The Deception of Death Bed Confessions
The thief on the cross and deathbed confessions are surefire ways of entering hell. Do not live for yourself but entirely for God to enter into paradise.
The thief's request on the cross and the promise that he would enter into paradise after his confession (Luke 23:39-43) is the go-to response for Christianity when confronted with working for the kingdom of God. They argue that only faith is required, which is why the thief was able to enter paradise. The faith-only argument then leads to the question, can a deathbed confession suffice to enter paradise? This post provides a comprehensive answer from the scriptures as to why deathbed confessions will not get you into paradise but a sure way to the fire.
The Standard Response
Christianity argues against working for the kingdom of God, despite clear evidence that faith yields action. At the same time, their ambition seeks to subscribe the believer's energy to their religion instead of the direction of God.
To invest your energies into the kingdom you serve seems quite apparent; "Choose today who you will serve" the words of Joshua (Joshua 24:15) resonate with this understanding. Still, a debate has flamed for hundreds of years that all that matters is faith without that faith manifesting works (James 2:18).
This stance can be explained, but it won't be easy to receive due to years of indoctrination and the beginning of sin, which is pride.
33. Then builded they the city of David with a great and strong wall, and with mighty towers, and made it a strong hold for them.
34. And they put therein a sinful nation, wicked men, and fortified themselves therein.
35. They stored it also with armour and victuals, and when they had gathered together the spoils of Jerusalem, they laid them up there, and so they became a sore snare:
36. For it was a place to lie in wait against the sanctuary, and an evil adversary to Israel.
37. Thus they shed innocent blood on every side of the sanctuary, and defiled it:
Religion has not only been infiltrated but was created as a cheap model of the levitical priesthood to lie in wait for anyone the Spirit wakes. For this reason, everyone believes whenever they desire to search for God, the place to go is the church, mosque, temple or the place assigned by the religion. The deception is not limited to a few people within the organisation, the congregation, or a few wayward or misinterpreted doctrines; the trap is the entire institution.
The Deathbed Dilemma
A stalwart doctrine taught by Protestant Christianity is that the only valid scriptures are those found within the 66-book Bible. This is not only unfounded but highlights two main points I wish to bring to the forefront:
The shrinking of the "canonised books" with every schism of religions, including Christianity.
The lack of interest each person has in searching out the truth, brushing that hand off their back, attempting to ease them on the so-called correct path.
Looking at two passages found within the discarded scriptures, we can discover indisputable doctrine showing that deathbed confessions are unacceptable.
Manasseh the Impious
1. And the black ninth waters which you have seen, this is all the wickedness which was in the days of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah.
2. For he wrought much impiety, and he slew the righteous, and he wrested judgment, and he shed the blood of the innocent, and wedded women he violently polluted, and he overturned the altars, and destroyed their offerings, and drove forth their priests lest they should minister in the sanctuary.
3. And he made an image with five faces: four of them looked to the four winds, and the fifth on the summit of the image as an adversary of the zeal of the Mighty One.
4. And then wrath went forth from the presence of the Mighty One to the intent that Zion should be rooted out, as also it befell in your days. But also against the two tribes and a half went forth a decree that they should also be led away captive, as you have now seen.
5. And to such a degree did the impiety of Manasseh increase, that it removed the praise of the Most High from the sanctuary.
7. On this account Manasseh was at that time named 'the impious', and finally his abode was in the fire.
8. For though his prayer was heard with the Most High, finally, when he was cast into the brazen horse and the brazen horse was melted, it served as a sign unto him for the hour.
9. For he had not lived perfectly, for he was not worthy—but that thenceforward he might know by whom finally he should be tormented.
10. For he who is able to benefit is also able to torment.
2 Baruch 64:1-10 Tweet
Here we see the king of Israel, the Southern Kingdom, Manasseh, living a sinful life and standing as an adversary to God. God finally brought his judgement through Nebuchadnezzar, conquering Judah, Benjamin, Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh. Through his suffering, he repented, but although God accepted his prayer, he was rejected from paradise because of how he lived his life. [Instructions to kings: Wisdom of Solomon 6:1-11]
The reason that God accepted his prayer but refused his entry into paradise can be seen in this verse in the book of The Wisdom of Solomon.
The Severity of the Judgement
Common people may be mercifully forgiven for their wrongs, but those in power will face a severe judgment.
There is a responsibility of those in charge of leading others or who have the power to influence or determine the path of others. This fact results in leaders having responsibility for their souls and charges. Their actions significantly impact those beneath them in the hierarchy; thus, leaders must ensure that they lead correctly as their decisions have a cascading impact.
