The Apple Of God's Eye

May 9, 2011

Shocking Proof: Why The Jews Rejected Christ

tented.blogspot.com

Ever since the time of Adam man has rebelled against the government of God. As the Supreme Ruler of the universe, God has decreed that 6000 years be allotted to man to decide for himself whether he will voluntarily submit to the Government of God and keep holy the time He made holy.

Man universally has rejected God’s rule, His authority, His holy days. But God has not been idle in human affairs.

What GOD is doing these 6000 years very few recognize.

Now is not the time God is trying to save the world. He is rather calling out of the world a select few whom He chooses. To us He reveals Himself, His Will and His Purpose. But we must voluntarily choose to obey Him — and to keep holy the days He set apart.

In the days of Moses God first organized His Church and revealed to them His Plan. To keep that Church in the knowledge of that Plan, the Eternal ordained seven annual festivals. These festivals pictured the seven steps in carrying out God’s Plan.

When the Old Testament Church departed from celebrating these festivals, they lost the knowledge of the plan. This is exactly what had happened to the Jews in New Testament times! The Jews did not understand the prophecies of the first coming of Christ because they were not keeping the one festival (Passover) which pictured that Christ was coming first as the paschal lamb. They knew He would come later — at the close of 6000 years of history (pictured by the Feast of Trumpets) — as the conquering King!

The Jews knew five out of the seven steps in God’s Plan because they still observed five out of the seven festivals. But the two festivals on which they had become confused and divided pictured the very part of God’s Plan which they had lost! The Passover pictured the coming of the Messiah as the Passover lamb — to bear our sins (I Corinthians 5:7). Having changed the day of the true Passover the Jews cut themselves off from their God.

To change the day, to neglect it, is sin. And sin cuts one off from God. Hence they were unable to recognize the true gospel when it came to them through Jesus Christ. They were not expecting Christ, the Messiah, to come as a man to bear the sins of the world. They were expecting only a conquering king. Had they been celebrating the true Passover on its right day, instead of confusing it with the Feast night of the days of Unleavened Bread, they would have known that their Messiah would first come as a man to bear the sins of the world!

No wonder the Jews crucified the Saviour! They had forgotten the true Passover! (more…)

May 1, 2011

Should A True Christian Admit Jehovah’s Witnesses?

apologetics315.blogspot.com

When the so-called “Jehovah Witnesses” come to the door of the true Christian, would it be discourteous not to admit them? How does God look at it?

God says “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” (Isa. 55:8).

What does God Command?

“For many deceivers (including “Jehovah Witnesses”) are entered into the world … Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not (obeys not) in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God … If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine (of Christ, and of God’s true Church), receive him not into, neither bid him God-speed: for he that biddeth him God-speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (II John 7-11)

These “Jehovah Witnesses” DO NOT OBEY GOD! They argue against God’s Commandments, and especially against the Sabbath. They will argue Scripture, in a spirit of contention, which your Bible forbids. “Jehovah Witnesses” especially will argue against God’s Law. They transgress God’s Law, and don’t abide in the doctrine of Christ. Therefore their deeds are evil. God says the true Christian also, is partaker with them of their evil deeds if he receives them into his home.

Should you, then, be discourteous or un-Christian? Of course not. When these people come to your door, just smile and tell them politely, but firmly, you are not interested — you do not discuss religion – and be closing your door as you say it, and be sure you do close it as soon as you have said merely that short sentence. Do not give them any chance to talk back, or continue the conversation, or get into an argument.

You can’t change them! You can’t talk them into the truth! If you already know the truth, they cannot deceive you with false teachings, or talk you into anything. Any further conversation with them are idle words.

March 2, 2011

Why Did Jesus Curse The Fig Tree?

Filed under: Fruits (Works) — melchia @ 2:50 pm
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Commentaries generally agree that fig trees in the area of Palestine produce fruit for much of the year, if they bear at all. Unlike most trees, the fig tree first produces its fruit and afterward its leaves (see Song of Solomon 2:13). The immature fruit, though green and hard, is considered edible if one is sufficiently in need. It was not out of the way for Jesus to look for fruit in March since the tree was shrouded with luxuriant green leaves, making a show of being a worthy tree. But when Jesus found nothing on the tree, He used it as an example to teach His disciples — and us — some spiritual principles. Seeing the tree was obviously worthless as a fruit bearer — not just at that time of year but all seasons — He had no compunction about cursing and killing it as an object lesson for all.

