People of The Living God

Hebrews 11

 

Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size

July 2011



 

HOW SHALL WE ESCAPE?

Harry R. Miller

        “The inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left” (Isa. 24:6).  A disaster of untold magnitude is impeding; an international “Pearl Harbor” is now visualized by statesmen whose hearts are failing them for fear.  Little wonder that the prophet Habakkuk said of our day, when hearing and viewing it by vision, “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice, rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble” (Hab. 3:16).  He didn’t want to be here; death was preferable.  Many centuries have passed since this man of God was given a revelation of the impending time of trouble “Such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor shall ever be (again).  And except those days shall be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Mat. 24:22).

        Many years ago, this writer was given a revelation of some of the terrors of the “end of the world.”  On three different nights the Spirit revealed these things through dreams or, as some call them, “night visions.”  The world will shake with such force that huge fissures shall open in the earth and fire and steam will shoot upward for miles into the air.  As the earth literally staggers to and fro, men shall scream out in madness and terror.  I actually heard people howl as dogs howl, “there shall be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.”  In these last times of terror men no more pray; they know they are lost and are absolutely hopeless as they stand upon the brink of an eternity of despair.

        “The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” (II Peter 3:10,11).  The apostle Peter poses a question to us: In view of these things – What sort of Christians ought we to be?  Every wise man will make provision to escape this day, and even fools, if convinced that such things are at hand, ought to get busy and at least investigate every “WAY OUT.”

        Now, listen carefully to these words from The Book: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son” (Heb. 1:1,2).  Take note of this fact: God has spoken unto us.  A letter from the mayor of a city may excite us; a personal message from the governor of the state would be of much more importance; however, should the President of the United States send us a personal message we all would treat it with the greatest respect and consider that he had done us a great honor.  But the Creator of the universe, the glorious potentate of heaven has not only sent His Word to us by the scribes, but He has confirmed it in our very hearts by the Spirit of His Son: “And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest” (Heb. 8:11).  “God has spoken unto us by his son.”

        Every Christian has the Son of God within himself: “Ye have received the spirit of adoption” (Rom. 8:15); “God dwelleth in us” (I John 4:12).  This Holy Spirit of the Son of God is a teacher and guide, “teacheth you of all things” (I John 2:27); “He will guide you into all truth” (Jno. 16:13).  The “teacher” and “guide” is a “ministering spirit” who has been sent from the throne of the Creator with the directive to lead the sons unto Glory.  His work is to develop and perfect divine character.  The “image,” or pattern, is Christ, and it is the plan of the Father that all of His sons bear the Christ moral image.

        The Christ moral image is not an endowment; it is a creation.  It is not an instantaneous creation; time and many trials and failures are all factors in the development of “the precious fruit of the earth.”  The “seed” becomes a tree, and the tree “bears fruit in his season.”  The work of perfection is accomplished by the obedience of the believer to the voice of the Son of God.

        It is all as simple as this – Christ is the head of our “house” (Our souls), “whose house are we, If we hold fast…Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God…For we are made partakers of Christ, If we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Heb. 3:6,12,14,15).  This whole third chapter of the book of Hebrews is devoted to the theme of hearing and obeying.  National Israel is used as an object lesson to the followers of Christ to demonstrate what happens to those who harden their hearts against the voice of God.  “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition…Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (I Cor. 10:11,12).  We all are very definitely warned that “we are made partakers of Christ” (Heb. 3:14) upon condition: obedience to His words.

        Where men are ruled by the courts of law, it is a principle of justice that there is no excuse for violation of law by an intelligent person; however, if it can be proved that the law was knowingly and deliberately broken by the law breaker then his transgression becomes a more serious offence.  Such an offence is an evidence of contempt for the processes of the laws of the state and the persons of the law makers.  These same principles apply to the laws of divine jurisprudence.  God knows that when men prefer their own ways they are despising His ways: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will ‘hold to’ the one, and DESPISE the other” (Matt. 6:24).  He who hates unrighteousness, loves God; however, those who “hold to” unrighteousness for convenience sake, despise the Lord.  “But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously (with a high hand)…reproacheth the Lord…Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken His commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off” (Num. 15:30,31).

