n 2010, my paternal grandmother-in-law here in Chicago clocked 100 years old. Mama had seen it all; from Jim Crow in the South when slavery and racial discrimination were at their zenith, the March on Washington, the civil rights years to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and most recently the election of President Barack Obama. Mama Margie Gordon, who my wife was named after, loved having tête-à-têtes with me as her African son-in-law, especially on Christian eschatological and Biblical exegetical matters. My wife; her first and eldest grand-daughter and I made it a point of duty to pick her up every Sunday for church service. Mama had saved up enough money during her adult working life that she insisted she must not be taken to retirement home and my father-in-law obliged her. As she slipped fully into the traps of old age in her waning years, which prevented her from going to church with us, she began to insist she must be baptized with water. Then one day as my wife and I came visiting and my father-in-law was complaining about Mama's insistence on being baptized with water before she passed on to the other side, I entered into her room and engaged her in a long conversation. There were three questions I asked her namely: (1) Mama, have you taken the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Did you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God Who came to die on the Cross for your sin, my sin and the sin of the world and resurrected three days later and now at the Right Hand of the Lord God Almighty in heaven? (Romans 10: 9-10). She replied: Yes! (2) Mama, do you believe as the Scripture says in John 3: 16 that; "For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son-Jesus Christ-to the world that whosever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life and that anyone who believes in Him has passed from death to life? She answered in the affirmative. Finally (3) I asked Mama that, do you believe and have the faith that when you die, you will go to heaven, because you have made the Lord Jesus Christ, the Master of your life and your Savior? Again, Mama answered: Yes! I told her she should stop her insistence on water baptism, because of her health. I told her she should forgive anyone who had offended her and before she passed on, she should assemble her two children; my father-in-law and her sister in Barrington, Ohio; her six grandchildren, the great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren and prayed for them. I informed her that her eldest granddaughter-my wife- and I were going to Africa for vacation. In January 2012 as my wife and I returned from our long African trip, Mama died at the age of 102. Did Mama Marge Gordon make it to heaven? Yes!
While growing up in my native Nigeria, Africa over fifty years ago, I lost my both parents in my teens. The two of them weren't believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. My mother was a Muslim while my father was neither a Christian nor a Muslim. I knew the two of them didn't commit their lives into the Hands of the Lord Jesus Christ. I do not expect to see them in heaven, because they did not believe in Jesus Christ Who said emphatically, laconically and unambiguously in John 14: 6: "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." On getting to heaven, if I saw my both parents, I will be shocked, because I didn't know their last statements before they breathed their last since I was in school. In John 3: 16 text quoted above, we often quote that verse with relish but often neglect two other verses that follow immediately after unarguably the most quoted scripture on earth. John 3: 17-18 which say: "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." If the two verses above were discounted and were not to be believed, then Jesus Christ didn't exist and eternity is a fluke. But if the Word of God Who our Lord Jesus Christ is in the flesh, it means there are two sets of human beings on earth: Christ's believers and Christ's non-believers, period! This brings us to our exegesis this week: can we know our true eternal destination and can we know whether any human being will go to heaven or hell? This issue is germane against the backdrop of three events that occurred in the last two weeks and their eternal consequences in the lives of billion human souls on earth. The death of the iconic Nelson Mandela, the Great Madiba; the statement credited to Pastor Kris Okotie of Nigeria thus: "The Catholic church is a counterfeit church set up by Satan. Catholics bow to idols and crucify Jesus every Sunday when they eat bread claiming they are eating Jesus' body. This is not out of disrespect but out of respect for the word of God," and the brouhaha ignited by one Sister Linda, a born-again Christian who died and came back to life in Sierra Leone.
