The Apple Of God's Eye

July 8, 2011

Do You Ignore God The Father?

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What are the two most universal errors in the proclaiming of the “Gospel” by the various sects and denominations of traditional Christianity today?

1) They ignore God the Father

2) They proclaim a false gospel—in which God the Father is mostly ignored. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that Jesus Christ, as God’s Messenger, brought. In other words, the message GOD THE FATHER sent to mankind by His Son and Messenger (Malachi 3:1) to mankind.

Jesus said plainly, “I speak that which I have seen with my Father . . . for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me” (John 8:38, 42). Again, Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works” (John 14:10).

In the first sermon Peter spoke to gentiles, he said, “The word [Gospel] which God sent. . . preaching peace by Jesus Christ. . .” (Acts 10:36).

What has been proclaimed? MAN’S “gospel” about the Person of the Messenger, but omitting His MESSAGE, which came from God the Father.

Now how else do they ignore God the Father?

They preach Christ—but Him only. (more…)

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March 29, 2011

Trinitarians: False Teachers With False Doctrines

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The central doctrine of most Protestant and Catholic churches for many centuries has been that of the trinity. This doctrine is so important that the Catholic Encyclopedia states: “This [the trinity], the Church teaches, is the revelation regarding God’s nature which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came upon earth to deliver to the world: and which she [the Catholic Church] proposes to man as the foundation of the whole dogmatic system.”

Both Catholic and Protestant theologians quote Theophilus of Antioch (circa 180 A.D.) as the first person to write about this most important doctrine. But isn’t it strange that such a major doctrine was avoided in religious writings for nearly two centuries? That is almost as long as the United States has been a nation!

Furthermore, Theophilus’ allusion to the traditional trinity — “the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” — is quite nebulous at best. Notice what Theophilus wrote in commenting about the fourth day of creation in the first chapter of Genesis: “And as the sun remains ever full, never becoming less, so does God always abide perfect, being full of all power, and understanding, and wisdom, and immortality, and all good. But the moon wanes monthly, and in a manner dies, being a type of man; then it is born again, and is crescent, for a pattern of the future resurrection. In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the trinity, of God, and His Word, and His wisdom” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, “Theophilus to Autolycus).

Here is the first statement by a theologian that is supposed to teach the doctrine of the trinity. But does his statement really teach this?

Read it — simply. He does not say that God is a trinity of PERSONS, or that the Holy Spirit is a part of that trinity. He just refers to God, His Word and His wisdom.

Theologians have tried to imagine into this unusual statement “their trinity” — and yet even the editors of the Ante-Nicene Fathers state in a footnote that the word translated “wisdom” in English is the Greek word sophia which Theophilus elsewhere used in reference to the Son, not the Holy Spirit.

Theophilus could not possibly have gotten the idea of a trinity from the Bible — if he really did have a trinity of persons in mind, which appears unlikely from the preceding statement — as the Bible nowhere even alludes to God being a trinity.

From the time of Theophilus, it was several hundred years before this doctrine became a part of the Catholic dogma. It was in the last twenty-five years of the FOURTH century that “what might be called the definitive trinitarian dogma ‘one God in three persons’ became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought” (New Catholic Encyclopedia, “Holy Trinity).

From this it is evident that this “central doctrine” of Catholicism and Protestantism was not a part of the “faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3) during or prior to the time of Jude, but was ADDED by later theologians.

The doctrine of the trinity was not what Jesus Christ “came upon the earth to deliver to the world.” He came to preach the Good News of His soon-coming Kingdom, to establish His true Church, to give His life as a sacrifice for all who repent, and to give God’s Holy Spirit to those who are baptized — the Spirit that empowers believers to be ONE with the Father and the Son!

Source: Tomorrow’s World, September/October 1970

March 12, 2011

What Was Really Nailed To The Cross?

thegospelcoalition.org

Does Colossians 2:14-17 prove the Ten Commandments, Sabbaths and Holy Days were “against us,” “contrary to us,” and were therefore blotted out — “nailed to the cross”? Just what do these verses really mean?

Nineteen hundred years ago, on a stony slab of ground jutting upward near Jerusalem, a young man was nailed to an upright stake, suffering a uniquely harsh form of execution.

The one who was put to death was not merely a man — but also GOD in the flesh! And His death was a potential atonement for the sins of all mankind!

We know Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty of our sins. But when He was nailed to that stake, what else was nailed there? Do you know?

A Much Misunderstood Scripture

Many fundamentalist theologians point to Colossians 2:14-17 in an attempt to prove that the entire law of God, sabbath days, and God’s annual festivals were done away — nullified and abrogated at the death of Christ. According to them, these verses say that the Ten Commandments were “against us,” and so Christ took them out of the way, “nailing them to His cross” when He died.

What do these verses in Colossians 2 really mean? Before examining Colossians 2:14-17 word by word and comparing it with other scriptures, let’s understand who the Colossians were, and why Paul wrote to them.

The City of Colossae

Colossae was a city in Asia Minor near Laodicea, in the province of Phrygia, on the south side of the Maeander river. At one time the city was controlled by the Macedonians. It was later transferred to the Seleucids, and finally became subject to Rome.

The Colossians were Gentiles and pagans. In the apostles’ time, the city, like the other cities of Asia Minor, was wholly given over to the worship of false gods and goddesses. Those of the saints who lived in Colossae had formerly been steeped in the same pagan idolatry.

Because pagan teachings and anti-Christian influences were rife in the city, and deceptive teachings of numerous religious philosophies abounded, the Apostle Paul was deeply concerned for the brethren in Colossae. He was actually alarmed lest false teachers, propounders of a mixture of Oriental philosophy and Judaistic beliefs, should again deceive them and subvert their faith in Christ.

In chapter 2, verse 8, Paul warned the brethren in Colossae: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments [elements] of the world, and not after Christ.” (more…)

February 3, 2011

What Is The Origin Of April Fool’s Day?

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April Fools’ Day — or All Fools’ Day, as it is also known is of ancient origin, although its exact origin is obscure. The custom of playing practical jokes on friends on a particular day or sending them on fools’ errands was practiced from earliest times.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica: “What seems certain is that it [April Fools’ Day] is in some way or other a relic of those once universal festivities held at the vernal equinox, which, beginning on old New Year’s Day, the 25th of March, ended on the 1st of April. This view gains support from the fact that the exact counterpart of April-fooling is found to have been an immemorial custom in India. The festival of the spring equinox is there termed the feast of Huli, the last of which is the 31st of March, upon which the chief amusement is the befooling of people by sending them on fruitless errands.”

The practice of April-fooling long antedates Christianity, its roots buried in dimmest antiquity. Obviously, April Fools’ Day is of pagan origin!

Another source declares: “To find the practice so widely prevalent over the earth, and with so near a coincidence of day, seems to indicate that it has had a very early origin amongst mankind” (Book of Days, page 462).

Since the evidence is overwhelming that April Fools’ Day stems from ancient pagan custom and tradition, and since the Bible, the Word of God, nowhere teaches Christians to partake in observing such a day of mockery, foolishness, jesting and ridicule, and since God actually condemns foolish jesting in His Word (Ephesians 5:4), followers of Jesus Christ should have nothing to do with this custom.

God commands Christians, “Learn not the way of the heathen” (Jeremiah 10:2, Authorized Version). Regarding worldly customs inherited from heathenism, God declares: “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you” (II Corinthians 6:17).

 

March 18, 2010

Fulfilled Messianic Prophecies Prove Bible Is Accurate!

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For the gospel writers, one of the main reasons for believing in Jesus was the way His life fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. Following is a list of some of the main prophecies:

  1. Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem – Old Testament, Micah 5:2 – New Testament, Matt. 2:1–6, Luke 2:1-20
  2. Messiah was to be born of a virgin – Old Testament, Isaiah 7:14 – New Testament, Matt. 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-38
  3. Messiah was to be a prophet like Moses – Old Testament, Deut. 18:15, 18-19 – New Testament, John 7:40
  4. Messiah was to enter Jerusalem in triumph – Old Testament, Zech. 9:9 – New Testament, Matt. 21:1-9, John 12:12-16
  5. Messiah was to be rejected by His own people – Old Testament, Isaiah 53:1,3, Psalm 118:22 –  New Testament, Matt. 26:3-4, John 12:37-43, Acts 4:1-12
  6. Messiah was to be betrayed by one of His followers – Old Testament, Psalm 41:9 New Testament, Matt. 26:14-16, 47-50, Luke 22:19-23 (more…)

September 19, 2009

Did Jesus Hide The Truth About Salvation?

1When Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago, it was not to set up His Kingdom (John 18:36). Christ did not, at that time, come to restrain Satan from deceiving the world.

Contrary to what many have been taught, neither did Christ come to earth to call everyone to salvation. Rather, He came to deliver His Father’s message – the gospel of the Kingdom of God. That message included salvation through Christ. But Jesus did not try to get everyone to believe this wonderful message.

Notice the New Testament proof: Jesus spoke to the multitudes in parables to make hide the meaning of what He was saying, so the public would not understand.

