The Apple Of God's Eye

May 1, 2011

Should A True Christian Admit Jehovah’s Witnesses?

apologetics315.blogspot.com

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

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

What does God Command?

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

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

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

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

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March 2, 2011

Is God’s Law Abolished In The New Testament?

dozierdon.blogspot.com

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. Therefore we don’t have to keep the law — Christ kept it for us.” Or so goes a familiar — but erroneous — argument!

This false argument takes the form of many Sunday sermons that, unfortunately, lead many professing Christians away from the truth (Jeremiah 50:6).

Let’s examine the key Bible passage around which the whole question revolves, and see just what Paul meant.

What the Bible doesn’t say

The main verse in controversy is Galatians 3:13: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.”

First, let’s notice what this verse does not say:

1) It does not say that if you keep the law you will be under some terrible curse. Just the opposite is true. Satan himself knows that those who keep God’s spiritual law will be richly blessed, and that breaking the law brings a curse upon mankind. Thus the archdeceiver of this world (Revelation 12:9) inspires deceived ministers (II Corinthians 11:13-15) to preach the diabolical lie that keeping God’s law brings a curse.

2) This verse does not say we don’t have to keep God’s spiritual law. The same Paul who wrote Galatians also wrote, “The law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). Paul also said that it is not the hearers of the law who are just before God, but the doers of the law who shall be justified (Romans 2:13).

What, then, is the curse of the law? (more…)

April 20, 2010

How To Become A Friend Of God

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A Christian must show his faith by works. Faith is a lot more than merely believing in God. Faith with works means we believe God and do what he commands (Jam. 2:18)

God plainly states that faith without works is dead (Jam. 2:19-21). Now a lot of preachers will tell you that a Christian cannot be saved by works, and they are completely right. But they fail to state that works are still a necessary part of the qualification process for gaining eternal life. Otherwise it would not be listed in these verses. Leaving “works” out of the equation is merely another way of saying the law of God is abolished. But faith and obedience go hand in hand.

Scriptures also tell us that demons believe in God and tremble. But they don’t believe God (what He says) and still refuse to do faithful works. Now they face the blackest future one can imagine.

Verses 19-21 speak about Abraham being justified by his works. We know that God didn’t actually require Abraham to kill his son, but in his mind it was as good as done. Abraham waited 25 years for this promised son. He was an old man when Isaac was born, yet he was ready to sacrifice him to God – which was a prime example of his works – the kind of works that bring faith alive.

Abraham is the father of the faithful (Rom. 4:11). God desires that true Christians emulate his example and how far he was willing to go in obeying God. If we build up that type of faith filled obedience, God will bless us also, as He did Abraham. (more…)

April 1, 2010

Days Of Unleavened Bread: More Than Mere Symbolism

Leaven pictured as sin

Leviticus 23 outlines part of God’s law, where we find commanded the holy days of God (v. 2).  Rehearsing these holy days (the Passover, Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and the Last Great Day) reinforces understanding of God’s master plan of salvation. They are to be honored and observed for eternity.

God also directs us to remove all leavened products from our homes during the one week period of the Days of Unleavened Bread (D.U.B.) , and conversely to eat unleavened bread to remind us of the haste in which Israel fled Egypt. On the two Holy Days at the beginning and end of the festival, God forbids Christians to continue in regular work because attention is to be focused on Him. The days are holy and an offering is to be taken.

The D.U.B. teach us that we should strive for perfection in obedience to the law of God at all times(Leviticus 23:6-8). God’s law is extended through the New Testament to help Christians build character in their lives. Christ taught, “But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17). If we are to enjoy eternal life in God’s Family, we must obey the law. (more…)

February 6, 2010

Speak Only Once To Your Children!

Almost one third of American and Canadian parents say their methods for disciplining their children don’t work. That was the finding of a survey of 5,000 parents reported on in January 2007’s Clinical Pediatrics.

I’ve seen these parents at the local grocery store. Their repeated threats—“If you do that one more time …” “Did you hear me?” “For the last time, stop it!”—float and pop like tiny bubbles. Many of these parents have simply given up, leaving their children in charge.

Why don’t their methods of discipline work? What about you and me—do our methods work?

After time-outs and removing privileges, the third-most common form of discipline, according to this survey, is yelling at the child. This is a sign of parents who never taught their children to listen—parents who punish only when their children get on their nerves.

They have fallen into one of the easiest parenting traps: lack of consistency and follow through. The Plain Truth About Child Rearing, put out by the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert W. Armstrong, calls this “perhaps the most common of all parental failings in administering just and loving discipline.”

That booklet reads, “To punish for an infraction one day, and then to allow the same infraction without punishment the next day is totally confusing to a child. … Frequently, parents will say, ‘But I do spank him,’ and then go on to argue, ‘But it doesn’t seem to do a bit of good!’ Always, at the root of a statement such as this is discipline that is totally ineffective because it is not being done consistently.” (more…)

January 11, 2010

Can Christians Be Saved Without Obeying God's Commandments?

The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Many believe this verse says we don’t have to obey God’s commandments, but that we can still be saved just as long as we believe. Is this right? Not if you understand your Bible!

What do you mean by believe? The word believe implies faith, conviction, trust, certainty.

If we believe on or in Jesus Christ — and, more important, if we believe what He says — we come to know Him. Notice what I John 2:4 says about those who claim to know Jesus Christ: “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ ” — that is, he who believes on Christ — “and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

This is about as strong as a verse can get in the Bible. It is also abundantly clear and straightforward. Anyone who says he believes but refuses to obey is a liar, according to God. He doesn’t really believe what Jesus Christ said. What did Jesus say? What did He command us to believe? “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15, Authorized Version). The Gospel deals with obedience! Notice:

  • “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17).
  • “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (I John 2:3).
  • “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (I John 5:3).
  • Acts 5:29 says, “We ought to obey God.” And to whom does God give His Spirit? “To those who obey Him” (verse 32).
  • “Faith [belief] without works is dead” (James 2:26).

Why is obedience so necessary? Because “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). The law of God is good for you. Sin is bad for you. That’s why Jesus Christ commands you to obey God’s law — it’s for your own good! Will you believe Him?

