The Heart of Man:
Temple of God or Workshop of Satan
As you read this book, please bear in mind that it is like a mirror in which you will be able to see yourself. Whether you are a heathen or a Christian, one who does not believe in Christ or a backslider, you will see yourself as God sees you. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). God sees us as we really are.
Satan is the father of all lies. He is the prince of darkness and god of this world, who disguises himself as an angel of light to lead men and women the wrong way. In these days, as in times past, there are many false apostles who disguise themselves, pretending to be apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself is transformed (disguised) into an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:13, 14). Satan, the god of this world, keeps people in the dark so that they cannot see that God loves them or that Jesus died to save them (2 Cor. 4:4). All sinners and those who do not believe are spiritually dead and blind concerning God. They are ruled by the evil of this world (Eph. 2:1-2). Unless their eyes are opened in some way to their lost condition, they are heading for eternal destruction. The person who says, “I have never sinned” is deceiving himself. For “The Son of God appeared for this very reason, to destroy what the devil had done” (1 John 3:8). “So then, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. Come near to God, and He will come near to you” (James 4:7, 8).
As you read this book and study its pictures, you will be able to see your own heart. Allow God’s searchlight to show you the condition of your heart. Acknowledge your sins and do not deny their existence, for God’s Word tells us that “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us. But if we confess our sins to God, He will keep His promise and do what is right: He will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing” (1 John 1:1-10). “The blood of JESUS, His Son, purifies us from every sin.”
You are ruled either by Satan or by God; you are a slave to sin or a servant of God. If sin controls your life, do not deny it, but cry out to God. He will set you free through Jesus Christ who came to this world to save sinners, to break the power of Satan and sin over us, He is our Saviour. You are in the presence of a holy God who knows all the secrets, the hidden thoughts and actions of your life. It is impossible to hide yourself and actions from God, for “God made our ears - can’t He hear? He made our eyes - can’t He see?” (Ps. 94:9).
“The Lord keeps close watch over the whole world, to give strength to those whose hearts are loyal to Him” (2 Chron. 16:9).
“He watches every step men take. There is no darkness dark enough to hide a sinner from God” (Job 34:21, 22).
“But Jesus did not trust Himself to them, because He knew them all” (John 2:24).
Therefore “happy are those whose sins are forgiven, whose wrongs are pardoned. Happy is the man whom the Lord does not accuse of doing wrong and who is free from all deceit” (Matt. 11:28-30).
The First Picture
This picture shows the heart of a worldly, sinful man or woman, described in the Bible as a sinner, that is, one who is controlled by the evil of this world and by the natural desires and cravings of the human nature. This is a true picture of the heart as God sees it. The bleary, red eyes speak of drunkenness as described in Proverbs 23:29-33: “Show me someone who drinks too much, who has to try out some new drink, and I will show you someone miserable and sorry for himself, always causing trouble and always complaining. His eyes are bloodshot, and he has bruises that could have been avoided. Don’t let wine tempt you, even though it is rich red, though it sparkles in the cup, and it goes down smoothly. The next morning you will feel as if you have been bitten by a poisonous snake. Weird sights will appear before your eyes, and you will not be able to think or speak clearly.”
Below the head in this picture, the heart of man can be seen occupied by various animals which speak of the many different sins in the human heart, as the heart is the centre and breeding place of our sins. God tells us by the mouth of His prophet Jeremiah, that “Nobody can understand the human heart. There is nothing else so deceitful: it is too sick to be healed” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Jesus Himself confirms this by saying, “For from the inside, from a person’s heart, come the evil ideas which lead him to do immoral things; to rob, kill, commit adultery, be greedy, and do all sorts of evil things; deceit, indecency, jealousy, slander, pride, and folly - all these evil things come from inside a person and make him unclean” (Mark 7:21-23).
A Sinner’s Heart
1. The Peacock
While the beauty of the peacock is admired by everybody, here in the heart of man, it speaks of the sin of pride. Lucifer, once God’s special angel of light, lost his position through pride and so became God’s enemy - the devil (Isaiah 14:9-17; Ezekiel 28:12-17).
Pride comes from the very centre of hell, and reveals itself in many ways. Some people pride themselves on their riches, their standard of education: fashionable clothing by which they expose their bodies in a shameless way: the wearing of jingling ornaments, bracelets, rings, etc., as is so clearly described in Isaiah 3:16-24. Some pride themselves on their forefathers, nationality, culture, sport, etc., forgetting that “God resists the proud, but shows favour to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). God hates pride and self-importance (Proverbs 8:13). “Pride leads to destruction, and arrogance to downfall” (Proverbs 16:18).
2. The Goat
The goat represents bodily desires, immorality, adultery. The sins mentioned here have increased in these modern, but last days, to such an extent, that we have to admit the truth of the words of Jesus when He predicted, nearly 2000 years ago, that the last days will be like the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. Not only has this sinful way of living gripped men and women and come into the homes of religious people and institutions, the schools and hostels, but this wickedness shamelessly and in a subtle way enters the hearts of people by means of cinemas, theatres, obscene literature and images, and in so many other ways, that what God calls sin is being looked upon as modern morality.
Millions of young people form their idea of an ideal life from the cinemas and novels, only to find themselves in trouble, shame and regret. Immoral an loose-living actors and actresses become the heroes and heroines of the younger generation. The dance-halls, too, are very often the breeding places of immorality. God’s heroes of purity, like Joseph (Genesis 39) and others, are no longer taken as examples. Even the old Zulu heathen, who would put an adulterer or adulteress to death, could teach our so-called civilised generation a lesson and stand up against us in condemnation at the day of judgement.
