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Death Bed Repentance
Gen. Deborah Green
P RAISE GOD. Welcome to Battle Cry Sounding/Battle Cry Pounding; yes, the Lord is on the move. And, the Lord is on the move through His wrath, His fury, His indignation revealed. He's also moving at the same time, by His Repentance Revolution!
And, all around the world, God is putting forth the call to REPENTANCE REVOLUTION, and those that have an ear to hear are going to hear; they're going to genuinely repent and come into the fold, the flock of God. Now, there's some that are bound in Churchianity, and God is even putting out a call unto them, to get out of those wicked places, COME INTO THE LORD, AND THERE REMAIN!
You know, a lot of people say, "Well, I tried to come out of the church, but I haven't done anything." The thing of it is, when you come out of the church, you're supposed to COME INTO GOD. You're not just supposed to set there and live in bitterness about how evil the church did you, but you're supposed to move out of that, and MOVE INTO REPENTANCE REVOLUTION BEFORE THE LORD.
And what I mean by that is, a lot of times, we can have ugliness in us that's gravitated to the ugly, and then when we see by the revelation of God that we have been wrong—rather than accepting and acknowledging our own error, we want to just get bitter and blame, and blame, and blame somebody else.
But, true growth in God comes when we see the error of our own way. And if we were aligned with that which is vile in the eyes of God, then we need to gain a place of repentance over our alignment with that. And, we need to refute, repudiate, and refuse to return to the unfruitful works of darkness.
Now, there's many aspects to this repentance revolution, and in the middle of the night I was repenting to the Lord for a remark I had made; I guess it was two or three days ago; and it was the very remark, God showed me, is what put me into the sick bed.
Now, I'm being personal here, but I had said, "I just wish I could die; I'm so tired of it." And when I said that, the Lord told me I invited in demons of death: to my body, to my mind, to my will. And He showed me that I needed to repent over those things otherwise I wouldn't recover. So, I was repenting all night to God over a casual remark.
You know, we need to screen what we say. And a lot of times, we can allow things to come out of our mouth that we should refute. But, we think, "Well, I just…I've had it!" Well, the truth of it is, WE HAVEN'T HAD IT UNTIL GOD SAYS WE'VE HAD IT. And, we can't quit along the way just because we feel like it; we have to continue steadfast until the end. And, when we invoke and invite demonic powers to our bodies, and to our minds by our declarations, then we're the ones that pay for it. Because why? GOD'S JUST.
So, I know with me God is very strict because He uses me in a particular way, but I also know this truth can apply to any of us—that if we allow our mouths to go unbridled, we can invite troubles to ourselves. Amen.
Now, in 2nd Kings today, chapter 20, we're going to be reading about "Deathbed Repentance." And you know, I did not grow up in Christian circles, and so what I learned about Christianity was always from the wrong side. But, I did hear once in a while about people that would pray right when they were ready to die, and somehow they'd get this merciful feeling, or whatever.
But, I was really thinking about deathbed repentance, because that's what the Lord spoke to me in the night. And I was thinking about how we can think that we're going to get deathbed repentance, we can put God off, we can play our games with God, and we can live in sin our whole lives and say, "Well, when it's my time to go, I'll get right with God."
DID YOU KNOW, WHEN IT COMES YOUR TIME TO GO, YOU MAY NOT HAVE TIME TO GET RIGHT WITH GOD? God could stop your old ticker—your heart; that would be it. God could take you by an accident: you head chopped off, and you have no body function to repent; you could be in a bomb blast; you could be in a terrorist attac;, you could be in a queer parade, and that could be the end of your life. Because God knows exactly when He has the time for each man and each woman—when their cup is filled up—either their cup of righteousness, or unrighteousness.
Now, if we're playing the game with God that "We'll get it right before we go," we're gaming God. See? And God is perturbed with that, He's disturbed at that, and He doesn't approve of us playing around on Him—whereby we're only using and abusing Him, and thinking somehow we can do it in the end.
Now, there's some people, they've got a silver tongue. They can mock repentance, they can say they're sorry, and their deeds show just the opposite. I mean we've had individuals in here that could STAND UP, BOO-HOO, CRY, APOLOGIZE TO EVERYBODY, SAY HOW SORRY THEY ARE, go out and within a half an hour, back in the SAME MENTAL STATE OF ACCUSATION, ABUSE, VILENESS, AND VIOLENCE TOWARDS OTHERS; EVIL IMAGINATION.
