The Apple Of God's Eye

December 23, 2009

God's Eyes And Ears Are On You!

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Until very recent times man has depended on slow and comparatively limited means of communications — word-of-mouth, hand, flag or smoke signals, or homing pigeons. None of these means was usable over great distances.

It was not until 1835 that Samuel B. Morse’s telegraph, an electrical device using wires, provided the first rapid method of moving a message long distances. He did it by the use of “code” — long and short pulses called dots and dashes.

Alexander Graham Bell’s “telephone,” a method of transmitting the voice via wires, soon followed. Then near the turn of the century the first means of communicating without wires, the “wireless” or “radio,” was invented. Television closely followed and now we have cell phones, the internet and other means of communications which transmit pictures, writings, sounds and voices anywhere to earth in seconds, as well as reaching to other planets. Like God, man is able to command and be obeyed at a distance.

Someone greater than man put the laws and forces in motion and sustains them to make this possible. If man has been able to use God’s laws governing electronics and communications to place a TV camera on the moon which allowed him to see, count and identify tiny particles no larger than 1/50 inch in diameter a quarter million miles away in the heavens, how much clearer and better can God see over great distances. And how much easier can He accomplish things on command through the power of His Spirit!

Now if God opens up the means, via His creation, for man to accomplish such awesome things, then we should know that know God has even better perception to see, count and identify each hair on your head or mine (Matthew 10:29-31):

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

But what about keeping up with ever-traveling sparrows? Let’s see how man keeps up with man-made objects he has rocketed into space.

At the U.S. Government’s Space Center at Ent Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, with the aid of sophisticated electronic devises, men are able to keep track of a satellite, or a hunk of abandoned space junk — as small as six inches in diameter (the size of a grapefruit) and up to 2,700 miles from earth. They can spot and keep up with every man-made object which has been rocketed into space!

Correlating this ability with the ever-watchful eyes of the North American Air Defense Command using the latest in photographic cameras, men can photograph clearly the light reflected from a basketball-size satellite 50,000 miles away!

With all this in mind, can you more fully understand God’s ability to keep up with sparrows when they fall to the ground? Can you grasp God’s ability to keep track of you? “Ye are of more value than many sparrows,” Jesus declared (verse 31), “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (II Chron. 16:9).

God’s Communications Center

Perhaps God’s communications system is similar to the one man has developed. Let’s take a glimpse at God’s communications center at His heavenly throne and compare it to the North American Air Defense Command.

The Apostle John wrote: “And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne…. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God” (Rev. 4:2, 4, 5). This is God’s heavenly throne!

John continues: “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts [living beings], and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb [Christ] as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6).

Since the Lamb — Christ — stood in the midst and had the seven “eyes” of God sent forth into the earth, do we not have an indication that God the Father may use Christ as chief director, coordinator and controller of His heavenly communications system? Could God’s central communications system be basically comparable — as an analogy — to a super-sophisticated spiritual computer supervised by 24 operators and spiritually tied in with seven spiritual surveyors (“eyes”) — “Surveyor I, Surveyor II,” etc. — each one of which can instantaneously be shifted wherever the action is?

Of course, none of these spirit beings needs sophisticated electronic gear with their attendant malfunctions, however few they may be. Each of these beings has been perfectly designed and manufactured from pure spirit. Since these highly mobile units are not bound by physical laws and use spirit power, they move at speeds infinitely faster than light, which, we are told, travels at the “slow” speed of 186,000 miles per second.

Messages which travel via interference-free spirit rather than radio or television waves are never garbled — always crystal clear and INSTANTANEOUS! Crystal clear “eyes” delivering perfect pictures to the heavenly throne not only make it possible to “measure particles 1/50 inch across,” but 3/1000 inch hairs on human heads!

We need have no doubt God can see, count and record any and all information about us that He may require! But what about your thoughts?

Are Your Thoughts Really Private?

In July 1965, 135 million miles from the earth, the Mariner IV spacecraft swung close to Mars so its television camera could snap close-up still photos of the red planet and relay them to earth. “These pictures were scanned and broken into 64 different shades of gray. Each shade became a number, and the numbers in sequence were transmitted to the tracking stations of NASA and the Jet Propulsion Lab.

“The signals were faint when they reached earth — only one quintillionth of one watt strength. They were amplified, taped, and fed into computers. Each sequence of 6 ‘zeros’ and ‘ones’ became a piece of visual information, which was then reconverted into one of 64 shades of gray to make a picture, much like the tiny dots make up the picture on your TV screen at home” (Reader’s Digest, October 1965).

Can your mind comprehend how little power “one quintillionth of one watt” is? Most ordinary light bulbs in your home are probably rated at 100 watts. If written in decimal form, “one quintillionth” would be .000000000000001. Yet man was able to receive, amplify and decipher the message carried by one quintillionth of a watt of power.

Is it conceivable God could receive your thoughts in His heavenly communications center, amplify them, record them, read out and understand them by and through His Spirit?

Notice in Malachi 3:16-17 that God definitely does record certain of man’s words and thoughts: “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.”

God read Job’s thoughts. Job was self-righteous. God was so interested in Job He let him go through much grief to learn to recognize and overcome that self-righteousness. Finally, Job said, “I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee” (Job 42:2).

