The Real Mt. Sinai?
The Mount Sinai location issue (Sinai Peninsula or Arabian Peninsula?)
Last week I was on a trip to the Middle East with three dear pastor friends who serve in the leadership of Enduring Word. We first went to Jordan and saw some things there, including Petra. Last week, we were in Saudi Arabia. I’m really excited to share with you about what we saw there. My friends recorded a ton of video content. We’re going to produce a high quality, comprehensive video about the things that we saw in Saudi Arabia, relevant to Israel and the Exodus of the nation of Israel. Those events are recorded in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy when they’re on their way into the Promised Land.
Today, I’d like to tell you why we were there at all, and what sparked our curiosity to go and do some research. A few years ago, it was kind of dangerous to visit Saudi Arabia, and to look at the things we got to see. I don’t want to exaggerate; it’s not like it was high danger. But some of the locals and local officials might give you a hard time. Some people investigating this area thirty or thirty-five years ago had a very difficult time. In the last couple years, Saudi Arabia has started granting tourist visas. So, there was nothing really dangerous about our trip, except some very difficult hikes up the mountain that could be Mount Sinai. Other than that, there was no danger. We were welcomed by a local tour company, and we worked with local Saudis. Our tour group was of a total of about 13 or 14 people. We had a wonderful time together.
Mount Sinai is traditionally placed on the Sinai Peninsula. The alternate site which we visited is Jabal Maqal in Arabia. A major factor in determining this site depends on where Israel crossed the Red Sea. It’s a little bit complicated, because the terminology in the book of Exodus isn’t actually Red Sea, it’s Sea of Reeds. Therefore, trying to identify this exact place is a bit of a challenge.
Tradition places Israel’s crossing of the Sea of Reeds at a region in Egypt called the Bitter Lakes. From there, Israel would have traveled down the Sinai Peninsula to the traditional site of Mount Sinai. But there’s another theory that says Israel crossed the finger of the Red Sea called the Gulf of Aqaba, most likely at a place called Nuweiba Beach in Egypt. From there, the nation of Israel would have traveled south to Mount Sinai in Arabia, now known as Jabaal Maqal.
We visited the opposite shore from Nuweiba beach, on the Saudi side of the Gulf of Aqaba. This part of the gulf is eight miles wide, and there is somewhat of a land bridge beneath the water. The water there is not as deep as the rest of the Gulf of Aqaba, which normally is very deep. The idea is that God miraculously parted the waters for Israel to pass over to the Saudi side, and eventually make their way to Mount Sinai at Jabal Maqal in Saudi Arabia.
We saw the mountain of Jabal Maqal. Curiously, the top of the mountain appears to be burned. I’m not a geologist, but one member of our group, Lance Ralston, has a lot of background in geology. He’s not a professionally trained geologist, but he’s done a lot of research and has taken college courses about it. He remarked about the unusual nature of these blackened rocks at the top of the mountain. Now, there’s not enough to say that there’s a miraculous explanation. But there is an unusual, blackened character to the exterior of these rocks on the top of this particular mountain. This is significant, because we know from the book of Genesis that a fire burned on the top of Mount Sinai.
If this is indeed the real Mount Sinai, it was easy to envision where the tabernacle and altar of sacrifice would have been set up. There are ancient ash deposits there and evidence that animals were corralled there in ancient times. There’s also some discussion about pillars being there to mark the place.
From further up the mountain, we looked down at this vast area and could envision where Israel could have camped around the foot of Mount Sinai. Even if they were numbered in the millions, there was adequate room for them all to camp at the base of Mount Sinai. It was a very stirring site, and very difficult climb.
We also saw the Split Rock of Rephidim. This is believed to be the place where Moses struck the rock, it was split, and water flowed out from it. The rock itself is very tall and striking. Not only is it very demonstrably split, but there are marks of a radical erosion event down at its base.
All things considered, there is a strong case to be made for this being Mount Sinai in Arabia. I don’t regard the issue as settled, and I would want to do more research into the traditional Mount Sinai.
But here are some compelling reasons for Mount Sinai being in Arabia.
First, Paul makes a very straightforward mention of “Mount Sinai in Arabia” in Galatians 4:25. I think that’s a very direct and compelling argument.