The men who lead their families must also beware of their responsibilities to everyone in their household.
The Sinful Soul
And again I saw, and behold a soul which was led forward by two angels, weeping and saying: Have pity on me, just God, God the judge, for to-day is seven days since I went out of my body, and I was handed over to these two angels, and they led me through to those places, which I had never seen. And God, the just judge, saith to him: What hast thou done? for thou never didst mercy, wherefore thou wast handed over to such angels as have no mercy, and because thou didst not do uprightly, so neither did they act piously with thee in the hour of thy need. Confess therefore thy sins which thou didst commit when placed in the world. And he answered and said: Lord, I did not sin. And the Lord, the just Lord, was angered in fury when it said: I did not sin, because it lied; and God said: Dost thou think thou art still in the world? if any one of you, sinning there, conceal and hide his sin from his neighbour, here indeed nothing whatever shall be hid: for when the souls come to adore in sight of the throne, both the good works and the sins of each one are made manifest. And hearing these things the soul was silent, having no answer. And I heard the Lord God, the just judge, again saying: Come, angel of this soul, and stand in the midst. And the angel of the sinful soul came, having in his hands a manuscript, and said: These, Lord, in my hands, are all the sins of this soul from his youth till to-day, from the tenth year of his birth: and if thou command, Lord, I will also relate his acts from the beginning of his fifteenth year. And the Lord God, the just judge, said: I say unto thee, angel, I do not expect of thee an account of him since he began to be fifteen years old, but state his sins for five years before he died and before he came hither. And again God, the just judge, said: For by myself I swear, and by my holy angels, and by my virtue, that if he had repented five years before he died, on account of one year's life, oblivion would now be thrown over all the evils which he sinned before, and he would have indulgence and remission of sins: now indeed he shall perish. And the angel of the sinful soul answered and said: Lord, command that angel to exhibit those souls.
The Apocalypse of Paul 17 Tweet
In this scriptural example, the man who lived his life wickedly lied to God, attempting to hide his sins after seeing what was in store for those who lived their lives in opposition to God God while they were alive. Despite all this, instead of his sins for his entire life, God took into account only the last five years of his life. If he had only lived for God in his final five years, all of his sins would not be remembered.
Legacy of Solomon
Solomon followed in the examples of these lost souls by obeying the gods (practices) of his wives; the same wives he was commanded not to marry (Deuteronomy 7:3-4, 2 Corinthians 6:14) and through this was his downfall.
4. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
5. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
6. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.
7. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
8. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.
9. ¶ And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,
10. And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.
11. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.
12. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.
13. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.
Solomon's example, alongside the previous two, shows that anyone who does not follow God in the twilight of their lives will not enter the kingdom of heaven. The race is not for the swift, but for those who can endure (Matthew 24:13). Thus, the queen of the south will be a testimony against everyone who has followed the above examples (Matthew 12:42) and who has worshipped money and the things of this world as did Solomon (Mark of the Beast).
The Thief on the Cross
How the thief who entered paradise lived his life, the scriptures do not explicitly elaborate; however, from the three examples or witnesses (pieces of evidence) presented, there is a good chance he lived his life for God.
Per God's instructions, the death penalty is not prescribed for stealing as we see today (Exodus 22:1); instead, that person should repay much more than they stole. On the other hand, in the Bible, stealing also applies to people (Exodus 21:16, Deuteronomy 24:7), which today we call kidnapping. For the thief to be put to death, he had to be guilty of kidnapping or in possession of someone of his brethren who were sold after being kidnapped.
To be a partaker of such a sin can occur in many ways, but even if he were guilty of deliberately planning and executing such an act, it does not constitute the life he lived up until that point. One act of sin does not blanket how he lived the last five years of his life, and it was evident that he repented with sincerity and believed in the Son of God. He understood that Jesus wanted to die for our sins and was indeed the Messiah, and he accepted the truth.
The thief, not being a leader, experienced the leniency in judgement that would not be enjoyed by a leader who lived his life against God. Despite the respite, from what we see of the "sinful soul" in The Apocalypse of Paul, one still needs to live his life for God to be accepted into His kingdom.
Living for God and serving his kingdom is vital, but enduring till the end is even more critical. Relying on the example of the thief on the cross with the misunderstanding that he lived his life sinfully is misguided. This will undoubtedly enter many into destruction, while those who watch and wait for the return of the Messiah, the King, will no doubt live their lives accordingly.
Do not be fooled by the fortified Christian doctrine, and do not be afraid to walk with God and away from any institution that teaches otherwise to his instructions. Serve God all your life, and do not put your hope in a deathbed confession.