God Also Broadcasts Commands

When King Ahab and the whole nation of Israel sinned grievously, God allowed a three and one-half year drought to overtake the nation as punishment — to wake up the nation and its king. During this period, to keep His prophet Elijah alive, God “commanded” ravens to bring food to Elijah. God told His prophet:

“And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook” (I Kings 17:4-6).

How did God “command” the ravens to feed Elijah? He may have done it by altering their instinct which regulated their behavior patterns. Regardless of how He did it, the Scriptures show us that God has the ability to give long-distance commands and cause them to be obeyed by His creation!

From the “miracles” of modern science and God’s Word, YOU CAN KNOW that a Living Being in the heavens can clearly see and hear the activities of any and all human beings on this earth!

God Uses His Power to HELP US!

True Christians have been chosen by God and are being scrutinized by Him. Much more than the sparrows, God, through His spiritual assistants and master spiritual communications center, watches, hears and keeps track of you, for your good.

Said Jesus Christ, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you” — why? — “that ye should go and bring forth fruit” (John 15:16).

And what goal does He have in mind through that? Christ told His disciples: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).

That is your destiny. That is the reason God watches and hears you — to help you and guide you so you can qualify to one day be instantaneously changed, or resurrected, to join Jesus Christ and the Father in their all-powerful Family for eternity!

Source: Good News, Jan/March 1973

December 21, 2009

Grace: Do You Really Understand It?

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Few professing Christians really understand what grace is. And no wonder, because rather than searching the Bible on the subject, they get bogged down in debate over whether it does away with God’s law, as God’s unmerited pardon for sin.

The New Testament Greek word translated “grace” is charis and holds a variety of meanings not dealing directly with the grace of God toward man. It can denote pleasure towards someone (Luke 2:40), kindness or goodwill toward another (Acts 7:10), favor (Acts 2:46-47), or express thankfulness (I Corinthians 15:57). Finally, charis can also be used to denote a gift or favor done as an act of goodwill (Acts 25:2-3).

But the New Testament writers applied this word in a new sense to describe what God is doing for humanity. Those whom God calls (John 6:44) are given the chance to repent and accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Then, upon being baptized, they are given God’s Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), which enables them to develop godly character and ultimately be born into the very Family of God (I John 3:1-2). Charis is an all-encompassing word for this whole process of conversion that is being accomplished by God’s power.

Why is grace necessary?

Grace essential to salvation because it is the free gift of God, through faith (Ephesians 2:8), and all efforts to earn salvation are futile (verse 9). This is because of several obvious reasons:

  • First, “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) — sin being the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4) — and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). We have all earned the death penalty. And just as any government today realizes, the violation of law cannot go unpunished, or anarchy would ensue. Similarly, our regret and subsequent good behavior can never pay the penalty for sin, because the penalty is death. And God’s laws are enforced. God does not compromise with sin by allowing a way of life that leads to unhappiness, misery and death to go unpunished. The penalty for our sins must be paid.
  • Second, not only have we sinned, but man by himself is incapable of overcoming sin. Paul said in Romans 8:7, “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” Our best efforts are futile unless God gives us the help we need.

God’s grace toward us begins when God begins calling us. Unless God opens our minds, we cannot understand His purpose (John 6:44). Paul commented, “God … called me through His grace” (Galatians 1:15).

The very fact that one understands the truths of God as revealed in the Bible is because of God’s grace. But being called is just the beginning of grace.

The process of conversion requires more than understanding. It requires change, or repentance. We must freely choose to obey God — and unless God shows us what to repent of and the importance of obeying Him, we cannot repent. “The goodness of God leads you to repentance,” Paul explained in Romans 2:4.

But being sorry for sinning, and changing, is not enough. So God’s grace continues with Jesus Christ’s sacrifice: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation [an atoning sacrifice] by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness” (Romans 3:23-25).

Jesus Christ paid the penalty of sin, which is death, in our stead. Christ’s sacrifice is the supreme expression of divine grace. It is totally unmerited (Romans 5:6-8).

Christ’s sacrifice frees us from the penalty of breaking God’s law. But it does not do away with the law! Think: Would God now allow the violation of laws that necessitated the death of His own Son? Of course not.

Grace does not nullify God’s law. Rather, grace is necessary because God’s law is eternally binding. As Paul explained: “Shall we continue in sin [the transgression of God’s law — John 3:4] that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2) Continuing in sin would mock Jesus Christ’s supreme sacrifice.

Unmerited but not unconditional

Here is where many misunderstand. Grace is unmerited but it is not unconditional. There are two conditions: repentance and faith (Mark 1:5, Acts 2:38). Although we can never earn salvation, God does set certain requirements for receiving His grace.

Once God, by His grace, reveals to us the need to repent and humbly accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice as payment for our sins, we must do our part. We must voluntarily yield ourselves to God, admitting where we have been wrong, and make the necessary changes. Then we must be baptized as an outward expression of our repentance and faith (Romans 6:3-6).

Don’t misunderstand — God’s grace is free and unmerited, but if we refuse to change our lives — to obey God — He is under no obligation to bestow His grace upon us. God will not allow Christ’s sacrifice and His grace to be taken lightly.