December 10, 2009

Are God's Promises Sure?

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Many Christians lead a life of wanting to please God, yet are never able to take Him at His word – literally. But there is a lot riding on the words of God and He gives hundreds of sure promises throughout the Bible – from food, shelter, protection (physical) to eternal life (spiritual) promises. He says it is through faith and patience that Christians inherit the promise of eternal life – Heb. 6:12. Those over the centuries who died in the faith have not yet received this promise (Heb. 11:13). That is because they are still in their graves to this day (Acts 2:29) and await the resurrection of I Cor. 15.

God’s  promises (too numerous to mention here) are called exceeding great and precious, “by which we might be partakers of the divine nature….” (II Pet. 1:4). And God emphasizes them by saying he is not slack (slow, tardy, late – JFB Commentary) in delivering what he says He will do (II Pet. 3:9).

Believing God is a matter of faith. This is not blind faith, as some atheists claim, but the faith of Jesus Christ – the same faith He possessed in believing that God would raise Him from the dead again. I have personally claimed promises too numerous to mention from God over the years and he has delivered when I have believed and not doubted.

There is a wonderful set of scriptures in Mat 6:31-33 which encapsulates this thought beautifully:

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?……for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Do you see the connection? God asks us to first seek those things which are spiritual (faith in what He says and obedience to His law) and then he will give us whatever we need. If we lack the faith to believe what God says, we are “like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed (Jam. 1:6). That would be too bad, because true Christians may claim any promises of God without fail.

November 10, 2009

Defining God's Law For The Disobedient!

godwordistruth.wordpress.comMany today teach that God’s Law was nailed to the cross and is no longer in effect. They say we are now under the new covenant and the old covenant is gone. The Old Testament was for the Jews and the New Testament is for the Gentiles. They teach that we are at liberty from the law since we are now under grace. Scriptures such as Rom. 3:28 are used to show you “that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law,” and others such as Rom. 6:14 which states that “…ye are not under the law, but under grace.” So what about it? Is it true that the law was indeed nailed to the cross?

Why law?

In love God created man in His own image. God loves human beings and He wanted them to be happy—to have peace, and to enjoy life. In order to make such a happy state possible, God set in living motion the spiritual laws which form the very WAY to every physical, mental and spiritual well-being—to avoid sorrow, suffering, anguish, insecurity, boredom, emptiness, frustration, violence and death. These spiritual laws provide the way to happy, invigorating, vital, interesting and joyful living.

God’s proposition to ancient Israel was to make them the world’s most prosperous, most blessed and powerful nation—they were to have the supreme blessing of having the guidance, protection, help, of the all-wise, all-loving, all-powerful God, as their sole King and Ruler. Their government was to be a theocracy. God was the Lawmaker, not a congress, or parliament. He  would appoint leading men to execute His orders. And what was to come from the very voice of God for them to obey? A great law that already existed even as the laws of gravity and inertia—the laws of physics and chemistry—already existed. Only this was a spiritual law! God’s voice was to reveal that living, inexorable law in specific words, as a definite code.

“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Eternal thy God …” and then the voice of God spoke to that mass of people the words of the Ten Commandments! (Exod. 19)

On that very first day of Pentecost (called festival of firstfruits, or festival of weeks, in the Old Testament), God gave His law—His way of life—to His people. This came at the founding, and setting up, of God’s nation on Earth.

Then, many centuries later, on the day of Pentecost, a.d. 31, God gave His Holy Spirit to His people—the love of God to fulfill that law. And that came at the founding, and setting up, of God’s Church on Earth!

And if you think this law was for “Jews only,” you couldn’t be more wrong! Have you not read, in Acts 7:38, that those Israelites “received the lively oracles to give unto us”—for us who, under the New Testament, are Christians?

Sin defined

By Bible definition, sin is the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4) and without the law, there can be no sin (Rom. 4:15). Were the law really nailed to the cross, we would have no guidepost to tell us what sin actually is, and as we know, we can’t even enter into [eternal] life without keeping the commandments. This makes the “no law” arguement very difficult to defend.

John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” Did you get that? Commandment keeping is associated directly with the law of God! Love is the way of giving, serving, sharing. That is why John 14:15  says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Imagine that. We cannot even pretend to love Jesus Christ if we don’t love His spiritual laws. Can it get any more real than that?

The love of God is eternal and so is the law of God. Perhaps that is why Mat 5:18 says, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

Yet man seems to think nothing of casting it away, despite these plain words. Observe more closely, now, the Sabbath command.

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). God said remember this day! So men have insisted on forgetting—or trying to change it to a different day!

Christ said, in the sermon on the mount: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law,” so professing Christians think He did come to destroy it!

Christ said, in the same sermon on the mount: “Swear not,” so professing Christians universally hold up their right hands and swear.

Christ said: “Love your enemies,” so professing Christians—pretending to follow Him—hate their enemies and go to war to kill them.

Christ said: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” so professing Christians say, “It’s impossible to keep God’s law, let alone to be perfect. Christ kept it in our stead, and then abolished it.”

Christ commands “Do!”—and His professed followers don’t!

Christ commands “Don’t!” and His professed followers do!

Perhaps it is time to stop following the crowd and to keep God’s word the way it was intended – spiritually, not carnally.

October 20, 2009

Fruits Of the Spirit Lead To Real Abundant Living

thisfragiletent.wordpress.com

thisfragiletent.wordpress.com

Why do some religious people feel that their religious life must be one of giving up all the fun and enjoyment of living — that in order to please God, they must endure a life of morbid gloom? For that matter why do some nonreligious people feel that to become a Christian would mean a life of living painful penance?

Much of traditional Christianity traditionally has preached the many don’ts — don’t smoke, don’t dance, don’t play cards, don’t go to the theater, don’t drink a drop of wine, don’t do this, don’t do that!  Where do people get all these distorted ideas about the religion of Jesus Christ? Certainly not out of the Bible.

They know nothing of the Jesus of the Bible, who said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Somehow a lot of people have received a lot of weird and false ideas about Jesus Christ — I mean the Jesus of  your Bible. Actually, I think almost no one knows what the Bible says about him.

