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  Perhaps the best indication that God does have a sense of humor is that He created man in His image (Genesis 1:27), and certainly people are able to perceive and express humor. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a “sense of humor” as “…The ability to perceive, enjoy, or express what is comical or funny.” According to this definition, then, God must show an ability to perceive, enjoy, or express what is comical. The difficulty is that people perceive what is comical differently, and what sinful man perceives as funny would not amuse a holy and perfect God. Much of what the world calls humor is not funny but is crass and crude and should have no part in a Christian’s life (Colossians 3:8). Other humor is expressed at the expense of others (tearing down rather than building up), again something contrary to God’s Word (Colossians 4:6; Ephesians 4:29).

An example of God’s humor is the instance in which the Israelites were using the Ark of the Covenant like a good-luck charm in taking it to battle, and the Philistines ended up capturing it and placing it in their temple before their idol of Dagon. They came into the temple the next day and found Dagon flat on his face before the ark. They set him back up. The next morning, there he was again, but this time he had his hands and head cut off as a symbol of his powerlessness before the God of the ark (1 Samuel 5:1-5). God’s putting Dagon in a position of submission to His ark is a comical picture.

This incident is an example of God laughing at the foolishness of those who would oppose Him. “See what they spew from their mouths— they spew out swords from their lips, and they say, ‘Who can hear us?’ But you, O LORD, laugh at them; you scoff at all those nations” (Psalm 59:7-9). Psalm 2 also reveals God laughing at those who would rebel against His kingship (verse 4). It is like the comical picture of a kindergarten-aged child being upset at his parents and running away from home…all the way to his neighbor’s house. But there is obviously a serious side to this as well, and although the picture of weak and silly man trying to match wits with an almighty and all-knowing God is comical, God takes no delight in their waywardness and its consequences but rather desires to see them turn around (Ezekiel 33:11; Matthew 23:37-38).

A person does not crack jokes in the presence of one who has just lost a close loved one; silly jokes are out of place on such occasions. In the same way, God is focused on the lost and is looking for those who will care for their souls as He does. That is why our lives (while having times of refreshing and humor) are to be characterized by “soberness” (seriousness about making our lives count for Christ) (1 Thessalonians 5:6,8; Titus 2:2,6).

Sometimes we may imagine God as a task master, a dictator opposed to fun or pleasure. We may envision Him as a grimacing judge with a gavel, readily pointing out faults and stifling any sense of joy we have. We might see God as a cosmic killjoy. What a sad—and unbiblical—picture of God! A cold, disagreeable sourpuss is not the God of the Bible. When we study Scripture and come to understand God’s character, we see that He is not in any sense a cosmic killjoy. In fact, He is the one who restores us and gives us true joy.

Jesus declares, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Life “to the full” does not sound like a gift from a killjoy. Throughout the Bible, we see depictions of what a life-to-the-full life might look like. One great example is the life of Jesus Himself. His first miracle was performed at a wedding feast (John 2). Children flocked to Him—and we know that children will shun a grump (Mark 10:13-16). In Luke 7:34 Jesus gives a glimpse of His joy: “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”’” Jesus was not joyless; in fact, He exhibited too much joy, as far as His critics were concerned. He participated in life and was not abstemious.

God Himself takes pleasure in things. Zephaniah 3:17, for example, says that God delights in us and sings over us. God delights in His obedient children (Deuteronomy 30:9). He delights to show mercy (Micah 7:18).

God created the human body with the capacity to experience pleasure. God’s design includes taste buds—and enough flavorful foods to satisfy any palate. God designed the human eye and enough colors to dazzle the mind. God designed the sexual organs, with their myriad of nerve endings, so that a married couple can enjoy the pleasure of their love. In other words, pleasure was God’s idea; He is anything but a killjoy.

The Old Testament is filled with instructions for celebrations and festivals. While the feasts served as important reminders of God’s faithfulness and provided glimpses of who the Messiah would be, they were also times of outright celebration. A cosmic killjoy would not institute such feasts.