Now, was that repentance real? No, it was a show. It was a SHOWMANSHIP REPENTANCE. And God is not pleased in that either. He wants genuine repentance—whereby we change and amend our ways, and do what's right with God— rather than what's wrong.
So, we have to watch out for being a fake with God. In other words, being able to speak flattering words to God, and think God is moved by those things. The truth of it is, GOD IS MOVED BY ACTION TO REVOLUTION IN THIS REPENTANCE REVOLUTION. He's moved by us taking up new ways of behavior and doing what is right in His eyes, not what's right in our own eyes.
Now, each of us, if we were to judge ourselves, would be highly lenient. Why? Because of love of self. But, if we are truly attempting to walk uprightly in God, then we need to allow God to judge us. And, if God allows us the privilege of deathbed repentance, if we have failed Him in some major area in our lives, or if we've just been a reprobate sinner that's lived there, then we need to realize that is a great privilege; and not be foolish—as this particular fellow that we're going to read about, Hezekiah, was foolish.
Hezekiah gained deathbed repentance, but he also made a complete fool of himself by wanting to rejoice with Babylon over God's mercy. Instead of rejoicing with the people of God, he wanted to rejoice with Babylon, and he did rejoice with Babylon. And, he made a great mistake because he revealed the secrets of the treasury unto the Babylonians which should have never been done.
Now, beginning here in 2nd Kings, chapter 20, it says, starting in verse 1, "IN THOSE days Hezekiah became deadly ill. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover." That's it.
Anybody who's been gravely ill knows those are the words you don't want to hear—because somewhere in the human heart is the hope that you will recover, is the hope that you will feel your strength returning to you, that you will not succumb and go down to the death throes, but you can come up in the newness of life again.
So, here he is there gravely ill, and then the word comes and says to him, "you shall not recover." So that's like BOOM; that's finality, "You shall not recover." This is coming from the prophet, the true prophet of God.
And then it says, "Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, I beseech You, O Lord, [earnestly] remember now how I have walked before You in faithfulness and truth and with a whole heart [entirely devoted to You] and have done what is good in Your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly."
So, in other words, Hezekiah was very sorrowful that God has chosen this time to take him home, and he's trying to remind God, in his deathbed attempts to get mercy, that he's tried to serve God most faithfully, and been true to what he was commissioned: "before You in faithfulness and truth and with a whole heart [entirely devoted to You] and have done what is good in Your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly."
So, Hezekiah was not essentially prepared to meet the Lord—because he was not in a frame of mind whereby he was accepting the finality of his life, but instead, he was trying to gain a place of reprieve from the sentence, you might say, a place of repentance whereby he could go on in his so-called good works.
Then "before," it says, "Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: Turn back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of My people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your [forefather]: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord."
So, He's basically saying that, "I heard you; I heard your repentance cry to me in the sense that you are attempting to gain relief from the sentence of death, and I will have compassion and mercy upon you, and on the third day you'll go up to the house of the Lord."
In other words, on the third day, he would be raised up to the ability to go to the house of the Lord. And this guy, it says, was "gravely ill" and he had just received—prior to his crying out to God, the sentence that "this is it, you're going to die now."
So, after that, it says, "I will add to your life fifteen years and deliver you and this city [Jerusalem] out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake and for My servant David's sake. And Isaiah said, Bring a cake of figs. Let them lay it on the burning inflammation, that he may recover. Hezekiah said to Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I shall go up into the house of the Lord on the third day? And Isaiah said, This is the sign to you from the Lord that He will do the thing He has promised: shall the shadow [denoting the time of day] go forward ten steps, or go back ten steps? Hezekiah answered, It is an easy matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps; so let the shadow go back ten steps. So Isaiah the prophet cried to the Lord, and He brought the shadow the ten steps backward by which it had gone down on the sundial of Ahaz. At that time Merodach-baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he had heard of Hezekiah's illness."