The process continues. Peter tells us we must now “grow in grace” (II Peter 3:18, Authorized Version). Grace is unmerited pardon for sin, but it is much more. For if grace were merely the unmerited forgiveness of sin, how could we grow in grace except by sinning more? No, we must, while coming under God’s grace, overcome sin.

If you are truly under God’s grace, you will be striving diligently to obey God’s commandments. Paul said: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).

We are to develop godly character by growing and overcoming in order that we can ultimately be born into the very Family of God. But we cannot do this alone (Matthew 19:25-26). We need God’s Spirit. And His Spirit, by His grace toward us, is a gift (Acts 10:45, 11:17).

God’s Spirit gives us the power we need to develop character. But we must work at it. Paul said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (I Corinthians 15:10).

To grow in grace is to overcome sin through coupling God’s Spirit with our own efforts. Without God’s help, overcoming sin would be impossible.

Finally, after we have developed godly character through God’s Spirit, one final act of grace is bestowed upon us — eternal life! We deserved death, but will receive life eternal. As Paul said, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

The world is deceived into believing in a shallow, limited concept of God’s grace. True grace is more than the forgiveness of sin; it is the total process of salvation.

Peter summed it up beautifully: “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen…. I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand” (I Peter 5:10-12).

October 21, 2009

What Does The Hebrew Word "Elohim"(God) Mean?

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“”In the beginning God!”  The Hebrew word from which this word God is translated is Elohim and it occurs 2,570 times. The one which occurs most frequently is the word in the King James Version translated Lord [LORD], and in the American Standard Version, Jehovah.” (Translated from the tetragrammaton [YHWH], sometimes called Yahweh or Jehovah.)

Elohim, pronounced el-o-heem’, is translated “gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: -angels, exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), and (very) great judges, and mighty (Stone, p. 10)”

Family Name

Elohim is a collective noun. It is similar to such English words as group, church, crowd, family, or organization. Take, for example, the word “church.” We find in 1 Corinthians 12:20 that there is only one church-the “one body” yet composed of “many members.” Even though it takes many persons to constitute the church, it is not many churches-it is only the one church! A family is made up of more than one person, yet it is only the one family.

In like manner, God is not merely one person, but a family. God is the supreme divine family which rules the universe! The Gospel Jesus brought to mankind is the good news of the Kingdom of God. That Kingdom is a family-a ruling divine family into which humans may be born!

September 12, 2009

Ye Are Gods

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Jesus Christ said, “You are gods.” What did He mean by that? That’s really an astonishing statement, yet if you talk to most Christians they would not understand what that means. And when Jesus Christ was trying to explain it to the Jews and others throughout history — the Jews anyhow, tried to stone Him, and tried to kill Him.

What exactly is it about that statement that makes people so angry? John 10 and verse 30 says, “I and My Father are one.” The Jews — like Nicodemus, one of the rulers of the Pharisees — came to Jesus Christ at night and said that they knew He was a teacher from God. Christ was continually correcting the Jews and everybody else, and they heard Christ say He was one with the Father. So then the Father, or their God, would also be correcting them, and that made them very angry.

Of course they should have been repenting and not stoning or not criticizing. If we’re Christians, we have to follow Jesus Christ.

Notice verse 31-33 – Jesus answered them, “Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

So here they were getting ready to stone Him again because of what they called blasphemy. They already admitted He was a teacher from God — God in the flesh, and saw the miracles He performed. How could anybody think this was just an ordinary man?

Imagine, religious people trying to kill their Creator over, really, one of the most inspiring messages in all the Bible? Verse 34: “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods.?” This statement is not true of angels. Christ didn’t talk about them being His son. And certainly animals don’t have potential like that. Human beings, as with most mainstrean religions, do not realize a human being is a magnificent creation with an awesome potential. This includes all races of men, as God is no respecter of persons.

Now let’s have a look at the psalm Jesus Christ quoted, and give you a little bit of a context or at least one verse that leads into that statement. Notice Psalm 82:5:

They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: …

David is talking about the world in general here. And Christ quoted this very chapter… “neither will they understand.” It means they refuse to understand, and they go on and walk in continued spiritual darkness. Christ came to bring light, but they loved darkness, and they wouldn’t accept the message of Christ. It is the very same today.

There’s something wrong with human beings, and it’s called human nature. People refuse to hear what Christ had to say, even though they have an inspired Bible.

Now notice this amazing conclusion to verse 5. …”all the foundations of the earth are out of course.” Why? Because of this attitude or this human nature. That means all of the foundations of religion, all the foundations of politics, government, science, education, they’re all out of course.

Now truthfully, if all of the foundations of the earth are out of course (and this includes all of the mainstream religions), we’re talking about some major changes needed in our lives – in the lives of all on this earth. It is not a trivial matter. In other words, if the foundations are out of course, you’re building your house on sand, and it’s going to crash. It just simply won’t work.

Now, if you look around truthfully at what’s happening in this world, you’d have to say that’s true. All the foundations of the earth are out of course! Something is terribly, terribly wrong. And God says, “Okay, now I’m going to show you how to solve that problem and it’s not a problem that you can solve by yourself, take lightly or treat in a trivial way.

This is about our ugly human nature. Why are the politics on a wrong foundation? Why is science and education on a wrong foundation? Why religion? Because Christ said that the whole world is deceived by the devil (Revelation 12 and verse 9), and that he is the god of this world (II Corinthians 4 and verse 4). See, that’s getting to the heart of what this is all about.