Secondly, there is the whole geography of the Red Sea crossing. The traditional site of crossing at the Bitter Lakes is not geographically hemmed in by mountains, as described in Exodus 14:3. Conversely, at Nuweiba Beach, it’s very clear how Israel would be trapped by the Egyptian army and have no way of escape other than across the sea.
A third compelling point is the location of Midian. Midian is in Saudi Arabia. We know that Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, was a priest of Midian. Moses was tending the flocks of his father-in-law when he first went to Mount Sinai and saw the burning bush. The location of Midian is very clearly in Saudi Arabia, on the Saudi side of the Gulf of Aqaba. There is no doubt archaeologically or linguistically about this. I think it’s a very persuasive point.
Fourth, there is the suitability for the camp of Israel. I haven’t visited Mount Sinai on the Egyptian Peninsula there, but I’ve heard that there is not a similarly suitable large area for Israel to camp at the base of Mount Sinai as there is on the Sinai Peninsula.
A fifth point would be the local names and traditions, including the wadi that leads up to Mount Sinai, which locals call the Wadi of Moses. There is a high regard for Moses in local legends and traditions.
Finally, the Split Rock of Rephidim and the erosion patterns surrounding it make a compelling argument.
Altogether, there is a pretty strong case to be made for what I would call the Arabian alternative of Mount Sinai. I don’t think it’s a closed issue. I would want to do more research on my own. But it was an absolutely fascinating opportunity to visit these sites.
From granddaughter Sirena: When we are in heaven, will we be able to see what is happening on earth?
That is a very good question. The Bible doesn’t exactly tell us whether or not the people in heaven can see what happens on Earth. We have a little bit of an idea that they can. There’s a verse in the book of Hebrews that talks about those people who have gone on to heaven being like a stadium full of people who are cheering on believers today. Believers today are like athletes on the field, they’re doing their work the very best they can, running the race and fighting the fight, while the people in the crowd cheer them on. Maybe that suggests that people in heaven can see what happens on Earth.
But I have to say there’s a little bit of a problem with that idea. We know that there is no sadness in heaven. The Bible says that every tear is wiped away, and all sorrow is gone in heaven. So, it makes sense to wonder, if people in heaven could see what happens on Earth, wouldn’t it make them sad sometimes? Well, the only way I can think about this is to say that if people in heaven can see what happens on earth, then they will have such faith, peace, and rest in the power and wisdom of God, that they will not be disturbed or troubled about it at all.
So, it may very well be that people in heaven have some knowledge of what’s going on in the earth. But if they do, it doesn’t make them sad at all, because of how greatly they know God. They know how good and powerful God is in everything that He does.
Were you able to see the petroglyphs in the Mount Sinai area which show the worship of the golden calf?
Yes, we were. They’re very evident. There’s an area not far from the site we visited that has a very distinct group of rocks featuring impressive ancient petroglyphs on it of cattle, calves, and some people. Petroglyphs are like ancient stick figures. Interestingly, the people of that area have not had cattle for as long as anybody can remember. We saw a lot of goats, a few sheep here and there, some donkeys, and lots of camels. But what they don’t have is cattle.
The question is, why would there be petroglyphs of cattle on this distinctive area of rocks? It’s not very high, so a person could easily climb on it, and there are many petroglyphs of cattle all around it. Since the locals in that area don’t have cattle, and haven’t for a very long time, people wonder if this might be an allusion to the incident of the golden calf. There very well may be something to that. Who knows? It could have been. It’s an interesting and significant connection.
Are “deliverance ministries” biblical?
Are “deliverance ministries” biblical? I have seen videos of people saying to pray to be delivered from evil spirits.
I’ll give you a quick answer and then a longer explanation. Most of the time when I hear the term deliverance ministry, I think it’s misguided at best, and oftentimes foolish and harmful beyond that. There is a tendency among some people to believe that Christians can be demon-possessed, and that all sorts of issues in their lives can be blamed on demonic possession. These people developed the idea that the key to Christian growth is to cast a demon out of somebody.
For example, there was a flamboyant television preacher named Ernest Angley. Sometimes we would turn on his program just for jokes. He would walk around in this powder blue tuxedo and cast demons out of people with a lot of theatrics. He’s very famous for casting “nicotine spirits” out of people. He would tell people, “Christian, the reason why you smoke is because you have a nicotine spirit in you,” but not because they were having trouble subduing the flesh from the very difficult addiction to nicotine that people have. It’s easy for people to seek a shortcut to the sanctification process, thinking that things can be done by casting out demons. Most of the time, that’s what people mean in the Christian world when they use the term deliverance ministry.