First, with a tree having leaves but not figs, an element of deception is involved. Secondly this incident teaches that the outward appearance and show is not what counts with God. What counts is production of fruit (Luke 13:3-9; Galatians 5:22-23). It matters not how much we profess to be Christians if we bear no fruit. And the rapid drying up of the fig tree pictures how we will likewise be cursed and die, if we are found to be barren at the time Christ calls for an accounting.

In Luke 13:6-7 (Revised Standard Version), Jesus expressed the principle this way: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down.’ ” Then the vinedresser prevailed on him to leave the tree for one more year, to cultivate around it, and to fertilize it, to see if finally it might possibly bear fruit, “but if not, you can cut it down.”

The parable shows the long-suffering of God, and His willingness to give every possible aid. But finally His allotted time for production comes to an end.

Though the fig tree, like the olive and the vine, was a symbol of the Judaean commonwealth, which was about to be cut down, verses 1 to 5 make it clear that Jesus meant the lesson to apply also to each individual.

John the baptizer also told the Pharisees and Sadducees: “Bear fruit that befits repentance … Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:8,10, RSV).

July 8, 2009

Is It Permissible For Christians To Fight In Self-Defence?

thediaperheads-kellyfamily.blogspot.com

thediaperheads-kellyfamily.blogspot.com

Jesus said, “Resist not evil … whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matt. 5:39). Does this mean Christians must never defend ourselves?

The Bible makes it clear we are to live by God’s law of love in every aspect of our lives. Therefore it would never be right for a Christian to fight back with the purpose of inflicting bodily injury, even if provoked.

Nonetheless, the use of RESTRAINING FORCE may at times be necessary and advisable. For example, if someone tried to strike you with a club, it would not be wrong to restrain the attacker if you were able.

The best defense is to avoid circumstances which are dangerous or threatening. In case of emergency, we should quickly ask God, in prayer, for protection and deliverance. God hears those who are faithful to Him (see Hebrews 11:6 and I John 3:22).

But, what of “turning the other cheek”? Does that mean Christians are to be pushovers and doormats? Certainly not! Jesus Christ was not. Jesus had the wisdom to know when to avoid confrontations and when to challenge injustice and evil. He forced the money changers out of the temple. Yet, He submitted to the most horrible verbal and physical abuse and finally allowed Himself to be crucified (thereby fulfilling His commission). But, through it all, Jesus set us an example of the type of attitude we ought to have, no matter what the circumstances.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written,
Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Rom. 12:19). What should a Christian do in the face of evil and injustice? The answer is, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (verse 21).

If we have a godly attitude and a proper personal relationship with God, we can have total confidence that He is
watching over us and will protect us from harm and evil according to His will (see Psalm 91).

May 18, 2009

Does Eternal Punishing Differ From Eternal Punishment?

socrates58.blogspot.com

socrates58.blogspot.com

Many people today preach about an eternal hell fire and eternal punishment. First, here’s the terse and brief summation of this popular belief, which I quote from the Encyclopedia Americana:

“… As generally understood, hell is the abode of evil spirits; the infernal regions…whither lost and condemned souls go after death to suffer indescribable torments and eternal punishment… Some have thought of it as the place created by the Deity, where He punishes with inconceivable severity, and through all eternity, the souls of those who through unbelief or through the worship of false gods have angered Him. It is the place of divine revenge, untempered, never ending.”

Now where, and how, did this popular belief about hell originate? The Encyclopedia Americana states further:

“The main features of hell as conceived by Hindu, Persian, Egyptian, Grecian and Christian theologians are essentially the same.” The Western religious leaders from Roman times through the Middle Ages borrowed the doctrine of eternal torture from the pagan philosophers. Certain writers of the Middle Ages had such tremendous influence on the Christian-professing world, that their writings and teachings came to be generally accepted and believed, until it became the doctrine of the Christian-professing world. Among these influential writers were Augustine and Dante Alighieri.”

An interesting book titled Dante, and His Inferno summs up the history of the Christian-professing doctrine of hell. This factual history is rather amazing! Dante lived A.D. 1265 to 1321. Dante, remember, wrote a tremendously popular book, titled Divine Comedy, in three parts – “Hell,” “Purgatory” and “Paradise.”

This from the aforementioned book of history:

“Of all poets of modern times, Dante Alighieri was, perhaps, the greatest educator. He possibly had a greater influence on the course of civilization than any other man since his day… He wrote, in incomprehensible verse, an imaginative and lurid account of a dismal hell – a long poem containing certain phrases which have caught the attention of the world, such as, ‘all hope abandon… ye, who enter here!’ This had a tremendous impression and influence on the popular Christian thought and teaching. His Inferno was based on Virgil and Plato.”

