him. The body of Jesus Christ was then crucified to shed His blood, and He died in our place for our sins. And God the Father resurrected Him. The Bible says, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). The death of Jesus Christ is the death of us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. For it is by His stripes and wounds that we have been healed. For our sake, Jesus Christ came to this earth, was baptized, whipped, and crucified. He then shed His blood unto His death on the Cross, rose from the dead again, and He has thereby all at once saved all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit from the sins of the world. It is all because Jesus Christ received His baptism, shed His blood on the Cross unto His own death, and rose from the dead again that our salvation was completed.
Therefore, it is to our glory as the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that Jesus Christ is now glorified. Through His Son, God the Father has saved you and me from the sins of the world, and He has made us His own children. God has glorified us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Jesus Christ has blessed us as the children of God, and we have received God’s eternal blessings by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason why we should ever fall into despair, for we have Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit at our side. We are the ones who have obtained the qualification to receive God’s blessing by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. What all of us must realize indispensably while living in this present age is none other than this truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The Witnesses Who Believe in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit Must Realize What They Must Do Now
“Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, ‘Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die.’ And they rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise no one was there. For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses—the noise of a great army; so they said to one another, ‘Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!’ Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact—their tents, their horses, and their donkeys—and they fled for their lives. And when these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank, and carried from it silver and gold and clothing, and went and hid them; then they came back and entered another tent, and carried some from there also, and went and hid it. Then they said to one another, ‘We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king’s household.’”
It’s said here that there were some lepers sitting at the entrance of the city gate. Since these lepers were at the entrance of the gate, they could either go into the city or go out into the Syrian camp. The lepers probably heard all the wailing that was going on the other side of the city gate, and they probably also heard the news that the people inside were eating their own children. So when the lepers considered their situation, they realized that they were hopelessly sandwiched between a rock and a hard place. So they decided to go to the Syrian camp, saying to themselves: “Since we are lepers, no one really cares for us. We will die of starvation here anyways, so let’s surrender to the Syrian army and see what happens. If they want to kill us, so be it. Maybe they will spare us for a while and at least give us some food before they decide to kill us.” Since either way death was all but certain for these lepers, they decided to try out one last attempt to at least get some food before dying.
So the lepers went to the Syrian camp, but when they got there, they saw no Syrian left. The entire Syrian army had disappeared, leaving everything behind, from food to garments and tents. Just as Elisha the servant of God had prophesied that food would abound by this time tomorrow, God had worked exactly in this way. When the Syrians heard the lepers approaching them, it sounded to them as though a great army and chariots were about to attack them. The noise was so great that the Syrian army fled in panic just at the sound of it, thinking that the Israelites had hired the Egyptian army against them. And in their panic, they left all their military provisions and even all their armor behind, fleeing for their lives at twilight.
By the time the lepers reached the Syrian camp, they saw that the Syrians had fled in hurry, without even touching the meals they had prepared. So the lepers first began to gorge themselves on the food that was before them. They must have stuffed themselves like there was no tomorrow. It must have been a sheer bonanza for them to discover so much free food lying around just for them! When they had all they wanted to eat, their eyes finally caught something else other than food. They saw precious treasures like gold and silver. So they took and hid them, saying to each other, “We should get our hands on these treasures first.”
After a while, the lepers felt that something was wrong. They had gained too many things all of a sudden. So they said to each other, “Something is wrong here. If the king of Israel finds out that we kept eating and hording the treasures for ourselves all night long, we will be as good as dead by the dawn! Our conscience is not clear. We should go back to the city and let the king know what’s happened here. The people in the city of Samaria are so desperate that they are eating their own children. If we hurry and tell them the good news, they will also get to eat good food and capture spoils. So let’s go to the king to tell him the good news.” The lepers then went back to the city of Samaria and told the gatekeepers about what they found. The gatekeepers couldn’t quite believe their story at first, but they reported it to the king, as this was their duty.