God tells us not to play with immorality but to avoid it. “Any other sin a man commits does not affect his body; but the man who is guilty of sexual immorality sins against his own body: Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God” (1 Cor. 6:18, 19); “So if anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you yourselves are His temple” (1 Cor. 3:17).
3. The Pig
The pig speaks of the sins of drunkenness and gluttony. It is a dirty animal eagerly swallowing up everything in its way, clean or dirty, and in the same way a sinful heart devours every immoral suggestion, expression, picture, literature, etc.
The body, intended to be the temple of the living God, is made unclean by harmful food and filthy habits such as the smoking or chewing of tobacco, the use of opium and harmful drugs and tablets, etc. The habit of smoking tobacco and even “opium” has gripped men and women as never before. Only the power of God can free such poor tobacco victims and slaves of the devil. While most religiously inclined people would not dare to smoke in a church-building, considering it almost an insult to God, they nevertheless have no hesitation about soiling through this stinking weed, that which is actually the temple of God, i. e., their bodies. “Surely you know” says the Apostle Paul, “that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you! So if anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him” (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 6:18, 19).
A greedy person is hateful or worth nothing in the sight of God. We eat in order to live; we do not live in order to eat. Hunger can be satisfied by eating wholesome food, but greed will always cry “Give, give!” Greed will never be satisfied, will never be filled. According to the Old Testament law a glutton and a drunkard had to be stoned to death (Deut. 21:18-21). “Drunkards and gluttons will be reduced to poverty. If all you do is eat and sleep, you will soon be wearing rags.” (Prov. 28:7).
Remember that a certain rich man, a glutton and a slave to his desires, died and found himself in hell in great pain. The evil of drink need hardly be mentioned. It is only too well known to be taken lightly. God tells us clearly in His Word that no drunkard will possess the Kingdom of God. Beer is not a food, it is a drink that confuses and affects the mind, so that those who drink it act foolishly. They become immoral and even kill and murder one another which they would not otherwise have done. “Drinking too much makes you loud and foolish. It’s stupid to get drunk” (Prov. 20:1).
Those who make and sell strong drink are just as guilty before God, for God says,
“You are doomed! Heroes of the wine bottle! Brave and fearless when it comes to mixing drinks!” (Isaiah 5:22).
“You will be condemned if you give drink to your neighbours, giving it to them till they are drunk” (Hab. 2:15).
“Surely you know that the wicked will not possess God’s Kingdom. Do not fool yourselves; people who are immoral or who worship idols or are adulterers or homosexual perverts or who steal or are greedy or are drunkards or who slander others or are thieves - none of these will possess God’s Kingdom” (1 Cor. 6:9, 10).
The sins of our human nature are unmistakable. These are some of them: “immorality, filthy and indecent actions, worshipping of idols and witchcraft. People become enemies and they fight; they become jealous, angry and ambitious. They separate into parties and groups; they are envious, get drunk, have orgies, and do other things like these. Those who do these things will not possess the Kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21). “Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Eph.5:18).
Jesus gives the following invitation to everyone who is thirsty concerning spiritual matters. “Whoever is thirsty should come to me and drink” (John 7:37, 38).
“Come everyone who is thirsty - here is water! Come, you that have no money - buy corn and eat! Come! buy (spiritual) wine and milk - it will cost you nothing!” (Isa. 55:1).
“Whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring which will provide him with live-giving water and give him eternal life” (John 4:14).
4. The Tortoise
The tortoise speaks of laziness, sluggishness to obey and witchcraft. Rebellion is as bad as witchcraft (1 Sam. 15:23). “A lazy man who refuses to work is only killing himself, all he does is think about what he would like to have” (Prov. 21:25, 26). Joshua had to say to the Israelites, “Don’t stay here doing nothing; hurry! Go on in and take it over!” (Judg. 18:9). Human nature is very lazy and slow to obtain the things of God. Jesus said,
“Do your best to go in through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24).
“Anyone who seeks will find” (Matt. 7:8).
The Kingdom of heaven has suffered violent attacks, and violent men try to seize it” (Matt. 11:12).
Carelessness concerning the salvation and spiritual welfare of our souls leads to eternal death. It keeps us from praying, from searching for the deep things of God, from accepting God’s rich promises; it leads to destruction. When God speaks to you, urging you to give your heart to Him today, the devil tells you to do it tomorrow, or some other convenient day, which unfortunately, may never come; and you will die without salvation and without Christ. God says, “If you hear God’s voice today, do not be stubborn, as your ancestors were when they rebelled against God” (Heb. 3:7, 8). How many people have died spiritually by putting off salvation for some more convenient day which never came? The day tomorrow is not yours.
The shell of the tortoise is often used by witch-doctors for the practising of witchcraft, and points here to the sin of trusting in and practising witchcraft, fortune-telling or magic or voodoo, instead of trusting the living God. Especially in times of testing and sickness, suffering and bereavement, we are told to call upon the living God, who is ready to help, instead of trusting in good or bad luck; for “The Lord guides a man in the way he should go” (Psalm 37:23).
“Is there anyone who is ill? He should send for the church elders who will pray for him and rub olive-oil on him in the name of the Lord. This prayer made in faith will heal the sick person; the Lord will restore him to health, and the sins he has committed will be forgiven. So then confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you will be healed” (James 5:14-16).
God commanded the Israelites saying, “Don’t sacrifice your children in the fires on your altars; and don’t let your people practise divination or look for omens or use spells or charms (or consult fortune tellers), and don’t let them consult the spirits of the dead (such as spiritism). The Lord your God hates people who do these disgusting things” (Deut. 18:10-12). Outside the (heavenly) city are the perverts and those who practise magic, the immoral and the murderers those who worship idols and those who are liars both in words and deeds” (Rev. 22:15).