It seems most people think sin is the thing that is best for us, but which a stern, wrathful God denies us. Why don’t people know that God our Creator has never forbidden us a single thing that is good for us — never said “don’t” about a single thing except that which is going to harm us to our own hurt. What God does command us not to do are the very things that bring on unhappiness, frustration, pain, suffering and a life of morbid gloom.

Let’s get this matter straight. The real Jesus Christ said he came to bring us happiness and joy! Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). And he came that we might enjoy full, abundant life eternally. God Almighty intended the real Christian life to be happy. Jesus said, “My joy I leave with you” (John 15:11).

There is a way of life that causes peace, happiness and joy. God the great Creator set that way as an inexorable law — an invisible spiritual law — to produce peace, happiness, joy, abundance! There is a cause for every effect. In this unhappy confused world we have discontentment, unhappiness, wretchedness, suffering. The world is full of that. It should be full of peace, happiness and joy. There’s a cause. People don’t like God’s law. That law is the cause of peace and everything desirable and good. People want everything that is good and desirable. They just don’t want to obey that which would cause it! They want to be right, but they don’t want to do right.

Christ came to call people to repent. Repent of what? Repent of causing unhappiness, strife war and pain — and then to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And what kind of results will the Spirit of God produce in you?

I’ll tell you first what it won’t produce. It won’t produce the morbid, unhappy, painful, gloomy life that many think is the Christian life. Let the Bible tell you what “fruit” it will produce in you. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal.5:22-23)

Look at that more closely: “the fruit of the Spirit”– this is the Spirit of God. This is the Holy Spirit that God imparts only to those who have repented — that is, turned from that which has caused unhappiness, morbid gloom. discouragement, frustration, emptiness. On the contrary, that fruit of the Spirit is first of all LOVE. And the second fruit is JOY! Joy is happiness, brimful and running over. That doesn’t sound like an unhappy, empty, gloomy life, does it? And God’s Spirit is not static. It flows spontaneously from God into and through His people, and out from them, making others happy and joyful.

The very first result produced in your life by God’s Spirit is love. Love is a righteous love of and for others. It will mean your face is beaming. It’s an outgoing concern for the good and welfare of others. It will mean that you are really giving out — that you are radiant and happy. And love results in joy — that’s the second of these fruits. The third is PEACE. Instead of an attitude of hostility, instead of going around quarreling, being resentful and bitter, angry and arguing, you’ll be in an attitude of peace — peace in your mind and with your neighbor and with your God.

Next comes longsuffering. That means patience. How much has impatience made you unhappy? Probably impatience makes more people unhappy than almost anything else! If you can really come to have patience, you’ll be acquiring one of the things that will allow you to be happy and make life worth living.

Then next is gentleness. That makes others happy and automatically adds to your happiness. And then goodness and faith! Faith is confidence — not self-confidence, but reliance on the supreme power. It means that the supreme power of God is working for you. It means reassurance. It means assured hope instead of doubt, fear, discouragement.

Now this is not to say that there are never troubles in the Christian life. Far from it. There will be persecutions. Jesus Christ was persecuted. He said, “If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you.” That comes from without. But unhappiness is something that springs from within. Happiness is a state of mind; happiness is within. And the person who does have this inward peace — this joy, this patience and love, and absence of resentment and bitterness isn’t going to be anywhere near as disturbed and unhappy as when he didn’t have them. You’ll always face problems — but you’ll have faith and God’s help in solving them. But problems and tests of faith are good for us — the very building blocks of perfect spiritual character.

I know that the Bible says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous,” but the same scripture adds, “but the [Eternal] delivereth him out of them all” (Ps. 34:19).

It’s true Jesus was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” It’s true he suffered — he knew what suffering is. But his suffering and grief were not caused by pain others inflicted on him — not from resentment, or being hurt by others — but by his love for others. He suffered because they were bringing so much suffering on themselves. But he also was a man of boundless joy, and he said, “My joy I leave with you.”

Yes, he said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Source: Plain Truth, 1983

September 25, 2009

Russia, China And Europe: The Prophecied Clash To Come!

Much of the framework of all prophecy is found in two prophetic books—the books of Daniel and Revelation. But only in Revelation do we find events of various other prophecies correlated in order of time sequence” It actually details events leading to the return of Jesus Christ; events symbolized by seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials. before I begin, I will visually lay out the story flow of the Book of Revelation:

Book Of Revelation Story Flow

7 Seals:

  1. False prophets
  2. War
  3. Famine
  4. Pestilence – these first 4 seals are the 4 horsemen of (Rev. 6:1-8)
  5. Tribulation – (Rev. 6:9-11)
  6. Heavenly Signs – (Rev. 6:12-14)
  7. 7 Trumpetsbeginning of the Day of the Lord
  • 1st trumpet – Injury to the earth – (Rev. 8:7)
  • 2nd trumpet – Injury to the sea – (Rev. 8:8-9)
  • 3rd trumpet – Injury to rivers – (Rev. 810-11)
  • 4th trumpet – Injury to heavenly lights – (Rev. 8:12)
  • 5th trumpet or 1st woe – attack of beast power – (Rev. 9:1-12)
  • 6th trumpet or 2nd woe – Asian counter strike – (Rev. 9:13-19)
  • 7th trumpet or third woeSeven Last Plaques
  1. Sores on those who accept the mark of the beast (Rev. 16:2)
  2. Sea turns to blood and all sea creatures die (Rev. 16:3)
  3. Rivers turn to blood (Rev. 16:4-7)
  4. Sun scorches humanity (Rev. 16:8-9)
  5. Beast’s seat of government afflicted (Rev. 16:10-11)
  6. Euphrates dries up, armies gather at Armageddon (Joel 3:9-17, Rev. 16:12-16)
  7. Great earthquake and hail (Rev. 16:17-21)

The  seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials portray a progression of catastrophic plagues God will inflict on mankind. These three world shaking events summed up are:

  1. The Great Tribulation
  2. The heavenly signs in the sun and moon and stars (immediately following the Tribulation)
  3. The Day of the Lord

So let’s break these down in order.