In the very first chapter of your Bible, it says we are going to be made in the image or the character of God. That’s a process where we have to be willing to bring God into our lives and let Him rule us, or it can’t happen. From the beginning man has rebelled. Adam and Eve didn’t want God’s way. They wanted their own education, their own religion, their own politics. And God said, “Okay, but you’re going to run into problems you can’t even imagine.”

Now back to Psalm 82:6 to see what is God’s solution to these foundations being out of course:

“I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are [sons] of the most High.”

It says children in some translations. It should be sons. We’re sons of the most High. The word God there could read judges. That same Greek word is used over 1,300 times in the New Testament to refer to God Himself!”

Christ wasn’t talking about judges — He was talking about these Jews’ potential to enter the very Family of God! He was refuting their anger over His saying that He, a man, was God. ”

Christ said to the Jews, “if all of the foundations of the earth are out of course, how are we going to solve it? Yes, I say I’m the Son of God, but I also say you are gods! You have the potential to be God, or the Son of God, as I am a Son of God!”

Remember Genesis 1? It’s the animal after the animal kind, and then when He came to man He said, “Man is going to be made after the God kind!” We look like God today, physically, in His likeness, but we’re going to be made in His image or character. That’s where the solution is – not in going to heaven to waste our time strumming a harp on some far away cloud while looking with rapture at the face of God. No, Christ said we’re going to enter into and be born into the very Family of God.

And yet humanity does not understand it. All the foundations of the earth are out of course because of human beings who won’t allow God show them what their potential. Unfortunately, this means they will  have to suffer until they learn this lesson. The number one problem we have today is that of human survival.

Going back to John 10:35, we see it says the Scripture cannot be broken. The Old Testament and the New Testament cannot be broken. It’s God’s Word, and He’s promised to fulfill every single word of it! Why don’t we just believe what it says?  Because there’s something terribly wrong with human beings. God doesn’t want us to go through all of this suffering. He said, “You ought to become perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). This is not happening in this world, not even in organized religion.

God says we’re being greatly influenced by the devil. That is the problem, and yet people don’t even want to believe in a devil. But your Bible says the devil is alive, well, and very active, and he has led man into all of these foundations of the earth being out of course. That is the main reason there has to be a different government on this earth, and that’s what Christ is about to institute. He will return very shortly, and He’s going to give us that government this time that nobody’s going to push aside. Just before human beings destroy all human life on this earth.

Let’s quickly go back to Gen. 1:26: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:…” What it really says is that physically, we have those features that look like God. The animals on this earth do not. God made the the animal after the animal kind, and when He got down to man He said, “All right, let’s make man after the God kind.” We are here to become gods in the God Family, as God’s Son. We’re going to be the Sons of the Father. He says, “You are gods,” and that gets right at the heart of why we were created, and why we ought to be inspired and moved by these great truths.

July 8, 2009

What Does Predestination Really Mean?

alpha and omegaDoes God know ahead of time whether an individual will be saved or lost? Has God foreordained that some would be saved, while others are destined to be lost? Does one have any choice at all regarding his or her own salvation?

It stands to reason that if God knows beforehand how we are going to decide, then all is predetermined. And if that is the case, then why try at all?

On the other hand, if God knows we will repent, accept Christ and be saved, we’ll have to do it in the end anyways, whether we try or not. Our ultimate fate is already determined in advance. If that is so, then we are simply not free moral agents – we have nothing to say about it.

The subject of predestination has often puzzled and worried many people simply because they have accepted, without question, the teachings of their religion.But predestination has nothing to do with any particular decision one makes, or their fate – it has only to do with the time of their calling. There is not one word in the Bible about anyone being predestined to be lost.

Rom 8:28-30 says:  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Notice the hopeful language on the subject. Our calling is for a very special purpose; that of becoming sons in the family of God. Eph 1:4-5 verifies this:

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.

These scriptures reveal that God foreordained, from the beginning, to call out a group of people to become rulers and teachers in His Kingdom when He will set His hand to call and bring salvation to all mankind.

From before the foundation of the world, God had formulated this plan – it was not hastily composed. God is not reacting to Satan – He knew that Adam and Eve were likely to sin, and had His entire plan formulated before that time.

However, there is no indication that God knew those He would call individually, thousands of years in advance. This would be impossible, as it is only those who endure to the end who will be saved (Matt. 24:13). God cannot possibly know what decision those called out will make because He made them free moral agents – able to choose for themselves whether they will live God’s way or not. The choice is clearly given to them. (Deut. 30:19)

What is the reason for predestination?

God has predestined that some would be called at certain times for a specific purpose. The rest will be called by God to understand the way of salvation later. God planned from before the foundation of the world to establish His Church to train the future kings and priests of His Kingdom – to have a part in teaching the way of salvation to the masses during the illennium. He knew far in advance that leaders, teachers and governmental administrators would be needed for His Kingdom, so He planned ahead – predestinated – that He would call some to this training, especially in this age.

Predestination actually proves that God is not trying to save the world now, but that He purposed to call only a small group as firstfruits, according to His plan, so that he can ultimately offer salvation to all!