On the other hand, we need to be aware of the way that Satan can have determined stubborn strategies against believers. I think it’s very easy for Christians to minimize or fail to appreciate the level at which their problem may not only be a problem with the flesh. Sometimes it might be a stubborn demonic spirit that keeps whispering or shouting lies to them. They’re not possessed by that spirit. But that spirit is very stubborn, and it wants to lie to them continually. These lies do a lot of damage when they are believed and not recognized and resisted.
I want to be sympathetic to Christians who believe in proactive spiritual warfare, and who help other believers to resist the devil and he will flee from you, as we read about in the book of James. I think there’s definitely room for that. We can underestimate the power of the devil’s lies. But most the time in the Christian world today, when deliverance ministry is mentioned, it’s talking about something significantly beyond the idea of Christians needing to contend with lying spirits and the damage that they do.
Can Christians today claim promises from the Old Testament like Jeremiah 29:11, which was to the Israelites during the Babylonian exile and other Old Testament promises?
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
I love answering this question. In context, this is a promise which God made to ancient Israel. He didn’t make it to believers today. It’s a promise that God made to ancient Israel while they were in the Babylonian captivity. God is saying, “I’ve got a good future for you. Even though you are in exile now in Babylon. Trust Me, believe Me; I’ve got a good future for you.” Okay, we recognize that.
However, the God who made that promise to ancient Israel is the same God who reigns over believers today. Isn’t that something important and precious for us to believe? Believers today are not the original recipients of this promise. But the same God who spoke the promise rules and reigns over their lives. That’s one principle: it’s the same God.
Secondly, are we to think that God is going to be more generous under the Old Covenant than He is under the New Covenant? While this promise was not originally made to Gentile believers specifically, in principle a believer could come to God and say this, “Lord God, I know that You are the same God today who made this generous promise to Israel when they were in the Babylonian exile. And God, I believe that we have better promises under the New Covenant than You even gave to people under the Old Covenant. Therefore, Lord, I stand on this promise, and I agree that, as Jeremiah 29:11 says, You have plans for my life. You want to bless me and not to harm me. You want me to have a hope and a future.” I think that’s an entirely legitimate prayer to pray. It’s not because God spoke that promise originally to the believer today. But the same God who spoke it rules and reigns over the lives of believers today, and we have an even better covenant in Jesus Christ.
Can you explain the Reformed idea of the “Covenant of Works”? Is it biblical?
I came across the term “Covenant of Works” in a Bible study recently. When I tried to research it, it seems to be discussed in Reformed literature a lot. What is this term? Is it a Biblical covenant? – (Covenant Theology and the Covenant of Works & the Covenant of Grace)
This subject is actually of great of interest to me, and I’ve been doing some research on it. You’re talking about the Reformed idea of Covenant Theology. There’s a lot to Covenant Theology; I’m trying to understand it and wrap my head around it.
To my understanding, a basic component of Covenant Theology is that all humanity relates to God on the basis of two covenants. There is the Covenant of Works, which God established with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. And there is the Covenant of Grace, which God brought in after the Fall. And within this understanding, these two covenants rule over everything in the world. I think this is a misguided way to understand God’s work in His great plan of the ages, mostly because the terminology of “covenant of works” and “covenant of grace” is not found in the Bible at all.
I’ve been reading about this and even listened to a whole seminary class on Covenant Theology to try to get my head around this. But the Scriptures just don’t use this terminology. Now, listen, I believe very strongly in the idea of God dealing with humanity on the basis of covenants. But if the covenant of works and covenant of grace are so overwhelmingly important in Reformed theology, then why doesn’t God use that terminology? It’s not like God is short for words when it comes to describing covenants. God describes the covenant He made with Noah, the covenant He made with Abraham, the covenant He made with Israel, the covenant He made with David, and most gloriously the New Covenant.
Despite the fact that there are some very educated and esteemed people who believe and advance these ideas, I think that the whole terminology of Covenant Theology and the whole Reformed system of Covenant Theology is covenant confusion. Because of this confusion, many in the Reformed tradition believe in infant baptism. It goes back to their confused understanding and explanation of Covenant Theology.
