Death and Hades Are Persons

According to the late bible teacher, Derek Prince, death and hades are persons. Below are excerpts from the book The Spirit-filled Believer’s Handbook.

Just what is the true nature of Death and Hades as revealed in the New Testament? John’s famous vision of the four horsemen sheds light on this question. Concerning the fourth horseman, John says:

And I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him (Rev. 6:8).

It is obvious from this account that both Death and Hades were revealed to John as being persons. Only a person could sit on a horse, and only another person could follow along with this first one. This passage therefore casts light on the nature of Death and Hades as revealed in the Scriptures.

In one sense death is a state or condition. It is the cessation of life, the experience which results in the separation of the spirit from the body. However, Death is also a person. Death is the dark angel, the minister of Satan who claims the spirit of every unrighteous person that is separated from his body when he dies.

A similar truth applies also to Hades. In one sense Hades is a place of confinement for departed spirits. In another sense, however, Hades is a person. Hades, like Death, is a dark angel, a minister of Satan, following close upon the heels of Death. Hades takes charge of the spirits of the unrighteous which have been claimed by Death and conducts them to the realm of departed spirits from which he receives his name – that is, Hades.

Thus Death and Hades are both dark angels, ministers of Satan’s infernal kingdom. But the difference between them is this: Death first claims the departing spirits of all who die in unrighteousness; Hades receives them from Death and conducts them to their appointed place of imprisonment. For this reason John saw them moving among men in that order: first Death, claiming the departing spirits, then Hades, taking them to their prison in the lower world.

This scene from Revelation casts light on the words of Jesus.

Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death (John 8:51). ·

Jesus does not say here that the believer will not experience physical death. He says that the believer will not “see death.” He is not referring to the physical condition of death which results from the separation of the spirit from the body. When He speaks of “seeing death,” He is referring to the person of the dark angel whose name is Death, and to the other dark angel, his companion, whose name is Hades.

Jesus means that the spirit of the true believer, on departing from the body, will never come under the dominion of these two dark angels, Death and Hades. Rather, like the poor beggar Lazarus, the departing spirit of the true believer will be met by God’s angels – the angels of light – and by them be escorted to Paradise.

With this in mind, too, we can understand Paul’s statement that “the last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26); and also John’s statement that “then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:14).

In each of these passages the primary reference is to Death and Hades as persons, as dark angels, ministers of Satan and enemies of God and the human race. The last of all God’s enemies to receive the judgment due him will be Death. Together with Hades he will be cast into the lake of fire, there to join their master, Satan, and all the rest of Satan’s servants and followers both angelic and human.

By this final act of judgment, the last of God’s enemies will forever have been banished from His presence.

What You Should Do If You Receive Partial Deliverance But Not Complete Healing of Your Sickness

Have you received partial deliverance but not complete healing of your sickness. According to the late bible teacher, Derek Prince, this is what you should do. Below are excerpts from the book The Spirit-filled Believer’s Handbook.

It quite often happens that a sick person who is ministered to by the laying on of hands receives a measure of deliverance but not complete healing. The reason for this usually is that the sick person did not exercise active faith for a long enough period of time to allow the process of healing to be completed. When the person’s faith ceases to be active, the process of healing is then arrested.

For this reason it is important to give scriptural instruction to those seeking healing through laying on of hands and to warn them in advance of the necessity of holding out in active faith until the process of healing is complete.

Experience has convinced me that in every case where genuine faith is exercised by laying hands on the sick in the name of Jesus, the process of healing begins to operate. However, if the sick person then loses faith, the healing may be either completely lost or at best never fully consummated.

There are two main ways in which a sick person may exercise active faith after hands have been laid upon him for healing. The first is by thanking God continually for the measure of healing already received. The other is by maintaining a consistent testimony of faith in the truth of God’s Word – even in the face of negative symptoms.

At this point, there is a delicate balance between faith and realism. If a person continues to experience obvious symptoms of sickness even after the laying on of hands, it is unrealistic to pretend that the symptoms are no longer there or to claim that complete healing has taken place. It is better to acknowledge the symptoms but to focus on the Word of God.