First, the death of Nelson Mandela and the way he departed in style and elegance. No personality in our contemporary world has witnessed such august assemblage of 100 heads of state, gathering of world statesmen, celebrities, rich and poor in one roof to say Au Revoir to an iconic passage. The plaudits, eulogies and odes came in torrents and they still do-in a world dominated by strife, hatred and bitterness-the exemplary life Madiba lived brought age-long foes face-to-face and mortal adversaries could not skedaddle from each other in the same tent. Now after the accolades and panegyrics, Madiba is on his own to face eternity. The question is: where is Madiba now: heaven or hell? The second was the statement credited to Pastor Chris Okotie above. Would all Roman Catholics go to hell? How do we know who will go to hell and who will go to heaven? Finally, Sister Linda of Sierra Leone said she went to hell and saw Muamer Qathafi, the murdered dictator of Libya suffering and the deceased dictator sent a message to all Sierra Leoneans to demolish the mosque he-Qathafi-built in Sierra Leone during the height of his terrorist activities and rabid propagator of Islamic Wahabism in Africa and across the world. Sister Linda also said she saw the late American singer; Whitney Houston, in the Nether Gloom.
From scripture, can we know how each of us will fare at the Other Side? One of the most agonizing and put-off matters for Christ-rejecters and haters is the inability to comprehend the fact that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to heaven. When I was a Moslem, I was so quick-tempered and took umbrage at "born again Christians" for what I considered the "ridiculous" notion that only Christ-followers and believers would make it to heaven. I couldn't stand it and honestly, in my heart of heart I considered it the highest form of arrogance and impish religiosity for some group of people who called themselves "Born-again Christians" as the favored few and monopolists of Eternal Truth. What would happen to Christ-rejecters and unbelievers, I used to ask in those days when I was blind? Are you telling me that over one billion Muslims and other adherents of non-Christian religions and faiths will go to hell? But thank God Almighty for He is the only One who sees all hearts and knows those who are seriously searching for the Eternal Truth and will respond to such hearts by arranging situations and circumstances to reveal Himself to such genuine seekers of the Truth. There is only One Truth in the world, period! Forget about the academic debate about what constitutes the Truth, for The Truth Himself answered that question while He was with us: "Your Word, O Lord is Truth" (John 17:17) (Also see 2 Samuel 7: 28; Psalm 119:89, 160). Jesus Christ is the Living Truth and the Holy Bible is the Written Truth and the two are One.
Imagine us human beings as lesser mortals trying to figure out and understand the Sovereign Lord of the heavens and the earth? It is impossible! We can't understand or know the Lord God Almighty on our own, which is what religion is all about, but only God Almighty Himself can reveal Himself to us, because our finite human intelligence cannot fathom this Awesome and Mighty Lord God Almighty. Consequently, the Only Way through which the Lord God Almighty had revealed Himself to us was through Our Lord Jesus Christ. As Apostle Paul said in Colossians 2:9: "For in Christ all the fullness (not partially or half but fullness) of the Deity (that is the Lord God Almighty) lives in bodily form..."
From time immemorial and also in our contemporary world, there is a near unanimity of belief that something terrible has happened to every human soul on earth. We all know the world is not supposed to be the way it is; violence, wars, instability, murders, genocide, poverty, oppression, tyranny, hunger, disease etc. Why are things in bad shape as they are in the world today? What is wrong? If there is a Sovereign Lord God Almighty Who we all believe-except the atheist and agnostics-is in charge, doesn't He care? The attempts by human beings to understand the causes of many of the woes on earth have spurred human beings to set up all kinds of religion and faiths to involve the Lord God Almighty in our affairs. Each human soul yearns for answers, because we all can see the continuous fight between Good and Bad, Light and Darkness and other life binaries. We know and feel these constant battles between these two worlds and those who deny the existence of these cosmic conflicts in human affairs are the most to be pitied. If the Lord God Almighty exists, can He please stand up and manifest Himself to us all? Religion has not given us adequate answers to the myriads of complexities and problems on earth and so, in addition to Nature which bears proof of God's undeniable existence (Romans 1: 18-20), the Lord God Almighty came down to the earth 2,000 years ago to live among us. That Lord God Almighty was and is Jesus Christ Who said: "Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? (John 14:9). If the Sovereign Lord of the heavens and the universe and all that are in them had revealed Himself to the human race as "Immanuel which means; God with us," (Mathew 1: 22-24: All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "God with us"), it simply means human beings do not need any religion to understand God Almighty. Furthermore, no human being should continue to blame God Almighty for all the woes afflicting the human race.