June 19, 2009

Racial Intermarriage: A Practice Contrary To God's Purpose

The Bible shows that marriage between persons of different races is contrary to God’s purpose. This does not mean that one race is better than another. God loves all human beings — after all, the races exist only by His design and will. Regardless of race, every person has the same potential destiny — that of becoming a part of God’s very own
Family (Gal. 3:28-29).

Anciently, God separated the different races by giving each its own area of the world to develop (Gen. 10:5, 32; Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26). He placed them where geographic features (rivers, mountain ranges, and the like) formed great natural barriers and boundaries between them. He obviously did not want different peoples to intermingle.

Notice also that Abraham (called the father of the faithful) was deeply concerned that his son Isaac should find a wife among his own people rather than from among the Canaanites, who were a different people (Gen. 24). In turn, Isaac instructed his son Jacob to go back to their ancestral home to find a wife (Gen. 28:1-2).

God’s will of maintaining the separation and distinction of each race is illustrated by one of His laws concerning animals. The people were not to let their cattle interbreed without control (Lev. 19:19). While people are vastly more important than cattle, genetic principles apply to both man and beast, and laws given for the benefit of animals can illustrate principles applying to human beings (please see I Corinthians 9:9-10).

Parents should appreciate their birthright and want to preserve it. They should strive to maintain a good name and to teach their children to treasure their FAMILY HERITAGE. It is in keeping with these biblical principles, then, for a person to marry someone of the same race and who is compatible in personality, culture, temperament, and outlook on life. Disregarding these principles is likely to result in problems and hardships for the couple and for the children.

June 4, 2009

Life after Death: It's Not What You Think!

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Few things have intrigued mankind as much as the concept of an afterlife. After about 75-80 years, death is the surest thing in anyone’s life. Eventually, everyone has to face that fact, but what follows death? The popular belief is that an immortal soul continues to live on, either in heaven or hell. Yet is that what the Bible teaches?

Return from the afterlife?

Let’s review what happens when a man dies. First, some people claim that they have experienced “life” after they had supposedly died and returned to tell about their unusual experience.

Though many of these happenings are understandably astounding and seem to contradict what the Bible says about
death, the whole idea of this so-called “life after life” experience is based on the premise that these people died.

According to the medical profession, these individuals were clinically dead. However, medical science has not yet agreed on what constitutes actual death in a human being. Real death, according to the Bible, is total and complete unconsciousness — without memory, feeling, knowledge, or perception (Eccl. 9:5, 10; Ps. 6:5). Therefore, it is evident that those who were revived to relate their experiences were not actually dead, but simply in an unconscious state.

Furthermore, science has discovered that the human brain and nervous system are actuated by electrical signals and impulses. The brain is dependent on a steady supply of blood and oxygen to function properly. When circulation and respiration are impaired or interrupted for even a few minutes, the brain begins to malfunction, and will eventually cease functioning altogether.

It is thought by some researchers that the strange lights, sensations, perceptions, and the like, associated with “coming
back from death” may be attributable to the electrical malfunctions of the brain and nervous system associated with the
trauma of nearly dying.

The fact is: we don’t really know, but there is one undeniable truth – these people did not come back from the dead.

The truth about death

In Romans 6:23, we read that “the wages of sin is DEATH,” not everlasting life in either heaven or hell. Real death, as we have already seen from the Biblical account, is a total and complete unconsciousness — without memory, feeling, knowledge, or perception. Why does it say this? Because the Bible makes it abundantly clear that the doctrine of going to heaven after you die is complete and utter nonsense:

  1. “And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven” (John 3:13).
  2. “For David ascended not into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand.” So we see that David also, a “man after God’s own heart” is still in the grave. Surely, he deserves a place in heaven if there was such a place to go after death?

The commentaries (as well as critics), get all convoluted about this verse. Because of the inherent belief of heaven for the saved, they cannot come up with a unified conclusion. They reason that this verse merely means t is the body that is in the grave, but not the soul. But they reason around the plain language of the Bible.

No immortal soul

Death is the effect, or “wages” earned, for living the way of sin. The reason man has to die is sin. Sin causes death. Every man is subject to death because “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Thus every man is destined to die.

But when he is dead, God informs us: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Note that there is no work, no device, no knowledge and no wisdom in the grave. The dead know nothing — they are simply dead! Solomon was also inspired to write, “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing…” (verse 5, Revised Standard Version).

Those in the grave cannot do anything and their souls don’t praise God, as many believe. That is reserved for those living (Isaiah 38:18-19). The Hebrew word for soul is nephesh, which simply means a living, breathing creature. When God created mankind, man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). He didn’t possess an immortal soul, but became a living, breathing creature. The same Hebrew word is used to describe the life of animals — “every living creature” — in Genesis 1:21, 24 and 2:19. Like the animals, man does not possess an immortal soul.

When an individual dies, his body simply returns to dust (Genesis 3:19) — just as an animal does when it dies (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20). When God created man, He created him in His own image and likeness. In the Creator’s great wisdom, He created man with a temporary physical existence — subject to decay and death — so that, should he reject God’s way of life, man would mercifully cease to exist for all eternity.

At the re-creation, recorded in Genesis, God created two physical trees — symbolic of two ways of life — two choices (Genesis 2:9). God then clearly instructed man regarding which choice he should make (verses 16-17). He told him that eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would lead to death! But man did not believe his Creator. Instead, Adam and Eve chose to believe Satan’s lie that they would not die — that man is an immortal soul — that they already had eternal life (Genesis 3:4-6). Disobeying God, they incurred the death penalty. Twice God records in the book of Ezekiel that “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4, 20).