“Do not go for advice to people who consult the spirits of the dead. If you do, you will be ritually unclean. I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 19:31). “But people will tell you to ask for messages from fortune-tellers and mediums, who chirp and mutter. They will say, ‘After all, people should ask for messages from the spirits and consult the dead on behalf of the living.’ You are to answer them, ‘Listen to what the Lord is teaching you! Don’t listen to mediums – what they tell you will do you no good’ ” (Isa. 8:19, 20).
While you are reading this little book, God is speaking to you, calling you to turn from your sins and to give your life to Him, but the spirit of the tortoise, which is in your heart, makes all kinds of suggestions to you to put off making this decision, and tries to fill your heart with fear. “What will my family, my friends, and other people say, if I become a real Christian? What will happen if I cannot take part in the dances, parties and worldly amusements any longer? Instead of seeing the great riches in Christ Jesus, His wonderful peace, His joy which words cannot express, His glory, eternal life so full of happiness, you begin to see all the things which you may lose or “give up” when you allow Christ to come into your heart, while fear of man as well as fear of death keeps you a slave to the devil. But Christ came to set free those who were slaves all their lives because of their fear of death. (Hebr. 2:14, 15). The spirit of sluggishness to obey is making you so stubborn that your heart will be as hard as the shell of the tortoise.
5. The Leopard
The leopard is a very savage and cruel beast. Hatred, anger and a bad temper often rule the heart of man and many times lead to murder. You may try, and even manage, to control that bad temper of yours, until it breaks out in all its fierceness. It is better to admit that it is in your heart, and ask Jesus to set you free. “Don’t give in to anger; it only leads to trouble” (Psalm 37:8). “Anger is cruel and destructive” (Prov. 27:4). “Keep your temper under control; it is foolish to harbour a grudge” (Eccl. 7:9), “Get rid of anger” (Col. 3:8).
Many cowards drink to encourage themselves to carry out some evil deed or revenge, but it is “like wine made from the venom of snakes” (Deut. 32:33). Revenge is sweet to the sinful heart, but God is the one who punishes all wrongdoing. Jesus said, “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” (Mark 12:31) and “Love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44). God promised to forgive the wrongs we have done, if we forgive others for the wrongs that they have done to us (Matt. 6:12). A sulky, grumbling spirit is hated by God. The awful desire for bloodshed and war is in the heart of man, and therefore real peace must be established in the heart if it is to last.
6. The Snake
The snake tricked Eve in the garden of Eden and broke up the sweet fellowship and friendship with God. Satan, was very jealous of Adam and Eve, when he saw them as rulers over the world, living in perfect unity with God, taking his place. Out of jealousy Satan planned their destruction, and succeeded in breaking up their wonderful friendship and life with God. The same devilish jealousy and envy in the human heart destroys happiness in the hearts of some when they see others are happy and living comfortably. Jealousy brings evil thoughts into the heart to destroy the happiness of others and can even lead to murder. This is especially the case in some married lives.
“A husband is never angrier than when he is jealous; his revenge knows no limits” (Prov. 6:34).
In business as well as in all other walks of life it causes untold suffering and hatred. Even Christian workers, preachers and ministers are not free from jealousy should God use another of His servants more than themselves. They should be constantly on guard, and filled with the pure love of God which He has poured out into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5), otherwise their usefulness to God and their ministry will be spoilt by a jealous nature.
7. The Frog
The frog speaks here to the sins of greediness and the love of money which is the source of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10). Certain frogs in the Congo have been seen eating ants by the hundreds until they burst and died. A greedy person is not willing to open his hand to help the poor and needy, but tries by all means, honest and dishonest, to get more of the riches of this world. Jesus Himself said, “Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal. Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal. For your heart will always be where your riches are” (Matt. 6:19-21).
Achan and his family were stoned because he loved gold and silver and clothes (Joshua 7). Judas Iscariot, the disciple of Jesus, hanged himself because the love of money had made him betray his Lord and Master. It is not the money that is evil, neither the gold, but the love of money which lies hidden in the human heart.
Thousands of men and women of all classes and races are ruining their lives and the lives of their family by the awful desire to obtain great and sudden riches by means of gambling and betting for large sums of money at horse and dog races, etc. The desire to become rich without much trouble leads to stealing and murder as well as suicide.
Love of money and greediness have many companions, such as love of fame, of power, it may be political power to rule over others, financial power to oppress the poor; religious power, being more concerned for the name of a church organisation than for God, disapproving of any child of God who has the courage to follow Christ without belonging to his particular church (Mark 9:38). Jesus said, “Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because a person’s true life is not made up of the things he owns, no matter how rich he may be” (Luke 12: 15).
The story of the rich man is told like this: “There was once a rich man who had land which bore good crops. He began to think to himself, ‘I haven’t anywhere to keep all my crops. What can I do? This is what I will do,’ he told himself; ‘I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I will store my corn and all my other goods. Then I will say to myself, Lucky man! You have all the good things you need for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself!’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night you will have to give up your life; then who will get all these things you have kept for yourself?’ This is how it is with those who pile up riches for themselves but are not rich in God’s sight” (Luke 12:16-21).
“Does a person gain anything if he wins the whole world but loses his life? Of course not” (Mark 8:36).
“And so I tell you not to worry about the food you need to stay alive or about the clothes you need for your body ... Instead, be concerned with His Kingdom, and He will provide you with these things ... For your heart will always be where your riches are” (Luke 12:22-34).
Satan, the father of all lies and of them that tell lies, is the one who persuades us to sin, and is the ruler of the heart. Jesus said,
“You are the children of your father, the devil, and you want to follow your father’s desires. From the very beginning he was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is only doing what is natural to him, because he is a liar and the father of all lies” (John 8:44).