        Many professing Christians take the position that ancient Israel was under the law, and God dealt with them far more severely than He deals with His people today.  We are told by modern scholars that we are now under grace, and the unmerited favor of God has delivered us from all the wrath of broken law.  What a monstrous lie!  If there were no law there could be no sin, and every man is well aware of the fact that we all have the ability to sin.  Christ did not abolish the commandments: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law” (Matt. 5:17).

        The misconstrued and misused words of the apostle Paul are the foundation for the lawless element who have turned the gospel of grace into loose living; but he does not confirm the idea of Christians having a sinning license: “Do we then make void the law through faith?  God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31).  Nowhere does this apostle condone sin.  Not one of his thirteen epistles grants Christians a special dispensation to commit sin.  He firmly declared that “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18); take note that this wrath of God is against sinning believers: those who hold the truth in unrighteousness.  The grace exploiters who use this man’s words for their own ungodly ends are of this number: they twist truth into a pattern that helps to confirm their own ungodly teachings.

        Is it not silly to propagate a teaching that the great God of the universe struck sinning men down under the terms of the old covenant, but now under the new covenant the lid is off and no one gets his knuckles rapped for any crime against heaven?  Has sin become less sinful since Christ?  Is it not rather a fact that, since Christ, sin has become more sinful?  The law said, “Thou shalt not kill.”  But I (Jesus) say unto you “Whosoever hateth his brother, is a murderer” (I John 3:15).  And again the law said, “Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:27,28).  In this same chapter of Matthew, the Saviour demands more of His followers than that which was demanded of the scribes and the Pharisees: “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20).

        Christians have greater light than the sectarian scribes and Pharisees; therefore, they have a greater responsibility before God: “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48); this is a universal law of reciprocation.  Justice demands more from responsible people than from those who are not responsible.  The Scriptures bear us out in this premise: “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.  For if the word spoken (to the fathers in time past) by the angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord?” (Heb. 2:1–3)  This doesn’t sound as though the professors of Christianity have a special dispensation in which to practice sin with impunity (without punishment).

        The words of God’s Son apparently are more important than the words of the Old Testament prophets.  Is this not confirmed by the words of Moses: “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.  And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people” (Acts 3:22,23)?  Peter explains in this portion of the book of Acts that Jesus is that prophet of whom Moses spoke.

        It is well here to take cognizance of this fact – He who refuses to obey the words of Christ shall be destroyed.

        One of the foundational principles of the doctrine of Christ is that the salvation of man’s soul rests upon the conditions of the New Covenant.  All heaven knows that God will keep His portion of the terms of the covenant, but whether or not man will continue to keep his is open to question.  The salvation of one’s soul rests upon one’s individual hope: “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is not seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Rom. 8:24,25).

        The believers’ present condition of salvation is tentative (provisional).  Consider these Scriptures: “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (a future event)…the trial of your faith…might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ…Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (I Peter 1:5–9).  The end of the saint’s hope (or faith) is the salvation of his soul.  This shall be consummated at the appearing of Christ.

        “Now the just shall live by faith (the foundation of things hoped for): but if any man draw back (God made this statement), My soul shall have no pleasure in him.  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition (the Greek for this word perdition is apolyan’ which means ruin or destruction as it is translated in Matthew 7:13 ‘broad is the way that leadeth to destruction’) but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Heb. 10:38,39).

        The importance of obedience to the commands of Christ is made evident by these words: “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death” (Jno. 8:51); “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed” (Jon 8:31); “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love” (Jno. 15:10); “Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (Jno 15:14); “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jno. 8:12).  The implications of this verse of Holy Writ are very plain: If a man follows Christ he will have the Light of Life and will not walk in the dark; however, if the man refuses to follow Christ he will not have the Light of life, and will walk in darkness.