” And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand”  (Matt. 13:10-15, Mark 4:11-12).

Christ was plainly speaking ONLY to His disciples, not to everyone else. This point is made clear. In case there is any confusion about the point, the scripture says Christ spoke to the general public ONLY in parables (Matt. 13:34). It was NOT to clarify, but to confuse the issue to the masses. Why? Because it was not the time for most to be forgiven their sins and converted.

” And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?’  (Mark 4:10-13).

Even His disciples had problems with some of the parables and needed explaining. Those “without” means those not called at the present time – the masses. Christ preached the Father’s gospel to the masses as a witness. But He worked with only a few purposely called and chosen disciples, or students. They were the ones Whom He really wanted to understand the truth about salvation and His coming government on earth. And as it was then, it is so now – the message was only to His chosen people – His one true Church. It was not to a mass of confusing religions, of contradictory doctrines and squabbling denominations.

In fact, Jesus often tried to avoid the crowds that followed Him daily (Matt. 5:1, 8:18, 13:36, Mark 3:13, John 5:13, 7:10). He often told those whom He had healed not to tell anyone who healed them (Matt. 8:4, 9:30, 12:16, Mark 5:35, 36, 41-43, 7:35-36.  He did not want everyone to know who He really was (Matt. 16:20, Mark 3:1-12).

This is a point most of mainstream Christianity does not understand. For most of His ministry, Jesus actually avoided publicity. It was not God’s will for everyone to understand who Jesus was. Spiritual understanding will not be granted to the world until Christ removes Satan from earth’s throne.

It may freely be accentuated that Jesus Christ was successful in avoiding publicity, as after 3 1/2 years of preaching, and after His death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, only 120 disciples remained with Him (Acts 1:2-4, 15). The New Testament Church of God was started with these few disciples who would be trained so that they could teach and train others. Christ at first needed only a few teachers, so God called only a few at that time.

Remember, one can only come to Christ if God the Father purposely selects and calls him (John 6:44, 65). Now I know that some will ask, “What about one who really wants salvation – wants to believe in Christ – is willing to truly repent and come out of this world and be led by god’s spirit in a true commandment keeping Christian life. Do you mean this individual cannot come to Christ unless God calls him?”

Answer: That’s exactly what the scriptures say. Such a person is being called by God, otherwise he or she would have no such desire. However, most who think they are in that category have followed a false gospel, a false teaching and are deceived. They have a false idea of what salvation is, a false concept of repentance and a false idea of what God’s way is.

God foretold that He would indeed only call a few into His Church, and that His Church would continue to be small, and even persecuted (Luke 12:32, Matt. 10:16-17, 7:13-14, John 16:33, 2 Timothy 3:12).

So it is that from Christ’s human ministry until His return to earth, God has called only a small minority of people. God’s Church through the centuries has continued to be small – an “embryo” of God’s  new civilization yet to come. That Church is in training to teach the world with and under Christ in the World Tomorrow.

September 7, 2009

Why The Jews Keep The Wrong Passover!

Today, the jews observe the Passover one day later than did Moses, Nehemiah and Jesus Christ and His disciples. Most of the Jews in Palestine in Christ’s day were also keeping the wrong day – beginning the Passover on the 15th of Abib, which is the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread. Why? When did the Jews lose track of the correct day?

At the time of ezra and Nehemiah, the Jews were still keeping the Passover on the 14th of Abib (Ezra 6:19). In Ezra 6:22, the Days of Unleavened Bread are mentioned as a separate event. So at this time (around 519 B.C.), the Jews were still keeping these days properly.

The confusion occurred when the Jews in Palestine were under control of the Egyptians from about 301 to 198 B.C. – after Ezra’s time, but prior to the time of Christ. The Egyptians allowed the Jews to retain their calendar, but the Egyptians began days at sunrise.

Over time, instead of begining days at sunset as God does, the Jews adopted the Egyptian custom. This change in the start of the day caused the Jews to begin keeping Passover (which is to be observed at sunset) on what the Egyptians referred to as Abib 14 – while on God’s calendar, it was actually the beginning of Abib 15.

Even later on, when the Jews finally got back to an evening-to-evening reckoning for the day, they refused to abandon what had become the traditional way of observing Passover.

August 22, 2009

What Is God's Name?

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God’s name is important! We must not use it lightly or irreverently — but with a genuine sense of reverence and awe (Exodus 20:7). But what is the name of the heavenly Father? What is the name of His Son, our Savior, the Messiah? It is important that we know. For there is only one “name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Must we, as some claim, use only Hebrew names when speaking of the Father and the Son? Is salvation based on the pronunciation of God’s name in a certain language, or on a certain set of sounds? Are we unwittingly transgressing the Third Commandment when we say “Jesus Christ,” “God” and “Lord” — because these are not Hebrew names? There is no need for confusion. Read on and understand!

Sacred names?

The notion that we must use only God’s Hebrew names is of no ancient origin. Actually, the Hebrew-names teaching had its beginnings less than 50 years ago, in the late 1930s. At that time, proponents of the idea began to claim that it is gross sin to say the name Jesus Christ, which is an anglicized spelling of the Greek words lesous and Christos. Likewise, they declared it a sin to utter the phrase God the Father, for the English word God was said to be linked etymologically with pagan worship.

The Deity’s name, they alleged, must be spoken only in Hebrew. This is an important prerequisite for entering God’s Kingdom, they claimed. These same few teach that the sacred personal name of our heavenly Father is Yahweh (or, in its contracted form, Yah) and that the name of His Son is Yahshua the Messiah. The word Elohim, too, must be used instead of our equivalent English word God. They declare that when we pray or speak about the Father and the Son, we must use only these Hebrew names. It is wrong, they say, to translate the names of the Deity into English or any other language. In other words, we may freely read and discuss the Bible as translated into the English language in all terms except the names of God or Jesus Christ. Then we must speak Hebrew. Using substitutes for the names Yahweh and Yahshua, we are told, could deny us salvation.

Are Hebrew names the only ones acceptable to God? Is He insulted by anything else?

The tetragrammaton

First, let’s examine the name Yahweh, said to be the personal name of the Heavenly Father. In Exodus 3:15, the Creator introduced His name — YHWH — to Moses. (In many English versions of the Bible, YHWH is translated as LORD, usually printed in capital letters.)

Unrealized by many, the text of the Old Testament consists of consonants, no vowels. The original Hebrew of the Creator’s name as written in the consonantal text of this verse is spelled simply YHWH, not Yahweh. YHWH is often referred to as the “tetragrammaton,” meaning the “four letters.”

The name YHWH is derived from a form of the Hebrew verb to be. It has the same meaning as the name I AM, mentioned in the previous verse (Exodus 3:14). Hebrew scholars say YHWH could mean “he exists” or “he causes to be.” The English equivalents of this word would be “the Ever-living” or “the Eternal.”

Though we cannot be absolutely certain what the missing vowels in YHWH should be, many scholars believe that YHWH was probably vocalized originally as Yahweh.

The Jews, thinking the name YHWH too sacred to be uttered, ceased to even pronounce it after the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. Indeed, it was considered unlawful and blasphemous to utter it. When a Jew reciting orally came to YHWH in a scripture, he substituted the word Adonai (a Hebrew word meaning “Lord” or “Master”) instead. The name of God, in other words, was written YHWH, but pronounced Adonai.

But one thing is certain. The pronunciation of the Hebrew word YHWH was not “Jehovah.” This familiar but erroneous name is a comparatively recent invention, devised by Peter Galatin (the confessor of Pope Leo X) in 1520. Galatin interjected the vowels of the word Adonai (a-o-a) between the four sacred consonants YHWH, producing the hybrid monstrosity YaHoWaH, which later became “Jehovah” in some English Bibles. It is a totally artificial name, formed by adding alien vowels to the Tetragrammaton. It has no claim to legitimacy.

Yahshua is Yahweh!

The first point that must be made in answer to those well-intentioned but misguided advocates of “sacred names” concerns their labeling the Father Yahweh as distinct from His Son Yahshua (which means “Yahweh is salvation”). They claim YHWH is the Father, and that the Son later had to be revealed.

The truth is that the YHWH of the Old Testament is the very One who became Jesus or, in Hebrew, Yahshua! Yahshua, or Jesus, IS Yahweh!

Jesus was the Word (Greek, Logos, “spokesman”) who was with God the Father from the beginning (John 1:1). The Logos was the Creator — “All things were made through Him” (verse 3). That Logos — the Creator — later became flesh and dwelt among us (verse 14). He then declared the Father (verse 18), whom no man had heard or seen before (John 5:37).

Notice further: In Deuteronomy 32:3-4, we read that YHWH (translated “Lord” in many Bibles in verse 3) is “the Rock.” In I Corinthians 10:1-4, we discover that the Rock was none other than Christ. In John 8:58, Jesus reveals that He is the “I AM” of Exodus 3:14. In Hosea 13:4, YHWH says there is no savior but Him. YHWH, then, clearly is Jesus (Acts 4:12)!