A small lie is as bad as a big one. There are lies which are spoken, written, acted. A hypocrite is a liar for in reality he pretends to be what he is not. God cannot lie - neither can a Christian (Titus 1:2).
“If, then, we say that we have fellowship with Him, yet at the same time live in the darkness, we are lying both in our words and in our actions (1 John 1:6).
“But outside the (heavenly) city are the perverts and those who practise magic, the immoral and the murderers, those who worship idols and those who are liars both in words and deeds” (Rev. 22:15).
“God hates a witness who tells one lie after another” (Prov. 6:19).
9. The Star
The star speaks of the conscience in the heart of every man. Here it is, dirty and evil, probably dead through continual and deliberate sinning; blinded and sinful, so that it can no longer judge its own actions. This evil conscience may sometimes be quiet, sometimes troubled. It accuses when it should excuse, and it excuses when it should accuse. It may be dead, as if burnt with a hot iron, and have lost all sense and feeling through abandoning the faith, obeying lying spirits and following the teachings of demons, and listening to teachings spread by deceitful liars (1 Tim. 4:1, 2; Hebr. 10:22).
10. The Eye
The eye of God sees everything that goes on in the heart. Nothing can be hidden from His flaming eye, and therefore He knows and sees all the secret thoughts and intentions of the heart. Whether you do your evil deeds in the darkest night, in the thickest forest, in the deepest ditch or wherever it may be, God sees it. (The eyes in these pictures also agree with the expression on the man’s face.)
11. The Little Tongues of Fire
The little tongues of fire round about the heart show the love of God surrounding the sinful heart. While God hates sin He loves man and does not want the death of a sinner, but that he should turn away from his sins and live (2 Pet. 3:9). Jesus came to save sinners. There is great joy in heaven over one sinner that repents (Luke 15:7). The little tongues also speak of the blood of Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
12. The Angel
The angel represents the Word of God. God wants to speak to those who have been deceived and are carrying heavy loads of sin, so that they may turn from their sinful ways and let the light and love of God come into their hearts.
13. The Dove
The dove is a sign of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who reveals the truth about God, about sin and what is right, and about God’s judgement (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit is shown here outside the human heart. He cannot live where sin rules.
Should the picture of this heart be the same as the condition of your heart, cry to the Lord, open your heart to Him, let the light of His Word shine in. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). God is willing, yes, He has promised to change your heart, to give you a new heart and a new mind (Ezek. 11:19). This is explained in the second picture.
The Second Picture
This picture shows a repenting heart that is beginning to look for God. The angel is holding the sword, the Word of God, which is “alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of man’s heart” (Hebr. 4:12). The Word of God reminds him that “sin pays its wage - death” (Rom. 6:23) and that “everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God” (Hebr. 9:27). The place for the sinner and unbeliever will be in the lake burning with fire and sulphur” (Rev. 21:8).
A Heart Convinced of Sin
In this other hand the angel is holding a skull. This is to remind the sinner that we will all die. Our body which we love so much, clothe, feed and beautify, give such care and attention to in order to satisfy its desires and longings, is going to die and decay, and the worms will destroy it while our soul and spirit live for ever, and will one day appear before Christ, to be judged by Him (2 Cor. 5:10).
A Heart convinced of sin
Here we see the sinner beginning to take notice of the message of God and to open his heart to the love of God. The Holy Spirit begins to shine into the dark and sinful heart. The light of God comes into his heart to drive all darkness away. When God’s light comes in, darkness has to go. Sin, described here by all the various animals, has to go. Therefore, dear reader, allow Jesus, the Light of the world, to come into your heart, and darkness and the evil actions of darkness must leave the heart, as shown in this picture. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness” (John 8:12).
You will never succeed in driving sin out of your heart by your own efforts, your own wisdom, or by the wisdom of people. The easiest, surest, quickest and most effective and only way, is to let Jesus, the Light, come in, and darkness, which is sin, must leave. The moon and the stars may give us some help on a dark night, but when the sun has risen, then darkness as well as the smaller lights disappear. Jesus is the Sun of righteousness. When He went into the temple at Jerusalem, He drove out all those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the stools of those who sold pigeons, saying,
It is written in the Scriptures that God said, ‘My temple will be called a house of prayer.’ But you are making it a hideout for thieves!” (Matt 21:13).
Your heart is intended to be God’s house, God’s temple. He wants to live in it, make it beautiful, fill it with light, love and joy. Jesus not only came to forgive us our sins, but He came to deliver us and set us free from the power and domination of sin. “If the Son (Jesus) sets you free, then you will be really free” (John 8:36).
The Third Picture
This picture shows us the heart-condition of a really repentant sinner. He now sees the greatness and awfulness of his many sins for which Jesus died on the cross. As he sees the cross which the angel, the Word of God, shows to him, it breaks his now sorry heart, and he is moved with deep, heartfelt regret and sorrow over his many sins. As he sees the great love of God expressed in Christ Jesus, this love melts his heart, especially as he begins to realise that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to take away his many sins, as He was willing to die in his place on the cross.
The Repenting Heart
The fact that Jesus was whipped, crowned with thorns, had nails driven through His hands and feet and died on a cross for our sins, is brought home clearly and deeply to the repenting sinner, completely changing his heart and life. As he reads God’s Word in which he can see himself as in a mirror, he realises more and more how far he has turned away from God and disobeyed His commands. He is overcome with feelings of great sadness and sorrow, and as he pours out his heart before God with tears and bitter crying, Jesus draws near to him. The love and peace of God enter his heart as he begins to realise that “the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from every sin” (1 John 1:7).