From the few Biblical texts above, any intelligent mind can extrapolate some common sense deductions. First, knowing Who God is requires no mental rigor or exertions but believing in Jesus Christ Who had revealed God to us. Second, put your faith in Him to the test along other religions and other books of faith and ask Him to enlighten you to be able to tear apart the Truth, because certainly all these religious movements and faiths cannot contain the Truth. Finally, one must be the Truth and the only Way and since Jesus Christ said He is the Only Way, it means all the rest religious leaders and founders of religious movements and faiths are not one of the ways. It's either Jesus is a fake or He is what He says He is; the only Way to the FATHER. He cannot be both. Consequently, it is easy to know the eternal destination of every human being on earth, since there are only two parallels ways namely: "Enter through the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction and there are many who enter through it "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it," (Mathew 7: 13-14). The two gates have three characteristics each, which are distinguishable and anyone on either side can easily recognize which road he/she is in since there is no middle road. No median lane exists in these two forks to eternity: Paradise or Hell, period!
The First Gate is Narrow, Small and only Few people are traveling this road. The Second Road is Wide, Broad and there are Many people traveling on this road. The First Road leads to Paradise which Jesus Christ said He is the Only One Who can take any human being to and no one else. The Second Road leads to Hell, which other leaders and founders of religious movements and those who do not believe in Jesus Christ will take the rest human beings to, period! If you want to go to the First Road and what to do that will take you to the First Road, here are three things you must do as I did to my paternal grandmother in 201o as explained above: (1) Have you taken the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Did you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God Who came to die on the Cross for your sin, my sin and the sin of the world and resurrected three days later and now at the Right Hand of the Lord God Almighty in heaven? (Romans 10: 9-10). (2) Do you believe as the Scripture says in John 3: 16 that; "For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son-Jesus Christ-to the world that whosever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life and that anyone who believes in Him has passed from death to life? (3) Do you believe and have the faith that when you die, you will go to heaven, because you have made the Lord Jesus Christ, the Master of your life and have taken Him as your Savior?
It doesn't matter whether you lived in this world for 20 years or for 95 years as Madiba of South Africa or for 102 years as Mama Margie Gordon, my paternal grand-mother-in-law of Chicago, USA; if your answers to these three fundamental questions of eternal destination are: Yes, you are assured of entering paradise. Similarly, if you knew that any of your loved ones answered; "Yes" to these three questions while alive, then you can know where they will spend eternity. It is possible to know, through the revealed Word of Life; Jesus Christ and the Written Word, the Holy Bible where you will spend eternity and the eternal destination of your loved ones. This is not rocket science and it's not complicated at all. Can one lose this salvation? In other words, after one has answered; "Yes" to these three life-defining questions, can one still miss paradise? That will be our focus next week.
FROM MY MAIL-BAG THIS WEEK:
Dear Brother Moshood. Good job for your write-up last week titled: Who is the Lord Jesus Christ? Is he God himself, Son of God or Who? Good write-up. I join the Saints to pray that when the trumpet sounds, we will not be found wanting. As you are using your gift to win souls for the Kingdom of God, He will uplift you financially, spiritually and provide you with all the necessary materials you need to fulfill your earthly call in the Might Name of Jesus, Amen ---Brother Johnson T. Ode, Chicago, IL USA.
Thanks my fellow worker in His vineyard. I say Amen to that wonderful prayer.
Dear Brother Moshood. I just want to say that God in heaven will continue to give you the wisdom and knowledge like the one you displayed in rebutting the nonsensical rubbish written by the Vanguard columnist. I was not privileged to read the article in the Vanguard but your blow-by-blow rebuttal has thoroughly informed me that whatever was written about David and Goliath was written by some 'Doctor' devoid of any understanding of textual criticism, lack of knowledge of the history of the Semitic tribes of the ancient Near East and a shameful display of biblical inadequacy which most of today's arrogant hip hop ' pastors, Doctors and writers' exhibit. The reason why I have not given up hope when I read anything written by these unlettered biblical 'scholars' is because God in heaven in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, has assured me that I am not alone, because He still has 7000 prophets who have not bowed down to Baal. God bless you in Yeshua's Name. ----Charles Ameh,
Thank God. As a matter of fact, the Lord's Own now are in the billions, you may be surprised. Again, thanks for the encouragement.