Jesus (or Yahshua) was the God of the Old Testament. He was YHWH. With this understanding, one of the major tenets of the sacred names doctrine falls flat! Now look, at another major error in this false teaching.

Evidence from Old Testament

Though the vast majority of the Old Testament was inspired in the Hebrew language, Daniel and Ezra wrote portions of their books in Aramaic or Syriac, the prevalent language spoken throughout the Persian Empire and elsewhere during their time. It had replaced Hebrew as the language of common speech of the Jews.

When these men of God referred to the Creator in those passages, did they use the old Hebrew names, or did they translate them into Aramaic?

Nowhere in the Aramaic passages do we find the names YHWH or Elohim. An examination of the manuscripts reveals that in dozens of places the writers rendered the Hebrew names for God into the Aramaic word Elah. And it is just as proper that the Hebrew El and Elohim should be translated into the English word God.

Moreover, it should be noted that the name El was in use among the pagan Canaanites long before Moses penned the Pentateuch. In the cuneiform religious tablets excavated at Ras Shamra (the ancient Canaanite city of Ugarit in northern Syria), for example, El (El the Bull) is described as the head of the Canaanite pantheon, husband of Asherah and father of all the other gods. If it is a sin for us to use the English word God because pagan Druids used it to refer to their idols, then, by the same reasoning, it is also a sin to use the Hebrew words Elohim and El.

Also notice that the Hebrew word Elohim is used 240 times throughout the inspired Old Testament to refer to pagan, heathen idols (see Exodus 12:12, Deuteronomy 6:14 and Judges 11:24, for example). This usage shows that it is just as permissible to use the English word God today for both the Creator and for pagan idols.

Apostolic example

But what about the New Testament books? The original inspired language of the New Testament was Greek. Greek was virtually a universal language in the first century, widely understood by both Jews and gentiles.

Much of the New Testament was written by the apostle Paul, the apostle sent to the Greek-speaking gentiles who did not know Hebrew or Aramaic. When Paul wrote in Greek to Greek converts, did he pause in mid-sentence and switch from Greek to Hebrew to write Yahweh or Yahshua when faced with a sacred name? Never!

Paul invariably used the Greek words for “God” (theos) and “Lord” (kurios). And he used the Greek name Iesous (Jesus). And so did the other writers of New Testament books, as inspired by God’s Holy Spirit. In 665 places in the New Testament, the apostles translated the Hebrew word YHWH into the Greek word kurios.

There is not one New Testament Greek manuscript with the names of the Deity written in Hebrew!

In the face of these clear facts, “sacred names” proponents have no choice but to deny the New Testament was originally written in Greek. They assert — wrongly — that the whole of the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic (some even say Hebrew), and only later translated into Greek. At the time of this alleged translation, they claim, the sacred Hebrew names were wrongly removed and pagan Greek names substituted. The burden of proof is on them. The evidence? There is none — for it is a totally false notion, devised out of necessity to justify a false premise!

The Aramaic version of the New Testament available today is clearly a later translation from the original inspired Greek. The only copies of the original New Testament writings that have been preserved are in Greek — none in Aramaic or Hebrew.

More proof

Jesus said He came to reveal and declare the name of the Father to men (John 17:6, 26). Yet where do we find any discussion of its pronunciation? Where did Jesus say that Hebrew is the only name we must use? If pronunciation is so all-important, why did Jesus never say so?

Another point: Jesus prophesied that “many [deceivers] will come in My name” (Matthew 24:5). If the only proper form of his name is Yahshua, then Jesus’ prophecy has utterly failed — and He is a false prophet! Have many come in the Hebrew name of Yahshua? No — hardly any. But many deceivers have come in the name of Jesus Christ, which Jesus in this verse clearly calls His name.

In other words, Jesus was saying that false churches would use the true name. Jesus obviously is not concerned with the language in which His name is spoken; it remains His name. There is power and authority in Jesus’ name — the only name by which we may be saved.

Consider further: In John 17:11, Jesus asked the Father to “keep through Your name those whom You have given Me.” As we trace the history of the true Church through the ages; what name do we find it using? “The Church of God,” or the equivalent name in the native language spoken by members of the Church at any particular time! We do not find through history the name “Church of Yahweh” or some other Hebrew form. Either it is acceptable to use the non-Hebrew word God — or the Father failed to answer Jesus’ request!

What’s in a name?

What does the word name really mean, anyway? In Bible usage, a “name” signifies much more than merely a set of vocal sounds. Names convey meaning. They are given for a purpose. “Abraham,” for example, means “father of many nations.” “Israel” means “prevailer with God.” And Yahweh means “the Eternal.”

One’s name summarizes one’s authority, power, reputation and character. It is not merely a certain set of sounds or vocal vibrations that is important, but the meaning and power behind the name.

God’s name has profound significance. The Hebrew text of the Old Testament contains many divine names (some in Hebrew), each descriptive of some aspect of God’s character. Among them is El Shaddai, “almighty God,” as in Genesis 17:1, and Eloheseba’ot, “God of hosts,” as in Amos 5:27. The meaning of each of them is infinitely more important than its mere sound in Hebrew. God’s character remains the same — whatever the language may be.

Moreover, you need to understand that Elohim (God) is a family name (Ephesians 3:14-15)! It has a plural ending — allowing for more than one member in the one divine Family. We may also bear that name — the very name of God! We may enter the God Family by a resurrection.

Performance, not pronunciation

Salvation is not based on pronunciation! Those who would worship the sound of a name — treating it with superstitious and mystical reverence — make an idol out of that sound. Thinking they have some gift of greater knowledge, they actually miss the whole point and intent of the Scriptures, and engender needless strife and division.

Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

Performance, not pronunciation, is of paramount importance to God. We honor His name by obeying Him, not by mouthing a certain sound. Do not be misled by the naive and misguided “scholarship” of those who would make a “show of wisdom.” Their teachings are not substantiated by the Word of God, but are based on a multitude of woefully misapplied scriptures. Speaking the names of God in Hebrew is not a prerequisite for salvation.

Take reassurance from the statement of the apostle Peter, who declared, “If you are reproached for the name of Christ [Christos in the original Greek], blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (I Peter 4:14).

Source: The Good News, January 1986

July 28, 2009

Why Did Jesus Call Peter "Satan?"

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There is a question that naturally pops up with novice Bible students regarding Mark 8:33 and why Jesus called Peter “Satan.”

“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee. But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matthew 16:21-23).

We should realize that Jesus did not mean that Peter was Satan. Rather, He was rebuking the one who influenced Peter to speak to Him in that manner. He was rebuking Satan the devil. Jesus went to the source and rebuked the one responsible for Peter’s contrary attitude (Eph. 2:2). Of course, Peter himself needed to learn a lesson that he must not allow human reason, which can be influenced by Satan, to contend against the will and purpose of God.

July 26, 2009

Was Jesus A Jew?

The word “Jew” is a shortened form of the old English word “Judean,” referring to the descendants of the patriarch Judah. In the New Testament genealogies, both Mary and Joseph are listed as descendants of Judah, through the line of David (Matt. 1 and Luke 3). Jesus was not only a descendant of Judah — He was not only a Jew — but He was of the Davidic — the kingly — line of Judah. Numerous verses refer to Jesus as the son of David.

The apostle Paul was inspired to write: “It is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda” (Heb. 7:14). In Revelation 5:5,
Jesus is called the “Lion of the tribe of Juda.”  Long before His birth, it was prophesied that Shiloh — the Messiah, the Prince of Peace — would come from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10).

In His conversation with the woman at the well, Jesus said, “Ye [Samaritans] worship ye know not what: we [Jews] know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). Jesus used the pronoun “we” and clearly considered Himself to be a Jew. But the Jews rejected Him — He came “unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11).

Paul wrote about God’s sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3). Christ took on the flesh and blood of His physical parent Mary (Heb. 2:14). Jesus was born as a human being by a divine begettal into the nation, area, and family of Judah. Jesus was a Jew!

June 24, 2009

Evolutionists Versus Creationists: Who Has The Truth?

2Evolutionists and creationists are at it again! Each claims to have the answer to the puzzle of creation. But does either represent true science or true religion?

Evolutionary doctrine is deeply ensconced in today’s schools as a legitimate part of most science classes. It is no longer presented as an unproven idea or theory. It is presented as fact. When children go to school they are usually taught the theory of evolution as the only intelligent answer to existence. Virtually all science teachers speak about it as dogmatically as though they saw evolution happen. Class instruction is done so effectively that students generally are embarrassed to admit before their peers that they still believe in a Creator God.

But what if creation were taught in schools? Which version would be taught? Could creationists agree on the exact version to include in the school curriculum?

Liberals, calling themselves theistic evolutionists, consider the Genesis account symbolic or allegorical. They would insist that God brought about the creation through the process of evolution.