        Brethren, the light of this twentieth century has turned to darkness: “Behold darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people” (Isa. 60:2).  The very people who profess to know the Lord have refused to obey the words of His Son.  To the end–time representative church He has written: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot…I will spew thee out of My mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:15–17).  The appalling condition of the latter day church is most graphically portrayed by the prophet Isaiah, “All tables (places where the flock must eat) are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean”  (Isa. 28:8).  The kingdom of heaven “tree” is now fully grown and “the birds of the air” have come “and lodge in the branches thereof” (Matt. 13:32).

        Modern so–called Christianity is a mockery; it is a philosophical monstrosity, a conglomeration of meaningless religious–sounding terms and phrases, which have no practical bearing upon the life of the believer.

        The teachings of Christ demand a certain way of life.  Current, so–called Christendom demands nothing: it advises that one “accept,” and encourages one to “believe,” and coaxes others to “have faith for.”  A sort of “get” and “gimme” religion, a carnal man’s pride and joy.  The apostles predicted “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3,4).  Friends, the time of the fables is upon us; Christ, the truth, has been rejected, and another has taken His place.

        The antichrist spirit and system have replaced the Christ spirit and way: “They (professing so–called Christians) have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” (Isa. 24:5).  Substitution (“the instead–of–mania”) has gripped the whole world.  That it is so much easier and less costly to supply a substitute is evidently the conviction of carnal Christians.  The souls of men quake with fear, and their wicked hearts attempt to find solace and refuge in a cheap, “marked down” religious substitute. Many an occupant of a “chief seat” in an ecclesiastical establishment is of the opinion that the importance of his office will atone for the sins of his soul: “The bed is shorter than a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than he can wrap himself in it” (Isa. 28:20).  The nakedness of many religious worldlings is very evident.  It is surprising how many people who renounce the “works of the law” of Moses so inconsistently try to buy their way into heaven by all manner of religious gimmicks.

        The collection racket has become a pay–as–you–go way of salvation; it’s a very cheap conscience pacifier; it affords many that feeling of belonging; that confident assurance of being one–of–them.  You know, membership is so assuring.  To the natural eye, the many seem so secure, so right.  The illusion afforded by the tall steeple, the big doors, the wide aisles and the great congregation is so impressive to the earth–conscious lover of mammon.

        Most professing Christians are of the opinion that devotion to the mechanics of the religious institution is a true sign of spirituality.  Some of these are church suppers, socials, parties, gabfests, conventions and so–called revivals.  All such things are lures only for the earth minded.  The Wednesday morning prayer meetings sift out the rubbish, and in most churches it’s difficult to find a half dozen saints in a sacred service – all the rest are just too busy(?) to attend.  Oh, what vanity and senseless mockery is practiced in the name of Christianity!

        Friends, heaven is disgusted with the putrid manifestations of professing Christendom.  The “cup of iniquity” is about full, and the wrath of God is soon to break forth and cast the whole mess down “with violence” (Rev. 18:21).  And at that time “how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation: which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord” (Heb. 2:3)?  There is but one answer: “He that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.  If a man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be; If any man serveth Me, him will My Father honour” (Jno. 12:25,26).

 

 

JESUS IS COMING AGAIN!

Randall Walton

        Men who should know better are wasting an awful lot of time trying to figure the exact date for the Lord’s return.  We receive an abundance of religious literature, a great deal of which contains articles about Jesus’ second Advent, and the date of said event.  We’re not sure whether this is done as a means of recreation or if some of these guessers are actually serious.  At any rate, they are wasting their time, because the Lord has so successfully hidden that day, that it’s impossible for anyone to find it.

        Jesus stated that there was only One who knew when that day would occur – the Heavenly Father – and the Father is most probably still the only Being who knows the year, month, day and hour when Jesus will return (Matt. 24:36).