The Great Tribulation (the first of three world shaking events)

The first four seals in Revelation 6:1-8 are:

  1. False religion
  2. War
  3. Famine
  4. Pestilence

These lead to the fifth seal, the Great Tribulation—the time of Satan’s wrath – described in Revelation 6:9-11 and other prophecies. The Tribulation  will last for 2½ years.

The Heavenly Signs (the second of three world shaking events)

In Revelation 6:12-14 it says:

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”

The heavenly signs signify the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-14.

The Day Of The Lord (the third of three world shaking events)

This is the Day of the Lord—the time of God’s wrath, when God punishes mankind for their rebellion against Him and His government with plagues. Here he is trying to bring all sinners (who survive the previous disasters) to repentance (verses 15-17).

The Day of the Lord lasts for one year, but it is NOT the last year of the 3½-year period we read of, and is NOT a part of the Great Tribulation. It is a combination of the Great Tribulation, the Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord which collectively make up the 3½‑year period called “a time, and times, and half a time” (Revelation 12:14).

The beginning of the day of the Lord is at the opening of the seventh and final seal:

“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets” (Revelation 8:1-2).

These seven trumpet blasts occur after the seventh seal is opened during the Day of the Lord. They symbolize plagues sent from God as He intervenes in the affairs of mankind! This is the result of people refusing to listen to God and repent of their sins.

  • The first four trumpet blasts of Rev. 8 destroy the environment, making living conditions on Earth unbearable.
  • The fifth trumpet (also called the first woe) signifies world domination by a European beast power. Daniel 11:40 (speaking of the first woe) speaks of a clash (in this end time) between that European empire (the King of the North) and the King of the South, a radical Middle Eastern power (modern Iran).

Verses 40-41 speak of the Great Tribulation, when this European Beast Power will enter into the glorious land (called Israel today) and overthrow many nations. However, the spectacular military success of the beast power in the Middle East will be short lived:

“But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him …” (verse 44). If we see the modern nation of Israel as a reference point, we have to look north and east on a map, coming directly to Russia and China!

After destroying the radical Middle eastern power (King of the South), the beast power (King of the North), will be troubled by China and Russia in the east and north. This scripture is speaking of a massive clash between these two world superpowers, with the king of the north launching a preemptive strike against the Asian foe:

“Therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.”

This attack (the first woe of Rev. 9:1-11) is described as the beginning of all-out war between these two superpowers to determine world rule. The biblical language used is symbolic, because the apostle John had to use terminology of his day to describe technology of the future.

For example, verses 3 and 7-10 state that locusts “came upon the Earth with power in their tails like a scorpion.” This could merely be describing modern military helicopters firing missiles during an all out, five month military attack on the inhabitants of the earth. All is spearheaded by the devil, as verse 11 actually explains the king over these soldiers is Abaddon or Apollyon, which are names of Satan.

The Second Woe

Continuing in Revelation 9:

  • The sixth trumpet of verses 12-13 (also called the second woe) sounds. Four angels are released specifically to amass an almost incomprehensibly large, 200-million-man army (verses 15-16).

Most Bible critics argue that it would be impossible to assemble an army this size. But the current population in China is over 1.3 billion. Russia has 142 million, India with 1.1 billion people has the fourth-largest army in the world. Japan, the nations of Southeast Asia, and the former Soviet republics could all be probable participants in this alliance. Adding up the populations, there will easily be a total approaching 3 billion people from which to make up an army of 200 million! It is hardly unrealistic to think these combined countries could not muster an army of 200 million men.

Joel 2:4 also speaks of this Asiatic force (there called God’s army) during what is titled an event in the Day of the Eternal. It is actually God who will inspire it to wreak havoc on the European beast power with a counterattack and obliterate it. The end result is the death of “the third part of men” (Revelation 9:15). Of course such a scenario has never transpired and it takes the awesome destructive power of modern super-weapons to achieve such carnage.

Babylon Falls

Jeremiah 50 also adds details to this story, now calling the political-religious system of the King of the North by the name of Babylon, though historically it was known as the “Holy” Roman Empire.

In verse 3, God says He will bring a nation out of the North which will make it desolate. Again, the massive Asiatic counterattack will overwhelm the beast power. This is the second woe.

And verse 9 states that it will be an assembly o many nations, which could only be Russia and China, along with various other nations which will join this power bloc. The devastating collapse of the Babylonian system, the beast power, is further described in Revelation 18:2-19.

These Russians and Chinese armies will be ruthless. To “slay the third part of men”, there can be no doubt that they will attack with nuclear weapons! In verse 15, God says this act is His vengeance, because the people of this beast power have sinned against him (Revelation 18:5-6). Revelation 18 and Jeremiah 50:29 show that Babylon is destroyed in the space of one hour!

Unbelievably, the last two verses of Revelation 9  reveal just how hard-headed and stubborn man can be, even after such severe correction, as those not killed continue on with their lives, unrepentant of their idol worship, their murders, fornication, thefts and so on (verses 20-21). Even after most of the Earth’s population has been personally afflicted by nuclear war and complete destruction, they still are not willing to turn to God and His law!

The Third Woe

Revelation 11:14-15 now speaks of the third woe. Two of the three woes are complete and after that, the kingdoms of this world are to become God’s Kingdom. Christ will return, and God’s government will again take over the Earth.

But even after all the destruction, verse 18 says the nations will be angry and wrathful toward Christ. Can you believe that? And now what’s left of the beast power and of Asia will actually gather to fight against Christ at the last trumpet. This battle is described in great detail throughout Revelation 15 and 16.

The final trumpet blast is divided into seven vials of God’s wrath—the last seven plagues (Revelation 15:1, 6), sent upon mankind because of their hard-headedness. In Revelation 16:12, God dries up the Euphrates River to prepare the way for these armies to gather near Jerusalem (in a place called Armageddon, verse 16). There they will turn their attention toward their one common enemy—the King of kings—Jesus Christ.

There is wonderfully good news in the midst of all these horrors. Both of these armies will gather at Armageddon to fight each other, but will end up fighting Christ at His Second Coming! The armies will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them (Revelation 17:12-14). The conclusion of that battle will mark the beginning of a new, peaceful age for the whole Earth!