Fundamentalist groups, often called scientific creationists, are in the forefront of a crusade to free school children from the evolutionists’ firm grasp. They would teach that all creation, including the sun, moon and stars, took place very recently — hardly more than six or seven thousand years ago. They seek scientific evidence to show that the fossil beds and fossil bearing strata were nearly all laid down during a Flood in the historic past. They contend that life forms were separated and arranged into sequential layers by the water’s turbulent action.

The real beginning

However, the Bible teaches that creation took place anciently — “in the beginning.” That when the creation first appeared the angels were so enthralled with its magnificence they “sang together and … shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). That God placed an archangel on earth to administer God’s government in love and concern. He rebelled (Ezek. 28:15-16). Destruction came to the earth. Then God’s Spirit moved upon the face of the waters (Gen. 1:2) and God began to recreate today’s realm. This time he gave mankind (rather than the angels) dominion over the physical creation.

It is obvious that no single version of creation will satisfy this world’s differing religious groups. So, even if creationists were given equal forum with evolutionists, what version would be taught? Even if a compromise could be worked out, who could be trusted to teach it convincingly enough to compete successfully with evolutionary teachings?

Roles Reversed

The problem that we face in education today is just the reverse of that which men faced a few centuries ago. At that time the church sat above the government in matters of education. Few dared to teach anything contrary to the religious dogma because of its backing from the civil government! When discovery or experimentation uncovered facts that were contrary to traditional teachings, the church not uncommonly vigorously repressed them.

When men were finally freed from that oppression in the pursuit of truth, the liberated world assured itself that it would not again come under such bondage. Educational institutions that were once part of the church became a part of the state. It is under state control that most schools now carry out the mandate of teaching future generations what the adult society considers the ideals of life.

The doctrine of evolution, timidly suggested by Charles Darwin, came just at the right time. It was seized upon and promoted beyond Darwin’s wildest dreams. It became instantly popular and has continued to grow in influence simply because it was the nearest thing to a plausible explanation of creation without a creator.

Interpreting the will of the adult generation to be the desire to be free of hindrance from doing what they want to do, educators feel safe only in taking the evolutionary approach. By denying God’s role in creation, freedom to do as one pleases seemed complete. But, there remains a problem. How can one explain the evidence of God’s creation without the Creator?

This is why not all scientists are evolutionists. A significant number of scientists now acknowledge that the magnificent, intricate universe is so extremely well organized and complex that it requires a supreme designer and sustainer in order to exist. Some freely admit that the God of the Bible is the only intelligent answer. A few even worship him in truth.

The question then becomes, not whether to include religious views of creation in the classrooms, but whether evolution should continue to be taught as a scientific theory of origins. Evolutionists know that the question of origins lies outside of the scope of natural science.

You Must Choose!

If you believe evolution, you must believe that man has no ultimate purpose in the universe. But if you believe in creation, you have a unique choice. You can believe you were created to spend eternity in idleness and ease in heaven, or that you were created for a grand purpose — of becoming a son of God (Heb. 1:1-5, 2:6-10, Rom. 8:29). Most creationists thoughtlessly assume the former view. They do not know we humans were born to become sons of God and that our creation is not yet complete!

We are created in the form and shape of God, but out of matter. We are not yet spirit. Before God will complete our creation and give us eternal, spiritual LIFE from his very own person, we must develop godly CHARACTER. Or we would not be fit to be his sons. This is what human life is all about! Evolution knows nothing of it. Most creationists are blinded by their false ideas of Christ and his message and have not understood it.

God cannot create righteous, godly character by fiat. This has been demonstrated by the creation of angels. God created angels as perfect spiritual beings, but some turned sour and chose to do evil (Ezek. 28:14-16, Rev. 12:3-4). Chief among them was the archangel Lucifer.

We humans were created as fleshly beings and given TEMPORARY physical life so that if we turn sour we will not live forever as evil beings. This physical life was made to ebb away and our bodies to grow old and die.

It is in this physical state of existence that God works in a chosen few, now, to build the type of character that is required of sons of God. We have our part, choosing God’s ways and his laws, striving against temptation and resisting the devil and the practices of this world. This, if you please, is the tree of life of Genesis 2:9 and 3:22 that Adam and Eve rejected.

Only those whom God now calls and works with can enter the process of further creation. When God calls us he sets before us the same choice as he set before Adam and Eve. He says to us just as clearly as he said to ancient Israel: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deut. 30:19).

You cannot create righteous character within yourself by yourself. God must do that in and through you by his Spirit, which is his very nature. You must become willingly and wholeheartedly oriented toward God, like clay in the hand of the Master Potter (Isa. 64:8, Jer. 18:1-6, Rom. 9:20-21). You must TRUST him to shape you into what he decides. You cannot start until the Potter singles you out and begins to deal with you.

Only then, if you become soft and pliable through the addition of God’s Holy Spirit, can you begin to be shaped into the CHARACTER of God. If you turn away, to remain lumpy and hard, he will cast you aside and work with other clay.
The ways of God are outlined broadly by the Ten Commandments and are enlarged upon throughout the rest of the Bible. The example of how to live by them successfully and perfectly was first demonstrated by Jesus Christ (I John 2:6), who blazed the trail for all who henceforth will live God’s spiritual way.

When This Truth Will Prevail

One day truth will be taught in all schools. It will be God’s truth as recorded in the Bible. Not false religions of men. It will be truly scientific. It will acknowledge not only the Creator but his laws and his authority. It will teach us all that there is to know about the creation around us; how and why it was put here, and what our role shall be according to God’s exciting plan and purpose.

In that day enlightenment will be so complete that it will make today’s knowledge explosion seem like the popping of corn by comparison! Here’s how it will be brought about:

When Christ returns to the earth to bring the whole world peace, he will come to set up the kingdom of God. It will be a world-ruling empire and Christ will be its “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:6, 16; 20:4). When forced to think about God’s perfect laws of love and happiness, people will become more enthralled with life than they have ever imagined that they could be.

Stubborn evolutionists, confused creationists — and all men alike — will be ashamed that they strove so hard to deny God’s way while they clung to their own folly. What a wonderful day that will be!

Source: The Plain Truth, February 1983

June 18, 2009

Mystery Of The Ages: Free Book Clarifies Life's Unanswered Questions!

1One of the best books I have ever read is called, “Mystery Of The Ages,” by Herbert W. Armstrong. It really clarifies the most important knowledge ever revealed from the supreme Source of understanding—about man, his origins, his identity, the world around him—knowledge that has mystified humans since mankind first appeared on Earth.

I highly recommend this book as it is written in a straightforward manner, with no twisted scriptures, no private interpretations – nothing but factual truth, straight out of the word of God.

If you have an open mind, then you are ready for the true biblical answers to seven of life’s most puzzling mysteries:

1. WHO AND WHAT IS GOD?

God reveals himself in his Word, the Holy Bible, yet almost no one has understood it. The Bible, as author Bruce Barton said, is “the book that nobody knows.” The Bible itself is the basic mystery that reveals all other mysteries.

2. THE MYSTERY OF ANGELS AND EVIL SPIRITS

Is the existence of spirit beings fact or myth? Is there a devil? Did God create a devil? If there are holy angels, what is their purpose? Do evil spirits influence humans and even governments today? Do they affect your own life?

3. THE MYSTERY OF MAN

What and why is humanity? Is man an immortal soul? Do the dead know what the living are doing? Is man flesh and blood being with an immortal soul within? Is there meaning and purpose to human life?

4. THE MYSTERY OF CIVILIZATION

How did civilization develop? Why does our world of awesome advancement and progress also have such appalling evils? Why can’t the minds that develop marvels of science and technology solve the problems of human helplessness?

5. THE MYSTERY OF ISRAEL

Are the Jews the ancient nation of Israel? Why did God raise up one special nation? Are they God’s favorites? Does God discriminate against other nations? Is God a respecter of persons? What is Israel’s purpose in the divine order of things?

6. THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH

Why should there be the institution of the Church in the world? Is it one Christ-originated Church, or does it consist of many differing denominations? Does it have government and authority? How could one recognize the true Church today?

7. THE MYSTERY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Jesus’s gospel message was “the kingdom of God.” Is the kingdom of God something within each person? Is it something that may be set up in men’s hearts? Is it the institution of the Church? Or is it something else altogether?

These are the seven great mysteries that concern the very lives of every human being on earth. The plain truth of all these mysteries is revealed in this eye-opening book, and it is yours FREE for the asking! It is given away here.

The Apostle Paul: Commandment Breaker Or Keeper?

www.art.com/MILLIONS of professing Christians assume Paul taught Christians to disobey the Ten Commandments. If you keep the Law of God, it is claimed, you are under a curse! You probably have heard this teaching from childhood and have assumed it to be true.

To be sure, many have sincerely thought and assumed that this is New Testament teaching. But God commands us to quit assuming — to “prove all things …” (I Thess. 5:21).

Does it make any difference to God whether you obey Him?

How to Begin

Some of what Paul wrote is admittedly difficult to understand. Peter was inspired to say that Paul wrote “some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable WREST, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (II Pet. 3:16).