Sometimes, as Christians, we get the idea that being joyful means reading the Bible, meditating, or serving. So we end up thinking God isn’t a killjoy per se, but maybe He expects us to have “fun” with things that really aren’t all that fun. This is wrong on two levels. First, we certainly can and do experience joy in reading the Bible and serving others. Also, joy is not found in those activities exclusively. God created us to experience fellowship, recreation, and creativity. We were made to delight in being His children, in using the skills He has given us, and in welcoming the pleasures He offers. The Westminster Shorter Catechism has it right in its very first answer: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

However, we should be careful not to love pleasure for pleasure’s sake. We must realize that God is opposed to certain types of “pleasure.” The sad truth is that we live in a fallen world where God’s best for us is often perverted. Many activities that our society deems pleasurable are not pleasing to God (see Galatians 5:19-21; Colossians 3:5-10; and 1 Corinthians 6:12-17). God does not condone promiscuous sex or drunkenness, for example. As a result, some call God a killjoy. However, these “pleasures” of the world are not in fact healthy for us or conducive to long-term joy. They are the “pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:25). They are false friends that quickly abandon us and leave us empty and longing. So, rather than killing our fun, God is protecting us and providing what is truly best for us. In this way He is much like an earthly parent who provides boundaries for his children. A parent may be called a killjoy for limiting the amount of candy his children consume, but that boundary will ultimately benefit them.

Also, it is important to keep in mind that the purpose of our lives is not to be a joyride. Our lives have deep meaning. We were created to delight in God (Psalm 37:4), and we appreciate the good things He provides. But our focus in on the Giver, not the gift.

God is not a killjoy; He is the creator of joy. His Spirit produces it in our lives (Galatians 5:22). Because He is the source of joy, any pursuit of pleasure apart from God is idolatry. For our own well-being, God opposes our grasping after the worldly, temporary joy that sin promises. Sometimes we must put aside instant gratification in order to invest in the greater joy of God’s kingdom. “You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).

People have long puzzled over the question of whether or not King Saul was saved; that is, whether or not Saul was forgiven and justified by God and is in heaven today. It’s not possible to give a definitive answer because, of course, Saul’s salvation rests with God, not with us. We have no certain knowledge of the condition of Saul’s heart. As Scripture says, only God sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

The Bible does indicate that a person’s spiritual transformation will be evidenced by his or her “fruit” (Matthew 7:16–20). If a person continually produces “bad fruit,” then it is unlikely that he is a true believer.

Arguing against Saul’s salvation is his record of jealousy, hatred, and murder. Saul’s rule as king was characterized by failure and rebellion. He directly disobeyed God (1 Samuel 15:1–35) and broke God’s law by offering a sacrifice that only priests were to offer (1 Samuel 13:1–14). Saul was visited by evil spirits on several occasions (1 Samuel 16:14; 18:10; 19:9). Saul spent much time and energy trying to murder David (1 Samuel 18:10; 19:10; 23:14); he even tried to murder his son Jonathan once (1 Samuel 20:33). Incredibly, King Saul ordered the slaughter of eighty-five innocent priests and their families (1 Samuel 22:18–19). He consulted a witch and asked her to conjure Samuel up from the dead—another direct violation of God’s Law (1 Samuel 28:1–20). Saul ended his life by committing suicide (1 Samuel 31:4).

There is the tendency to look at the above facts and say, “Saul didn’t obey the Lord much at all, so that means he wasn’t saved.” But that is not quite fair, for there is more to the story.

Saul was God’s choice to lead Israel (1 Samuel 9:15–16). Before Saul was made king, Samuel told him to visit some prophets (1 Samuel 10:5). At that time, Saul was told, “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. . . . God is with you” (verses 6–7). The promise that Saul would be “changed into a different person” sounds very much like the born-again statements in the New Testament (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). This description, plus the statement in verse 9 that “God changed Saul’s heart,” leads some to believe that Saul was saved.

Just as Samuel had said, Saul was filled with the Spirit and prophesied with the other prophets (1 Samuel 10:10–13). The question remains how exactly Saul was changed. Was his new heart evidence that the Lord had forgiven his sin and saved him for eternity, or was the Lord simply overcoming Saul’s reluctance to be king (see 1 Samuel 9:21)? The Bible does not say.

Those who believe that Saul was not saved point to the litany of abuses, missteps, and outrages that Saul committed, reasoning that no true follower of God could behave in such a way.

Those who believe that Saul was saved point to the fact that he was chosen by God and then used by God to prophesy and to defeat the Philistines. Saul made mistakes in his struggle against the flesh, but so do we all (Romans 7:21–23). Saul walked in the flesh for most of his life and therefore disobeyed the Lord. It doesn`t make him unsaved. It just makes him a disobedient believer, some say, and the Lord disciplined His child in the way He saw fit.