Ezekiel’s Prophecy

Ezekiel also tells us about yet another burst of rebellion to spring from northeast of Jerusalem, with the Millennium only just begun. As unbelievable as it sounds, the people of Asia will muster their forces for one final attempt to overthrow Christ’s rule!

Reading Ezekiel chapter 34, we find that, after the Day of the Lord, God will gather His sheep—those enslaved Israelites left alive after the Day of the Lord—and rescue them from captivity. This is when God will remove the spiritual blindness from their eyes and they will seek God’s ways. God’s Kingdom will be set up to finally establish lasting peace (Isaiah 11:11; Romans 11:25-26; Micah 4:2-3).

Dozens of prophecies refer to the end-time descendants of Israel being scattered around the world during the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. But Ezekiel 36 pictures the remnant of Israel returning to the land God originally promised them, to one place.

Ezekiel 37:15 begins to speak of Israel and Judah as two sticks united together after Christ’s return. God will take them from among the heathen and make them one nation (verse 22), with a resurrected, spirit-born King David being king over Israel (verse 24).

Chapter 37 also  speaks of a prophecy referred to as the valley of dry bones. Much of it pictures a literal fleshly resurrection of those who had long since died, never knowing the truth. This resurrection occurs at the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ.

What happens to Gog and Magog (the Asiatic Nations)?

The Russians and Chinese are used to punish the beast power just before Christ returns, but as a result, they too become proud and haughty, therefore needing correction from God. He even tells these nations to prepare for a coming battle with Him (verse 7), after Christ’s return. God prophecies against Gog and Magog , stating that His anger is against them (Ezekiel 38:2-3).

How do we know this? Notice that verse 8 says Israel has been “brought back from the sword.” Here the people of Israel are dwelling peacefully (verse 11). It is the remnant of the Asiatic hordes of the battle of Armageddon (who were not killed) which descend upon the glorious land a short time after it has been occupied by the re-gathered Israelites. It will only be a land of villages at this point early on in the Millennium. Gog and Magog will see how God has blessed His people and will target the people of Israel as easy spoil in a blessed and undefended land!

Now think about this, because it really makes the mind reel. Even after Christ returns, there will not be peace immediately. There will still exist those who haven’t submitted to God’s law and government. They will learn the “hard way” that God’s system is fair and equitable and that they must submit to it to be blessed. Imagine, having to force people to be happy.

Yet that is exactly what the Bible says God does. Only one sixth of those who come to attack Israel will live through the battle, even though the y have been pre-warned (Ezekiel 39:7). The number of dead will be incalculable, and the people of Israel will be called upon to bury the fallen fighters. “And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land” (verse 12).

According to Ezekiel 38 and 39, this is the last great rebellion this Earth will experience for 1,000 years! Then, at the end of the Millennium when Satan is loosed for a little season, and there will be another—Revelation 20:7-9. Through both of these, God will not only defend and deliver His people, but He will prove that He fights and wins our battles for us.

God will make sure that His wrath is felt and witnessed throughout all the Earth (Ezekiel 38:18-20). He will have the nations of Gog and Magog destroy themselves (verse 21). Only through  blood, pain and suffering will God finally have all skeptics—those who do not accept Christ’s rule; those who do not know God, come to the understanding that He is the Eternal.

And here’s the rub. God wants us to choose life, not death! He does not like to see anyone suffer. Only those who stand with God now in complete obedience will not have to suffer in the future.

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

August 13, 2009

What If Adam Had Taken Of The Tree Of Life?

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Deeply Rooted In The Word Of God - catatonickid.wordpress.com

“What would have happened to the world if the first human, Adam, had taken of the tree of LIFE?” That is a question I have never heard or read of being answered. But elsewhere than in Genesis the Bible does at least imply the answer, partially. It seems almost no one ever thought to ask that question. Would we not have lived in a different world?

You now live in a world of awesome progress, development and accomplishment. Yet this same world is filled with appalling evils. Crime, violence, immorality multiply. Discontent, unhappiness, frustration fill human minds. WHY this astounding paradox?

Amid 20th century scientific and technological advances approaching the miraculous — amid tremendous advances in production of increasing knowledge and its dissemination, we live in a world half literate, and half in abject poverty, living in filth and squalor.

WHY? Why cannot mankind solve his problems and eradicate his evils?

The die was cast at the very foundation of the world. Late 19th and 20th century intellectual progress has turned to and accepted the theory of evolution as the basic premise on which knowledge production and advancement is based. But knowledge development has been paralleled with escalating evils. Evolutionary ideas have not led to the increasing of, but the rapid elimination of well-being. Evolution cannot give us the answer to this mysterious paradox. It gives humanity NO HOPE for the future.

The only answer lies in the incident of the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden. The only explanation of this world’s paradox and the meaning of the purpose of human existence lies in understanding of that incident, which in fact was the foundation of this world.

Yes, WHAT IF the first man Adam had taken of the tree of LIFE, instead of the forbidden fruit?

Adam was required to make a choice. In that choice the die was cast on the whole 6,000-year human society up to this time. The CAUSE of every evil experienced by the billions of human lives during these 6,000 years lies in the decision made by the human father of all mankind.

Yes, WHAT IF he had taken of the tree of LIFE?

Look at that pivotal incident of all human existence. The forbidden tree was to result in DEATH. It was the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil. On man’s taking to himself that knowledge, God closed off the tree of life (Gen. 3:22-24) from all mankind until Christ, the second Adam, came. The exception to this were the prophets of ancient Israel for the writing of the Bible.

What did the forbidden tree really mean? That knowledge has no connection with material knowledge. Man was created with a mind capable of acquiring knowledge concerning matter — dealing with wood, metals, agriculture — the sciences and technology. Good and evil are concerned with relationships with other minds.

Man was made to have and need a relationship with his Maker — the supreme mind. He was made to engage in relationships with fellow humans — who have minds. Good and evil concerns MIND in relationships with other minds. But man’s mind was not a finished creation. It contains a spiritual content, not present in the brains of nonhuman vertebrates. Animals are equipped with instinct, but not thinking, reasoning, knowing minds. The human mind not only can receive knowledge of the material and its use, but also ATTITUDES in relation to other minds. That is, attitudes of love or of hate. Attitudes of self-centeredness and vanity; attitudes of envy, jealousy, animosity, competition, strife and violence; attitudes of rebellion or, on the other hand, attitudes of outflowing love, humility, reverence for God, obedience, cooperation, helping, serving, sharing — concern for the welfare and good of others.