        Remember, the only Scriptures available to men when Jesus spoke the above were the books of the Old Testament, and these are precisely the sources of reference which these modern “prophets” are using in their attempts to reveal the day of Jesus’ coming.  If Jesus, the angels, and the great men of God who lived in that era could not pin–point the time from those Old Testament prophecies, what makes these contemporary characters think that they can calculate accurately the day or month of the Lord’s return?

        These “experts” of prophecy know full well both the curiosity and gullibility of people regarding the Second Coming, and they use these speculations to gain and hold an audience.  It is difficult to imagine the great boost to the human ego which is possible as these great men of renown utter their words of profound wisdom.  Many of their predictions have already failed to come to pass, but they never mention such failures, and the astonishing thing is that people continue to follow along with these purveyors of hot air!

        It would be really nice to know the precise day, month and year when Jesus will return, because then we could make our future plans accordingly.  For the next 6 years or so, we can really live it up, do our thing, have our fling, sow to the flesh to the full.  Of course, we’ll need to allow ourselves a few days to clean up, to repent and say we’re sorry, but by giving ourselves this leeway, we ought to be fully ready to meet the Lord when He comes with all His holy angels!

        Human nature being what it is, this is exactly what the majority of people would do if they knew the exact time when Jesus will break through the clouds.  It is for this reason that the Father has not revealed to ANYONE the time of Jesus’ coming: He does not want us to know!  But He wants us to be ready and to stay ready and to live as if we expected Him to come at any moment.  Read the following for proof of this statement:

        “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24:44).

        “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.  Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching” (Luke 12:35–37a).

        “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 25:13).

        “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is” (Mark 13:33).

        The theme is the same throughout all the passages with regard to the second coming: prepare, be ready, watch, pray, be on the alert.  We know by certain signs that Jesus will not return within the next few years, but that gives us no excuse to shirk our responsibilities of being ready.  Time is involved in making preparation, and the message of the hour for all of the people of God is to awaken, get ready, watch and pray!  And don’t be disturbed by those who are attempting to determine the hour, day, month, and year for our Lord’s return!  They don’t know any more about it than you do!!

 

 

SEVEN

Randall Walton

        Numbers in the Scriptures are very significant and carry special messages for the lovers of truth.  In a study of the Word, it is amazing to find all the many references to certain numbers again and again.  It is as if the Lord wants to impress upon the readers the importance of these certain numbers because of the message which is contained therein.

        Of particular significance is the number seven, a number which indicates perfection or completion; it is the expression of fullness, and includes all of whatever substance or topic is under consideration.  As an example, a week consists of exactly seven days, no more, no less.  At the end of the seventh day, a new week is begun.  Thus, seven days make a complete cycle, or a full week.

        In His desire to impress upon mankind the importance of seven, the Lord has liberally sprinkled it throughout the Scriptures as if to say – “Pay attention to the Sevens!”  And this is so in both the Old and the New Testaments.

Examples

        In the Old Testament are found some very interesting uses of this number of completion.  The following are a few samples:

        Joshua and the children of Israel with 7 priests who blew 7 trumpets marched about the city of Jericho 7 days.  On the 7th day, they circled the city 7 times.  The result was the overthrow of the city as the walls came down in response to the obedience of the people regarding the 7 priests, 7 trumpets, 7 days, and 7 circuits on the 7th day.  Anything less than the fullness of God’s command would have been a complete failure.

        Egypt enjoyed 7 years of plenty after which she suffered through 7 years of famine.

        It took exactly 7 years for Solomon to build the Temple.  The dedication celebration lasted for 7 days.  (By contrast, it took 13 years for him to build his own house!)

        Naaman, the Syrian leper, was commanded to bathe 7 times in the Jordan River, after which he was healed of his disease.

        Noah waited in the ark for 7 days.  Jacob served Laban for 7 years in order to gain his wife.  The feast of unleavened bread is for 7 days.  The lampstand in the tabernacle had 7 lamps.  The blood was sprinkled 7 times.  Moses anointed the altar 7 times.  7 weeks were to elapse between Passover and Pentecost.  God punished Israel 7 times.  The feast of Tabernacles was for 7 days.  Forty–nine years (7x7) were to pass by before the jubilee was celebrated (It was the 50th year).  Samson had 7 locks of hair.