But on the other hand, Paul also wrote much which is clear, plain and EASY to understand. In those passages it would be impossible to misunderstand what he is saying.  The logical way to understand Paul’s teachings about the Ten Commandments is to go first to his plain, clear, straightforward statements on this subject. Only when we first understand these, are we ready to intelligently study Paul’s more difficult passages.

However, because the natural mind of man has a built-in hostility toward God and His Ten Commandment Law (Rom. 8:7), men don’t follow this logical approach. Instead of understanding Paul’s difficult statements in the light of his PLAIN, CLEAR, easy-to-understand words, many do just the opposite. They totally discard, reject and IGNORE Paul’s direct, straightforward, UNMISTAKABLE statements about the Ten Commandments. They then twist and distort his more difficult-to-be-understood statements.

What Paul Clearly Taught

Now what are some of Paul’s clear statements about the Ten Commandments? One such statement is found in I Corinthians 6:9-10. Here Paul warns: “Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers… nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

In this one short passage the Apostle Paul names the breaking of FOUR of the Ten Commandments — idolatry, adultery, stealing and coveting — and dogmatically states that any found guilty of breaking these commandments will not inherit God’s Kingdom! And he warns us not to deceive ourselves by thinking otherwise!

Notice another unmistakably clear and easy-to-understand passage: “Now the works of the flesh … are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry… wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).

This passage repeats two commandments — those pertaining to adultery and idolatry — and adds one more — the command against murder.

This makes a total of FIVE commandments which Paul has specifically and unequivocally stated Christians must keep if they are to inherit or enter God’s Kingdom. And since idolatry, which is mentioned in both of these passages, automatically breaks the first commandment, which is “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3), Paul has actually commanded obedience to six of the Ten Commandments in just two short passages!

Now turn to Colossians 3:5-9. This passage reads: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of DISOBEDIENCE… But now ye also PUT OFF ALL THESE: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. LIE NOT one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.”

This scripture names and condemns disobedience to two more of the Ten Commandments — bearing false witness, or lying, and taking God’s name in vain through blasphemy and filthy talk. (See also Ephesians 4:29.)

Next open your Bible to Ephesians 6:1-2. Here we read, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.” This is a direct quote from the commandment in Exodus 20:12. Yet here Paul explicitly COMMANDS Christians to obey it!

This makes a total of NINE commandments which Paul has distinctly and separately named as being binding on Christians. Only the Sabbath command is left. Let’s see what Paul taught about it.

Paul and the Fourth Commandment

Every argument imaginable has been advanced against the command to keep holy the day God made holy (Ex. 20:8). Some want to use time as they please. They don’t want God telling them what to do! Some hate this command more than any other, it seems. It is the “test commandment” to show who God’s people really are.

Did Paul obey this commandment? Did he personally keep the day God made holy — and did he teach others to obey it? Let’s not just guess or assume. Let’s examine the Scriptures and “prove all things.”

In Acts 13 we have the account of Paul and Barnabas coming to Antioch in Pisidia. There they “went into the synagogue ON THE SABBATH DAY, and sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on” (Acts 13:14-15).

Then Paul stood up and spoke, preaching Christ to them.

“And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the GENTILES besought that these words might be preached to them THE NEXT SABBATH” (verse 42).

Now since Paul was preaching “the grace of God” (verse 43), here was his opportunity to straighten out these Gentiles. Notice what Paul did.

“And the NEXT SABBATH DAY came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God” (verse 44). Here Paul waited a whole week in order to preach to the Gentiles upon the day God made holy!

But this is not the only passage showing that Paul obeyed this commandment. In Acts 18:1-11 there is the account of Paul living with Aquila and Priscilla for one and one-half years (verse 11). During this time we read that he “reasoned in the synagogue EVERY SABBATH, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks” (verse 4).

Notice it! This New Testament passage tells us that Paul labored the six working days and taught in the synagogue every Sabbath for one and one-half years!

Likewise in Acts 17:2, Paul “as his manner was, went in unto them, and three SABBATH DAYS reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” It was Paul’s MANNER — his CUSTOM — to keep God’s day holy. Did he follow Christ in this? Certainly! Jesus, “as his custom was… went into the synagogue ON THE SABBATH DAY” (Luke 4:16).

It was Christ’s custom to keep the Sabbath. Paul followed Christ and he commands Christians: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (I Cor. 11:1). Paul kept the fourth commandment and he commands Christians to follow him in this regard.

For a final clincher of this fact, turn to Hebrews 4:9. Here, according to the original inspired Greek, Paul makes the direct statement, “There remaineth therefore a sabbath observance to the people of God.”

This passage is obscured in the King James Version which reads, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” But the word translated “rest” comes from the Greek word sabbatismos and, as the marginal readings in many Bibles show, means “keeping of the Sabbath observance.” Because the King James translators didn’t believe this verse meant what it said, they translated sabbatismos by the obscure word “rest.”

This verse, then, tells us point-blank that those who really are God’s people will be keeping holy the day He made holy.

What Will YOU Do?

The evidence is overwhelming! Paul personally kept ALL TEN of God’s Ten Commandments. In doing this he followed in the steps of Jesus Christ. This is why Paul could say, “Be ye followers [imitators] of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
Christ taught obedience to the Law. In John 15:10 Jesus said, “I have kept my Father’s commandments….” He says to His true followers, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love.”

The question for us today is: Are WE willing to follow Christ, too? If we, like Paul, are crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20) and Christ lives His life in us by His Spirit, Christ IN us will still keep God’s Ten Commandments, for He is the SAME, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

There are hundreds of additional New Testament passages covering obedience to God and His Law, both from the writings of Paul and others. We have, however, given sufficient information to prove conclusively and beyond a shadow of a doubt that Paul DID teach obedience to the Ten Commandments.

Don’t be deceived by those who teach disobedience! Many who hate God’s Law are very skillful at putting a clever twist on certain of Paul’s more difficult passages to make it appear that the Ten Commandments are “done away.”

Heed Peter’s warning! Don’t be deceived!

Source: Tomorrow’s World, January 1972

June 14, 2009

The Violence Of Islam

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Editors Comment: I posted this article  from probe.org in its entirety because I thought it contained a good insight into a politically incorrect subject. Too many are willing to minimize what is plainly evident before our eyes today. Islam is not a religion of peace, though many practice it that way. From the outset, as the article states, Muhammad conquered with the sword and this philosophy is now manifesting itself again in a huge way worldwide. Any opposition is worn down through suppression – either violent or non-violent through political pressure by integration into other societies.
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On September 11, 2001 Americans found themselves confronted by an enemy they knew little about. We had suddenly lost more lives to a sneak attack than had been lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor and yet few understood the reasons for the hatred that prompted the destruction of the World Trade Center towers and part of the Pentagon. Even in the days that followed, Americans were getting mixed signals from the media and from national politicians. One voice focused on the peaceful nature of Islam, going so far as to argue that Osama bin Laden could not be a faithful Muslim and commit the acts attributed to him. Others warned that bin Laden has a considerable following in the Muslim world and that even if he was removed as a potential threat many would step in to replace him with equal or greater fervor.

Some argued that fundamentalist Muslims are no different than fundamentalist believers of any religion. The problem is not Islam, but religious belief of any type when taken too seriously. This view holds that all forms of religious belief, Christian, Jewish, or Islamic can promote terrorism. Robert Wright, a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania writes that:

If Osama Bin Laden were a Christian, and he still wanted to destroy the World Trade Center, he would cite Jesus’ rampage against the money-changers. If he didn’t want to destroy the World Trade Center, he could stress the Sermon on the Mount. [1]

His view is that terrorism can be justified by any religion when people are economically depressed. He adds “there is no timeless, immutable essence of Islam, rooted in the Quran, that condemns it to a medieval morality.” [2]

This claim points to the question: Is there something inherent in Islam that makes it more likely to resort to violence than other world religions like Christianity or Buddhism? While it is important to admit that all religions and ideologies have adherents that are willing to use violence to achieve what they believe are justified ends, it does not follow that all religions and ideologies teach equally the legitimacy of violent means.

People have committed horrible atrocities in the name of Jesus Christ, from the inquisitions to the slaying of abortionists. However, it is my position that it is not possible to justify these actions from the teachings of Christ Himself. Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus teach that one should kill for the sake of the Gospel, the Kingdom of God, or to defend the honor of Jesus Himself.

What about Islam? My contention is that Islam’s founder Muhammad, and the Quran, its holy book, condone violence as a legitimate tool for furthering Allah’s goals. And that those who use violence in the name of Allah are following a tradition that began with the very birth of Islam.

Muhammad

As mentioned earlier, there are followers in most of the world’s belief systems that justify the use of violence to achieve their religious or political goals. However, this says more about the sinfulness of humanity than it does about the belief system itself. It is important to look past the individual behavior of a few followers to the message and actions of the founder of each system and his or her closest disciples. In the case of Islam, this means Muhammad and the leadership of Islam after Muhammad’s death.