God Lives and Works

God the Creator from eternity has existed as God — a supreme spirit Personage — and the Word — also a supreme spirit Personage, willingly and by nature subservient to God in love. Constituting the God family, these two exist eternally (John 1:1-5, 14). They lived! How did they live — by what relationship? God loved the Word who 1,986 years ago became Jesus Christ. The Word loved God. Two can’t walk together except they be agreed. They were in perfect harmony. Neither can two continue happily together except one is leader or head. God has always been head over all.

Living, they were doing. What have they been doing? They have been CREATING. Planning, designing, bringing into existence — positive constructing, not destroying. They worked thus together in love, peace, harmony. God created all things BY the Word who became Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9).

This way of LOVE, peace, cooperation always was their way of life. That way of life became the supreme LAW of the universe — for law is merely the WAY of life. People make laws to regulate their lives. There is a basic law or constitution on which every government is based. Even games in sports have rules. So outflowing LOVE is the foundational LAW of the government of God. Sin is the transgression of that law.

Adam transgressed that law — he sinned — when he rejected the tree of LIFE and continuing contact with God and chose, instead, to take to himself the knowledge of good and evil — the knowledge of HOW to live in relationship with other MINDS — both God and human. Thus he rejected the law of God.

Now, WHAT IF he had taken of the tree of life? God closed off the tree of life until Christ the second Adam came to redeem mankind. Jesus said, “I will build my Church.” He chose 12 disciples. (The word disciple means student, one being taught.) Jesus taught them about the kingdom of God. He promised them they would receive the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, A.D. 31, the Holy Spirit came with a supernatural display (Acts 2). The Holy Spirit is the divine spiritual sperm, which impregnates with eternal LIFE (Rom. 8:11). Also it is the LOVE of God shed abroad in our hearts (Rom. 5:5).

What Did the Tree of Life Symbolize?

Therefore, the tree of life in Eden symbolized the Spirit of God, which imparts eternal LIFE. Adam was not created with eternal life. In that respect, his creation was not yet complete. Human creation is still going on!

IF Adam had taken of the tree of LIFE, he would have received that LIFE just as the true Christian may today — by receiving the Holy Spirit. Only, Adam had not yet sinned — until he disobeyed. He would have needed no repentance as we do today. But he would have BELIEVED God. He would have received the Holy Spirit — the LOVE OF GOD, which divine love fulfills God’s law.

What more? Like Christians today, he would have become an HEIR of God. He would have been begotten to become a child of God, not yet born.

In I Corinthians 2:9, we read that the knowledge of spiritual truths, attitudes and purposes of God cannot be seen by the eye nor heard through the ear. All knowledge receivable by humans enters the mind through the five senses. But (verse 10) God reveals spiritual knowledge through his Spirit. Without the Spirit of God in combination with our human spirit, no human can comprehend spiritual knowledge. That is the reason the greatest, most intellectual, most highly educated minds CANNOT UNDERSTAND the Bible — which imparts spiritual knowledge.

Therefore, as the forbidden tree was one of knowledge leading to death, so the tree of LIFE was one of spiritual knowledge leading to immortal LIFE. What Adam took to himself was spiritual knowledge, which his mind, without the Holy Spirit of God, was not capable of comprehending. He decided for himself what is right and wrong. But Satan influenced him, through Eve, to decide selfishly.

Consequently, he decided what he thought was right or wrong in relation to others from an attitude of self-centeredness — not from that of outflowing love toward others.

The tree of LIFE — symbolic of God’s Holy Spirit — was shut off and CLOSED to humans until Christ. Thus the foundation of this world — this civilization — was laid. Man has acquired material know-how to produce awesome progress, especially in this 20th century. But his progress is materialistic and physical. The uncompleted human mind has been capable of that. But the human mind has been only HALF there!

In relationship to God, what little mankind knows has been perverted by Satan. Man has been selfish in his relationship with people. He has lived the way of GETTING, not GIVING. He has been filled with greed, animosity, competition, violence, destruction. He has destroyed all of God’s earth his hands could touch or change — polluted the air and the water, worn out the soil. But WHAT IF Adam had taken of the tree of LIFE which God freely offered him?

“He Would Have … “

He would have received the Holy Spirit of God. He would thus have been given a spiritually comprehending mind. He would have continued in close relationship with God, especially in the Person of the Word, later designated as Yahweh, who would have revealed knowledge and truth progressively to Adam as he was able to absorb and understand it. He would have received the LOVE of God, God’s divine love for fulfilling the law. He would have received the FAITH of God, and even spiritual POWER to resist evil and for self-control.

But, would Satan have been banished from the earth at the time? From here on many questions may arise that God has not as yet revealed to us in the Bible. But some answers are evident, and others indicated by what is revealed.

Christ, the second Adam, resisted and rejected Satan in the great temptation (Matt. 4). But he did not take over the throne of the earth from Satan at that time, although he had qualified to take it over.

We, who do receive the Holy Spirit, are not made immortal at once, nor even in this mortal life. We must continue to overcome, to grow in grace and spiritual knowledge, and we must endure to the end of this mortal existence before we shall be made immortal. So it is indicated surely that Adam would have continued as a mortal, having God’s Spirit, until God’s righteous character had been developed in him. Eventually he would have been made immortal, Satan would have been deposed and Adam would have sat on the throne of the earth.

He would have been taught by God continually. He surely would have learned to teach Cain, Abel, Seth and other children, from the cradle, in God’s way of life and in resisting Satan.

God has not revealed it all. But we may know it would have been a far different world than that which Satan has deceived.

What DID and WILL Happen

But the first human, Adam, did not take of the freely offered tree of LIFE. So what is important to us is what did, and will happen.

God’s PURPOSE in creating and putting on earth the human family was and is to reproduce himself — to create in and through the human family his own GOD FAMILY WITH PERFECT SPIRITUAL CHARACTER, to have the human family born into the GOD FAMILY. God’s PURPOSE stands. It shall be accomplished. But how?