Dante is reported to have been so fascinated and enraptured by the ideas and philosophies of Plato and Virgil, pagan philosophers, that he believed they were divinely inspired.

Here is an article on Virgil, from the Americana: “VIRGIL, pagan Roman poet, 70-19 B.C. Belonged to the national school of pagan Roman thought, influenced by the Greek writers. Christians of the Middle Ages, including Dante, believed he had received some measure of divine inspiration.”

Plato was a pagan Greek philosopher, born in Athens, 427 B.C., a student of Socrates. He wrote the famous book Phaedo, on the immortality of the soul, and this book is the real origin of the modern belief in the immortality of the soul. In it, he acknowledges . .. three kinds of gods: superior, inferior, and intermediate.”

There is the general statement of the popular belief about hell, and where that belief came from – actually from the imaginations of pagans who DID NOT not God!

What about the billions of non-Christians?

Before we examine the common idea about hell to see whether it is true, consider one or two facts. On this earth are some 6,790,062,216 people (US Census Bureau). The most populous lands are China, India and other parts of Asia. In spite of missionaries from the West, actually more than half of air the people on this earth have never so much as heard the only name by which men may be saved – the name of Jesus Christ! Now is there some other way by which men may be saved? The Bible says there is not!

That means that thousands of millions of people on this earth have lived, and died, without ever having known anything about Christian salvation – without saving knowledge – never having heard the ONLY name by which men may be saved! Now think what that means! IF all unsaved go immediately to hell at death – the hell commonly believed in – then more than HALF of the people who have lived on this earth have been consigned there – and they are there, now, without ever having been given so much as a CHANCE to escape it!

Ask yourselves candidly, do you believe THAT is the plan by which an all-wise, all-merciful, loving GOD is working out his purpose here below?

Now what is the TRUTH?

We face this alternative: Either the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God, by which the Creator reveals the truth on the subject, or else we must fling up our hands and confess we just don’t know – we are ignorant on the question – because no one has ever come back from such an ever-burning hell to tell us about it, and science knows nothing about it. We must believe what the Bible says, or we can believe nothing, if we are rational and honest!

Source: The Plain Truth, a955, Herbert W Armstrong

So why does Math. 25:41 quote an everlasting fire?

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels…”

The word translated “everlasting” in verse 41 is “aionion” in the Greek. This word comes from the root “aion,” which can mean “eternal” but often means “age.” In verse 41, the correct translation into English should be “age-lasting” fire.

During the Millennium — the “age” of Christ’s rule with the saints on the earth — the valley of Hinnom will be kept perpetually burning. The incorrigibly wicked, those who set their wills in persistent rebellion against God’s laws, will be thrown into that fire as a stern witness to the rest of the world (Isa. 66:24).

Gehenna was a place of destruction and death – not a place of living torture. Jesus was talking to Jews who understood all about this Gehenna or Valley of Hinnom. Utter destruction by fire was complete. Nothing was left, but ashes!  Every text in the Bible translated from this Greek word gehenna means complete destruction – not living torture – not eternal life in torment! The Bible says, in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is DEATH” – not eternal life in torture. The punishment revealed in the Bible is death – the cessation of life. Eternal life is the gift of God!

Then why have we been believing that punishment is eternal life in fire? And why have we been believing we already have eternal life and don’t need to come to God through Christ to receive it as His gift?

When Jesus spoke of being cast into “gehenna fire,” he was using this expression as an illustration of the “lake of fire.” This everlasting punishment spoken of in Matthew 25:46 is what the Bible elsewhere calls the “second death” (Rev. 20:14; 21:3). Death for all eternity is eternal punishMENT. The Bible nowhere teaches eternal punishING. The wicked will be burned up and will become ashes under the feet of the righteous (Mal. 4:3).

That fire will be much hotter than Dante’s imaginary hell!

April 20, 2009

What Is The Land Sabbath And The Jubilee Year?

pictopia.com

pictopia.com

God said, “When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to the Lord” (Lev. 25:2, NKJV). Following verses explain that each seventh year was to be a land Sabbath, during which no crops were to be sown or harvested. But whatever produce grew by itself could be used for daily food by the farmer and the poor of the land (verse 6). See Exodus 23:10-11 also. Debts incurred by the poor during the previous six years, and that had come due, were also to be canceled at the end of the seventh year (Deut. 15:1-11). 

After seven cycles of sabbatical years (49 years), the fiftieth year was proclaimed a jubilee (Lev. 25:8-12). Again the land was to rest from cultivation (verse 11) and all families that had become poor and had mortgaged their land could return to their possession (verse 13). 