“Create a pure heart in me, o God, and put a new and loyal spirit in me” (Psalm 51:10).
Again God’s Word says,
“I am pleased with those who are humble and repentant, who fear me and obey me” (Isa. 66:2).
The Holy Spirit makes the words of Jesus clear to him,
“Courage, my son (daughter)! Your sins are forgiven” (Matt. 9:2).
While he still looks to the cross and to the blood of Jesus which was poured out on the cross, believing that it was all done for him, he begins to realise that the load of sin has been taken away, for Jesus has endured the suffering that should have been ours; that “because of our sins He was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did," that “the Lord made the punishment fall on Him” (Isaiah 53).
The Holy Spirit and the love of God take control of the purified heart. As he believes in Jesus, he realises that his sins have been forgiven, and so he finds the assurance in his heart that the blood of Jesus, the Son of God, has purified him from all sin (1 John 1:7). He is now sure that everyone who believes in Jesus will not die (spiritually), but will have eternal life (John 3:16). “For by the sacrificial death of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven” (Eph. 1:7). The sinful desires of the human nature have now given place to a deep desire to live for God and to serve Him “who first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Instead of loving the world and the things of the world, he loves God and the things of God.
In this picture therefore, we find that the animals which represent sin, are now outside his heart, although Satan does not want to leave his former home, looking back and hoping to find an entrance once more. That is why the Lord Jesus warns us to keep watch and pray; to resist the devil so that he will run away from us (James 4:7).
The Fourth Picture
This picture speaks of a Christian who has found perfect peace and eternal salvation through the death of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and so boasts in nothing else except “only about the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; for by means of His cross the world is dead to us, and we are dead to the world” (Gal. 6:14). Jesus died on the cross so that we too, might “die to sin and live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24); a Christian dead to the world. We are commanded to “let the Spirit direct our lives, and we will not satisfy the desires of the human nature” (Gal. 5:16, 25).
Dying with Christ
The pillar to which the Lord Jesus was bound after they had taken off His clothes, is shown in this picture of the heart, as well as the whips with which they cruelly whipped Him. He was punished for our sins because “we are healed by the punishment He suffered” (Isa. 53:5). Herod and his soldiers mocked Him, and after having whipped Him, they pressed a crown of thorny branches on His head – instead of crowning Him with a crown of gold, and put a stick in His right hand – instead of the sceptre of a king, and they bowed before Him and mocked Him, saying. “Long live the King of the Jews!” They spat on Him and took the stick from Him, and hit Him on the head. After they had so shamefully and cruelly mocked Him, they led Him away to be crucified (Matt. 27:27-31).
There are many so-called Christians who pray, share in the sacrament of holy communion, sing the songs of God and yet, by their sinful actions, are constantly crucifying the Son of God again (Heb. 6:6). “Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do” (Matt. 7:21-27).
In this picture we also find the bag of money belonging to Judas, who betrayed the Lord Jesus and sold Him for thirty silver coins, because the love of money had taken hold of his heart and that was all he could think of. The lantern, chains, etc., were used by the soldiers who took Jesus prisoner by night. The dice, so often used for gambling, were used by the soldiers when they gambled for His clothes. “They gamble for my clothes and divide them among themselves” (Psalm 22:18). They took everything from Jesus, but Himself they rejected, saying “We don’t want this man to be our king”.
People in general want to receive all the blessings from God, all the rain and all the sunshine, but they do not want to commit themselves to serving God as their Lord and Master. To many, God is only good enough to help in times of trouble and despair.
With the spear, the soldiers pierced His side and heart “and at once blood and water poured out” (John 19:33-37). Before the cock crowed, Peter said three times that he did not know Jesus, but later he repented weeping bitterly (Matt. 26:69-75). Do you de- clare openly that you have given your heart to Jesus Christ, by what you say and do? Or are you ashamed to let others know? Jesus said, “If anyone declares publicly that he belongs to me, I will do the same for him before my Father in heaven. But if anyone rejects me publicly, I will reject him before my Father in heaven” (Matt. 10:32,33).
Jesus also said, “Whoever does not take up his cross and follow in my steps is not fit to be my disciple” (Matt. 10:38). Happy are those who find protection in the Rock, Jesus Christ!
“Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.”
The Fifth Picture
This picture shows the clean and purified heart of the sinner saved by God’s abundant grace and mercy. It has become a true temple of God, the home of God, the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, according to the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ, “Whoever loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and my Father and I will come to him and live with him” (John 14:23). God honours, blesses and uplifts man through Jesus Christ (Luke 1:52).
The Temple of God
The heart has now become a true temple of God. Sin has been driven out. Instead of the various animals controlled by Satan, the father of lies, we see the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, living in the heart. Instead of being the breeding place of sin, the heart has become a beautiful, fruit-bearing tree or garden, bearing the fruits of the Spirit, such as love, joy, peace, humility, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self control and others which are acceptable and pleasing to God and man (Gal. 5:22-23). He has now become a fruit-bearing branch of the real vine – our Lord Jesus Christ. The secret of this fruit-bearing is that he remains united with Christ, and Christ and His words remain in him (John 15:1-10). As he has been filled and baptised with the Holy Spirit, he has power to defeat the human nature and its desires, and to put it to death (Gal. 5:24). The Holy Spirit directs his life, and he does not satisfy the desires of the human nature (Gal. 5:16). He no longer lives by what he sees, hears and feels, but by faith – for “we win the victory over the world by means of our faith” (1 John 5:4). He lives with assurance and hope and is strengthened by the expectation of the near return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He lives experiencing the love of God, which remains for ever.
“Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God!” (Matt. 5:8). King David, in spite of all his riches and his victories over his enemies, knew that the greatest battle was taking place in his own heart and recognizing his deep spiritual need, prayed, “Create a pure heart in me, O God, and put a new and loyal spirit in me” (Psalm 51:10). Nobody is able to purify his own heart, or to create a clean heart, unless through truly repenting he comes to God as David did, asking God to create a pure heart in him. God wants to do a new thing in your life. Mending the torn, tattered clothes of your own goodness with false promises and securities will not make your heart a worthy dwelling-place for God. He is only too willing to help you, because He has promised, “I will sprinkle clean water on you and make you clean from all your idols and everything else that has defiled you. I will give you a new heart and a new mind. I will take away your stubborn heart of stone, and give you an obedient heart. I will put my spirit in you and I will see to it that you follow my laws and keep all the commands I have given you” (Ezek. 36:25-27). This is the message of the New Testament which God has given to us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
In this picture we also notice the angel re-appearing. Angels are appointed to “guard those who honour the Lord and rescue them from danger” (Psalm 34:7; 91:11; Dan. 6:22; Matt. 2:13; 13:39; 18:10; Acts 5:19; 12:7-10).
The devil is also seen in this picture, standing close to the heart, as if watching for an opportunity to re-enter his former home. For this reason we are warned to “be alert, be on the watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Very often he is disguised as an angel of light, tempting careless children of God with the desires of this world, trying, by his cunning, to deceive even God’s chosen people. If, however, we resist the devil, he will run away from us (James 4:7).
The Sixth Picture
This is the sad picture of a backslider. One eye is beginning to close, showing that he is beginning to grow cold and sleepy in his Christian life, while the other eye is shamelessly looking around, making love with the world. The light inside has grown dim, and the pictures in his heart, showing his readiness to suffer with Christ have fallen and are no longer upright. He is surrounded by temp- tations to which he is slowly giving in instead of resisting them. Instead of listening to God’s voice he now begins to listen to the devil’s cunning suggestions and false promises.
A Tempted and Divided Heart
Although he may still be a church-goer, hiding his desires for the things of the world under a form of religion, the love for God has grown cold in his heart. He has become undecided, standing still between two ways. He begins to play with the things of the world, and only pretends to love God. The star in his heart, the conscience, grows dim. The cross is no longer carried with a smile, but becomes an unwelcome, heavy load. His faith begins to shake, he stops communicating with God in prayer, becomes unconcerned and careless about his heart’s condition and slowly makes room for the devil who is waiting outside his heart. He enjoys the company of sinful people more than the company of true children of God.
The peacock, representing pride, begins to look for a way in again. He may have forgotten that he was saved by grace alone, and becomes a proud Christian. The desire for drinking alcohol knocks at the door and wants to come in. It may be on a special occasion, in the company of sinful friends, where he is ashamed to be thought different, a weakling, or unsociable, that the devil tells him that this one occasion will not hurt his spiritual life. Unspiritual thoughts and desires make themselves felt. Perhaps he begins to enjoy dirty jokes, to look again and again with pleasure at indecent pictures, and enjoy the wrong company, going to dance-halls, evil worldly entertainments, taking to heart sinful suggestions from the devil who tells him that this is human nature and that one sin is not really wrong.
Truly, we cannot help it if the wild birds of evil and bad thoughts fly over our heads, but we are guilty if we allow them to control us and make their nests in our hearts, breeding out their evil deeds. If we give the devil our little finger, he is sure to grab the whole hand, dragging soul and spirit into everlasting hell. Therefore God’s earnest warning to us, is to avoid the passions of youth and not to play with sin, no matter in what way it may come. Run to Jesus, the protector and defender.
The man seen in this picture stabbing the heart with a dagger, speaks of those who mock and resist Christianity. With their false tongues and mocking lips they stab and wound the hearts of Chris- tians – attacks which a divided heart cannot survive. He begins to fear men more than God and because of fear of what man will say and do, he becomes the slave of men, and drifts away from God. Anger and bad temper show themselves in times of trouble and disappointments, and force their way in. That evil snake of jeal- ousy, which appears when others are more successful and prosper- ous, will creep in without warning, and if given half a chance, will open the door to hatred and pride.
It is so easy for the love of money to creep into our hearts unless we obey the warnings of our Lord Jesus when He says, “Keep watch and pray that you will not fall into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). “Whoever thinks he is standing firm had better be careful that he does not fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). We must put on all the armour that God gives us, so that we will be able to stand up against the devil’s evil tricks (Eph. 6:11-18).
The Seventh Picture
This picture reveals the condition of the backslidden heart of man, who after he was once in God’s light and had tasted heaven’s gift and received his share of the Holy Spirit, has abandoned his faith (Heb. 6:4). It also shows the condition of a person who has never repented or given his life over to God, in spite of the fact that the truth of the Gospel, called the “Good News", has been offered and revealed to him. A man who is stubborn when God speaks to him, will grow worse and worse in spite of his useless efforts to change himself.
A Backslidden or Stubborn Heart
Jesus Himself described the backsliders’ condition when He said,
“When an evil spirit goes out of a person, it travels over dry country looking for a place to rest. If it can’t find one, it says to itself, ‘I will go back to my house.’ So it goes back and finds the house clean and tidy. Then it goes out and brings seven other spirits even worse than itself, and they come and live there. So when it is all over, that person is in a worse state than he was at the beginning” (Luke 11:24-26).
“What happened to them shows that the proverbs are true; ‘A dog goes back to what it has vomited’ and ‘A pig that has been washed goes back to roll in the mud’ ” (2 Peter 2:22).