        There were 70 elders of Israel who accompanied Moses upon Mt. Sinai.  The Lord told Elijah that there were 7,000 who had not bowed their knees to Baal.  David declared, “Seven times a day do I praise thee” (Psalm 119:164).

        And in the New Testament we read that Jesus fed a multitude with 7 loaves of bread, and His disciples took up 7 baskets of leftovers!  Jesus said we were to forgive others 70 times 7.

        He spoke of 7 wicked spirits, and He cast 7 demons out of Mary Magdalene.  And the deacons who were chosen numbered exactly 7!

        It is undoubtedly significant that the Lord said man’s years would be three score and ten – 70; and it’s also interesting that the spectrum of light consists of 7 colors; and that the diatonic music scale is made up of 7 different tones!

        The last book of the Bible uses the number 7 over fifty times!  It is used in relation to good as well as evil and bears the idea of completion or perfection in both cases.  For example, the seven Spirits about the throne are perfect in character.  The quality of their nature is shown by the number by which they are characterized.  We do not assume that there were only a literal seven spirit beings which John saw.

        Conversely, the beast of chapter 13 which is shown as having seven heads is perfectly, or completely, corrupt and evil.  His character is represented by the seven heads to demonstrate his total and complete embodiment of corruption, rebellion, anarchy, filth, degradation, and incorrigibility.  He is as far from God as it is possible to be.  The sum total of all that is evil is found in this archenemy of God and God’s people.  He is a murderer, thief, liar, and an abomination in the sight of God.  His nature is immoral to perfection; he could be no worse than he is!

        But there are other references in Revelation to the number seven: 7 churches, spirits, candlesticks, stars, angels, lamps, seals, horns, eyes, trumpets, thunders, thousand, heads, crowns, plagues, vials, mountains, and kings!  Whether these refer to good or evil, the principle is the same: the apex, or fullness, has been reached, and the character of the object is borne out with the description of the object.

Other Sevens

        There are combinations of numbers which equal seven which are also important, as well as numbers which are the product of seven and some other number and are, therefore, divisible by seven.  Some examples follow:

        In Matthew 14:17–19, Jesus fed a multitude with five loaves and two fish (5+2=7).  Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus contains 3 sets of 14 generations (2x7=14) from Abraham unto Jesus, making a total of 42, or 7x6 (Matt. 1:17)!  The first verse of Matthew 1 has exactly seven different words in the Greek text.  The same applies to Mark 1:1.  These may seem to be insignificant coincidences, but we believe the finger of God is shown in these facts.

        According to Luke 10:1, Jesus chose 70 (7x10) disciples to go and preach the gospel.

        Another important set of sevens appears in Daniel 9:24–27: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people,” etc.  Notice the combinations here: 70=7x10.  A week consists of 7 days.  7 days x 70 = 490 days (In prophetic reckoning, the days are figured as years) (Num. 14:34, Ezek. 4:8).

        This time period is broken into two main segments, the second of which is separated in two parts:

        There is first of all a period of 7 weeks, or 7x7 (1 week = 7 days) = 49 years.  This leaves 63 weeks (7x9), of which 62 weeks are separated to themselves.  62x7=434.  The remaining week is also a seven (7 days, or years).

        7    weeks    =    7x7    =      49

        62  weeks    =    7x62  =    434

        1    week     =    7x1    =         7

        70  weeks   =                     490 days, or years.