Such a person may say, “I recognize that I still have symptoms of sickness, but I believe that God’s healing has been released within my body through my obedience to His Word, and I trust Him to complete what He has begun.”

It is also perfectly reasonable for such a person to ask for continuing prayer.

There are thousands of people, alive and well today, who have received healing through these scriptural means.

Is it OK for a Christian to See a Doctor When He/She is Sick?

Many Christians struggle with the question of whether it is alright for them to see a doctor when they are sick. Below are excerpts from the book The Spirit-filled Believer’s Handbook, where the late bible teacher, Derek Prince, provided helpful counsel on this subject:

First, God expects every sick Christian to seek Him first, for healing through faith and by spiritual means. This does not mean it is necessarily unscriptural for a Christian who is sick to seek the advice or help of a medical doctor. But it is absolutely contrary to Scripture for any professing Christian who is sick to seek for human medical aid without first seeking for divine help from God Himself, through the appointed leaders of the church.

Today the great majority of professing Christians who fall sick automatically call for their doctor without giving any thought to seeking help from God or from the leaders of the church. All Christians who do this are guilty of direct disobedience against the ordinances of God as set forth in the New Testament. For the Scripture says plainly, without any qualification: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church …. ” In the face of this, any Christian who falls sick and calls for the doctor, without calling for the elders of the church, is guilty of open disobedience.

The implications of this act are plain enough if we pause to consider them. It amounts to saying to God: “God, I do· not need You. I do not really believe You can help me or heal me. I am content to accept the best that man can do for me without seeking You for guidance or help.” This prevailing attitude among professing Christians is one main reason why so much sickness also prevails among them.

For the most part, Christians today have simply set aside the claims of God to heal the body and have closed the doors of their homes and churches against Christ the healer.

The second important lesson contained in this passage from the epistle of James is that God expects all Christians to associate themselves with a church and that the leaders of this church shall be ready to minister in faith, according to the Scripture, to the physical needs of their church members.

The phrase “let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14) carries both these implications: 1) that every Christian shall be associated with a church in such a way that its leaders both know him and are known to him; 2) that these leaders shall be ready to minister physical healing to their members in faith, according to the ordinances appointed by God for the church.

Spiritual Manifestations: Does the Holy Spirit Force People to Scream, Shout or Shake Uncontrollably?

There is considerable debate among Christians whether spiritual manifestations, like uncontrollable screaming, shouting or shaking, are from God. In his book The Spirit-Filled Believers’s Handbook, bible teacher Derek Prince weights in on this subject

And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints (1 Cor. 14:32-33).

In other words, any spiritual evidence that is directed and by God will produce peace and harmony, not confusion and disorder.

Any person responsible for an evidence that leads to confusion or disorder cannot excuse himself by saying, “I couldn’t help myself! The Holy Spirit made me do it.” Paul rules out this line of defense by “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” In other the Holy Spirit never overrides the will of the individual believer and compels him to do something against his own will.

Even when a believer is exercising a spiritual gift, his spirit and his will still remain under his control. He is free to exercise that gift or to exercise it. The responsibility for exercising it remains with him. As we have said earlier in this study, the Holy Spirit never plays the part of a dictator in the life of a believer.

This is one of the main features which distinguish genuine manifestations of the Holy Spirit from the phenomena of spiritism or demon possession. In many phases of spiritism or demon possession the person who plays the part of the medium (or other vessel of satanic power) is obliged to yield complete control of his whole will and personality to the spirit which seeks to possess him or to operate through him. Very often such a person is then obliged to say or to do things which of his own free will he would never have agreed to say or do.

In some phases of spiritism the person who comes under the control of the spirit loses all understanding or consciousness of what he is saying or doing. At the end of such an experience, the possessed person come to himself again in entirely strange surroundings after a lapse of many hours, without any knowledge or recollection of what has happened in the intervening period. In this way, both the will and the understanding of the demon-possessed person are entirely set aside.

