The Apple Of God's Eye

April 25, 2011

A Fate Worse Than Death!

What is the most terrible thing that could happen to a human being?

Did you know that there is a sin so great, so devastating in its awfulness, that even the great mercy of God cannot overlook it, and the shed blood of Jesus Christ cannot wash it away? A sin that can never be forgiven.

Jesus warned that it could happen. “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” (Mark 3:28-29, RAV throughout except as noted).

Who could commit such a dreadful sin, and subject themselves to such an appalling fate — to lose all hope of forgiveness and salvation?

Jesus addressed these stern words to self-righteous religious leaders of first century Jerusalem. They had developed an implacable contempt for Jesus. During his ministry, Jesus occasionally clashed with them, and several times he warned them of the dire consequences of their attitude. Finally, they trumped up charges against him and occasioned his crucifixion by the Romans.

But was this the unpardonable sin?

An unpardonable sin is by no means the special province of bigots. Have you ever noticed this scripture in the epistles of John, whose writings usually epitomize love, tolerance and forgiveness? “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that” (I John 5:16). (more…)

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April 2, 2011

The Dilemma of Death!

Filed under: Death,Resurrection — melchia @ 2:18 pm
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Few among us have not been shaken to the very roots — wounded to the very depths of our being by the death of a loved one. Even the great of this world have experienced this traumatic trial. General Douglas MacArthur said of the death of his father: “My whole world changed that night. Never have I been able to heal the wound in my heart” (Reminiscences, page 44). His brother died suddenly in 1923. He later recorded, “I loved my brother dearly and his premature death left a gap in my life which has never been filled” (Reminiscences, page 23). Death claimed his mother in 1935. The General wrote, “Within two months after our arrival in Manila my mother died, and our devoted comradeship of so many years came to an end” (Reminiscences, page 113).

 

Sir Winston Churchill wrote, “My father died on January 24 [1895] in the early morning…. All my dreams of comradeship with him, of entering Parliament at his side were ended. There remained for me only to pursue his aims and vindicate his memory” (My Early Life, page 62).

David’s Example

And remember King David’s experience. He besought God for his stricken child’s life with seven days of fasting and prayer. When the child died, David discontinued his fast — resuming a normal life. His servants were amazed and asked why. David answered, “… While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (II Sam. 12:22-23).

King David had the right approach and attitude about his son’s death. He exemplified the New Testament scripture which tells us to “… sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (I Thes. 4:13). Also, the very fact that General Douglas MacArthur and Sir Winston Churchill so amply fulfilled their respective roles in life proves they did not continually reflect back on the death of close relatives in a morbid manner. Of course, to sorrow for a little time is natural.

And yet — even when our perspective about death is properly in focus — there is still a gap, a certain void in our lives when a close member of the immediate family or a good friend is removed from us by the sobering occurrence of death. There are few better experiences in this physical life than having your family and friends about you — rejoicing with them — sharing the vicissitudes of life. And yet every family relationship has been broken by death.

When one member dies, he cannot be replaced. He is a unique being. There will never be another Jim or Joe or Helen or Mary. True, one may resume a normal life, get absorbed in activities, cultivate other close friendships, even remarry. But, there are those inevitable moments when we reflect back on previous relationships with deceased loved ones — their personalities — how they were — what good times we had together.

Is there any way this gap can be closed, the void created by death filled, and the sadness permanently healed? Let’s begin to understand.

Jacob’s Example

Notice the Patriarch Jacob’s experience. His other sons sold his favorite son Joseph into slavery. They deceived Jacob into thinking Joseph was dead. His reaction? “And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days” (Gen. 37:34).

The void continued in Jacob’s life for many years (Gen. 37:35; 42:36-38). Later Jacob learned that Joseph was yet alive (Gen. 45:26). He went down to Egypt to see him. Notice this remarkable reunion. “And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel [Jacob] his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive” (Gen. 46:29-30).

Jacob was so happy to see his son Joseph again that he felt his mission completed in life. (Actually, it was not. He had 17 more years to live and some crucial prophecies to pronounce that are still being fulfilled today — many centuries later.) He later told Joseph, “I had not thought to see thy face [again]: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed [your children]” (Gen. 48:11).

God’s Sure Promises

Does God have this same joyous reunion of families in mind for his sons and daughters who overcome and are born into His Kingdom? The answer is an unequivocal “YES!” It is as sure as the rising of tomorrow’s sun.