So, we see God says, "I'm going to deliver you out of the hand of the Assyrian," and then here we have the Babylonian king approaching him. So, we get the promise of God to be delivered from one enemy force, then we have a sweet letter and gift from somebody of the world.
NOW, WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT THE WORLD HAS OTHER MOTIVES! AND, EVEN THEIR GESTURES OF KINDNESS AND LOVE, MANY TIMES HAVE OTHER MOTIVES BEHIND THEM.
Now, these kingdoms were always looking for new lands, new peoples, new monies, and treasures, that they could bring under their domain. So, Hezekiah gets his letter, he gets this gift, and then what does he do?
"And Hezekiah rejoiced and welcomed the embassy and showed them all his treasure-house—the silver, gold, spices, precious ointment, his armory, and all that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and said, What did these men say? From where did they come to you? Hezekiah said, They are from a far country, from Babylon. Isaiah said, What have they seen in your house? Hezekiah answered, They have seen all that is in my house. There is no treasure of mine that I have not shown them."
So, what has he done? HE HAS YOKED HIMSELF TO UNBELIEVERS—in the sense that he has opened up the innermost chambers; he has opened up the entire lock, stock, and barrel, you might say of the treasury, that he's shown everything that was precious, that was cherished, that was kept, he showed it to Babylonians, which he should not have done. Obviously.
But, in his state of wanting to be thankful and glad that God had shown mercy to him, he projected himself in a false manner—because he projected himself to befriend the Babylonian, to befriend these emissaries of this foreign government, foreign power, power of darkness, power of evil, power of iniquity, rather than sharing his joy with God's people.
So, he chose the wrong objects, you might say, to share his rejoicing over being healed. God does not want us to rejoice with the world. When God grants to us such a precious thing as deathbed repentance—in the sense that He prolonged Hezekiah's life for 15 more years, then HEZEKIAH SHOULD HAVE REJOICED WITH GOD'S PEOPLE. Because it was God who gave him the reprieve, it was God who gave him the forgiveness that his life could keep going, and it was God who heard him when he cried.
It was not the king of Babylon; it was not the Babylonian soothsayers, and witchcraft workers, and prognosticators, and fortune-tellers; it was none of those workers of darkness, those workers of iniquity, but it was the presence of the Living God that brought forgiveness into his life, and a longer duration of his life.
So, he proved right there when he did all of this, that basically he was a FOOL. Even though he had gained deathbed repentance, he had not gained wisdom. He had not gained insight. And most of all, he did not give the glory back unto God as he should have given it. Instead, he was welcoming the world.
YOU KNOW, WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL, AS CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS, ABOUT WELCOMING THE WORLD. Now, you know a lot of these modern mega-churches, they've developed a philosophy of “seeker-friendly.” But you know what? Their "seekers" never get saved. There's no true repentance; they don't turn from their wicked ways; they just come and fill up the seats that they can be proud and boast about how many people they have.
But, this whole seeker-friendly concept is wrong. Because we are only supposed to welcome those of the world that want Christ—not those of the world that just want to go set somewhere and be entertained by a bunch of goof-off, so-called "Christians."
And that's what we've let the whole thing deteriorate to, is showmanship, and production, and performance—RATHER THAN REALITY WITH GOD. And because of the failure of God's own people to keep their first estate, to keep their gratitude unto God, what have they done? They've said to the world, "Let's rejoice together. Let's rejoice together."
Now, the world has taken over, and they're no longer rejoicing in Christian song and adoration, but they're rejoicing in filthy, vile, corrupted worldly song; that does nothing but depict evil, and darkness, and wickedness.
So, what has happened? THEY'VE TURNED THEIR KINGDOMS OVER, YOU MIGHT SAY, TO THE WORLD—to make gain of them, to make slaves of them, to take them into captivity and bondage, and oppression. Because why? They wanted to rejoice with the world.
We are not meant to rejoice with the world— period. We are meant to offer unto the world the way of salvation, and if those of the world will accept that way and thoroughly repent and amend their ways, then yes we are meant to rejoice that they are redeemed, but we are not meant to take our personal reasons for rejoicing over the goodness of God and open that up to the world; because they are vile, and they will trample the very things that we hold as precious. Amen.