A change after death

But there is an actual life after death. No, I’m not contradicting myself. The patriarch Job posed the question: “If a man die, shall he live again?….” He then answers his own question by stating, “…all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come” (Job 14:14). Job was expecting a change — a change to what?

The Bible reveals that, ultimately, everyone dies physically. The Apostle Paul stated: “[l]t is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). All men die physically — all suffer the first death. As all die physically, all will, at some time, be judged. God will judge all humans according to a plan — a time order — at different periods of time. Each of God’s judgment periods is followed by a resurrection. The Bible shows that all mankind will be resurrected in one of three resurrections.

The first resurrection

God records in 1 Corinthians 15, also known as the resurrection chapter, that “as in Adam all DIE, even so in Christ shall ALL [the same “all”] BE MADE ALIVE. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming” (verses 22-23). At this time only God’s people are being judged (I Peter 4:17). Following this present period of judgment, all “they that are Christ’s at his coming” will be resurrected or changed (1 Corinthians 15:23, 52). These verses refer to the first resurrection, that of the saints, or firstfruits, called out of the world now, to be changed to spirit life at the return of Christ. This is the change Job awaited.

The second resurrection

But what about the rest of humanity — those not called and being judged now? I Corinthians 15:24 focuses on another resurrection — the second resurrection — that will occur at “the end” of Christ’s millennial rule on Earth. In contrast to the first resurrection, this is a resurrection to physical life and a 100-year period of judgment (Isaiah 65:20) for all those cut off from a relationship with God during Satan’s 6,000-year reign on Earth.

We find a more detailed description of the nature of this resurrection in Ezekiel 37. God is not a respecter of persons and will provide every human with the opportunity to get to know Him, choose to and learn to live by His laws, and — after a period of growth and overcoming — be born into the Family of God. This will be the greatest resurrection in terms of numbers. At this time, the billions who have lived cut off from God during Satan’s dominion will be given their opportunity to learn and become a part of God’s awesome plan for mankind.

The third resurrection

Following the second resurrection and judgment of those in it, is another resurrection — the third resurrection, also to physical life. This resurrection is reserved for the willfully disobedient who cling to the way of sin. They are resurrected to be condemned to death. Only a loving God would devise such a merciful plan that prevents man from living in eternal misery and causing misery to those around him.

All three resurrections are described in the 20th chapter of the book of Revelation.

Born again produces change

So the change spoken of in the bible can only be undergone if we are born again. What does it really mean to be born again? Christ made it very plain: “That which is born of the flesh IS flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit IS spirit” (John 3:6). And physical flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50). We must be born again, or changed to immortal spirit.

May 14, 2009

Do Liars Always Lie?

Epimenidis said, “The Cretians are always liars” (Titus 1:12). But Epimenides was a Cretan! Was he lying or telling the truth about Cretans?

If he were telling the truth, he was a liar. If he were a liar, he was telling the truth. What is the answer?

The resolution of this ancient paradox clarifies several misunderstandings about the Bible. It explains why Satan (and his ministers) quote true scriptures (Matt. 4:1-10; II Cor. 11:13-15), why the false prophet Balaam uttered true prophecies (Num. 22), and why the demon who impersonated Samuel seemed to be so “honest” (I Sam. 28:3, 12-20).

The answer hinges on a principle — someone who is always a liar does not always lie! Once this is understood the paradox vanishes. (Fenton violates this principle in giving a logically absurd translation of Titus 1:12. Also, many of the commentaries seem to be unaware of the paradox connected with this verse.)

If a liar could be “depended upon” to lie consistently, one could always extract the truth from him. Consider the story about a logician who is captured by a tribe of savages (Kemeny, Snell, and Thompson, Introduction to Finite Mathematics, 1957). The tribal chief decides to give the logician a “sporting chance” to escape. He places the logician in a jail having two exits and two guards. One exit leads to freedom, the other to death. One guard is always truthful, the other always lies. He is allowed to ask only one question of only one guard. The logician asks, “If I ask the other guard whether this exit leads to freedom, will he say yes?” No matter which guard he asks, he can determine from the answer which door leads to freedom. So, he escapes!

A little thought will show that if the guard says “yes,” the logician has picked the wrong door; if the guard says “no,” the logician has selected the correct door. In any case, no matter which guard he asks, the truth can be determined and thus he escapes. However, if the lying guard — like Satan — sometimes told the truth, the logician would be hopelessly confused. “Effective” liars do not always lie!

In order to be “effective,” liars often mix truth with error. The statements of Satan in Genesis 3:4-5 are an excellent example. Many people use these verses as an argument that human beings cannot be born into the Family of God. They reason that since Satan is a liar (John 8:44) and since Satan said, “Ye shall be as gods …” (Gen. 3:5), then men shall NOT be as gods. WRONG! Satan told the truth about the ultimate destiny of mankind. Jesus Christ said so! (John 10:34-35.) But Satan lied about HOW to become as God (Gen. 3:4-5).