Saul’s tragic choice to live according to the flesh caused him much sorrow. Saul started out so well, but his disobedience derailed what could have been a stellar kingship and the beginning of a dynasty. By his sin, King Saul lost everything: his relationship with his son, his leadership role in Israel, the love of his people, and finally his life.

Again, it is not our place to judge another person’s salvation. Only God truly knows whether or not Saul was saved. Did Saul begin his career with a humble, God-fearing heart? Yes. Did he commit egregious sins later in life? Yes. The matter of his salvation is between God and Saul.

To put it bluntly, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is a heretic. He is a false messiah who claims to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. He refers to himself as “Jesus Christ Man.” He is a native Puerto Rican who claims that, in 1973, through a vision he received, Jesus Christ “integrated with him.” In 1998, he claimed that he was the reincarnation of the Apostle Paul. In 2005, he officially claimed he was Christ.

Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda’s following has all of the classic signs of a cult. There is the claim to extra-biblical authority by way of the vision of Christ “integrating” with him. There is the fact that Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is the sole, undisputed leader of his movement, and as such he exerts total authority over his church and ministry. There is the teaching of exclusive doctrine such as the non-existence of the devil, hell and sin, the futility of prayer, and the irrelevancy of God’s moral code (i.e., the Ten Commandments). He exploits his people financially, living a lavish lifestyle well beyond his reported means based on the generosity of his followers. Finally, there is a defective Christology. He claims he is greater than Jesus Christ and that his teachings supersede those of Christ. He even refers to himself as the Antichrist and sports a “666” tattoo on his forearm, claiming that since He is Christ, worship of Jesus Christ is invalid. His followers are now also receiving 666 tattoos to declare their allegiance to him.

The Bible predicts that there will be people coming in the last days claiming to be Christ. In Matthew 24:5, Jesus tells His disciples, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.” One of the signs that the end times are indeed approaching is the rise of false messiahs—people claiming to be the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Yet how did Jesus Himself describe His return to earth? Again in Matthew 24, Jesus describes very specific signs that need to occur before His return. In vv. 3-14, Jesus describes the “birth pains”—signs that will indicate that His return is near. He uses the imagery of a woman giving birth. Right before delivering the child, the woman will experience labor pains, which begin slow and mild and become more rapid and more painful as the time of birth approaches. The “birth pains” Jesus describes are these: 1) the rise of false messiahs; 2) wars and rumors of wars; 3) famines and natural disasters; 4) increased persecution of the true church of Jesus Christ; 5) general apostasy as people turn from true Christianity to false religions being peddled by false prophets; 6) finally, increased lawlessness. While these things are already happening, when the end is approaching, these things will increase both in intensity and frequency as never before.

The next thing that happens will be the desecration of the temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15). Once the temple is desecrated, there will be “great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Matthew 24:21). Theologians call this the period of the Great Tribulation where God will pour His wrath on unrepentant mankind. It will also mark the rise of the final Antichrist, the man of lawlessness spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

Now mark this, Jesus says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:29-30). The return of Jesus to this earth will be preceded by great and terrible cosmic activity, and then His arrival will be witnessed by all. This will be no “stealth return” to earth. Jesus says it again when He says, “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:27), thereby attesting to the fact that no one will mistake His return to earth.

Does the biblical description of the Second Coming have anything in common with Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda? If Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is truly the return of Christ to this earth, when did all of these cosmic events take place? When was the temple in Jerusalem rebuilt so that it could be desecrated? Where is this return of Jesus on the “clouds of heaven”? According to the biblical account, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is simply one more, among many, false messiahs.

Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda’s doctrines include the following: He claims there is no sin and that the law is irrelevant. He gets this teaching from misinterpreting passages such as Romans 6:2, Romans 7:6 and Romans 8:2. Yet these passages don’t teach that there is no sin and that the law is irrelevant. Rather, they teach that the power of the law and the power of sin were broken when Jesus Christ died on the cross and that by placing our faith in Him (the true Jesus), we are set free from the penalty of the law. The Apostle John said that “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Romans 7:15-24 is a testament that even the Apostle Paul (whose teachings Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda believes are the only ones which ought to be taught) struggled with sin in his life.