These were major economic laws given by God. They were meant to prevent undue wealth gotten through acquisition of farm land from accumulating in the hands of the rich while the poor become further impoverished. God emphasizes over and over that people are not to oppress one another (Lev. 25:14, 17). Deuteronomy 15 states emphatically that following these economic laws would bring God’s blessing (verses 4, 6, and 10). God wants people to learn to be generous and compassionate — to have the “give” attitude rather than the “get” attitude. 

Today’s world, however, is characterized by materialism and greed. Farmers driven by economics try to milk the last bit of production from their tired soil and livestock. Economies collapse in wrenching depressions — or major recessions — and great hardship affects the world’s economy approximately every fifty years. People practice selfishness and oppression of others. 

God’s land Sabbath and jubilee were intended to prevent this hard-hearted attitude and the economic curses that naturally result. Man was to willingly forego his crop in the sabbatical year and the jubilee by letting the land rest. He was to acknowledge God as the true owner of the land and be thankful for God’s generosity. And he was to share the good things of the earth with others. The rest from tilling the land provided opportunities for education, travel, community service, and spiritual reflection. 

God promised to perform a miracle in granting abundant crops in the sixth year of the cycle so that the bounty would suffice until a new crop came in two or three years later (Lev. 25:20-22). This would be a continuing witness of God’s power as Provider, just as the manna in the wilderness had been. 

The question naturally arises, then, how can a Christian apply these laws of God now? Obviously, an individual cannot observe all the details of these laws, since that would require national legislation. An individual cannot release his own debts, and there is no divinely appointed inheritance for each family today. But these laws are all for man’s good, so we ought to observe them to the extent that this can be done in the present system. Even where a law cannot be practiced in the letter, it should be kept in the spirit. 

We must not oppress anyone in our dealings, and we must strive to be generous, kindhearted, patient, and forgiving. A farmer who owes money to banks probably cannot let all his land rest every seven years, since he owes mortgage and other loan payments that must be made each year. In such a case, it is suggested that the land be rested in rotation so that each field receives its rest sometime during a seven-year period. If one is able to rest the whole farm at once, so much the better. He can reckon his seventh year from the time of his baptism or from the time that the knowledge comes to him regarding the land rest.

(Note that the Jews in the state of Israel observe their sabbatical years in the sequence 1993-1994, 2000-2001, 2007-2008 and so on.) God does want us to take care of the soil and to recognize that we are merely tenants on His land, responsible for maintaining its fertility. Virtually all agricultural colleges know the benefits of crop rotations and of “resting” land by putting it in pasture or cover crops periodically. Good soil conservation measures should also be practiced. 

God is concerned with how we use the resources He allows us to manage. He is judging each of us by how we deal with and treat our fellowman (I Pet. 4). Thus, His laws and instructions are not archaic or quaint customs! They are living laws to be observed by God’s people!

February 27, 2009

Proof: Jesus Christ’s Killers Found

heartofwisdom.com/.../

heartofwisdom.com/.../

If I asked you straight out who killed Jesus Christ, would you be able to give a correct answer? Some say it was the Jews, others argue it was Pilate. Certainly no one involved would argue anything but their innocence. But as you read, let me throw a startling statement at you. There is evidence that you the reader killed Christ as surely as if your hands were on the spear that pierced His side. Not you alone of course, but every one of us is guilty. Here’s how!

Definite Proof

In Acts 2:5-36, it states that men from every nation dwelling gathered in Jerusalem (verses 9-11), to witness a great event. Most still talked about the death and crucifixion of Jesus Christ; the great earthquake at the time of His death, and the rent in the great veil of the Temple. These were no ordinary circumstances. Indeed, some even said they had seen dead men, risen from their graves, walking the streets of Jerusalem.

So the buzz was in the air and the rumours were flying, until that Pentecost morning of June 18, 31 A.D., when a great rushing of wind sounded about the city. Running to the source of the sound, a crowd began forming around a house with an upper room. The door opened and the eleven plus one stepped forth — and others with them. There was a eerie silence as everyone held their breath waiting for an explanation.

Then, as those that came forth from the house began to speak, an amazing thing happened — every person, regardless of his nation or language, heard them in his own native tongue. You can guess that there was a lot of amazement and wonder at this? What did it mean? Between the confusing din, some even began to accuse the apostles of drinking too much wine — of being drunk!

It was time for an explanation and the man called Peter held up his hands, stilling the crowd. His voice, strong and powerful, boomed out to the crowd the first recorded sermon of the New Testament. He explained the circumstances and denied their accusations by preaching the Word of God, under special inspiration from God.