God the Holy Spirit never acts in this way with the true believer in Christ. Among the most precious of all the endowments which God has bestowed upon man are will and personality. Consequently, God never usurps the will or the personality of the believer. He will operate through them if He ls permitted to do so, but He will never set them aside. Satan makes slaves; God makes sons.

We see, then, how wrong and unscriptural it is for Spirit-baptized believers to say concerning any spiritual manifestation: “I couldn’t help it! The Holy Spirit made me do it.” To speak like this is to represent the indwelling Spirit of God as some kind of despot and the believer as a slave in bondage. Believers who speak like this have not yet come to understand their privileges and responsibilities as sons of God.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage [slavery] again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:15-16).

We are thus brought face-to-face with an important principle which holds good in all human affairs whether political or spiritual: True liberty is impossible without good government. The kind of liberty which seeks to set aside all government or control of any kind ends only in anarchy and confusion. The final result is a new form of slavery, far more severe than the previous form of government which was set aside.

We have seen this happen time after time in the political history of the human race, and the same principle applies equally in the spiritual life of the Christian church. True spiritual liberty is possible only where there is spiritual government. The government which God has appointed for the church is that of the Holy Spirit.

We come back then to the statement of Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:17:

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

If we desire to enjoy the Spirit’s liberty, we must first acknowledge the Spirit’s lordship. These two operations of the Holy Spirit can never be separated from each other.

We must also bear in mind another important fact about the Holy Spirit which we established earlier in this study. The Holy Spirit is both the author and the interpreter of the Scriptures. This means that the Holy Spirit will never direct a believer to say or do anything contrary to Scriptures. If the Holy Spirit were ever to do this, He would be illogical and inconsistent with Himself, and this we know is impossible.

But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us – by me, Silvanus, and Timothy – was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes (2 Cor. 1: 18-19).

Paul is saying that God is never inconsistent with Himself. Concerning any particular matter of doctrine or practice, God never says yes at one time and no at another. If God has ever said yes, then His answer always remains yes. He never changes to no later on. He is never changeable or inconsistent with Himself.

This applies to the relationship between the teaching of Scripture on the one hand and utterances and manifestations of the Holy Spirit on the other. The Holy Spirit, being Himself the author of Scripture, always agrees with Scripture. There is never a possibility of yes and no. Wherever the Bible says no, the Holy Spirit says no. No utterance or manifestation that is inspired and controlled by the Holy Spirit will ever contrary to the teachings and examples of Scripture.

However, as we have already emphasized, the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is not a dictator. He does not compel the believer always to act in a scriptural way. The Holy Spirit serves as interpreter and counselor. He interprets the Scripture; He offers direction and counsel. But the believer still remains free to accept or to reject the Holy Spirit’s counsel – to obey or to disobey.

This imposes a tremendous responsibility upon every Spirit-baptized believer. Every such believer is responsible to acquaint himself personally with the mind of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the Scriptures and then to direct his own conduct and behavior in regard to the exercise of spiritual gifts or manifestations – as in all other matters – so that these harmonize with the principles and examples of Scripture.

If through laziness, indifference or disobedience a Spirit-baptized believer fails to do this and, as a result, exercises spiritual gifts or manifestations in a foolish, unscriptural way, the responsibility for this rests solely upon the believer himself, not upon the Holy Spirit.

In this connection, a special responsibility rests upon every minister called by God to lead the worship and service of a Spirit-baptized congregation. Not only must such a man direct his own spiritual ministry in line with the teaching of Scripture, but he must also allow himself to be, in God’s hand, an instrument to direct the worship and ministry of the whole congregation in accordance with the same scriptural principles.

To do this successfully requires, in a high degree, special qualifications: first of all, a thorough, practical knowledge of the Scriptures, and then wisdom, authority and courage. Where these qualities are lacking in the leadership, a congregation that seeks to exercise spiritual gifts and manifestations will be like a ship at sea in the midst of powerful winds and treacherous shoals with an ill-trained and inexperienced captain in charge. Small wonder if the end is a wreck!