This formal covenant of works is not in the Bible. If it was, God would have detailed it. This formal and all-essential covenant of grace is not in the Bible. God has covenant terminology at His disposal. But He chose not to use what the Reformed camp believes in their Systematic Theology about the covenant of works and the covenant grace.
There’s a huge dividing line in Christian theology between those who put an emphasis on Biblical Theology, and those who put an emphasis on Systematic Theology. Now, I believe that there’s a good place for Systematic Theology, and that it’s important to go through and seek to understand. However, I would put an emphasis on Biblical Theology first and foremost. I don’t like an over-emphasis on the concepts and ideas of Systematic Theology which are not clearly stated in the Scriptures. I think that the whole Reformed system of Covenant Theology is an example of that.
Does Satan need God’s permission to interfere with non-believers?
Job shows that Satan has to get permission to interfere with Christians (Believers/Righteous) – does the same apply to non-believers? Also, in the tribulation period, will Satan be free to do what he wants, without consulting God?
Satan can’t do anything except if God allows, whether it’s with believers, or those who are not yet believers. We should never think that Satan is just some sort of renegade out there doing his own thing without God’s allowance. Anything that Satan is able to do, it’s because God has allowed him to do it. God may allow him to do it in judgment; God may allow him to do it in chastening; God may allow him to do it to ultimately bring forth something good out of what outwardly seems evil, and to show the glory of redemption. Romans 8 tells us that God has the ability to take all things and make them work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. So, we need to get away from the idea that Satan can do his own thing.
However, it may be that Satan has more (but not unlimited) latitude from God in dealing with those who do not yet believe, who are not born again by God’s Spirit, who aren’t sons and daughters of God by adoption. Very definitely, Satan has a greater latitude in dealing with people who are not yet born again. However, we shouldn’t think that he is acting independently and doing whatever he pleases without God’s allowance.
Will the church pass through the Great Tribulation?
Will the church pass through the Great Tribulation? I’ve been searching for a verse about the rapture in the Bible, but never found a specific verse regarding this exact quotation.
I would say yes. I do want to acknowledge that this is an area of great controversy among people who study this. There are real battles between Christians who believe all different things about how the end of days is going to work out in the Christian scheme. Listen, if you’re a Christian, you must believe that Jesus Christ is coming again. However, even among Christians, there can be a fair amount of debate as to how the Bible describes these events of the last days all coming together.
I approach the Scriptures in a way that makes sense to me, but I want to be respectful to those who understand it from different perspectives. I don’t think they’re right. Obviously, I think I’m right. Why would I hold to a belief that I knew was wrong? That would make no sense. However, I do want to be respectful, knowing that in some regard these future things won’t be fully understood until they’re fulfilled.
You ask about passages of Scripture which concern the church not being here during the Great Tribulation. For me, the strongest argument for that is the basic biblical principle that the Bible does not contradict itself. So, in the Bible, you find different scenarios surrounding the Second Coming of Jesus. There are some passages of Scripture that say that Jesus will return in a completely unexpected way, and the world will carry on quite normally. Other passages of Scripture that say that Jesus will come back to a world in the midst of unbelievable crisis and catastrophe. Which is it?
I believe that there are two different aspects of the coming of Jesus, which are separated by appreciable time: a catching away of the church as described in Thessalonians, and then a glorious Second Coming. I believe this concerns the conditions of the world, the predictability of the date involved, the posture of the people of God, and the position of Jesus as He receives these people. There are passages of Scripture which speak differently about these events. So, the best way to reconcile them is to see that there are two distinct aspects to the Second Coming of Jesus, which are separated by an appreciable period of time. That’s the way that it makes the most sense for me.
This idea of the catching away of the church is described very clearly in 1 Thessalonians 4. But as for how it happens, there is no one specific verse that isn’t held in controversy by those who would argue differently.
Is there any coordinated effort to look for Noah’s Ark? Or do you think it’s good that we don’t know where it is?
The man who led and organized our tour, Andrew Jones, not only has an interest in the relevant information about the possible site of Mount Sinai in Arabia, but he also has a huge interest in the area of Turkey where Noah’s Ark is supposed to be. He spends about half his time in Turkey and the other half of his time in either Saudi Arabia or Egypt, at sites concerning the Exodus. So, there is a very coordinated effort to look for the Ark.