Remember the words of David: “…I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” What did David mean by “I shall go to him”? David was talking about a reunion with his son in a resurrection. Let Christ clarify. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John 5:25). Continue: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all [not part] that are in the graves shall hear his [Jesus’] voice, and shall come forth …” (verses 28 and 29). Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).

This is a sure prophecy. The dead shall live. The gap will be closed. The void filled. The wounds healed. Families permanently reunited in the resurrection. Listen! “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

Source: Tomorrow’s World, January 1972

 

January 12, 2010

Is The Day Of Death Better Than The Day Of One's Birth?

Filed under: Death — melchia @ 8:00 am
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Ecclesiastes 7:1 reads, “A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” What exactly does this mean?

Notice the strong parallel in this verse: The day of one’s birth is compared with precious ointment. There is certainly nothing wrong with precious ointment; Jesus even commended its proper use (Matthew 26:6-13). The point is that the day of one’s death is of far greater importance to God, assuming that our lives have been used properly.

Near the end of his life, the apostle Paul realized that he had “fought the good fight” and “kept the faith.” Therefore he had a crown of righteousness awaiting him (II Timothy 4:6-8).

If we as Christians run the Christian race successfully, as Paul did, we, too, will be able to say at the end of our lives that we have obtained an incorruptible crown (I Corinthians 9:24-27). The day of our death, then, will certainly be a greater joy to God than the day of our birth.

January 11, 2010

Why Did God Kill In The Old Testament?

God Allowed Sinful Nations To Be Destroyed In Old Testament Times!It’s probably happened to you.  You were debating God, and someone pulled out the question, “If God is a God of love, how come he killed off so many tribes of non-Israelites in the Old Testament?”  Could you answer this question?

Many have unjustly accused God of being a murderer in the Old Testament because He either killed people or He allowed Israel to kill. However, this is a basic misunderstanding of the character of God, who does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. So why was this practice allowed then, and not now, in the New Testament? Let’s explain!

In I Samuel 15:3, God commanded Saul to “go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” Why did God have to deal so harshly with these people, even down to little children and animals? Was this unjust, cruel, barbaric?

God said: “All who behave unrighteously are an abomination to the Lord your God. Remember what Amalek did to you [Israel] on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God” (Deuteronomy 25:16-18).

Notice how harsh and unfair the Amalekites were. They waited until their enemy was extremely weak, and even then, they attacked from behind, killing the laggers one by one. (more…)

September 2, 2009

What Happens When We Die: It's Not What You Think!

flatlandhowler.blogspot.com

flatlandhowler.blogspot.com

Public enemy No. 1! That’s how death can be described. It will slay us all, and at a time of its own choosing.

But paradoxically, although we all know we will die, very few know exactly what death is. Certainly death must be the least understood although most relentless enemy!

Yet it need not remain a mystery to those who will look into their Bibles to read — and believe — what God says. For God has not left us in ignorance about this important subject.

The basic doctrine

Since life is merely a temporary, mortal, chemical process (with man being made from the physical elements — “dust”), death is just the cessation of life. One who is dead has no consciousness separate from his body and feels no pain nor pleasure, but is as if asleep. Nonetheless, we all will live again after death, after a passage of time, when resurrected back to life again.

The usual teachings of this world

Most professing Christians believe that at death they do not really die — that is, cease to live in any form. They instead believe that at death only the body dies, and that the “soul” is then liberated to live on in heaven or hell (depending upon the moral merit of the former life).

Others believe in reincarnation, thinking that their soul, which is liberated at death, will be placed in a new body to live again, with this process occurring over and over. Scientists who believe evolution seem to recognize death for what it is (the total cessation of life), but they also err because they know nothing of the hope of the dead — life again after a resurrection. Even other beliefs about death exist.

Yet, surprisingly, these concepts are not from the Bible!

The Bible teaching

Perhaps the main reason why people, religious or otherwise, do not understand death is because, first of all, they do not understand what life is. The Bible makes it plain.

Genesis 2:7 records, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Authorized Version).

Notice! Man does not have a soul. He is a soul. The word translated “soul” here is the Hebrew word nephesh. It means a living, breathing, physical creature. The word carries no implication of immortality. In Genesis 1:24 it is translated “living creature” and refers to animals.

Further, the Scriptures say dogmatically that the soul can die and therefore cannot be immortal. See Ezekiel 18:4, 20 and Matthew 10:28.

The Bible nowhere teaches that man has an immortal soul. In fact, the immortal soul doctrine was adopted by professing Christianity from pagan Egypt through the Greek philosophers.