I have now been associated with full-gospel ministry for more than fifty years. During those years I have observed two things which have done more than anything else to hinder the acceptance of the testimony of the full gospel. The first is the failure to exercise proper control over the public manifestation of spiritual gifts, particularly the gift of tongues; the second is strife and division among Spirit-baptized believers, both among members of the same congregation and between one congregation and another. Each of these has its origin in one and the same error: the failure to acknowledge the effective lordship of the Holy Spirit.

Is Your Church a Storehouse That Stores People for Hell?

The following is an excerpt from The Spirit-Filled Believers’s Handbook, which was written by the late bible teacher Derek Prince.

Once in East Africa I heard a young African evangelist speaking to a white missionary who was responsible for the direction of a group of churches stretching over a wide area. He made the following statement: “Your churches are only storehouses, storing people for hell”

To some people this might appear a shocking statement, especially coming from a national to a missionary. Yet, knowing the situation as I did, I realized that the young African was speaking the truth.

Most members of those churches had never once had the basic facts the gospel presented to them and had never been faced with the need make a personal response to those facts. They had exchanged paganism for a form of Christianity; they had memorized a catechism; they been through a form of baptism; they had been accepted as church members; many of them had been educated in mission schools – yet of essential facts of the gospel and the experience of salvation they had no knowledge nor understanding whatever.

Churches such as these – whether in Africa or in America or anywhere else in the world – are just what that young African called them: “storehouses storing people for hell.”

The supreme purpose of every true Christian church, the chief duty of Christian minister, the main responsibility of every Christian layman to present to all who may be reached, in the clearest and most forceful way, the basic facts of the gospel of Christ and to urge all who hear to make the definite, personal response to these facts which God requires. To this, the supreme task, every other duty and activity of the must be secondary and subsidiary.

Let me now state once again these basic facts of the gospel and the response which each person is required to make.

  1. Christ was delivered by God the Father to the punishment of death on account of our sins.
  2. Christ was buried.
  3. God raised Him from the dead on the third day.
  4. Righteousness is received from God through believing these facts.

In order to receive salvation, each individual soul must make a direct, personal response to Christ. This response can be described in any of the following ways: calling upon the name of Christ as Lord; coming to Christ; receiving Christ; drinking of the water of life which Christ alone can give.

To every person who has read this far I would ask this question: Have you believed these facts? Have you made this definite, personal response?

If not, I urge you to do it now. Pray with me… Say these words:

Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that You died for my sins; that You were buried; that You rose again the third day. I now repent of my sins and come to You for mercy and forgiveness. By faith in Your promise, I receive You personally as my Savior and confess You as my Lord. Come into my heart, give me eternal life and make me a child of God. Amen!

Are You a Christian Who Has Never Repented?

Are you a Christian who has never repented? Did someone (erroneously) tell you that it was not necessary to repent before becoming a Christian, that all you needed to do was “believe”? If so, please read on. The following is an excerpt from the book The Spirit-Filled Believers’s Handbook, which was written by the late bible teacher Derek Prince.

The New Testament is unanimous on this one point: True repentance must always go before true faith. Without true repentance there can never be true faith.

The call to repentance begins at the very introduction to the New Testament with the ministry of John the Baptist.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight.”
John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins (Mark 1:3-4).

John the Baptist’s call to repentance was a necessary preparation for the revelation of the Messiah to Israel. Until Israel had been called back to God in repentance, their long-awaited Messiah could not be revealed among them.

A little further on we read the first message that Christ Himself preached after John had prepared the way before Him.

Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel…and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1: 14-15).

The first commandment that ever fell from the lips of Christ was not to believe but to repent. First repent, then believe.

After His death and resurrection, when Christ commissioned His apostles to go out to all nations with the gospel, once again the first word in His message was “repentance.”

Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47).

Here again it is repentance first, and after that, remission of sins.

Shortly after the resurrection, the apostles, through their spokesman Peter, began to fulfill this commission of Christ. After the Holy Spirit’s coming on the day of Pentecost, the convicted (but still unconverted) multitude asked: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). To this inquiry there came an immediate and definite answer.

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Here again it is repentance first; after that, baptism and remission of sins.