Keep in mind that a quotation from the Bible may be false, if the one quoted is a liar, but it should not be assumed to be false just because the one quoted is a liar. Just as Epimenides spoke the truth when he said (by implication) that he was a liar, someone quoted in the Bible also spoke the truth when he said, “I will be a lying spirit” (I Kings 22:22).

Source: Tomorrow’s World, October 1971

April 10, 2009

Does John 10:30 Prove God Is A Trinity?

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John 10:30 says: “I and my Father are one.”

Does this scripture really prove that, together with the Holy Spirit, God exists as a trinity? Not if the context is properly understood. Jesus here revealed that there is one Godhead, or one God Family, and that its members work together with one mind and purpose. That Family, however, is presently comprised of two individuals, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. This is clearly stated in John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The “Word” or “Spokesman” was the One who later became Jesus Christ (see verse 14).

Hebrews 1 also shows conclusively that Christ was and is now God:

“God … Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:1-3).

God says of Christ, “Let all the angels of God worship him” (verse 6). Only a member of the God Family is worthy of worship. But, the God Family is not limited to God the Father and Jesus Christ: “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12).

Hebrews 2:7-8 shows that man, like Christ, was made for a while “a little lower than the angels,” but that he is to be crowned “with glory and honour.” Everything will be put “in subjection under his feet,” but “now we see not yet all things put under him” because the resurrection to immortality has yet to occur. The Family of God, then, will eventually be expanded to include all who choose God’s way.

Christians “now are … the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2). Paul adds, “This mortal must put on immortality” (I Cor. 15:53).

This plainly says that resurrected Christians, like Christ, will be immortal. When we are changed, our mortal bodies will become spirit bodies like His (Phil. 3:20-21). The Father and Christ are one — one united, holy Family. At the resurrection, we will be born into the one God Family and become one with them. There is NO trinity, but there is family. Scripture proves it!

April 8, 2009

What Does It Mean To Be Born Of Water – And Of Spirit?

117Here is a verse which really confuses mainstream Christianity which believes in the false notion of going to heaven when one dies. In fact, there is not one verse in the Bible which backs up this assumption. John 3:5 states:

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” 

Jesus here spoke of a literal birth — the entrance into the Family of God as a spirit being, and the process by which one attains that goal. It DOES NOT speak about going to heaven. Hence, both water and God’s Spirit are involved. 

What does the Bible say about being “born of water”? The apostle Peter explained that upon repentance one should be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Baptism pictures the washing away of past sins and the burial of the old self (Rom. 6). In addition, Ephesians 5:26-27 and John 15:3 show that Jesus Christ is sanctifying and cleansing His Church with the “washing of water by the word [the Bible].” Why? So He might present it to Himself as a Church without any spiritual blemishes.  The crowning glory of each person’s life will be his resurrection. Then the saints will be changed from mortal to immortal to become children of God.

I Corinthians 15:51-54 gives an amazingly clear description of this process. Jesus here attempts to describe this spiritual process to a carnal thinking Nicodemus. He explains that “what is born of the spirit is spirit.” This does not merely mean that we are renewed “like the Spirit,” or that we are renewed by the Spirit of God, while still in our physical forms. That would be trivializing what is really said here. Jesus Christ said that we are to literally be born into the family of God – to be Spirit beings in the Father’s family. This is made plain by the emphasis on the fact that none yet reside with God in heaven:

“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even  the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13)

Further proof is in Acts 2:34:

“For David is not ascended into the heavens…” This despite David being long dead, and surely worthy of being in heaven as he is a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).

Could anything be plainer? We do not go to heaven or hell upon our death. Those doctrines are man made myths. But we do have the choice of eternal life in the family of God. If we understand, repent, are baptized (Acts 2:38) and then walk in the ways (commandments) of God, we will inherit eternal life as a Spirit member of the family of God. THIS is the concept Jesus tried to explain to Nicodemus.

If we do not accept the conditions God imposes on us – in complete love – will not be written in the book of life and will end up in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15). This IS NOT HELL. This concept is of God, who destroys the wicked quickly and with the least amount of suffering possible, to lose out on eternal life and joy with God. There is no such thing as suffering eternally with God, as He is a God of love, not hatred. It’s time we banish the foolishness of denominational doctrines meant to enslave man in pagan fears and superstitions. They only destroy the beautiful message of the gospel, which Jesus Christ died for.

February 23, 2009

There Can Only Be One True God!

There are thousands of religions in this world, with the eight major ones comprising Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, and Taoism. Besides these, there are hundreds of sects, cults, beliefs, practices and man-devised idols of bizarre appearance.

For many people, religion is a system involving one supreme God. Other religions have a number of different gods, while some have no specific deity to be worshiped. There are also those who practice their religious beliefs in their own personal way, largely independent of organized religion.

Regardless of participation in a religion, only one God IS God. Therefore 99.9% of all worship is wrong because they abound with homespun ideas of God. Men prostrate themselves before carved stones, wood or even photographs – anything to which mankind has affixed the label “God.” None understand that their practice falls far short of the God of the Bible!

Now, you won’t hear many of them call their practice pagan, but neither did ancient Israel when they worshipped a molten calf at the base of Mt. Sinai (Exod. 32:1). They called it a feast to God (verse 5), even though this golden calf was a mere idol! How did the real God feel about this? Read it yourself:

“Thus they changed my glory into the similitude of an ox that eats grass” (Ps. 106:20).