One cannot overstate the centrality of Muhammad’s example within the religion of Islam. One of the greatest Muslim theologians, al- Ghazzali, writes of Muhammad:

Know that the key to happiness is to follow the sunna [Muhammad’s actions] and to imitate the Messenger of God in all his coming and going, his movement and rest, in his way of eating, his attitude, his sleep and his talkGod has said: “What the messenger has brought–accept it, and what he has prohibited–refrain from it!” (59:7). That means, you have to sit while putting on trousers, and to stand when winding a turban, and to begin with the right foot when putting on shoes. [3]

Although considered only human, one Muslim writer describes Muhammad as “[T]he best model for man in piety and perfection. He is a living proof of what man can be and of what he can accomplish in the realm of excellence and virtue. . . .” [4] So it is important to note that Muhammad believed that violence is a natural part of Islam. Many passages of the Quran, which came from Muhammad’s lips support violence. Followers are told to “fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them (9:5),” and to “Fight those who believe not in God, nor the Last Day.” (9:29) Muhammad also promises paradise for those who die in battle for Allah, “Those who left their homes . . . or fought or been slain,–Verily, I will blot out from them their iniquities, and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing beneath;–A reward from the Presence of God.” (3:195; cf. 2:244; 4:95)

While living in Medina, having escaped from persecution in Mecca, Muhammad supported himself and his group of followers by raiding Meccan caravans. His fame grew after a stunning defeat of a large, well defended, caravan at Badr. Muhammad was also willing to have assassinated those who merely ridiculed his prophetic claims. The list of those killed included Jews, old men and women, slaves, and a mother of five children who was killed while she slept. [5] Also, in order to violate a long-standing ban against warfare during a sacred month, he claimed a new revelation that gave him permission to kill his enemies. [6]

Violent expediency seems to have been the guiding rule of Muhammad’s ethics.

Early Islam

Muhammad’s life as a prophet was a precarious one. After fleeing Mecca and establishing himself in Medina, Muhammad was constantly being tested militarily by those who considered him a religious and political threat. Although at an initial disadvantage, Muhammad wore down his opponents by raiding their caravans, seizing valuable property, taking hostages and disrupting the all-important economic trade Mecca enjoyed with the surrounding area. [7] The turning point for Muhammad and his followers seems to have come in what is known as the Battle of the Ditch or the Siege of Medina. A large Meccan force failed to take the city and destroy the new religion. Suspecting that a local Jewish tribe had plotted with the Meccans to destroy him, Muhammad had all the men of the tribe killed and the women and children sold into slavery. [8] In 630 A.D. Muhammad returned to Mecca with a large force and took it with little bloodshed. He rewarded many of its leaders financially for surrendering and within a short period of time a large number of the surrounding tribes came over to this new and powerful religious and political movement.

Muhammad continued building his following by using a combination of material enticements, his religious message, and force when necessary. With the fall of Mecca, many other tribes realized Muhammad’s position as the most powerful political leader in western Arabia and sent representatives to negotiate agreements with him.

Muhammad’s death in 632, just two years after his triumphant return to Mecca, thrust an important decision on the community of believers. Should they choose one person to lead in Muhammad’s place or do they separate into many communities. The decision was made to pick Abu Bakr, the Prophet’s father-in-law and early supporter to assume the role of caliph or successor to Muhammad. Immediately, many who had submitted to Muhammad refused to do so to Abu Bakr. Several tribes wanted political independence, some sought to break religiously as well. The result is known as the Apostasy wars. At the end of two years of fighting to put down both religious and political threats, Abu Bakr had extended his control to include the entire Arabian Peninsula. Islam was now in position to extend its influence beyond Arabia with a large standing army of believers.

Violence and warfare seems to have dominated early Islam. Two of the first four caliphs were assassinated by internal rivals, and within the first fifty years of its existence Islam experienced two bloody civil wars. Rival tribal loyalties within and the religious struggle or jihad against the Byzantine and Sasanian Empires made the first century of Islam a bloody one.

Jihad

Historian Paul Johnson writes,

[T]he history of Islam has essentially been a history of conquest and re-conquest. The 7th-century “breakout” of Islam from Arabia was followed by the rapid conquest of North Africa, the invasion and virtual conquest of Spain, and a thrust into France that carried the crescent to the gates of Paris. [9].

From the beginning, Muslims “saw their mission as jihad, or militant effort to combat evil and to spread Muhammad’s message of monotheism and righteousness far and wide.” [10] Although many Muslims in America have argued that jihad primarily refers to a struggle or striving for personal righteousness, Bernard Lewis, professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University writes that, “The more common interpretation, and that of the overwhelming majority of the classical jurists and commentators, presents jihad as armed struggle for Islam against infidels and apostates.” [11]

Although highly regulated by Islamic law, the call for every able- bodied Muslim to defend Islam began with Muhammad and has continued with the fatwas of Osama bin Laden in 1996 and 1998. Bin Laden argues that his attacks on American civilians and military has three specific complaints: America has placed infidel troops on holy soil in Saudi Arabia; America has caused the death of over a million Iraqi children since Desert Storm; and American support for the evil Zionist nation of Israel.

Regarding the history of jihad in Islam, an ex-chief justice of Saudi Arabia has written “[A]t first ‘the fighting’ was forbidden, then it was permitted and after that it was made obligatory, . . .” Muslims are to fight against those who oppress Islam and who worship others along with Allah. [12]. He adds that even though fighting is disliked by the human soul, Allah has made ready an immense reward beyond imagination for those who obey. He also quotes Islamic tradition, which says, “Paradise has one hundred grades which Allah has reserved for the Mujahidin who fight in His Cause.” [13]

Numerous passages in the Qur’an refer to Allah’s use of violence. A surah titled “The Spoils of War” states, “O Prophet! Rouse the Believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you . . . they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers: for these are a people without understanding.” [14] Another says, “O ye who believe! When ye meet the Unbelievers in hostile array, never turn your backs to them. . . .” [15] It adds that those who do will find themselves in hell, a significant incentive to fight on.

Muslims and Modernity

Islam was born in the midst of persecution and eventually conquest. Muhammad was adept at both religious and military leadership, but what about modern Islam? Do all Muslims see jihad in the light of conquest and warfare?

While it is probably safe to say that American born Muslims apply the teachings of Muhammad and Islamic traditions differently than Saudi or Iranian Muslims. The use of violence in the propagation of Islam enjoys wide support. Part of the reason is that the concept of separation of church and state is alien to Islam. Muhammad Iqbal, architect of Pakistan’s split from Hindu India, wrote, “The truth is that Islam is not a church. It is a state conceived as a contractual organism. . . .” [16] Responding to the inability of Islam to accommodate the modern world, an Algerian Islamic activist points to the example of Muhammad:

The Prophet himself did not opt to live far away from the camp of men. He did not say to youth: “Sell what you have and follow me. . . .” At Medina, he was not content merely to be the preacher of the new faith: he became also the leader of the new city, where he organized the religious, social and economic life. . . . Later, carrying arms, he put himself at the head of his troops. [17]

The powerful combination within Islam of immediate paradise for those who die while fighting for Allah and the unity of political, religious, and economic structures, helps us to understand the source of suicide bombers and children who dream of becoming one. Young Palestinians are lining up by the hundreds in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to volunteer for suicide missions. Eyad Sarraj, the director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Project, detects a widespread zeal. “If they are turned down they become depressed. They feel they have been deprived of the ultimate award of dying for God.” [18] Palestinian support for suicide bombers is now at 70 to 80 percent.

Islam and Christianity both require its followers to sacrifice and turn from the world and self. Yet while Islam equates political conquest with the furtherance of Allah’s reign, Jesus taught that we render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. Christianity recognizes that the advancement of God’s kingdom is not necessarily a political one. The New Testament did not advocate the overthrow of the Roman Empire. Muslims are given the example of Muhammad’s personal sacrifice in battle so that Allah’s enemies might be defeated. Christians are given the example of Christ who gave His life as a sacrifice, so that even His enemies might believe and have eternal life.

Notes

1. Robert Wright, http://www.msnbc.com/news, 10/30/2001.
2. Ibid.
3. Norman L. Geisler & Abdul Saleeb, Answering Islam: The Crescent in the Light of the Cross, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1993), p. 82.
4. Ibid., 84.
5. Ibid., 175.
6. The Quran states, “They ask thee Concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: ‘Fighting therein is a grave (offense)’; But graver is it In the sight of God To prevent access to the path of God.” (2:217)
7. John Esposito, The Oxford History of Islam, (Oxford University Press, 1999), p 10.
8. Geisler & Saleeb, p. 79.
9. Paul Johnson, National Review, October 15, 2001.

10. John Esposito, The Oxford History of Islam, p. 13.
11. Bernard Lewis, “Jihad vs. Crusade,” The Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2001.
12. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Muhammad Bin Humaid, “Jihad in the Qur’an and Sunnah,” http://islamworld.net/jihad.html, p. 4.
13. Ibid., p. 8.
14. Qur’an 8:65.
15. Qur’an 8:15-16.
16. Kenneth Cragg & Marston Speight, Islam From Within, (Wadsworth Inc., 1980), p. 213.
17. Ibid., p 228.
18. Eric Silver, “Bomber quit intelligence service to join Hamas two days before attack,” Independent Digital (UK) Ltd, 03 December 2001, www.independent.co.uk.