When Paul spoke to the elders of the church at Ephesus, he outlined the gospel message which he had preached to them.

I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:20-21).

The order of Paul’s message is the same: first repentance, then faith.

Finally, as we have already seen in Hebrews 6:1 -2, the order of the basic foundation doctrines of the Christian faith is first repentance from dead works, then faith, baptisms and so on.

Without exception, throughout the entire New Testament, repentance is the first response to the gospel that God demands. Nothing else can come before it, and nothing else can take its place.

True repentance must always precede true faith. Without such repentance, faith alone is an empty profession. This is one reason why the experience of so many Christians today is so unstable and insecure. They are seeking to build without the first of the great foundation doctrines. They are professing faith but they have never practiced true repentance. As a result, the faith which they profess procures for them neither the favor of God nor the respect of the world.

In many places today the simplification of the gospel message has been taken one step too far. The message often preached today is “Only believe.” But that is not the message of Christ. Christ and His apostles preached “Repent and believe.” Any preacher who leaves out the call to repentance is misleading sinners and misrepresenting God. For Paul tells us that it is God Himself who “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). That is the general edict of God to the entire human race: “All men everywhere must repent”

In Hebrews 6:1 repentance is defined as “repentance from dead works”; in Acts 20:21 it is defined as “repentance toward God.” This means that, in the act of repentance, we tum away from our dead works and face toward God, ready to hear and obey His next command.

The phrase “dead works” includes all acts and activities that are not based upon repentance and faith. It includes even the acts and activities of religion- even of professing Christianity – if they are not built on this basis. It is in this sense that Isaiah cries out:

And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags (Is. 64:6).

There is no reference here to acts of open sin and wickedness. Even those acts which are done in the name of religion and morality, if they are not based on repentance and faith, are not acceptable to God. Charity, prayers, church attendance, every kind of religious rite and ordinance – if they are not based on repentance and faith- are merely “dead works” and “filthy rags”!

There is one other fact about scriptural repentance which must be emphasized. True repentance begins with God and not with man. It originates not in the will of man but in the free and sovereign grace of God. Apart from the working of God’s grace and the moving of God’s Spirit, man left to himself is incapable of repentance. For this reason the psalmist cries out for restoration.

Restore us, O God … and we shall be saved! (Ps. 80:3,7).

The word translated “restore us” means literally “cause us to tum back.” Jeremiah uses the same word in Lamentations 5:21.

Turn us back to You, 0 Lord, and we will be restored.

Unless God first moves man toward Himself, man cannot of his own unaided will tum to God and be saved. The first move is always made by God.

In the New Testament Christ expressed the same truth.

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him (John 6:44).

The supreme crisis of every human life comes at the moment of the Spirit’s drawing to repentance. Accepted, this drawing leads us to saving faith and eternal life; rejected, it leaves the sinner to continue on his way to the grave and the unending darkness of an eternity apart from God. The Scripture makes it plain that even in this life it is possible for a man to pass “the place of repentance”- to come to a point where the Spirit of God will never again draw him to repentance, and where all hope is lost even before he enters the portals of eternity.

It is fitting to close this study with the words of Christ in Luke 13:3 (which are also repeated in verse 5).

Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

Christ was speaking of men who died in the very act of performing a religious rite; that is, a company of Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their own sacrifices. While carrying out their sacrifices in the temple, these men had been executed by order of the Roman governor, and their blood had been mingled on the temple floor with that of their sacrifices.

Yet Christ tells us that these men perished; they went to a lost eternity. Even their religious act of sacrifice in the temple could not save their souls, because it was not based on true repentance.

The same is true of the religious ceremonies of many professing Christians today. None of these religious activities is any substitute for true repentance. Without such repentance, Christ Himself said, “… you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).

Is It OK for a Christian to Dance, Smoke or Drink Alcohol?

Many young Christians struggle with the question of whether it is ok for them to dance, smoke or drink alcohol, because if they are prohibited from participating in these things, they might end up losing a lot of their friends. In his book The Spirit-Filled Believers’s Handbook, bible teacher Derek Prince provided some good insights on this subject, which would be helpful to new believers who might be struggling with this issue.