The news finally reached the king’s ears. It was also very hard for him to believe this news, and so he said, “That’s impossible! The Syrians might be trying to deceive us. They are probably hiding somewhere, waiting for us to come out of the city so that they can capture us alive. We shouldn’t be fooled by their trick.” His officers then said to the king, “Even so, what could we possibly lose at this point? The lepers could very well be telling the truth. So let’s at least send out some men to find out what happened.” So the king sent out a small group of men to the Syrian camp, who took five of the remaining horses with them.
As the scouts sneaked on the Syrian camp, they found out that it was completely silent. The camp should have been bustling with a lot of Syrian soldiers, but surprisingly, there was no noise at all but only dead silence. As the scouts moved deeper into the camp, they stumbled upon different equipments and supplies lying on the ground. Once the dawn came, they began to see the surroundings, and discovered that there was no one in the camp, but only garments, food, and gold lying everywhere around the camp. So they returned to the king and reported their finding, informing him that the lepers were telling the truth. When the people of Israel came out of the city and went to the camp, they indeed found plenty of food lying around. So there now was an abundant supply of food.
The Word of God was now fulfilled just as Elisha His servant had said. Exactly according to the words of the servant of God, the people of Israel were able to eat from the abundant food. However, the officer who had not believed in Elisha’s words and stood against him by saying, “If the LORD would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” was trampled to death by the people of Israel while he was put in charge of the gate. Once a stampede begins, it’s next to impossible to stop it. With everyone scrambling to get out of the city, the officer was trampled to death in the ensuing rush. This came to pass exactly according to the Word of God.
The key message of this entire story is that God is the God of Israel. It underscores the fact that God had protected the nation of Israel. It means that the real King of Israel is Jehovah God. And it denotes that God is the Shepherd of the people of Israel. God fulfills all the Word He has spoken through His servants.
Why did God do this to the Israelites? It’s because God wanted to be their God that He helped the people of Israel, blessed them, and protected them. God wanted to be praised by the people of Israel. He wanted to be commended by the people of Israel for being righteous and merciful, and to be praised as their Savior and almighty God. This implies that God the Father created us humans and predestined us to be made His children and saved in Jesus Christ, so that we would praise God (Ephesians 1:14). God indeed wants to hear us commending Him. God has saved us from the sins of the world once and for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even though we are this insufficient, God has saved us from the sins of the world perfectly. He has made us His own children. He has blessed us forever. He has made us blessed.
The Apostle Paul said, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). God has blessed us so much, He has protected all this time, and He will continue to protect us in the future. At every moment, God has been faithful to us. So that we would make new songs and continue to praise God, He has embraced us, worked in our lives so greatly, takes care of us, and blesses us all. That is who our God is to us. This is the relationship that we have with God. God wants to receive glory and praise through us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and this God wants to be the Shepherd of His children, protect them personally, bless them, nurture them, and bestow all His blessings on them. That is what God wants to show to the people of Israel and you and me alike.
So, having now received God’s blessings, there is only one thing that we should do: We should praise God with our faith. We should commend Him with our faith. Whenever we worship God, we must listen to His Word without fail, and we must pray to Him and praise Him. The praises that we sing in our worship services are offered to God. These praises are our confession of faith made unto God. They are the confession of our lips praising God for blessing us. We must all live by faith, realizing and believing that God has worked on our lives with such great love, and that our relationship with God is such a relationship of love.
Such Things Will Happen by This Time Tomorrow
As you and I believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God has saved us once and for all. Isn’t this the case? God has indeed saved us at once from all our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. You and I were fundamentally evil people, all destined to hell. However, the Lord came to this earth and took our sins of the world upon His body all at once by being baptized by John the Baptist. And after accepting all our sins, the body of the Lord was crucified to shed blood unto His own death, thus bearing all the condemnation of our sins and fulfilling the law that declares the wages of sin to be death. Then rising from the dead again, He has become the true Savior for you and me who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. That Jesus Christ has saved us is not on account of our own wish, but it is all because God loved us first, and therefore in obedience to the will of God the Father, Jesus Himself made us God’s children on His part by saving us from all our sins through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. God’s love for us is therefore eternal and perfect.