I think it would be marvelous if greater evidence for the Ark was discovered. Most people are unaware of it, but throughout history there has been remarkable testimony to both a global flood and the existence of a large human-made wooden structure high up on Mount Ararat in that general area. This is a consistent thing for centuries back, not just in the last few years, where people got all excited about it. For centuries people have been talking about these things.
You can look this up in my Bible Commentary, beginning at Genesis 6. There’s a section where I speak about the remarkable historical evidence there is not only for a global flood, but also for the existence of Noah’s Ark. I believe that it would not be a surprise if now, towards the end of the age, God allowed it to be discovered as a testimony to mankind.
Could God have stopped the recent school shooting tragedy?
This week, there was terrible crime perpetrated by somebody who took firearms into a Christian school and killed three children and three adults. It was a terrible crime. That person is going to have to face God for it and be judged for all eternity for such a dark crime.
Your question is, could God have stopped it? Yes, God could have stopped it. I mean, of course, God can do anything. If we’re just asking in a theoretical way if God could have stopped that person, yes, God could have given them a heart attack on the way to the school, God could have made their car break down, God could have made their guns jam.
But here’s the thing. God has put us in a world full of meaning. What we do has meaning. Think of what it would be like if God created a world where evil was impossible to do. Well, then, we wouldn’t live in a world where any choice or action was meaningful. God put us in a world where not only good is a capability, but so is evil. We live in a world full of meaning. Every action by a human being has meaning. And in some way, every action reverberates to eternity.
Now, in such extreme crimes as this, it’s very easy to see the unbelievable wickedness and the demonic, murderous aspect of it all. But it would be even worse to live in a world where evil was impossible, and our actions, intentions, and our whole lives were empty of meaning because of that.
This is not the best possible world. God has not put us in the best possible world, not right now. Rather, God has put us on the best possible path to the best possible world – where evil will no longer be allowed. That’s a world to come, in the world beyond. It’s not right now.
Until then, believers need to be vigilant. Law enforcement needs to do their job, to be God’s instruments to the very best of their ability, to hold back evil, and to punish evil when it happens. God has given us a world full of meaning, and that’s a great burden for humanity to bear. And we don’t always bear it well, do we?
I’m worried my friends won’t make it to Heaven. Since it is God’s will that ‘none will perish,’ am I guaranteed they will be saved in Jesus’ name?
No, not really. We read in Peter that it’s God’s will that none should perish but that all should come to salvation. That is definitely God’s will, in expressing the intention of His heart. But it’s not what God will actually carry out and do. This is for much the same reason that I just answered in the previous question: because God wants our lives to have meaning, whether meaning for good or meaning for evil. And God will judge the evil.
God’s disposition of heart is for people that they would come to faith and to repentance, there’s no doubt about that. Yet God has given us a world in which, if people are determined to reject God’s provision in Jesus Christ, God will honor that choice.
Now, I want you to understand this. You’re doing the right thing in praying for your friends. Of course, if God opens up a door of opportunity for you, you should share the gospel, the good news of Jesus Chris with them. We can come into right relationship with God not by working hard to be better people, but by receiving what Jesus Christ did for us, especially in His work at the cross, and in His resurrection. At the cross, He bore our sins as a substitutionary sacrifice, and in His resurrection, He triumphed over sin and death. Our relationship with Jesus of trusting love – where we trust in Him, rely on Him, and cling to Him – brings us into a relationship where the perfect righteousness of Jesus is credited to us. Our sin is credited to Him. He bore it perfectly as God’s perfect sacrifice. If you have the chance to share that Gospel of good news with your friends, by all means, do it. But even if you don’t have that opportunity, you can pray. It’s been said that if you had to choose between speaking to men about God (evangelism) or speaking to God about men (prayer), that praying for them is the most effective means of evangelism. There’s something to that. Don’t be discouraged in prayer. Keep praying for your friends who don’t yet know Jesus Christ.
Is it appropriate to worship the Holy Spirit directly, since God is a Trinity?
Since God is Triune / a Trinity, & we worship God the Father and God the Son, is it appropriate to worship the Holy Spirit directly also?
I would say that it’s fine, providing that it doesn’t become an emphasis. You’re completely correct, the Holy Spirit is God. As God, He deserves worship, honor, and glory. However, Jesus said of the Holy Spirit that, “He will not speak of Himself, but He will testify of Me.” That tells us something about the role of the Holy Spirit in the Godhead. The Holy Spirit’s role is not to draw attention to Himself, but to draw attention to Jesus Christ, who in turn points to God the Father.