Furthermore, the law, far from being irrelevant, is a necessary part of God’s moral code. Paul says in Romans 7:7 that he would have not known what coveting was had not the law said, “You shall not covet.” The law points out our sin and leads us to Christ. True, the law is powerless when it comes to obtaining righteousness before God, but it is not irrelevant.

Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda also claims there is no hell. Yet Jesus taught more about hell than He did heaven. The reality of hell is taught throughout the New Testament. Miranda claims there is no devil, yet Peter—after the resurrection of Jesus—says that Satan goes about like a “roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8). Finally, regarding Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda’s view of the futility of prayer, how can we regard prayer as futile when Jesus not only taught about it (Matthew 6:9-15; Luke 11:1-13; 18:1-8), but practiced it all throughout His ministry. Similarly, the Apostle Paul opens every one of his letters with prayer and thanksgiving, and frequently asks for his readers to pray for him. Far from being futile, prayer is vital to the Christian life.

Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is a false messiah and a heretic. He claims to be the second coming of Jesus Christ despite the biblical evidence that belies his claim of divinity. His teachings, far from leading people into a life of greater holiness and righteousness, are likely to lead people to a life of licentiousness and debauchery (no sin + no law + no hell = no consequences for my actions). Finally, look at the life of the man. He lives well beyond his means off of the “generosity” of his followers. Would Jesus do that? Jesus lived the life of a peasant with “no place to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20)—He took advantage of no one. The Bible tells us to “beware of false prophets.” Concerning them, we “will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16). Judge Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda by his fruit, and it becomes abundantly clear that he is not “Jesus Christ Man.”

With that in mind, the next question arises—is Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda the Antichrist? While it is possible that Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is the Antichrist predicted in Scripture—and the recent “666” tattoo lends credence to this possibility—it is unlikely. The Antichrist will be a world leader, a satanically-empowered dictator, a man that enraptures people with his very presence. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is not such a man—at least not yet. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is nothing more than a charismatic cult leader, a charlatan, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and simply yet another in a long line of false prophets and false messiahs. He is an antichrist, not THE Antichrist.

  In a general sense, a prophet is a person who speaks God’s truth to others. The English word prophet comes from the Greek word prophetes, which can mean “one who speaks forth” or “advocate.” Prophets are also called “seers,” because of their spiritual insight or their ability to “see” the future.

In the Bible, prophets often had both a teaching and revelatory role, declaring God’s truth on contemporary issues while also revealing details about the future. Isaiah’s ministry, for example, touched on both the present and the future. He preached boldly against the corruption of his day (Isaiah 1:4) and delivered grand visions of the future of Israel (Isaiah 25:8).

Prophets had the task of faithfully speaking God’s Word to the people. They were instrumental in guiding the nation of Israel and establishing the church. God’s household is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20).

More than 133 named prophets are mentioned in the Bible, including 16 women. In addition, numerous others prophesied, such as the 70 elders of Israel (Numbers 11:25) and the 100 prophets rescued by Obadiah (1 Kings 18:4). The first named prophet in the Bible is Abraham. In Genesis 20:7 God spoke to Abimelech in dream, saying, “Now then, return [Abraham’s] wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you will live.” God had revealed Himself to Abraham on numerous occasions.

Jacob and Joseph, descendants of Abraham, both had dreams regarding the future that could be categorized as prophetic. Moses was called a “man of God” and was considered a great prophet (Deuteronomy 34:10). Joshua and many of the judges served as prophets, with the last judge, Samuel, hearing the voice of God as a young boy (1 Samuel 3:4). He would later anoint David, who served as both king and prophet in Israel.

The time of Elijah and Elisha was marked by a high level of prophetic activity. In fact, a school for prophets thrived during their lifetimes (see 1 Kings 20:35). Both Elijah and Elisha performed many miracles as well.

In the New Testament, John the Baptist foretold the Messiah (Matthew 3:1). Jesus Himself came as prophet, priest, king, and Messiah, fulfilling many of the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament.

The early church also included prophets. For example, Ananias was given a prophecy about the apostle Paul’s future (Acts 9:10–18). Acts 21:9 mentions four daughters of Philip who could prophesy. Prophecy is listed as a spiritual gift in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. In the end times, two “witnesses” will prophesy from Jerusalem (Revelation 11).

Usually, the prophets God sends are despised and their message unheeded. Isaiah described his nation as a “rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction. They say to the seers, ‘See no more visions!’ and to the prophets, ‘Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions’” (Isaiah 30:9–10). Jesus lamented that Jerusalem had killed the prophets God sent to them (Luke 13:34).