May 31, 2009

Is Suicide The "Unpardonable Sin?"

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incredimazing.com

The Bible gives no specific command regarding suicide, nor does the word itself appear in the Bible. There are, however, references to seven people who killed themselves: Samson (Judges 16); Abimelech ( Judges 9); Saul (I Samuel 31); Saul’s armorbearer (I Samuel 31); Zimri (I Kings 16:18); Ahithophel (II Samuel 17:23); and Judas (Matthew 27:5). The earlier conduct of all seven was morally corrupt, and except for Samson their suicides were simply attempts to escape their well-deserved fates.

“Suicide means self-murder and murder is forbidden by the Sixth Commandment: “Thou shalt do no murder.”  God has not given an individual — even one who could rightly judge himself deserving of the death penalty (as could most of the above) — the right to pass such a sentence. Suicide is not an acceptable way of escaping punishment, dishonor or the like.”

In a different case, however, Samson died a hero, because his suicide was in fact a dedication of his life, at long last, wholly to the service of God in the liberation of Israel from the Philistines. His motive was not just to kill himself to escape. Christ Himself similarly gave His life for others.

Since a suicide experiencing quick death or unconsciousness has no opportunity to repent of his murder in this life, some have wondered if suicide is the unpardonable sin. The answer is no, because the unpardonable sin is only unpardonable because it is something a person refuses to repent of.

God is merciful, not willing that any should perish (II Peter 3:9), but He simply has not called most people to repentance in this life. They will have their chance in a resurrected life after the millennium in the period known as the White Throne Judgment.

May 24, 2009

The First "Christian" Trinitarian

The central doctrine of most Protestant and Catholic churches for many centuries has been that of the trinity. This doctrine is so important that the Catholic Encyclopedia states:

“This [the trinity], the Church teaches, is the revelation regarding God’s nature which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came upon earth to deliver to the world: and which she [the Catholic Church] proposes to man as the foundation of the whole dogmatic system.”

Both Catholic and Protestant theologians quote Theophilus of Antioch (circa 180 A.D.) as the first person to write about this most important doctrine. But isn’t it strange that such a major doctrine was avoided in religious writings for nearly two centuries?

Furthermore, Theophilus’ allusion to the traditional trinity — “the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” — is quite nebulous at best. Notice what Theophilus wrote in commenting about the fourth day of creation in the first chapter of Genesis:

“And as the sun remains ever full, never becoming less, so does God always abide perfect, being full of all power, and understanding, and wisdom, and immortality, and all good. But the moon wanes monthly, and in a manner dies, being a type of man; then it is born again, and is crescent, for a pattern of the future resurrection. In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the trinity, of God, and His Word, and His wisdom” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, “Theophilus to Autolycus”).

Here is the first statement by a theologian that is supposed to teach the doctrine of the trinity. But does his statement really teach this? Read it — simply. He does not say that God is a trinity of PERSONS, or that the Holy Spirit is a part of that trinity. He just refers to God, His Word and His wisdom. Theologians have tried to imagine into this unusual statement “their trinity” — and yet even the editors of the Ante-Nicene Fathers state in a footnote that the word translated “wisdom” in English is the Greek word sophia which Theophilus elsewhere used in reference to the Son, not the Holy Spirit. Theophilus could not possibly have gotten the idea of a trinity from the Bible — if he really did have a trinity of persons in mind, which appears unlikely from the preceding statement — as the Bible nowhere even alludes to God being a trinity.

From the time of Theophilus, it was several hundred years before this doctrine became a part of the Catholic dogma. It was in the last twenty-five years of the FOURTH century that “what might be called the definitive trinitarian dogma ‘one God in three persons’ became thoroughly assimilated INTO Christian life and thought” (New Catholic Encyclopedia, “Holy Trinity”).

From this it is evident that this “central doctrine” of Catholicism and Protestantism was not a part of the “faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3) during or prior to the time of Jude, but was ADDED by later theologians. The doctrine of the trinity was not what Jesus Christ “came upon the earth to deliver to the world.” He came to preach the Good News of His soon-coming Kingdom, to establish His true Church, to give His life as a sacrifice for all who repent, and to give God’s Holy Spirit to those who are baptized — the Spirit that empowers believers to be ONE with the Father and the Son!

Source: Tomorrow’s World, September/October 1970

May 20, 2009

Is Michael The Archangel The Individual Who Later Became Christ?

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Is Michael, the archangel, is the individual who later became Jesus Christ? No, Michael is not Christ. He is the spirit being, “your prince” (Dan. 10:21; 12:1), sent to serve Israel. Michael and the other princes over the nations are all subject to Christ, who is Ruler under the Father.

The chief princes among God’s created spirit beings have great power and authority over the nations. But what is the limit of their authority? How far does their authority and power extend? In Jude 8 and 9 we read: “These filthy dreamers [evil men] … despise dominion [authority], and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil … about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord [Christ — who is Michael’s superior] rebuke thee.”

While evil men have little or no respect for those in authority, Michael, who is an archangel, showed respect to the office of authority of Satan the devil. By this scripture we can see very clearly that MICHAEL DOES NOT HAVE GREATER RANK THAN SATAN. If he did, he would have given the devil a command — he could have done the rebuking himself, instead of saying, “The Lord rebuke thee.” But Christ does have greater rank.

Matthew 4:10 records Christ’s statement to Satan: “Get thee hence, Satan.” Christ gave Satan a sharp command. He was in authority over Satan because He created him as the cherub Lucifer (Ezek. 28:15). Christ is the One through whom the Father created all things (Col. 1:15-16; John 1:1-3).

It is obvious that Michael could not have been Christ. Rather, he is an angelic being who is in authority over other
lesser angelic beings in God’s Government. He is one of the leaders among God’s faithful angels.

May 15, 2009

The Bible Explained

1The Bible contains history, prophecy, spiritual knowledge, wisdom and truth. Within its pages is the most needed key knowledge about the origins of all life. It is the basis of all true knowledge. No other book in the history of man reveals what this book reveals. It gives details about us—what we are and God’s intended purpose for all mankind.

The main flow of human history was written down in the Bible before it occurred. What happened to ancient Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Persia, and Rome was recorded 2,000 or more years ago. What is happening and is sure to happen to modern powerful nations today was also written down in the Bible.

It also contains God’s divine revelation that mankind is not capable of discovering. Mankind is limited to acquiring material knowledge that comes by the five senses. Yet for man to live happily and peacefully with God and other humans, he needs spiritual knowledge. Only the Bible can provide this type of education. However, it does not contain all knowledge. It is simply the starting point.

Still, very few people, even most Christians, understand and believe their Bible in full (Colossians 1:26; Matthew 15:8-9; Luke 6:46) They have no idea it is an instruction book for mankind on how to be happy and successful. They do not believe it is  the literal “Word of God” (2 Timothy 3:16) — which is also one of Jesus Christ’s titles (Revelation 19:13).

Christianity in general disagrees as to what the Bible actually says on critical doctrines. The Christian world is thoroughly confused about Christ’s return. Even Bible scholars dissect the scriptures by picking out only a few verses, or small parts of verses, to support their own ideas. They read different meanings into the Scriptures, taking great liberties by ignoring clear rebuke. Others have worked tirelessly to inject meanings into verses to support their own false doctrines, mercilessly subjecting it to private interpretation against instructions to do so (2 Peter 1:20). It is no wonder that people cannot see the plain truth so simply presented within its pages. We are a society plagued with Bible illiteracy.

There is an explanation for this phenomenon. The Bible is actually not written to be understood by regular reading. It is best studied by subject; finding all the related scriptures on a topic, and accepting the plain meaning. It is also coded – with large swaths hidden from meaning by those not called. Several verses show that Christ Himself purposefully hid His meaning from the general public. (Matthew 13:10-11; Luke 8:10; Luke 10:21-24).

Still, the Bible is intended to be decoded by those whom God calls – his true Christians (Matthew 13:11; Mark 4:11). They understand that the Bible is 100% true, 100% of the time. (Psalms 119:160; John 17:17). It is their foundation of knowledge, covering principles for success and happiness for every situation they come across. (Psalm 111:10).

It is God’s desire to make His spiritual knowledge plain to any willing to see (1 Corinthians 2:9-14; James 3:15-17). Unfortunately, leaders in government, education and religion reject what God says is coming.

Here are some Bible stats:

  1. The Holy Bible is a book on fire as the world’s bestseller, with an estimated 6 billion copies printed between 1816 and 1992.
  2. The Bible has been translated into approximately 2,230 languages and dialects.
  3. Parts of the Bible are over 4,000 years old.
  4. The Bible was written over a 2,000-year period by about 40 authors on three continents (Africa, Asia and Europe).
  5. The King James Bible is divided into 39 Old Testament books, originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic, and 27 New Testament books, originally written in Greek. That’s 66 total.
  6. The King James Bible has: 1,189 chapters, 31,173 verses and 773,692 words.