These Scriptures clearly explain the condition of a backslider’s or the unrepentant sinner’s heart. Sin in all its deceitfulness has come again to stay and control the heart. Even his face reveals, in a certain way, the condition of his heart. The Holy Spirit, that gentle dove, is forced to leave the heart, as sin and the Holy Spirit cannot live together. It is impossible for the heart to be a temple of God and at the same time a hideout for Satan. The angel, the Word of God, has to leave sorrowfully, still looking back, hoping that he or she may still repent like the lost son, who “wished he could fill himself with the bean pods the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything to eat. At last he came to his senses and said, ‘I will get up and go to my father and say, Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son’ ” (Luke 15:16-20). The father, on seeing his sorrowful son, forgave him and received him joyfully.
The heart in this picture shows no sign of true repentance, no turning to God, no searching for forgiveness at the feet of Jesus. His conscience is as though burnt with a hot iron and put to silence. He has ears but cannot hear the pleading voice of Jesus. He has eyes but cannot see the bottomless hole of hell open wide at his feet. He no longer feels ashamed of continuing in his sins. Satan has come to rule in his heart and is seated as a king on his throne. It is possible that he may still boast of being outwardly decent and respectable, of having a religious appearance, like a whitewashed tomb “which looks fine on the outside but is full of bones and decaying corpses on the inside” (Matt. 23:27).
The father of lies occupies the place of the Spirit of Truth. Every animal, every sin goes hand in hand with a special demon and evil spirit and occupies his heart. Although he would like to set himself free from these evil tormentors, they keep him bound. “Anyone who disobeys the Law of Moses is put to death without any mercy when judged guilty on the evidence of two or more witnesses. What, then, of the person who despises the Son of God? who treats as a cheap thing the blood of God’s covenant which purified him from sin? who insults the Spirit of grace? Just think how much worse is the punishment he will deserve!” (Hebr. 10:28,29; 2 Peter 2:1-14).
Should this picture agree with the condition of your heart, dear friend, cry to God without delay, from the depth of your heart. “He is able, now and always, to save those who come to God through Him” (Heb. 7:25), and is also able and willing to forgive all sins, if you come in true repentance. He can restrain the devil and all his demons, and drive them out of your heart, if you are only willing to let Him do so. Come like the leper who came to Jesus and said, “ ‘If you want to, you can make me clean.’ Jesus was filled with pity, and stretched out His hand and touched him. ’I do want to,’ He answer- ed. ‘Be clean!’ ” (Mark 1:40, 41). But if you continue to be stubborn, and love darkness rather than light, there is no hope, no help, because you are choosing death instead of life - “sin pays its wage - death” (Rom. 6:23).
The Eighth Picture
Here we find the stubborn sinner who has postponed making a decision to follow Christ, approaching death, his body may be full of pain and his soul filled with the fear of death. Death (the skeleton) has come at an unexpected and unwanted time. The false pleasures of sin have disappeared, and the awful reality of the high and dreadful cost of sin now has to be faced. The agonies of hell are becoming real to him.
A Sinner’s Judgment
Although he now longs to pray, he finds he cannot communicate with God whose love he has rejected for so long. His friends are afraid to stand at his bedside, and their empty words of comfort cannot help him now. His riches can neither lengthen his life, nor save his soul, nor reduce the agony of his soul. He finds it impossible to concentrate on God because the devil does not give him an opportunity to do so.
Everything he once loved and lived for, seems to mock him and even his unreliable, probably unsaved minister, priest or church leader cannot help him now, as he has rejected the love of God and has come under His judgement. He begins to realise that “it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” (Heb. 10:31). He had hoped to give his life to God when it suited him, or on his deathbed, but now he finds it is too late.
Thousands of people die suddenly, without having a chance to turn to God on their deathbeds. It is therefore essential to turn to God while He is near. Instead of hearing the comforting and saving words of God, this dying sinner who rejected the forgiveness and love of God during his lifetime now has to hear the voice of his Judge, the Saviour whom he rejected, saying
“Away from me, you that are under God’s curse! Away to the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels!” (Matt. 25:41).
“Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God” (Heb. 9:27).
The Ninth Picture
This picture represents a Christian who remains faithful and wins the victory over painful tests and temptations. While he is tempted on all sides, he remains firm and holds out to the end, being victorious through Jesus Christ. He has not only entered the Christian race, but he is continuing in it, running with determina- tion, “keeping his eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end” (Heb. 12:1,2).
A Victorious Heart
Satan with all his demons surrounds the believing heart, trying without success to lead the child of God the wrong way. Pride, the love of money, immorality, and others, are also represented. In the place of the leopard we now see a donkey, for often sin comes to us in another way, and hides itself in a different form or name. But the watchful Christian knows it is sin even when it comes in the form of religion, or as an angel of light, for the Word of God and the Holy Spirit lead him to the truth.
A man, holding a glass of wine in the one hand, dances around the Christian and tries to tempt him with the false pleasures of the world. It has, however, no effect on the dedicated Christian, as he has been put to death with Christ as far as sin and worldly desires are concerned.
The second man in the picture, is stabbing the Christian with a dagger. Insults, gossiping, mocking and threats through unbelievers – and very often through so-called believers – are constantly stabbing the heart of the true believer. But he does not listen to what people say and cares only about what God says. He remembers the words of Jesus. “Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers. Be happy and glad, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven” (Matt. 5:11, 12).
Our sinful nature and the devil, are constantly trying their best to separate the Christian from the love of God. But with great joy and confidence he can truly say,
“Who, then, can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble do it, or hardship or persecution or hunger or poverty or danger or death? (Rom. 8:35).
“No, in all these things we have complete victory through Him who loved us!” (Rom. 8:37).