Of course, not everyone who “speaks forth” a message is actually a prophet of God. The Bible warns against false prophets who claim to speak for God but who actually deceive the people they purport to inform. King Ahab kept 400 such false prophets in his employ to tell him what he wanted to hear (2 Chronicles 18:4; cf. 2 Timothy 4:3). In the New Testament we have many warnings against false prophets. Jesus taught, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15). He later noted that, in the end times, “false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). Revelation speaks of a false prophet who will arise in the Tribulation and deceive people around the world (Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10). To avoid being led astray, we must always “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1).

A true prophet of God will be committed to speaking God’s truth. He or she will never contradict God’s revealed Word. A true prophet will say, with the prophet Micaiah just before his fateful confrontation with Ahab, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says” (2 Chronicles 18:13).

Zipporah in the Bible was the wife of Moses and the daughter of Jethro, the priest of Midian. When Moses fled from Egypt to the land of Midian, he met Jethro’s seven daughters, who were having some trouble getting enough water for their flocks (Exodus 2). In that area, the troughs for watering flocks were being monopolized by some shepherds who denied Jethro’s daughters access to the troughs. Moses assisted the women by driving the shepherds away so their flocks could be watered. Zipporah was among the sisters helped by Moses.

Zipporah and her sisters brought Moses back to their tent to meet their father, the priest of Midian, who liked Moses. Moses was content to stay there in Midian (Exodus 2:21). Moses later married Zipporah and began a new life. Zipporah gave birth to a son. Moses named him Gershom, a name that sounds like the Hebrew word meaning “a foreigner there.” Gershom’s name was a reminder that Moses was a foreigner and living among foreigners. Later, Zipporah had another son named Eliezer (Exodus 18:4).

Later in the book of Exodus, there is a strange passage involving Zipporah. Moses and his wife are traveling to Egypt because God had told Moses to bring the Israelites out of bondage (Exodus 3). On the way, Moses and Zipporah stop at an inn, and the Lord meets Moses there, seeking to kill him. Perceiving that Moses was in mortal danger, Zipporah takes a sharp stone and circumcises her son. She takes her son’s foreskin and, touching Moses’ feet with it, she utters the enigmatic statement, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” (Exodus 4:25). Her action worked. After Zipporah’s intervention, the Lord left Moses alone. The Bible does not explicitly explain why the Lord desired to kill Moses, but it was probably because Moses had not performed the rite of circumcision. Circumcision was an important symbol of the Abrahamic Covenant, and the lack of circumcision would mark a person as cut off from God’s people (Genesis 17:9–14). For Moses to neglect to circumcise his son was an affront to God, as if he were saying that he and his family did not truly belong to God. How could Moses be an effective leader of God’s people if he were in violation of God’s clear command?

Zipporah’s words to Moses are puzzling, but the text explains that “she said ‘bridegroom of blood,’ referring to circumcision” (Exodus 4:26). It seems that Zipporah was angry at having to perform the rite, which should have been completed by Moses. Sometime after this incident, Moses sent Zipporah and his two sons back to Midian to stay with Zipporah’s father (see Exodus 18:2–3).

Jethro was the father-in-law of Moses and father of Zipporah. Jethro is first mentioned in the Bible in Exodus 2:16 where he is described as “a priest of Midian.” He is also referred to as Reuel (verse 18), which could indicate the equivalent of a last name. The name Reuel means “friend of God,” so the fact that the Bible calls him first by this name may mean that he was a priest of the Most High God, rather than a pagan deity as some have suggested. Many people in the Bible were called by two names such as Jacob (Israel, Genesis 35:10), Simon (Peter, Luke 6:14), Matthew (Levi, Mark 2:14; Matthew 9:9), and Paul (Saul, Acts 13:9). Sometimes the name change was due to an encounter with God. Other times it may have simply been a second name, in the way that a man named Ben Jones may be called both “Ben” and “Jones.”

Exodus 2 details the account of Moses’ first encounter with Jethro. When Moses was on the run from Pharaoh, after having killed an Egyptian, he found himself in Midian by a well. Jethro’s seven daughters were shepherdesses who came to the well to water their sheep. However, some men chased the women away, and Moses came to their defense. In gratitude for Moses’ care of his daughters, Jethro invited him for dinner.