So that biblical occasion was prophetic of what mankind has done ever since. Modern religion is not much different from the ancient Israelites. There are thousands of gods called the true “God, with myriads of pagan idols, worships and practices running contrary to the Bible. Can all of them be right, or is it as Jesus Christ said: “ I will build My (singular) Church…(Math. 16:19). He does not speak of multiple churches or practices. Someone (or most) have to be wrong. Jesus Christ cannot be wrong!

Which God?

So here’s an analogy. If we have two objects (one true and one false), and call both by the same name, does it make both objects identical? Of course it doesn’t! In the same way, if people worship another god, he is still a false god, no matter if the name of the true God is affixed to him.

The Bible shows that we have to look behind the label “God” to see if the religion we practice is of the true God. He has to be defined, just as Moses had to define the true God from Isis, Osiris or Ra to the Israelites, all which all had the label of “God” (Ex. 3:13). This cuts through the bewildering array of denominational ideas of “God.” You need to be sure you have the right God — your Creator!

Creating Gods

The Bible describes the process of man creating his own gods.

“To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like? They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship” (Isa. 46:5-6).

Now Christians may argue with this, but don’t they believe that their Saviour has long flowing hair and soft features? Don’t they know that the Bible states that it is a shame for a man (their Saviour) to have long hair? (I Cor. 11:14).

Where do they get their ideas associated with the term “God”? It isn’t from the Bible! Rather, it was formed from childhood Bible stories, from what parents and friends said, from what was read. People don’t question what they have learned; what they have absorbed from their environment, observed about them at home from parents or heard spoken from the pulpit. Religious prejudices, loyalties and various teachings grow up with them, according to what other people in their lives have come to believe. Religion is also identified with social customs and taboos, so what is religion to one is nonsense to another.

Though a person may adopt a totally different set of convictions later in life, such changes are often based principally on the emotional knowledge that they contrast to former ideas. Few approach scripture with the attitude of correcting their misconceptions. Rather, they simply “choose new gods” (Judges 5:8). Yet, though people change, God says “I change not” (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8).

A different god for different circumstances

Each nation creates its own gods and they always resemble their creators in emotional makeup, power structure, image and patriotic leanings. The earth has a long history of gods who were revengeful, savage, lustful, and ignorant — partial to the people who created them by assisting in robbing and destroying others. Their concept of God can be nothing but their own personal human ideas — unless they know where to go to find the real answer.

Others – free thinkers – have looked at history and spotted this flaw, ultimately concluding that there is no God. But this is an erroneous assumption based on faulty research. They did not look past the false gods that man created, and rejected their merciful, living Creator!

Is God Like Man?

If you really want to know if your “God” is God, then study the Bible, which describes His personal characteristics. God possesses feet (Gen. 3:8), hands (Ex. 31:18), ears (Isa. 59:1), and has a mouth (Isa. 58:14). Various other scriptures show God has feelings, emotions, reason and will. Man is created in the bodily shape and form of the real God (Genesis 1:26-27), with a creative mind like God’s for the vital purpose of being born into the family of God (I John 3:2; Ps. 17:15). Most of this world does not understand this plan of salvation and actually rejects it. But man is wrong in ascribing his wrong motivations to God:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9).

Though man resembles God in physical form, he has much to learn about the characteristics of God’s mind, which are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Gal. 5:22, 23). The Bible describes the characteristics of the natural human mind as adultery, fornication, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, murders, drunkenness, and similar things (Gal. 5:19-21).

This is important to understand as man has used his false religions to justify covering the earth with blood. Torture, killing, rape and other atrocities were perpetrated for service to this “god.” Great churches were built for worship false images, while dungeons housed prisoners in filth. Clouds were said to be filled with angels, while the earth was stocked with slaves. These acts of evil were done in the name of false gods; as were mistakes in astronomy, in geography, in philosophy, in morality. In other words, their gods were as wise or dumb as their creators, and had the same doctrines (a cruel hell fire or eternal torment) and values (many times murderous) as their creators.

Even today, many people continue to deny their Creator as an infinite fiend because of false assumptions. These belie the truth of God which states, “Love your neighbour” (Lev. 19:18). In fact, any man that hates his brother cannot love God, (I John 4:20). How then can most major religions today, which have a long and bloody history, claim to be guided by God? They are deceived by imputing their own evil nature onto their Creator.

The True Christian Approach

The teaching of the Bible states that a man must acquire God’s divine nature (II Pet. 1:4) and mind (Phil. 2:5) — and give up his own nature. Christ is the Captain and example of our salvation (Heb. 2:10, I Pet. 2:21), and He was  stamped with the very character of God, and with the mind of God (II Cor. 4:4; Phil. 2:5-7; Heb. 1:3). Any opinion of the nature or character of God that conflicts with this example is of our own creation! How unlike what we have just read.

God’s mind comes by the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, which requires repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38). It also requires us to discard our own thoughts and ideas of what God loves or hates, what He will do or won’t do. Everything else is invalid unless backed by God’s Word, the Bible! Otherwise, we are as guilty of creating God in our image as any pagan idol maker. Do we perceive the glory of the true God:

“The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Ex. 34:6).

Why settle for an inferior product? If you want to know if your “God” is the true God, then search the scriptures and find the truth.

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