Dear Brother Moshood, Your essay "GREAT AND PUZZLING QUESTIONS BOTHERING BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIANS (1)" touched on the question who really is our Lord Jesus Christ? Is our Savior really God? The puzzle does not bother born-again Christians alone but it is a sore point to address when evangelizing to non-Christians especially during evangelizing discussions with our Muslim faithful'. In this essay as in your usual factual manner you brought salient facts from the scriptures to guide us towards the fact that our Savior and God are One. John 10: 30: "I and the Father are One." Akin to the saying that you (Moshood Fayemiwo Jr) and Pa Fayemiwo are one. But does this make Fayemiwo Jr the Pa Fayemiwo? I humbly submit a No answer. Going through your essay it is difficult to justify the conclusion you reached that our Savior is God (that people failed to see as He is), who abdicated His seat for 33 years. Can God abdicate His seat for a nanosecond? By my layman understanding praying to be informed and tutored of the scriptures by the Holy Spirit, I am of the understanding that our Lord was here as a favored 'Prophet' (John 1:19-23; John 6:14; John 7:40; John 1:24-30; Acts 3:19-26) to demonstrate God and God's love to mankind by atonement with His precious blood thereby reconciling us to the God whom by the sin of Adam and Eve at the Garden of Eden we have kept away at arm's length. Brother Moshood, you may wish to enunciate further on this issue for the benefit of great evangelism. May the Lord continue to illuminate your understanding for His Glory in Jesus Name! Amen. My humble regards. Your brother in Christ.
Please read the article over again, and pray for understanding and illumination through the Holy Spirit. I never wrote that the Almighty God left His throne in heaven, because God Almighty has no material body and cannot be confined to one place. Since He is Omnipresent, Omniscience and Omnipotent, He can and is everywhere all at the same time. He is the only One that possesses these attributes. You diminish the Sovereign Lord God Almighty of the heavens and the universe and all that are in them when you equate Him with me and my father. We are human beings and not God Almighty so that comparison is tacky. Again, pray fervently to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask the Holy Spirit to talk to you, because candidly, no human being can reveal the True Lord God Almighty to you but He Himself. I believe you are already a Born Again Redeemed child of the Living God so talk to your Father and only He can reveal Himself to you as you can understand. Remember, He created you. Be blessed my fellow brother-in-Christ.
WORLD PROPHECY: This is huge! Something of global importance, an earth-shattering event and a cosmic occurrence is in the offing in the world. I don't know what it is but the Holy Bible has predicted it and we shall all see it with our very eyes soon. This event is part of end-time prophecy and it's about to take place very, very soon in the next 12 to 24 months. I don't know what it is; I repeat again, I wasn't shown what it is but again, it's HUGE. The whole world will be shocked; from the rising of the sun to the setting of the sun; from the East to the West; from the South to the North, the planet earth is about to witness a catastrophic event. The Divine Hand of God Almighty, the Creator of the heavens and the universe, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is about to intervene in the affairs of humanity. The world media, the commentariat, the scientists, the astrologers, the men and women of earthly wisdom and their ilk will be talking their heads out but will not be able to explain but those who know the True God will be unshaken and unperturbed. What is it? I wasn't shown but was only told (Luke 21:11 & 25).
I have been repeating the above prophetic words almost a year since this column debuted and as events unfold around the world, I will not comment on the unfolding drama in Syria. Also in the news is the current rapprochement between Washington DC and Tehran. The other day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Obama on the new tune being sung by the Ayatollahs of Iran on the sanctions crippling their nation. We will not comment on the recent U.S. Government shut-down too, which has come and gone, but may occur I the near future. Again, let's keep our fingers crossed as events play out in the most volatile areas of the world, but one thing is certain, biblical prophecies are being fulfilled right before our eyes.