        In addition to these facts, seven distinct events or accomplishments were to take place:

  1. The commandment to restore Jerusalem
  2. Finish the transgression
  3. Make an end of sins
  4. Make reconciliation for iniquity
  5. Bring in everlasting righteousness
  6. Seal up the vision and prophecy
  7. Anoint the most Holy

Also, after the completion of the 69 weeks (7+62), seven other events were to take place:

  1. Messiah to be cut off
  2. The city and sanctuary to be destroyed
  3. A flood would occur
  4. War and desolations to take place
  5. The Messiah would confirm the covenant
  6. The sacrifice and oblation would cease in the midst of the week
  7. The abomination of desolation to take place.

The fullness of the completion of these things is signified by the use of the number seven.  It is God’s means of assuring the fulfilling of His own word.  This number is a formidable stamp of the Lord which marks the infallibility of His prophetic word.

        Isaiah foresaw a time when all religious systems would embrace the name of the Saviour (not Him, mind you; only His name), and would appear to be loyal to Him.  “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach” (Isa. 4:1).

        Women are used as symbols of religious institutions.  The number seven is all inclusive, or complete.  These women do not want the “man’s” bread nor the clothing He offers.  His bread is the word and consists of His commands, His orders, His will.  The apparel He provides is “white linen, pure and bright” and is spotless.  Their “own apparel” is that of the flesh, and that which they prefer.  These 7 women include all who do not follow Jesus Christ, and their character is that of an apostate.

        The number 7 speaks loud and clear to those who have an ear to hear.

The Seventh Day

        God once and for all time established the seven–day week.  He made a special case of THE seventh day in that He rested from His work, blessed, sanctified, and hallowed that day.  To make sure ancient Israel learned the lesson well, God provided food for the Israelites six days each week.  On the sixth day, He provided twice as much as He did on the other days of the week because on the 7th day there would be none available.  For forty years this miracle occurred week by week.

        If this sovereign act did not establish the actual time for the 7th day, then nothing else possibly could.  Every man, woman, boy and girl throughout the camp knew the very time of the 7th day, for it was verifiable by the presence of the extra manna on the 6th day!

        God could have rested on the third day, or the fifth, or any other (except the first), but He chose to rest on and bless the 7th.  Completion of all His labors was a fact.  The fullness of blessing was available because He, Himself, made a difference between the 7th day and all the other days.  And the 7th day carries a message that none of the other days could ever come close to, for it speaks of that glorious state of perfect rest which is available to the saints when they rest from “their own works as God did from His.”

        It also foretells that blissful, eternal age of glory which is promised to all those who obey Him; not a mere thousand years of earthly existence on this unstable globe, but in that City “which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God,” eternal life in that land of perfection and delight of which the number seven is indicative.

 

 

AN AWAKENING CALL

Randall Walton

        We are pleased with the response from our readers who have sent us new names to receive this publication.  Our mailing list now includes over 5,000 subscribers.

        As all of our readers know, we have never solicited donations from our readership.  Raising funds is not the objective of this paper, nor do we have anything to sell.  Our concern is the spiritual welfare of the people of God, and all who know Jesus Christ are His people.  We are also deeply concerned about those who do not know the Lord, and our prayer is that this paper and/or some of our other literature will reach the lost, and they will be led to the Savior.

        We are truly convinced that we are living in the last days just prior to the time of the Great Tribulation.  We are also aware of the fact that few, if any, of God’s people are ready to face the perils which await humankind.  Too many ministers are offering their flocks a false hope of security by telling them they’ll be caught up to glory before disaster strikes, but this fanciful idea has not a shred of substantiation in the Bible!

        All of Jesus’ teachings about the time of the end are sober warnings to be prepared to ENDURE the time of trouble, not to be caught out before it occurs.  He stated most plainly that “as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of THE WHOLE EARTH” (Luke 21:34,35).  He was not speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., for that was a local happening, confined only to the inhabitants of Judea, and to Jerusalem in particular.  It did not affect all those who dwelleth upon “the face of the whole earth.”

        The great outpouring of turmoil and trouble which is to cover the globe is building in intensity because of man’s rejection of Jesus Christ and the horrendous heights of abomination that man has created in his arrogant rebellion against God and His word.