Over the course of time, Jethro gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses for a wife, and they had two sons (Exodus 2:21; 4:20). Moses stayed with the Midianites for forty years until God called to him from the burning bush (Exodus 3). Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, gave him his blessing to return to his people in obedience to God (Exodus 4:18).

Jethro is highlighted again in Exodus chapter 18. Moses had sent Zipporah and their sons back to Midian, rather than take them to Egypt, perhaps due to the dangers he would face in leading an entire nation out of slavery. Moses clearly trusted Jethro to take good care of his family and use wisdom in knowing when to reunite them. In Exodus 18, Jethro brings Zipporah and the children to Moses at Sinai. The relationship between Moses and Jethro was always cordial (verses 7–8), and Jethro offers some fatherly advice when he sees the overwhelming responsibility facing his son-in-law (verses 13–27). Moses takes Jethro’s advice on how to delegate authority: “Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said” (verse 24). Moses then sends Jethro back to Midian with his blessing (verse 27).

From all we can tell in the Bible, Jethro was a godly man of integrity who played a small part in God’s great story of deliverance for the Israelites. He is a good role model for in-laws. He offered wise counsel, stepped in to help when needed, and then got out of the way.

What is Chrislam?

Chrislam is an attempt to syncretize Christianity with Islam. While it began in Nigeria in the 1980s, Chrislamic ideas have spread throughout much of the world. The essential concept of Chrislam is that Christianity and Islam are compatible, that one can be a Christian and a Muslim at the same time. Chrislam is not an actual religion of its own, but a blurring of the differences and distinctions between Christianity and Islam.

Advocates of Chrislam point to facts such as Jesus being mentioned 25 times in the Qur’an, or Christianity and Islam having similar teachings on morals and ethics, or the need for the two largest monotheistic religions to unite to fight against the rise of atheism and alternative spirituality. Chrislam is viewed by some as the solution for the ongoing conflict between the Western world, which is predominantly Christian, and the Middle East, which is predominantly Muslim.

While it is undeniable that there are many similarities between Christianity and Islam (and Judaism, for that matter), Chrislam ultimately fails because Christianity and Islam are diametrically opposed on the most important of issues – the identity of Jesus Christ. True Christianity declares Jesus to be God incarnate. For Christians, the deity of Christ is a non-negotiable, for without His deity, Jesus’ death on the cross would not have been sufficient to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2).

Islam adamantly rejects the deity of Christ. The Qur’an declares the idea that Jesus is God to be blasphemy (5:17). Belief in the deity of Christ is considered shirk (“filth”) to Muslims. Further, Islam denies the death of Christ on the cross (4:157-158). The most crucial doctrine of the Christian faith is rejected in Islam. As a result, the two religions are absolutely not compatible, making Chrislam a concept both Christians and Muslims should reject.

The word “saint” comes from the Greek word hagios, which means “consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious.” It is almost always used in the plural, “saints.” “…Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem” (Acts 9:13). “Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda” (Acts 9:32). “And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons …“ (Acts 26:10). There is only one instance of the singular use, and that is “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 4:21). In Scripture there are 67 uses of the plural “saints” compared to only one use of the singular word “saint.” Even in that one instance, a plurality of saints is in view: “…every saint…” (Philippians 4:21).

The idea of the word “saints” is a group of people set apart for the Lord and His kingdom. There are three references referring to godly character of saints: “that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints …” (Romans 16:2). “For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints” (Ephesians 5:3).

Therefore, scripturally speaking, the “saints” are the body of Christ, Christians, the church. All Christians are considered saints. All Christian are saints—and at the same time are called to be saints. First Corinthians 1:2 states it clearly: “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy…” The words “sanctified” and “holy” come from the same Greek root as the word that is commonly translated “saints.” Christians are saints by virtue of their connection with Jesus Christ. Christians are called to be saints, to increasingly allow their daily life to more closely match their position in Christ. This is the biblical description and calling of the saints.

How does the Roman Catholic understanding of “saints” compare with the biblical teaching? Not very well. In Roman Catholic theology, the saints are in heaven. In the Bible, the saints are on earth. In Roman Catholic teaching, a person does not become a saint unless he/she is “beatified” or “canonized” by the Pope or prominent bishop. In the Bible, everyone who has received Jesus Christ by faith is a saint. In Roman Catholic practice, the saints are revered, prayed to, and in some instances, worshipped. In the Bible, saints are called to revere, worship, and pray to God alone.