But note that man, as God stated, is composed of the physical elements of the earth and is dust. God plainly told Adam, who sinned, “For dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). But men do not want to die, so they do not want to believe God. They do not want to believe that man’s life is merely a physicochemical existence that will run down and stop — die!

Hence, they choose instead to believe the lie Satan told Eve when he said, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). They believe that within this dusty body, as a sort of prisoner of the flesh, is an immortal soul that is unleashed at the death of the body and that continues in conscious life forever.

To be sure, man is not merely an animal. For one, man is made in God’s image and in God’s likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). And man’s potential — that of being born into the God Family — is far more incredible than the fate of any animal.

Further, God reveals that there is a spirit in man (I Corinthians 2:11) that gives man mental superiority over animals. It is this spirit that imparts the power of mind to man, and the power of moral decision, including the ability to grow in character. But this spirit is not the man. And it is not an immortal soul. It is something in man that gives man a dimension of life above the animals. It does not give him immortal life, however.

To understand death requires that we know that man’s life is merely a chemical process involving physical elements. When that process stops, we die. We are dust, and when we die our bodies decay and return to the dust.

When we die, all conscious thought and awareness ceases. Notice Psalm 6:5: “For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?”

And compare Ecclesiastes 9:4-5: “For him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing.”

The apostle Peter knew that even the righteous die and lose all consciousness and bodily presence, for he stated: “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. … For David did not ascend into the heavens” (Acts 2:29, 34). Even righteous David was not an immortal soul that left his body and went to heaven. Even David was dust and decayed back to the elements.

Other scriptures supply even more detail about death, comparing it in a figure of speech to sleep (I Corinthians 11:30, I Kings 2:10). When a person is asleep, he loses consciousness and is unaware of his surroundings.

The topic of death is in some ways unique. Most people will not believe what God says if their senses tell them differently. For example, Adam and Eve did not believe God’s warning about the tree of good and evil, because the fruit of it looked good and desirable. Yet, in the case of death, people will not believe God when He says death is what it indeed appears to be to the most casual observer — namely, the cessation of life! People will not believe God no matter what He says, whether our senses tell us to agree or not.

But caution! Nothing said here means to imply that death is the end of all hope of life. It is not. An old saying goes, “Where there is life, there is hope.” But the great God says, in effect, that even where there is death there is still hope — in fact, the main hope.

That hope is the resurrection of the dead from death to life again. Notice Job’s question and answer about death: “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come” (Job 14:14, AV).

Realize this: The demonstrable fact of the resurrection of the dead proves once and for all that humans are not immortal souls. If we were, why would the dead have to be resurrected? They would already be alive.

And see further Christ’s startling statement: “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live” (John 5:25).

Jesus knew His statement might startle His audience, so He said further: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation [judgment]” (verses 28-29).

The Scriptures are plain that all people will be resurrected, even those who will eventually be cast into the lake of fire to die the “second death.”

The apostle Paul chose to comfort the living relatives of those true Christians who had died by reminding them of the wonderful resurrection to come (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

To alleviate their sorrow, Paul explained that the dead in Christ will be resurrected at Christ’s return, and that they — along with us, if we qualify — will forever be with Christ.

Yes, the truth about death is far less foreboding than the fanciful imaginations of well-intentioned but errant religionists!

Key verses

When properly understood, this topic of death can fill us all with real hope, for then we know the wonderful truth that we will all see our beloved deceased relatives again. Therefore it may be well to note specially the basic scriptures that describe the truth about death. Here are some of them:

Genesis 2:7 and 3:19 — man is a mortal being made from the dust. Genesis 1:24 — the Hebrew word translated “soul” in Genesis 2:7 is translated here as “living creature” and refers to animals. Ezekiel 18:4, 20 and Matthew 10:28 — the soul is not immortal; it dies. Psalm 6:5 and Ecclesiastes 9:4-5 — the dead have no consciousness. John 11:11-14 and I Kings 2:10 — death is compared to sleep. John 5:25, 28-29 and I Corinthians 15 — the dead will be resurrected.

Death is indeed an enemy, but through the resurrection from the dead this enemy is annihilated. Therefore Paul says in I Corinthians 15:26, 54-55 (AV): “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death…. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

Source: Good News, March 1986

March 21, 2009

What is The Biblical Disposition Of Human Remains?