        Religious men have built a religious system which is not truly Christian, but they choose to term it as such.  Billions of dollars have been bilked from their constituency in support of their unbiblical system.  The poor sheep have been fed an undernourished diet of religious entertainment and theological tripe which has left them in a state of spiritual malnutrition so serious that they are on the verge of starvation and don’t even know it.

        This is not to say that we are right and everyone else is wrong; not so!  We are all victims of many centuries of superficial and vain service to God.  Proof of this statement lies to some degree in all the nonsensical religious activity which takes place each year among the professing Christian organizations.  The Christmas charade is no less disgusting than the Easter parade, both of which have their roots in paganistic, ungodly, demon–inspired rituals and which are totally separated from Jesus Christ and the holy Scriptures.

        But, God has begun to awaken many saints and ministers to the dire needs of the body of Christ.  Those whose eyes are being opened to the realities of this present hour have an obligation to lift up their voices and declare the truth as God gives them the ability and the knowledge to do so.

        “if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand” (Ezek. 33:6).

        Responsibility, then, lies heavily upon the “watchmen” to warn the people of impending judgment.  If at times we seem uncharitable in our presentation of conditions which are deplorable, it is only because we are burdened to see the body of Jesus Christ rise from its stupor and lethargy and begin to be alive in the power of the Spirit.

        The sword is surely coming to this nation.  The sins and abominations have come up before the Lord of hosts, and He will surely raise a standard against the nations who have brought ill repute against His holy name.

        We are not surprised to see ungodly conditions overwhelming the non–Christian nations of the world.  Those who do not believe in Him cannot be expected to follow Him, but the western world in general claims to be Christian or at least acknowledges Jesus as the promised Messiah, yet they refuse to obey His words and commands.  They love to play church and make merchandise of religious rituals, but they will not have Him to rule over them.

        Of what benefit are beautiful, ornate cathedrals costing millions of dollars, when they are only used to promote an unspiritual and unscriptural system of religious practices which only serve to blind people to the truth!  Man tends to equate greatness with godliness and therein is great deception.

        What glory is offered to the Lord of glory when pagan practices are “Christianized” by including the name of Jesus with Santa Claus, elves, reindeer, toys, decorated trees, yule logs, etc.?  The majority of those who celebrate this foolishness wouldn’t think of obeying the command to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” or to “love one another as I have loved you,” or to “present your bodies a living sacrifice unto God,” or to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”  No, Christianity is a game which can be played by anyone who has the means to do so.  You are, of course, expected to support the entertainment with your pocketbook and to go along with the programs and “missions” of the institution whether they are ordered of the Lord or not.

        Friends, these are serious days in which we live.  While the church sleeps and plays games, the world is about to go up in flames, and few really care.  Little, if any, preparation is being made to be ready for the “hour of trouble” which is coming.  It is time now to take a break from normal pursuits and seek the Lord in fasting and prayer until you reach the throne of grace and find out what the Lord would have you do in making preparation and warning others to do the same.  The sword is surely coming, and when it does it will bring forth judgment, swift and terrible!

        This is the time to clean house.  Junk the TV, throw out the ungodly literature, restore the family altar, promote home Bible studies, apply the commands of Jesus, and pray, pray, pray.  The hour is late and the situation is desperate!

 

 

BAPTISM OF FIRE

Randall Walton

        “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with FIRE” (Matt. 3:11).

        This promise which was uttered by the forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist, is just as sure as any of the other promises of God.  It is a part of the plan of God for all believers, and is as valuable to the Christian as the baptism of water and the Holy Spirit!

        Many good folks who have received the baptism of the Spirit have thought that the fire was that effervescent joy and exhilaration of spirit which they experienced with the Spirit baptism or even the exuberance which accompanies the “new birth.”  While it is very true that the joy of new salvation and the “earnest of the Spirit” are very special and glorious experiences, they do not constitute the “fire” of which John spoke.