God’s own perfect character can only be created in us by him, but with our own individual free choice, decision and will. The first Adam did not then acquiesce in that decision and free will. He yielded to Satan and opposite character through his wife Eve.

Thereupon God moved swiftly to do certain things.

First, he shut off access by humans to the tree of LIFE — to immortality. God was not willing that humans should live eternally in the unhappy torture of perverted minds and the consequences of sin.

At the same time, so that sinning man be not lost from God-like happiness and the possibility of being born into the God family, it was thereupon necessary — at the very foundation of the human world — that Christ should come, be born human, and through death pay the penalty for the sins of all humans who repent and turn to God’s way of life.

Simultaneously, it was appointed that all humans should die, but after this, through a resurrection, come to judgment (Heb. 9:27) in which the book of life could be opened (Rev. 20:12) — and, that as in Adam all should once die, so in Christ should all be made alive (I Cor. 15:22) and then judged.

In due time, nearly 4,000 years from the foundation of this world, Christ came. He said, “I will build my Church.” As a foundation (with the prophets), he called and taught his 12 disciples. He commissioned them, as apostles, to teach all whom God would call. To them, upon repentance and belief, the Holy Spirit would be given, begetting them as sons of God. Even then, the Holy Spirit was still closed off to all except those chosen and drawn by God.

At the end of the Church age and 6,000 years from Adam, Christ would return to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords, ruling all nations, with the saints, for one millennium.

After this shall come the Great White Throne Judgment when all not called previously shall be resurrected in the judgment and come to understand what only a privileged few, who are called now, already understand.

Undoubtedly, billions of humans finally shall be born into the God family.

Source: The Plain Truth, March 1983

June 18, 2009

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 12, 2009

Is God Fair?

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dreamnepal.blogspot.com

Look at the world today! War, famine, pestilence! Poverty, inequality, hunger, want! Sickness, disease, suffering, death! Crime, graft, dishonesty, corruption! Insanity, degeneration, decay! Unhappiness, fear, wretchedness and woe!

How, so many are asking, can a supreme, all-powerful God of love permit such human woe? Why is He permitting civilization itself to crumble?

Is God Fair?

Listen! Some men are saying, “God isn’t fair!”—or “Is there a God, after all?” But what do you suppose men would say if God took away their right to think and do as they please? For God could never stop this awful carnage without forcing men to act according to His will—denying them a free will of their own!

It is men’s ways, so contrary to God’s ways, that have brought on this unhappy state. And they have brought on all the world’s sorrows and anguish in spite of the pleadings of God. He says, “Your ways are not my ways” (Isa. 55:8).

God’s ways, had they been followed, would have led inevitably to peace, happiness, prosperity and joy. God always has revealed to men His ways. Always He has pleaded with the human family. Suppose God had taken the only alternative.

Suppose He had forced men, against their wills, to have lived according to His laws?

Can’t you almost hear the defiant, rebellious, stiff-necked human race indignantly screaming at the Almighty: “You can’t cram your religion down my throat!” For it is a matter of religion. Can’t we see that had God followed that course, more than ever men would have shouted, “God isn’t fair!”

For six thousand years men have lived in defiance of God’s laws. Had God denied them this right to be wrong, men would have accused God of injustice, demanding freedom to follow their own ways.

God’s plan has for its purpose the creating of perfect CHARACTER in beings that are separate entities from God, yet members of the very family of God. Character cannot be created automatically by fiat—it must be developed through experience!

Nor could character be instilled without free moral agency. To achieve this great purpose—that of producing the supreme pinnacle of all God’s creation, sons of God having perfect character—man has to be convinced, of his own free will, that God’s laws are just, and that His ways are the only right ways for man! Man must turn to them, voluntarily! This lesson could be learned only by EXPERIENCE!

In the beginning, Satan appeared to contest the wisdom of God’s law. This law is, simply, love for God and love for neighbor, as defined in the ten broad principles of the Ten Commandments. A fundamental, spiritual, eternal law. The philosophy Christ taught is that it is more blessed to give than to receive. But Satan argued for the GETTING way. Competition, he argued, is the life-blood of activity. Self-desire provides incentive to endeavor. Vanity spurs to action. And so, in Satan’s philosophy, self-desire, competition, strife, provide the root-principle for accomplishment. The way of getting is the way of progress and advancement.

Had not God permitted this selfish way to be tried, tested, and demonstrated, God’s creatures could argue throughout eternity that they had been denied the better way.

The Devil’s Week

And so God turned over to Satan the first six days of one week, consisting of seven one-thousand-year days, in which to demonstrate the falsity of this way—the way of greed.

During the first six days of this week of seven thousand years Satan was permitted to retain dominion over all the earth. “Six days,” God said, “thou shalt labour, and do all thy work”—his work of deception and hate—”but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.” Six thousand-year days have been permitted Satan for his labor of deception. Even then his dominion has been limited to the power of influence and suggestion. Never has God permitted even Satan arbitrarily to force men against their wills.

And so for nearly six thousand years men have been left free to accept the self-seeking competitive philosophy of Satan, or to follow the golden rule of God. And for six thousand years Satan has labored. And mankind has fallen for his delusion!

Satan’s philosophy is the philosophy of the world today. On it our present civilization has been built. A civilization men love and cherish, and for which they patriotically sacrifice their lives! A civilization developed on desire for self-gain, competition, strife! In it success is determined by how much a man has been able to get, not on how well he has served.

God has never left men in ignorance of the true way of life. Always He has made known the true values—the way of His spiritual law of love! Continually God has pleaded, with patience and in love. He pleaded through Noah in the days before the Flood. He set up a nation of His own on earth that pledged to follow His laws, dedicated voluntarily to God’s ways of life. But ancient Israel turned from God’s ways, and persecuted and killed God’s prophets!

God sent His only begotten Son to point men back to the true paths. And Him, too, men rejected and killed.

During these six thousand years since Adam, men continually have spurned God’s love, rejected His law, turned a deaf ear to His prophets and His true ministers. They have built a world after the false philosophy of Satan, replete with its pagan customs, traditions and beliefs. Today people are hopelessly engulfed in these false ways, but, being deceived, realize it not at all!