Filed under: Death — melchia @ 5:17 am

Some argue that the only proper way to respect human remains is burial, citing the Bible. and the examples of the Hebrews who lived at the time of Christ favouring burial without embalming (a simple burial compared to customs of today).

However, the Bible, taken as a whole, teaches that the mode of a person’s burial is not of great importance. Jacob was embalmed, and the Bible states that he will sit with Abraham and Isaac in the Kingdom of God (Luke 13:28). Christ was not embalmed, but He was resurrected to become the firstborn of many brethren. Jonathan, son of Saul, was cremated. Others who were martyred received no burial. Some were torn asunder by wild beasts. They, too, are promised a place in the Kingdom.

Scripture shows that it was the custom of the Jews merely to wrap and bury those who died (John 19:40). Christ was buried according to that custom. Death, burial, and resurrection are likened to the process a seed undergoes when it is planted (John 12:24,25; I Cor. 15:35-37, 42-44). But, regardless of whether a person becomes dust or ashes, the Bible promises that he or she will be resurrected (Acts 24:15; Rev. 20:12-14).

March 10, 2009

Is Baptism For The Dead Biblical?

The practice of being baptized for those who have died is based upon a wrong understanding of I Corinthians 15:29.

The inspired New Testament Church did not follow this practice, and the apostle Paul did not teach it. This custom was introduced into the professing Christian world about A.D. 150 by Marcion, a man who created his own religion and established his own church in Rome in A.D. 144. The Bible clearly shows that before a person may be baptized, he must first repent (Acts 2:38) and believe (Mark 16:16; Acts 16:31, 33). The dead are not able to repent or believe, because “the dead know not any thing” (Eccl. 9:5).

Baptism is for the living. Baptism is a symbol whereby the living acknowledge their sins, figuratively die with Christ in a watery grave, and rise out of that watery grave to live a new (righteous) life through Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:4; 8:9; Gal. 2:20). Baptism is also a symbol of the resurrection. To rise up out of the watery grave is to acknowledge belief in the resurrection of the dead (Rom. 6). To surrender one’s life to Christ now, to crucify the self now, to be baptized — all this is foolish unless there is a resurrection of the dead. If there were no hope of the resurrection, life could be summed up this way: “Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.” Please compare I Corinthians 15:32. I Corinthians 15:29 now becomes clear.

The subject of the entire 15th chapter is the RESURRECTION. Paul cites the example of those who were baptized as one proof of the resurrection. Their actions symbolized their hope that they would live again. The resurrection is THE HOPE OF THE DEAD. “Why were they baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not?” seems to be Paul’s question in the King James Version. But, this verse is not correctly translated from the original inspired Greek. Paul is not talking about being baptized “in the place of” the dead, or “on behalf of” the dead, or “for” the dead.

The Greek word translated “for” is HUPER. This word has several meanings and can be translated “above,” “over,” “instead of,” “for the realization of,” or “for the hope of,” depending upon the context in which it is used. Notice the following example. Paul declared, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). The Greek word translated “of” in this verse is HUPER, the same word used in I Corinthians 15:29. In Philippians 2:13, HUPER cannot mean “instead of.” It would be senseless to say, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do INSTEAD OF His good pleasure”! Correctly translated, this verse says, “God worketh in you both to will and to do FOR THE REALIZATION OF His good pleasure.”

This is the translation given in “The Analytical Greek Lexicon”. What is God’s “good pleasure”? “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” declared Jesus (Luke 12:32). God works in us “in the hope of” giving us His Kingdom! Thus, the Greek word HUPER in I Corinthians 15:29, according to the context, should be translated “for the hope of.”

Notice the verse again: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the hope of the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the hope of the dead?. What is the hope of the dead? It is the resurrection! Paul is writing about baptism; baptism illustrates the hope of the resurrection. Baptism — arising out of a watery grave — is a symbol of the hope of the dead, which is the hope of the resurrection. This verse, then, has nothing to do with the false doctrine of baptism on behalf of the unbaptized dead.

March 9, 2009

Killing In The Name Of God?