My fellow believers, as we carry on with our lives in this world after receiving the remission of sin, no matter how insufficient we may be, if we live by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then even though we may be worried about ourselves at first, eventually, we will come to realize that it is completely useless to worry about ourselves. So we come to unite with God’s Church by placing our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We come to say to ourselves, “It’s too lonely for me to live all by myself. I will unite with God’s Church and live for the gospel. I will live for the righteousness of God being content with whatever He gives me.”
Now, abiding in the Lord’s gospel of the water and the Spirit, and having received true salvation, true love, and true glory, we are waiting for the return of God. All of this has actually been realized to us. I am not exaggerating here. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the Truth that enables us to receive all the heavenly blessings.
On the other hand, if anyone does not believe that God has saved us once and for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then he is a Christian heretic. Because we commit sin constantly while living in this world, if we believe only in the blood of the Cross rather than the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then we will always remain sinners. That is why such people have come to have the faith of heretics before God despite believing in Jesus as their Savior, for their sins still remain intact in their hearts.
Heretical beliefs emerged from the faith of the people of Israel and its kings. You must realize that even today, heretics have emerged out of Christians who don’t know the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Those who still don’t believe in Jesus as their Savior are not heretics before God, but they are just lost sheep. But Christians, who profess to believe in Jesus as their Savior and yet say that they have sin whenever they commit sin out of their weaknesses, are ignorant of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And therefore they must throw away their heretical faith and believe in this gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The heretical faith is as the following: “Although Jesus has already remitted away the sins that I’ve committed so far, He is yet to remit away the sins that I will commit in the future. So I have to receive the remission of sin through prayers of repentance.” It’s such people who are heretics, worshipping golden calves as their gods before the real God. Across Christian communities today, these people believe in Jesus in vain.
As God is merciful, He has saved us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit perfectly once and for all. Jesus Christ, who came to this earth by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, wanted to be the God of salvation for us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and He has indeed become our Savior God. It is Jesus Christ who has saved us perfectly; if He had failed to blot out all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, how could He be God? Jesus Christ is the One who has saved us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit from our sins. He is the One who has blessed us, and He is the One who guarantees our eternal future. Jesus Christ is the God of salvation who bestows on us such a blessing; after all, what kind of God would He be if He couldn’t even do this?
We the born-again who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have been blessed so much. That’s why we are laboring all the more diligently for the Kingdom of the Lord. While living on this earth for a short while, the righteous have laid down their lives for the sake of the spreading of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
In reality, we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are far more blessed than those who believe only in the blood of the Cross. That’s because these people who have believed all this time that the blood of the Cross constitutes their salvation, still have not been completely washed clean from their sins to be as white as snow. In contrast, God has blessed us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit perfectly. Indeed, we are the ones who have received eternal blessings from God. So I admonish you all to please God even more by placing your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and to forever praise the righteousness of God that He has bestowed on us.
Above all, it is my sincerest prayer that you would never turn into a heretic before the gospel of the water and the Spirit and God. Who are the real heretics in God’s sight? Aren’t they those who don’t believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? The Lord God fulfilled the work of salvation in just a single day. Because one of the Israeli officers did not realize this, nor did he believe in it as he was then trampled to death by the people.
My fellow believers, are you still trying to be washed clean from your sins by believing in the shed blood of Jesus, at the Cross all in vain? Or do you now want to be washed clean from all your sins in just one day, by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit which the Lord has given to mankind? I admonish you to also believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord, and to thus be washed from all your sins even today, become God’s child, and receive all His blessings.
Now in this present age, those who don’t believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord cannot wash away their sins forever, and that is why they have turned into heretics. So now that you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, I ask you to give thanks to God for the fact that your heart has become sinless, and that you have received God’s eternal blessings. I hope and pray that all the heavenly blessings the Lord has given to you would always abide in your spirit together with the gospel of the water and the Spirit.