Satan is revealed as the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). The original inspired Greek should properly be translated, “the god of this age.” And this worldly civilization worships its God. The appalling fact unrealized by the world is that Satan, not the Eternal, is its god! The Creator God “is not the author of confusion,” we read in I Corinthians 14:33. Its real author is Satan, the world’s god! And so he has his many denominations and sects, all striving in a babylon of confusion!

The Devil’s Work

Today the people of organized religion refuse to hear the law of the Lord (Isa. 30:8-11). They demand that their ministers preach the soft and smooth things—the deceits! They have turned away from the truth, and are accepting and believing fables (II Tim. 4:2-4).

Yes, Satan has organized religion. He himself appears, not as a devil with horns and a tail, bearing a pitchfork, but “is transformed into an angel of light” (II Cor. 11:14). His ministers are transformed as the ministers of righteousness, appearing AS the apostles of Christ! (Verses 13, 15.) But they are preaching “another Jesus” (verse 4), in the power of “another spirit,” and deceiving men with “another gospel” than the true gospel of the Kingdom which Christ brought and Paul and all the apostles preached! (Gal. 1:6-7.)

Satan’s congregations go in for much form. “Having a form of godliness, but denying the POWER thereof: from such turn away,” plainly warns God’s Word! (II Tim. 3:5.) The present worldly order—its competitive principle, its customs and traditions, its political systems—are upheld by false churches within every land! Truly, all nations are deceived! (Rev. 12:9; 17:2; 18:3.)

Jesus Christ appeared 1900 years ago as a messenger bearing a message from God. He brought to an unhappy world steeped in false ways the “good news of the KINGDOM OF GOD.” A Kingdom now, soon, to replace these crumbling governments on earth!

That Kingdom today is near at hand—even at the doors! (Luke 21:31.)

Thank God, we are near the end of the six working days allotted to Satan’s dominion. God’s thousand-year Sabbath day is just about to dawn!

There is a saying that it is darkest just before the dawn. Now we see on every hand the final fruitage of men’s ways. Written in unerasable blood, in human misery, anguish and despair is the six-thousand-year record of experience!

Even now men will not heed this horrible lesson—not until they are forced to see it!

But, as Satan’s sixth “working day” closes, God is about to step in and supernaturally interfere!

The coming seventh millennium—typified by the Feast of Tabernacles—shall see Satan restrained. Christ will return to rule the earth with all the power of God. God’s new order for the next thousand years will restore peace, happiness, and joy.

Then men may look back over this present world, and compare! Never will God force a single human being, against his own will, into salvation and eternal life.

But, with the seven-thousand-year record of experience set plainly before seeing eyes, do you think anyone will want to return to these ways we seem now to love? Not many, you may be sure of that! Yet some, even then, will rebel.

Finally the world shall acknowledge, of its own free volition, that God’s ways are right. Christ, says the scripture, “learned obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb. 5:8-9.) Even He who never did wrong! “And being made perfect”—through experience—”he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”

Some day we shall look upon God’s plan with breathtaking admiration and awe! The suffering of this present time shall have faded completely from mind. The lessons of experience we shall have with us for eternity! Finally humanity shall accept God’s ways of life, knowing that they are right ways. The happiness and joy we shall then experience cannot be conceived by our minds today! Through all eternity we shall worship and praise the Eternal God for His wisdom, His mercy, His love!

Do you think anyone, then, will look back and say, “God isn’t fair”?

Source: Plain Truth, January 1978

April 4, 2009

Does God Forbid Hypnotism?

Hypnotism is the inducement of a sleeplike state during which an individual remains responsive to outside suggestion. In other words, a person under hypnosis temporarily loses full control over his thought processes and his actions. 

Christians should never to be involved in any such practices! The Bible says, “Gird up the loins of your mind” (I Pet. 1:13). We are to control our EVERY THOUGHT so that it is in obedience to 

Jesus Christ (see II Corinthians 10:5). This would be impossible to do in a trancelike condition during which one’s mind can be manipulated by outside suggestion. 

Rather than purposely allowing our minds to become blank and giving control to others, we are told to fill our minds with those things that are true, honest, pure, lovely, and of good report (see Philippians 4:8). God gives His people the spirit of a sound mind (II Tim. 1:7).

March 27, 2009

Does God Hear The Prayer Of Sinners?

All people have sinned and cut themselves off from God (Rom 3:23; 5:12). The prophet Isaiah wrote, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:2, RAV). So to answer the question, no, God does not hear sinners (John 9:31, first part), and will have no fellowship with them (II Cor. 6:14; I John 1:6). He hears only those who are righteous (John 9:31, last part).

But there must be a way for sinners to come to God — or else we could never become righteous. How can sinners seek God? Isaiah answers:

“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.” But how do we call upon God? Well, we ourselves cannot do it. there is no such thing as a feeling to go the right way, or an altar call. It is God Himself who has to call us (John 6:44). This last scripture has to be one of the most ignored in the Bible, yet that makes it no less plain. Only God can call us into His work. If he has not done so, then all those who profess to be with God are deceived.

Barnes’ Commentary On The Bible says “the word ‘draw’  is used to denote such an influence from God as to secure the result, or as to incline the mind to believe.” That’s right, it is not the person who makes up their mind, but God who reaches out and “draws” that individual in.

Strong’s says the word “draw” means to literally or figuratively drag someone. But even so, there must be evidence (fruits – Matt. 7:20) such a person has indeed been called by God and is walking with God. The answer is:

“Let the wicked forsake his [own] way, and the unrighteous man his [own] thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6-7, RAV).

But what is true repentance? It is more than saying ” I’m Sorry.” The person must forsake the way he has been living and begin to obey God. He must desire a life long commitment of obedience to God while at the same time having a Godly sorrow for past sins. Once he has repented of going the wrong way then God begins to work with that person, giving him His Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32), without which the deep things of God cannot even be understood (I Cor. 2:10).

After repenting and being baptized (by God’s ministry), a person is no longer a sinner in God’s sight because he has been forgiven. His prayers are now fully answered by God.

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