If somebody became obsessed with focusing on praying to the Holy Spirit and worshiping the Holy Spirit, to the exclusion of prayer or worship to God the Father and God the Son, that would be strange. But we don’t need to ignore our worship or communication to God the Holy Spirit.
Why don’t people who were raised from the dead (Lazarus, Tabitha/Dorcas, etc.) mention anything about the afterlife?
You’re right in observing that they don’t mention it. But the Bible doesn’t really tell us why. One suggestion is that God wanted us to hear about the afterlife from Jesus Himself, and from the Word of God itself. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:10 that Jesus Christ has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. That’s what Jesus does. He brings life and immortality to light. If we had a lot of biblical testimonies to afterlife experiences, it might make us focus on people who claim afterlife experiences today. I haven’t made an exhaustive survey, but many claims to afterlife experiences, and fanciful visions of heaven, are bogus. I think God wants us to have our attention on Jesus more than anything else. I would suggest that as a reason.
Can Christians remarry while their previous spouse is still alive?
Is there any biblical ground to give hope of righteousness to Christians that remarried while their previous spouses were still alive?
Yes. Even if a person sinned by an ungodly divorce and remarriage, that sin can be forgiven. They need to repent and confess. But the problem comes when people think that the only way to repent of that sin is to divorce your present spouse. No, friends, that’s piling sin upon sin. I’ve got a whole video dealing with this on our YouTube channel, called Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage.
Yes, there’s hope and righteousness. Even if a person has sinned in this area of divorce and remarriage, they can repent of their sin and, as God says in Isaiah, be white as snow before Him because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. It is not some unforgivable sin.
Why doesn’t God speak with humans directly, like He did in the Old Testament?
God wants us to trust in an even more reliable word, the written Word of God, the Bible. We should not expect God to speak to us in an audible voice today. Even if He did, it would not be as reliable and trustworthy as the tested and proven Word of God that will endure forever.
If you want to hear God speak to you, open your Bible. I do not exclude the possibility of God communicating to people in other ways. But that will never be more reliable than His sure, tested, and approved Word, which is greater than even an audible voice from God.
Is the Holy Spirit a person in the same way that Jesus is a person?
Is the Holy Spirit a person in the same way we think that Jesus is a person? Similar to how others have stated in dreams that God is also perceived of as a person?
Yes, the Holy Spirit is a person. However, we normally associate a person with a physical or material body. But in the spiritual realm, somebody can be a person without a material physical body, and the Holy Spirit is just that. He is a genuine person, He has a mind, a will, and emotions. Yet, He does not have a material or physical body. So yes, the Holy Spirit is a person.
Why doesn’t Jesus just cast Satan to hell the first time? Why only bind him for a thousand years?
When Satan is set free at the end of the thousand years, he’s able to gather up a rebellion against God. He gathers this rebellion from a humanity that has been governed perfectly for a thousand years, showing that the real problem with humanity is not our environment, but the individual human sinner. Now, our environment makes a difference. It can make things worse, and it can make things better. But the ultimate problem with humanity is not our environment, it’s our own sinful nature. The fact that Satan is able to gather a rebellion after a thousand years of the perfect government of Jesus Christ on earth shows how messed up humanity is. And God shows that before the Great White Throne Judgment, according to the book of Revelation.
Must one be baptized to be a follower of Jesus? What if you were only baptized as a child by sprinkling at Catholic Church?
I’ll give you a very quick answer. If you want to be an obedient follower of Jesus Christ, you need to be baptized. And you need to be baptized as a believer, not as a baby or as a child who had no ability whatsoever to express faith. You need to be baptized as a believer. And you need to do that to be an obedient follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus told His followers to be baptized. You want to be obedient to the Lord, I know you do. So, find a way. Find a godly pastor or church and have them baptize you.
Can you help me understand the judgment that believers will endure?
The Bible talks about the judgment seat of Christ where believers will be judged, not for their eternal salvation, but for how they have served and obeyed and honored God in this life. It will be a judgment not for salvation, but for reward. It will determine how that particular believer will be rewarded before the Lord. That’s the basic idea. My commentary on 2 Corinthians 5 talks about the judgment seat of Christ.