One often hears questions such as these: Is it right for a Christian to dance? to smoke? to gamble? and so on. The answer to all such questions must be decided not by accepted social practice, nor by accepted church tradition, but by the application of God’s Word.

For instance, I remember that a group of Christian African women students once asked me, as a Christian minister, if there was any harm in their attending dances at the college where they were being trained as teachers. In reply I did not offer them my own personal opinion or the regulations laid down by a mission board. Instead I asked them to tum with me to two passages in the Bible.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (Col. 3:17).

I pointed out that these two passages of Scripture contain two great principles which are to decide and direct all that we do as Christians. First, we must do all things to the glory of God. Second, we must do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God by Him. Therefore, anything that we can do to the glory of God and in the name of the Lord Jesus is good and acceptable; anything that we cannot do to the glory of God and in the name of the Lord Jesus is wrong and harmful.

I then applied these principles to the question they had asked me. I said, “If you can attend those dances to the glory of God, and if you can freely give thanks to God in the name of the Lord Jesus while you are dancing, then it is perfectly all right for you to dance. But if you cannot do your dancing in this way and upon these conditions, then it is wrong for you to dance.”

It was my responsibility, as I saw it, to give those young women basic scriptural principles. Thereafter it was their responsibility, not mine, to apply those principles to their particular situation.

Medical research has brought to light one very definite way in which many modem Christians, like David of old, have been kept from the paths of the destroyer by the application of God’s Word.

The Scriptures teach very plainly that the body of the Christian, having been redeemed from the dominion of Satan by the blood of Christ, is a temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell in and is therefore to be kept clean and holy. For example, Paul says:

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are (1 Cor. 3:16-17).

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

For this is the will of God, your sanctification … that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel [that is, the earthen vessel of his physical body] in sanctification and honor (1 Thess. 4:3-4).

On the basis of these and other similar passages, many Christians have refrained from using tobacco in any form. Until fairly recently it was often suggested by unbelievers that this refusal by Christians to indulge in tobacco was merely a kind of foolish, old-fashioned fad, akin to fanaticism. However, modem medical research has demonstrated, beyond all possibility of doubt, that smoking – particularly of cigarettes – is a direct contributory cause of lung cancer. The medical associations of both the United States and Great Britain have endorsed this conclusion. In the United States this year there will be an estimated 146,000 deaths from lung cancer (American Cancer Society). Another undisputed fact, proved by experience and endorsed by medical science, is that death through lung cancer is usually lingering and painful.

In the face of facts such as these, the refusal of Christians to smoke can no longer be dismissed as foolishness or fanaticism. If foolishness can be charged to anyone today, it is certainly not to the Christian but to the person who regularly wastes substantial sums of money to gratify a lust which greatly increases the possibility of a painful death through lung cancer. And if foolishness can be charged to the victims of this lust, surely nothing short of wickedness can be charged to those who, by every means of persuasion and modem publicity, willfully seek, for the sake of their own financial profit, to bring their fellow human beings under the cruel bondage of this degrading and destroying habit.

Almost exactly the same that has been said about tobacco smoking applies equally to excessive indulgence in alcohol.

Again, a majority of sincere Christians have through the years refrained from this kind of indulgence on the basis of the Bible’s warnings against it. It is a well-established fact that excessive indulgence in alcohol is a major contributing factor in many kinds of mental and physical disease and also in the modem toll of traffic accidents.

Here again, as in the case of smoking, millions of Christians have been preserved from harm and disaster by their practical application of the Bible’s teaching.

A new, “modem” plague – AIDS – came upon the world in the 1980s. Christians who practice monogamy and refrain from immorality protect themselves and their children from the devastation of that disease.

On the other hand, homosexuality, so often touted as an “alternative life-style,” has proved to be an alternative death-style. Christians who have been protected from these evils can surely echo, with deep thankfulness, the words of David.

Concerning the works of men,
By the word of Your lips,
I have kept myself from the paths of the destroyer (Ps. 17:4).