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TITLE: IS POSSESSION OF A BIBLE NECESSARY FOR SALVATION?
Subtitle: In Other Words, Can A Person Be Saved Without One?
As precious as God's written Word is to those of us who are born again, I think it will be profitable to view the subject of salvation from a different perspective: What if 100% of our Bibles were confiscated and destroyed and it was a crime to be caught with passages written from memory--could anyone be saved afterward? Could people lead a victorious Christian life without the benefit of our handbook for faith and practice?
If this "what if" scenario seems ridiculously remote to you, I want to point out that it will be highly probable during the reign of antichrist in the Tribulation Period. Satan hates the Word of God and will try his best to deny it to humanity by any and all means necessary. So that being the case, will it be possible for anyone to be saved?
Absolutely and beyond doubt! Look at what we are told in the Book of Revelation:
"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands" Rev. 7:9 (KJV, emphasis mine).
"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" Rev. 7:13-14 (KJV, emphasis mine).
In the Book of Daniel we find that the antichrist will severely oppress God's people for three and a half years:
"And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time" Daniel 7:25 (KJV, emphasis mine).
A parallel verse is found in Revelation, chapter 13:
"And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations" Rev. 13:7 (KJV, emphasis mine).
The Word of God paints a very bleak picture of those future days--yet out of all that deprivation and suffering will come an innumerable host of believers. Praise the Lord for His amazing grace!
Those of us who possess not just one, but several Bibles, can easily forget that this blessed priviledge is still a relatively new one. Up until the invention of the printing press in the 1400's, all copies of the Bible were made by hand and very expensive--with only scholars and clergy having access to them. And even after printing lowered the expense and thus made them more available, it was not until about the1600's that families were able to purchase Bibles for private reading. Prior to that time, most of them were quite large and because of their rarity and cost, were chained to the pulpit in churches to keep them from being stolen. So the point is that for about a millennium and a half the Scriptures were not directly available to the masses. Any knowledge of God's Word the saints possessed, came via word of mouth and most of that was highly corrupted by the Roman Catholic Church! But in spite of formidible obstacles, history shows us that untold numbers came to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We need to understand that God's Word is "forever settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89) and "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom.10:17). God Sovereignly controls not only the circumstances under which we hear the Gospel message, but also our understanding of what is heard. From personal experience I know that people have often been touched by comments made during sermons that had little or nothing to do with what I was trying to emphasize. Why? The answer is found in the following verse:
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" Hebrews 4:12 (KJV).
Whenever someone--even inadvertently--utters comments that are based upon God's Word, the Holy Spirit often uses them to reach the hearts of others. This is the "drawing" aspect we see in the Gospel of John, where the Lord says:
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" John 6:44 (KJV)
An interesting case in point involves the Apostle Peter when he was sent to the household of Cornelius, the Roman centurion, in Acts chapter 10. As we learn from the narrative, God worked on both ends of that meeting .While Cornelius was praying, (apparently as a convert to the Jewish religion) he saw a vision in which an angel told him to send for Peter (vss.3-5) and that he would tell him what to do. The next day Peter had a vision in which God taught him that the Gentiles were no longer to be treated as "unclean" and that some men were coming for him:
"While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.  Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them" Acts 10:19-20 (KJV).
Peter and some other believers from Joppa accompanied the servants of Cornelius back to Caesarea, where they found the entire household assembled and waiting for them. And starting in verse 28, Peter began to question them concerning their motive for asking him to come. Then once he understood the spiritual reason behind the request, he began to share with them the good news (the Gospel) of Jesus Christ. His message was simple and to the point as we see in verses 34 through 43:
"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.  The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)  That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.  And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:  Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;  Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.  And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.  To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" Acts 10:34-43 (KJV, emphasis mine).
The portion highlighted in red is the Gospel message. And we need to note it contains the same extreme simplicity found in Paul's explanation of the Gospel:
"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles" 1 Cor. 15:2-7 (KJV, emphasis mine).
Next we need to note what happened while Peter was still preaching:
"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word" Acts 10:44 (KJV, emphasis mine)
Do you see what I'm driving at? In all likelihood, these Gentiles had only a very cursory knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures and a written New Testament was not yet in existence! But they were all gloriously saved as the Holy Spirit of God descended upon them. Plus there is nothing in the text that even hints of Peter reading from a Torah scroll--something that was so precious to the Jewish people that they were seldom carried outside of a synagogue. All he did was give them the simple Gospel message and God honored His Word through the words of Peter. The Gentiles immediately demonstrated a genuine reception of the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues and magnifying God in the presence of their Jewish guests. And that was the whole point of "tongues"--it was a sign to the nation of Israel, as we see in the following verse from a discourse on the subject by the Apostle Paul:
"In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord" 1 Cor. 14:21 (KJV).
And while we have the opportunity, we must point out the fact that these Gentiles clearly received the Holy Spirit prior to being baptized. Remember that "while Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell upon all them which heard the word." He was still in the process of delivering the message when these people received the Holy Spirit. And the text makes it very plain that they were subsequently baptized. Note that in the latter part of verse 46 (which should be a part of 47), the text states:
"Then answered Peter,  Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? Acts 10:46b-47 (KJV, emphasis mine).
The word "then" denotes subsequent action and "have received" is past tense. The order is: (1) the reception of the Holy Spirit--the undeniable proof of salvation in Christ--and then (2) baptism as a public demonstration of identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Baptismal regeneration is a heretical Roman Catholic doctrine and without Scriptural backing. Careful exegesis of the "proof texts" used by its proponents will show it to be false. (For a more detailed explanation of the subject, see our article on Baptism at www.cuttingedge.org/articles/p119b.htm )
But back to our main topic. And this may raise more than a few eyebrows, but it seems entirely probable from a statistical point of view, that more people were saved when the written Word was unavailable to the masses--approximately 1600 years versus the 400 or so since! In areas of the world today where there is still a Christian influence, Bibles are relatively inexpensive and available in seemingly endless quantities, but spirituality is at an all-time low despite that fact. Those who play the "numbers game" would have us believe the ranks of the redeemed continue to experience steady growth and revival is breaking out in some areas, but I submit to you that they are viewing reality through the proverbial rose-colored glasses. Judging from the email I receive--quite literally from around the world--many brothers and sisters in Christ are desperately seeking fellowship with others of like precious faith! They say their churches are lukewarm at best because pastors are catering to the whims of the majority by ministering to their flesh. Psychological "feel good about yourself" sermons, plans, programs, contemporary music, and "family life centers" are but a few of the methods which will definitely increase pew-sitter numbers, but rarely will it result in battle-ready saints.
The principle being overlooked is that the Lord is Sovereign in the affairs of men and that certainly includes salvation. Possessing and using the "right" Bible--or any Bible, for that matter--has no bearing whatever upon the identity of the elect, "chosen in Him before the foundation of the world" (Eph.1:4). His Word is forever settled and all we can say is, "Amen"!
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
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