The Bible breakdown:

SECTION BOOKS CONTENTS
The Law Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy God’s law, the history of ancient Israel, and prophecy.
The Prophets Former Prophets: Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings. Major Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel. Minor Prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
History and prophecy for ancient and modern Israel.
The Writings Ruth, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations
History, prophecy, poetry and other writings.
The Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
Biography of Jesus’s life
The Acts Acts
Church history
The Epistles Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John, Jude
Letters from Christ’s apostles to their brethren
Revelation Revelation
Prophecy

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

May 12, 2009

Once Saved, Always Saved: Are You Sure About That?

Today’s popular evangelical maxim “once saved, always saved” has transformed into a virtual “cheap and easy” salvation for millions. The gospel call to repent and believe – to diligently make a personal effort to persevere in the faith – has been overshadowed by the new doctrine that Christians can live just like anyone else in the world.  Gone are warnings to watch and pray, endure to the end, and to make your calling and election sure.

In their place are cool Christian clubs called churchianity, public shows of prayer, Christian rock bands, and young disciples in jeans and t-shirts spouting tender assurances of eternal salvation as a gift which God cannot take back. Never mind the ten commandments – everybody makes mistakes, so don’t don’t sweat it, we’re all under grace, right?

Is this the message of the Bible though? Is it really true that once a person has truly believed and put their faith in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are eternally saved? In other words, there is absolutely nothing that this person, can do which could nullify or forfeit that salvation. It doesn’t matter if that person kicks a dog, punches an elderly lady or robs a bank. No matter what his spiritual outlook – NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING will prevent him from a loss of salvation. Almighty God supposedly takes over his life to hold him, keep him, and sanctify him regardless of what point of the law has been broken.

What does “saved” mean?

A favourite OSAS phrase comes from the Book of Ephesians 2:8-9, to wit:

“For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

But what does it really mean to be “saved?” Not one single individual in the history of this world (besides Jesus Christ), has ever been saved—YET. Not Noah, Abraham, David, Peter, James, John or Paul. Not Ruth or Esther or Mary. These people are dead and in their graves – a pile of dust.

II Corinthians 2:15 speaks of those that “are being saved” — present tense. The verb, here, as inspired originally in the Greek language, is a present participle and should be translated, as in the RSV, “are being saved,” and not “are saved,” as in the King James version. The Moffatt, and other translations render this as “are being saved.”

To make it plain, notice the whole sense of the passage: “For we are unto God a sweet savour (fragrance) of Christ, in them that are saved (being saved), and in them that perish.” In other words, Christians are like sweet perfume or fragrance to certain others. If to those that are (already — past tense) saved, then also to those who are, already (past tense) perished. Now those already perished are not smelling anything. This is speaking of LIVING people. If those that “perish” are merely ON THE WAY toward perishing — but not yet perished — then, also those “saved” are BEING saved — on the way to the final salvation.

Then many, many scriptures speak of the salvation to come — of those who “shall be” (future) saved. Most passages referring to the TIME of salvation refer to it as taking place at Christ’s coming — as Revelation 12:10 and elsewhere.

In spiritual salvation, the blood of Christ — the death of Christ — paid the penalty we have incurred in our stead. And it saves us from this destruction (which is the second death) — that is, prevents us from having to pay it — if and when we repent, and accept Jesus as personal Saviour in faith believing (read Romans 5:8-10).

But, God’s gift of eternal life comes to us through Christ’s life (verse 10), through His resurrection and life — not by His death. His death paid our penalty of past sins in our stead. These sins had cut us off from contact with God. When Jesus’ sacrifice is accepted by repentance and faith, we are no longer cut off from God, but reconciled to Him — the connection or contact established, so that, through His Son’s life, He now can give us His Holy Spirit, and, at Christ’s coming and time of resurrection, eternal life. This, finally, preserves our life for eternity.

That is why God’s Word says, “he that shall endure unto the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13 and elsewhere).  One is already saved from the death penalty — eternal punishment — for sins that are past, upon repentance and faith in Christ — as long as he does not sin again! And he will! But, if and when he slips and sins again, then, upon repentance, he is again forgiven. Yes, again, and again and again! That is, as long as his attitude of heart is submissive to God, he has faith in Christ, and God’s Spirit continues to dwell in him.

So we have:

  1. “Justification,” which is forgiveness of sins that are past (Romans 3:24-25) — because Jesus paid our penalty, thus justifying — or vindicating — us.
  2. “Sanctification” (Greek, “hagiasmos”), meaning separation, a setting apart for holy use or purpose. This is a continual process — once so set apart — and leads to ultimate salvation — the change from mortal to immortal — from material composition to spiritual — from human to divine. Thus: “God hath … chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit …” (II Thes. 2:13), and “unto obedience …” (I Peter 1:2).
  3. Salvation by resurrection — eternal life.

The Crux of the Truth

OSAS says once we receive “God’s Spirit, we will be led to obey and please God. Is that really how it works? In Rom. 8:14, Paul comes to the crux of the whole truth, so far as the Christian life is concerned.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

God’s Spirit dwelling in the Christian is God’s own divine love, which can fulfill God’s Law. Thus what God has given him by grace – His righteousness within the Christian – may actually make him righteous! But notice, I said God’s Spirit in you can, or may put His righteousness within you!

Here is the all important point — God’s Spirit in the Christian will not force him to live righteously. He remains a free moral agent. He only has the spiritual equipment to live God’s way – his mind is open to spiritual understanding — that is, to live by the whole teachings of the Bible.

Notice Acts 5:32: “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy [Spirit], whom God hath given to them that obey him.” God says He doesn’t even give us his Spirit unless we obey!

A maturing process

Where the Bible does talk of Christians being “perfect,” it merely means “those matured in Christian experience and knowledge (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary). We are to be growing every day of our spiritual lives. And with God’s help we can obey His commandments.

God says: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). This verse should be translated, “Become ye therefore perfect….” It’s a process. Christ referred to this way of life as going through a narrow gate. “Because strait [difficult] is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14).  None of us have received salvation yet. Salvation is something we don’t have now.

In Matthew 25, Christ spoke the parable of the talents. He gave one of the individuals five talents, one he gave two, and the other only one. The individual who received one talent ended up burying it. Notice Christ’s answer to that in verse 26: “His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed.”

This wicked person not only failed to grow, but he lost what God gave him! “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (v. 30). It’s not a matter of how much you get, it’s what you do with it.  God gives true Christians a wealth of spiritual knowledge. And to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).

Sin leads to loss of salvation

So how can one lose salvation? The OSAS crowd claims that if a person is not continuing or persevering in their faith, and growing in holiness, they could not have been saved to begin with. Thus, only those who have rightly been saved, are those who “are born again.”

But obviously all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), even those of the OSAS crowd. Sin is defined as the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4). We are commanded to keep this perfect law, otherwise we cannot even know God. Neglect merely makes us out to be liars (I John 2:3-4).

Convoluted reasoning which says “law keeping” is a doctrine of works needs to be checked according to truths and provable facts in the Bible. True, Christ came so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. But belief is not the only condition to salvation. James 2:19 says “the devils also believe and tremble.” The mere belief of the devils (fallen angels) does not save them. Neither is repentance a do-it-once thing and then we just sort of cruise through God’s calling any way we like.

This does not mean the fight against sin is a perpetual game of Russian Roulette where we never know if we’re saved or not. The effort (through repentance) is guided by the scriptural “yardstick” of God’s law, which tells us how many or what kind of sins void our salvation. Yes, you read that right. Every transgression and disobedience receives a just recompense of reward (Heb. 2:2), just like it did with the angels. So the Christian must decide, and must exert will, to follow that way.

Jesus Christ said to follow in His footsteps and he kept God’s law perfectly. The Bible is also replete, from beginning to end, with proof of this, as well as those denouncing people who do NOT keep the law.

  • Exodus 32:33 (Old Testament) says: “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book’”.
  • Rev. 3:5,6 (New Testament) says: “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels…. Clearly this means that God can take the eternal life, which they now think they have.

What this means is not just “….the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom. 2:13). They  must actively decide whether to walk down that road — to be led by the Spirit of God — or to be led by the pulls of human nature. There is no “floating” Christian doctrine.

So all of this means “Once Saved, Always Saved” IS WRONG. God’s love of giving us eternal life is CONDITIONAL upon keeping His law. Getting saved is not a one time deal and it’s over with. It’s a lifelong project – sorry Pentecostals, you’re wrong.

If we think we stand, we may fall (I Cor. 10:12). An important aspect of conquering is preserving to the end – not as though we had already attained it or were made perfect (Phil. 3:12). We are to work out our own salvation (Phil. 2:12), and not sin deliberately for fear of the prospect of a fiery judgment (Heb. 10:26-29).

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