So, going back here to the Scripture it says, "Isaiah said, What have they seen in your house? Hezekiah answered, They have seen all that is in my house. There is no treasure of mine that I have not shown them. Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord! Behold, the time is coming when all that is in your house, and that which your forefathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your sons who shall be born to you shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of Babylon's king. Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, The word of the Lord you have spoken is good. For he thought, Is it not good, if [all this evil is meant for the future and] peace and security shall be in my days? The rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made the pool and the canal and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? Hezekiah slept with his fathers. Manasseh his son reigned in his stead."
Now, we know that Manasseh did nothing but evil from the beginning to the end. And so here we have king Hezekiah, given by God death bed repentance, and then literally, you might say he's thrown it away. Not for himself, but for his generations. He's thrown it away by giving himself over to love the world, and to rejoice with the world, rather than to rejoice in the Lord.
Now, I would dare to say, and I'm not saying I have proof of this, but, in his rejoicing with the world, I believe they probably partook of wine to the degree that Hezekiah got so warmed up, you might say—so elated on the drunkenness of the wine, that he showed them everything.
So, he didn't keep a sober mind; he didn't remember that just days before his life hung in the balance, that it was only by GOD'S MERCY THAT HE RECEIVED THE PROMISE that they would be delivered from the hand of the Assyrians, and that God would add to him 15 years. He forgot all those things in the revelry with the world.
So, what does that show us? It shows us that if we get to the place where we think we can rejoice with the world, we'd better watch out. Because we will end up with our rejoicing proving to be our destruction. Because God never called us to rejoice with the ungodly, but He called us to rejoice with Him, and with His own people!
Now, in Acts 5, we're going to quickly go over that, and we're going to find out about two people who had no chance for deathbed repentance, because they didn't even get laid on a bed; they just got stricken immediately by the power of the Holy Ghost because they lied, and because they conspired against the Holy Ghost. That's Acts chapter 5, and this is the classic about Ananias and his wife Sapphira.
And then it says that, "A certain man named Ananias with his wife Sapphira sold a piece of property, And with his wife's knowledge and connivance he kept back and wrongfully appropriated some of the proceeds, bringing only a part and putting it at the feet of the apostles. But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart that you should lie to and attempt to deceive the Holy Spirit, and should [in violation of your promise] withdraw secretly and appropriate to your own use part of the price from the sale of the land? As long as it remained unsold, was it not still your own? And [even] after it was sold, was not [the money] at your disposal and under your control? Why then, is it that you have proposed and purposed in your heart to do this thing? [How could you have the heart to do such a deed?] You have not [simply] lied to men [playing false and showing yourself utterly deceitful] but to God."
So, the sin was that the husband lied to God, and then later the wife lied to God and died. But, as it goes on, it says, "Upon hearing these words, Ananias fell down and died. And great dread and terror took possession of all who heard of it. And the young men arose and wrapped up [the body] and carried it out and buried it. Now after an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not having learned of what had happened. And Peter said to her, Tell me, did you sell the land for so much? Yes, she said, for so much. Then Peter said to her, How could you two have agreed and conspired together to try to deceive the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out [also]."
So, what did he tell her? He told her, "Your time's up, just as his time was up!" and there was no deathbed repentance. There was no turning from what they had done; there was no apologies that could be put forth, and there was NO CHANCE TO REPENT. Both of them died instantly. It doesn't say they labored in the death-throes for hours; it doesn't say they were in a coma for months or weeks on end; it said they just fell down and died.
So, what do we see there? We see that even though, in their minds they imagined that what they had done was all right with God, it was absolutely NOT all right with God; but it was considered a sin, an abomination in the eyes of God, and they were the ones who were punished for the same. That is, they were the ones that were taken in sudden death because they had lied to God.
So, what does it show to us? It shows that we'd better, number one in our first example, if we receive repentance, we'd better wisely guard that repentance. And number two, if we do not walk right with God, if we lie to God, we could be taken in an instantaneous death WITH NO CHANCE FOR DEATHBED REPENTANCE.
SO, WHAT IS THE MORAL OF IT ALL? LET US SEEK TO WALK UPRIGHTLY IN GOD EVERY SINGLE DAY, TO PLEASE HIM, TO CHOOSE HIM, AND TO OBEY HIM. AMEN.