But do you suppose he tried to calm the crowd with soothing words? No, in fact, he started out by accusing the large group of crucifying Jesus Christ (verses 22 and 23). What a beginning, considering that these people from all over the earth had not participated physically in the crucifixion! Yet Peter said under inspiration, “You have taken, and [you] by [your] wicked hands have crucified and slain. He repeated himself for good emphasis in verse 36.

It doesn’t matter if we are not directly descended from these people, just as it didn’t matter to Peter that those gathered in front of Him had not physically participated in the killing of Jesus Christ. We are all just as guilty as the High Priest who blasphemed and condemned Jesus Christ to death (Mark 14:63-65); just as guilty as those who spat on Him; or as those who struck Him with fists, bludgeoning His face until it was raw and swollen. Yes, even as guilty as the man who scourged Jesus Christ with a cat-o’-nine-tails (Matt. 27:26) until His skin was ruptured and torn and His bones were exposed (Ps. 22:17), leaving Him just short of death.

At this point, Jesus Christ was not even recognizable as a human being. The scourging was preparatory to the most vicious death yet devised by man. Christ was nailed to a cross by nails that drove deep into the red, raw flesh, pinning His hands and feet to that stake. We also cannot escape blame for this act, nor the final indignity of thrusting the spear in Jesus Christ’s side. Then we helped raise the cross and dropped it into the hole, as Christ’s flesh tore on the nails when it hit bottom.

Are you confused as to how you and I individually participated in an event that happened roughly 2000 years ago? Let me explain. Are you a Christian, an atheist or something in between? Do you practice the faith of Islam, Judaism, Taoism or other religions? Or are you someone “morally” upright, yet never attend a church service? It doesn’t matter. Most people the world over, irregardless of religious leanings, beliefs, faiths and so on literally curse Jesus Christ every day of the year when they trample on God’s Holy Days, or His weekly Sabbath. They mock Jesus Christ when they fail to keep the law of God and spit in His face by trying to do away with the Ten Commandments altogether. Everyone, through their actions and words, is guilty of crying out “crucify Him” in a thousand different ways (Mark 15:13).

We have helped put to death the only Saviour this world has ever known! We have despised and rejected “… a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him: and with His stripes we are healed. All we [all of us] like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa. 53:3-6).

Disobedience to God’s laws caused His excruciating death. Yet here is the love of God, that while we are going about our despicable deeds and evil behaviour, Jesus Christ was commending His love toward us. He died for us (Rom. 5:8). This sacrifice applies to all people, of all times. Can we comprehend what Jesus Christ – the former Word who was with God for all eternity (John 1:1) – endured? The God who had lived from eternity without beginning or end, without mother or father, without pain, and the very express image, brightness and character of the Father and His power. He sat down with the Father and made the plans to come to this earth and suffer that we might live!

This God of majesty, power and awesome splendour took the job willingly, predetermining to endure the cross that we might live (Heb. 12:2). He was made a mortal man to suffer death for you and for me! Think of how humbling it would be to come in the same weak flesh and blood as your creation, but with the ultimate purpose of destroying death, pain, sickness, disease and misery (Heb. 2:9, 14).

And while doing so, this great being was tempted just like we are tempted — conquering the downward pull of the flesh perfectly without sin (Heb. 4:15). It wasn’t without effort either, as He prayed and humbled Himself before His Father for strength, “… and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44)

Those who deny Him fail to understand that all “nations [on earth] are as a drop in a bucket and are counted as the small dust of the balance ….” (Isa. 40:9-15). Think about that. What is your net value to God? When all nations in totality are only a drop in a bucket, how significant are we, who are counted as specks of dust? Yet this great God sacrificed Himself for us! That is almost incomprehensible.

What’s Your Reaction?

So how concerned are you, or am I, over this terrible death? We have a responsibility which must be taken literally. God says it is He who calls us (John 6:44), and desires we realize the seriousness of our crimes, repenting of them (Acts 2:38). This does not apply to those who sin or drift along, nor to the scoffers and those full of pride and vanity. Not if we keep sinning! Not if we just drift along, or are filled with pride and vanity!

God desires humbleness (I Pet. 5:5-6) and will resist all other forms of character. When we exercise true repentance of our past misdeeds and are properly baptized and, by God’s Spirit put into the true Church of God, the living body of Christ — then we have God’s complete forgiveness.  He is able to blot out our sins, our transgressions — no matter how wicked we have been (Ps. 51:1). And yes, this despite all having participated in the killing of Christ. We indeed have a God of love and deep concern.

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