I happened across some information the other day gleaned from “Free Inquiry, 1993, which was also printed in Freethought Today, 1993 and eventually distributed by The New York Times syndicate. Let me state, it was an eye opener, to say the least. It related some headlines from various newspapers and wires over the years:

1. 2,oo0 DIE IN RIOTS AFTER HINDUS SMASH MUSLIM MOSQUE
2. ULSTER CATHOLIC, PROTESTANT SQUADS TRADE MURDERS
3. OHIO CULT LEADER ‘SACRIFICES’ FAMILY OF FIVE
4. ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN SERBS RAPE MUSLIM WOMEN
5. SHIITES IN IRAN HANG BAHAIS WHO WON’T CONVERT
6. CHRISTIAN ARMENIANS, MUSLIM AZERBAIJANIS RESUME WAR
7. FUNDAMENTALIST PICKET KILLS CLINIC DOCTOR
8. BUDDHISTS AND HINDU TAMILS BATTLE IN SRI LANKA
9. EGYPTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS KILL PRESIDENT SADAT
10. SIKH MILITANTS ASSASSINATE INDIRA GANDHI
11. 900 TAKE CYANIDE AT JONESTOWN
12. CHRISTIAN-MUSLIM WAR IN SUDAN CAUSES FAMINE
13. WACO CULTISTS DIE IN SUICIDE PYRE

All headlines show religion in its worst form – in the hands of extremists. Shirley Maclaine was once quoted as saying:

“In the name of God, a ‘fatwa’ against Salman Rushdie. In the name of God, murder in the Balkans. In the name of God, the bombing of the World Trade Center. In the name of God, the siege at Waco, Texas…. In the name of God, Shiites and Sunnis are at each other’s throats in Iraq and Iran, as are Arabs and Jews in the Middle East…. In the name of God, what is going on?”

Yes, there are good aspects of religion, where kind and caring people serve others in the name of God.  But what can explain the opposite result, when evil is perpetrated in the name of God — holy wars between ethnic groups, terrorism, hatred between denominations, faiths and beliefs across cultural, political and economical grounds — all supposedly in the name of God?All because various parties pray to a different God?

Catholic against Protestant, Christian Crusaders against Islamic hordes, inquisitions resulting in the burning, torture and barbaric slaughter of millions, Puritans and Anglicans in mortal combat, ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, the Taiping Rebellion in China, which killed an estimated 20 million, the Nazi’s slaughter of 6 million Jews, the Khmer Rouge killing 1.7 million of their fellow Cambodians, Rwandan Hutus killing 800,000 ethnic Tutsis, the Armenians of Turkey enduring mass slaughter at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, Sikhs gunning down Hindus and so on and so on. It never stops!

Aren’t we all the off-spring of Adam and Eve? Except for skin colour and speech, are we not the same mankind? Yes we are and generally we can behave pretty good -EXCEPT – when religion becomes the chief dividing element. It is the “beast behind the shadows of human conflict – of religious tribalism.

It is irrational, and few can explain it. God only knows, and he says that the human heart is rotten at its very core (Jer. 17:9). Without the true God guiding man (and He isn’t doing so during all this barbarianism, is He?), there is no hope of ever solving humanities woes. Religion without God (and driven by the human heart without the Holy Spirit), is nothing less than barbaric. But the imminent return of Christ is near – despite the naysayers, critics and anti-God pundits. Personally, I can’t wait!

February 28, 2009

Does I Peter 4:6 Say The Gospel Was Preached To The Dead?

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The key to understanding I Pet. 4:6 is in knowing the identity of the “dead” spoken of by Peter. At the time Peter wrote this epistle (about A.D. 67 to 69), multiple thousands of Christians had already been living according to the way of life that was preached by the apostles. In the span of time after the apostles’ preaching began, some had lived a Christian life and had died. Many had suffered martyrdom at the hands of unscrupulous religionists or pagan civil leaders.

When did these dead have the Gospel preached to them? Obviously, they had the Gospel preached to them while they were yet alive. The Bible shows that “the dead know not any thing” and that “there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave” (Eccl. 9:5, 10). Clearly, the dead cannot receive any communication whatsoever. Preaching is for the living, not the dead.

There is one other sense in which the Gospel is preached to those who are “dead.” In this case, the term “dead” is used in reference to people who have not repented, and thus have not been forgiven by God. They are still “dead” in their trespasses — they have not yet received God’s Spirit, which is the down payment of eternal life. Jesus mentions such people in Luke 9:60. Paul explains further in Ephesians 2:1 by saying that such people are “dead in trespasses and sins.” Some who exist physically are dead spiritually because they have not yet heeded the Gospel of the Kingdom.

The Church of God has been commissioned to preach the Gospel as a witness to the world (Matt. 24:14). Yet, most people have not yet been called by God and do not heed that message. They remain both in ignorance and in sin. They continue to live and be judged by the standards men devise, rather than “according to God in the spirit.”Each of these individuals will ultimately be given an opportunity to receive salvation.

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