Having put on all the armour of God, he is able to resist the devil’s attacks, when the evil day comes, and after fighting to the end, still to hold his ground through Jesus Christ, who won the victory over all kinds of trials and temptations, that through Him we should win the victory and receive a glorious crown which will never lose its brightness (Eph. 6:10-18, 1 Pet. 5:4).
THE STAR of his conscience is clear and bright. His heart is full of faith and filled with the Holy Spirit. The angel, as the Word of God, reminds him of the rich blessings given to them that win the victory and hold out to the end.
“To those who win the victory I will give the right to eat the fruit of the tree of life that grows in the Garden of God.”
“Those who win the victory will not be hurt by the second death.”
“To those who win the victory I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give each of them a white stone on which is written a new name.”
“To those who win the victory, who continue to the end to do what I want, I will give the same authority that I received from my Father.”
“Those who win the victory will be clothed like this in white, and I will not remove their names from the book of the living. In the presence of my Father and of His angels I will declare openly that they belong to me.”
“I will make him who is victorious a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never leave it.”
“To those who win the victory I will give the right to sit beside me on my throne, just as I have been victorious and now sit by my Father on His throne” (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).
THE OPEN BAG OF MONEY shows that not only his heart, but also his money is dedicated to God. Instead of wasting his money, he is helping the poor, giving his tithes (the tenth part of his income) and offerings or even all he possesses, to God, using everything for the glory of God.
THE LOAF OF BREAD AND THE FISH indicate that he lives a clean and self-controlled life. He does not spoil his life with strong drink or by eating unclean food (Acts 15:20). He does not waste his money, neither does he destroy his body (which is the temple of God), by chewing or smoking tobacco in any form, neither does he use drugs or harmful medicines, but eats whole- some, clean, nourishing food. His own heart has become a house of prayer. He also attends church services regularly and respectfully, in all kinds of weather and under all circumstances. He loves prayer, whether it be in the church or with his family, or in his own room, for he knows that a Christian cannot grow without communi- cating with God in prayer.
THE OPEN BOOK indicates that the Bible is an open book to him, and he reads and studies it daily, finding wisdom and strength, life and light, and countless riches in it. It has become a lamp to guide him and a sword with which he defeats the devil. It is the daily spiritual food for his soul, water to put an end to his thirst, a bath in which to clean himself, and a mirror in which he sees himself.
He loves to carry his cross, for he knows that there will be no reward without the cross. As he knows that he has risen with Christ so that he might live a new life, he sets his heart on the things that are in heaven, keeping his mind fixed on things there, not on things here on earth (Col. 3:1-2). He is ready to meet God and is like a tree that grows beside a stream; that bears fruit at the right time (Ps. 1:3); like a branch of the real vine, bearing much fruit. He does not know the fear of death, for the perfect love of God, which he has received through the Holy Spirit, has filled his heart.
The Tenth Picture
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25, 26). “Whoever hears my words and believes in Him who sent me has eternal life. He will not be judged, but has already passed from death to life” (John 5:24). Death holds neither fear nor punishment for the Christian. “Death is destroyed; victory is complete! Where death is your victory? Where death is your power to hurt? ... Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Cor. 15:54-57).
The Glorious Homegoing
A person who has lived and walked with God is not afraid of death. When the time comes for him to die, he will go gladly, as the Apostle Paul puts it, I want very much to leave this life and to be with Christ, which is a far better thing” (Phil. 1:23).
A Christian longs to see the face of Jesus who died for him and paid the price for his sins on the cross. The Holy Spirit also reminds him of the words of Jesus,
“Do not be worried and upset. Believe in God and believe also in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house ... I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am” (John 14:1-4).
“What no one ever saw or heard, what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
There is no language on earth by which one can explain or describe the splendour of the heavenly city prepared for them that walk in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ here on earth.
Instead of the fearful skeleton (death), the angel or messenger of God is seen in this last picture. He is waiting to carry the clean spirit back to God. Soul and spirit are set free from the imprisonment of the mortal body, and ascend through the open gates of heaven to Jesus who loves him and who died for him on the cross. A happy welcome waits for him in the presence of God where he is greeted by his Lord and Master with these words of praise,
“Well done, you good and faithful servant! ... Come on in and share my happiness!” (Matt. 25:21).
Satan has no control over him any more, for “The poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the feast in heaven” (Luke 16:22).
“Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Happy are those who from now on die in the service of the Lord!’ ‘Yes indeed!’ answers the Spirit. They will enjoy rest from their hard work, because the results of their service go with them” (Rev. 14:13).
Dear reader, may God help you to give your heart to Him who loves you, for He is speaking to you now saying, “turn back to Me with all your heart” (Deut. 30:2).
Give Jesus your tired, disappointed, aching heart, and He will give you a new heart and a new mind. Do not be deceived by your deceitful heart or follow its desires, for “from a person’s heart, come the evil ideas which lead him to do immoral things ... ” (Mark 7:21). Leave your sins and hold onto what is right, “for sin pays its wage – death; but God’s free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
And you who have given your life to God, “hold firmly to the true words that I taught you, as the example for you to follow, and remain in the faith and love that are ours in union with Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:13).
For the same reason Paul wrote in 2 Tim. 1:12,
“I know whom I have trusted, and I am sure that He is able to keep safe until that Day what He has entrusted to me”.
“Build yourself up in your faith in God, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, keep yourself in the love of God, keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus, the way, the truth and the life, our Lord who will soon return to fetch his children” – “the King of kings and Lord of lords” (Jude v.20ff; 1 Tim. 6:15).
“To Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to bring you faultless and joyful before His glorious presence – to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, might, and authority, from all ages past, and now, and for ever and ever! Amen” (Jude 24, 25).
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