        Fire burns and consumes.  Fire is a refining and purifying agent.  Refuse and trash are easily reduced to gas and ashes through the force of fire.  Ores are refined through intense heat, whether the desired product is gold, silver, steel, copper, or iron.  Fire is an absolute necessity.

        The desired and finished product the Lord is producing by means of His fire is “a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing” (Eph. 5:27).

The Sons Of Levi

        “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the SONS OF LEVI, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness” (Mal. 3:1–3).

        The family of Levi consisted of the Levitical priesthood over which Aaron was the first High Priest.  His descendants were responsible for carrying on the ministry of the priesthood, and as such had no inheritance in the land as did the other twelve tribes of ancient Israel.

        The term, “the sons of Levi,” refers then to that great body of believers who “delight in the messenger of the covenant,” Jesus the Christ, for they are all priests under the terms of the new covenant.  Peter, speaking to the Elect, declared, “ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood” (I Pet. 2:9).  And John wrote that Jesus Christ “hath made us kings and priests unto God” (Rev. 1:5,6).

        These sons of Levi are all subjected to the “refiner’s fire” to be purified as gold and silver.  These were the two most precious metals in existence when this was written, and the significance is quite plain to behold.  The priesthood must be brought through the fire and the flame in order that every worthless and useless substance within them will be totally consumed by the fire of the Lord.

        Every idol within the hearts of God’s people must be destroyed, and only the fire of adversity, persecution, hardship, tribulation and trouble can afford the necessary heat to burn up the idols of the heart.  Traits of character, carnal desires, self–will, pride, arrogance, rebellion and stubbornness must all become but cold, charred coals upon the altar of God’s fire.

        God’s people are called upon to yield themselves to the fervent, licking flames of God’s fire until their own wills and desires are forever and completely devoured, reduced to fine, blackened ashes of dust.

Fire For All

        Every person who comes to Jesus is introduced to this refining process; there are no exceptions, there are no special cases which are allowed to circumvent the fiery furnace of purification.  This is as much a part of the Christian experience as is the joy and peace and the fellowship of the Spirit.

        God supplies the fire as it is needed, and He only asks that we submit the combustibles to the flame.  “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you” (I Peter 4:12).  These fiery trials come to us for a purpose, and while they are not pleasant, they are necessary.

        It is difficult to deal with flaws in our characters unless or until we are aware of such flaws.  When a fiery trial comes our way, the manner in which we react to it will reveal the blemishes of our character and/or personality.  Only then are we able to cope with the inadequacy or the defect which we had not seen in ourselves.  This covers a wide area of our lives, and it affects our relationship between one another and God.

        One important element which most people have to contend with is anger, or a bad temper.  Psychiatrists say that of all human drives this is probably the greatest.  It is a manifestation of self will and is most often displayed when we don’t get our own way about some issue.  When we are opposed in some way, or are subjects of criticism, whether right or wrong, immediately the adrenalin begins to flow, we feel a certain heated surge coursing through our being, and we are ready to go into action either by striking out verbally or physically, or making plans for retribution.

        The fact that this reaction takes place within us is evidence that we are not very Christ–like, for “when he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not” (I Peter 2:22,23).  And unless we can see ourselves in contrast to Him, we will remain as we presently are.

        After being mocked, abused, tormented, and nailed to the cross, He asked the Father to forgive the ungodly tormentors for their unjust and murderous acts toward Him.  How unlike Him we are!  Yet, He was our example that we should be like Him and do as He did.

        The only solution for this problem is that the warped condition of wickedness be consumed by the righteous, cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit.  Doctors prescribe tranquilizers to control the uncontrollable tempers of their clients, but they don’t change their hearts.  Only the Spirit of God can bring about the revolution of a heart filled with anger, hatred and frustration.  And the Holy Spirit will do this only as we willingly allow Him to ignite the fires of consummation within us until the wild and wayward ire is fully destroyed.

        Oddly enough, one application of the fire doesn’t finish this work.  We have heard of the “instantaneous second work of grace” which is supposed to eradicate the carnal nature once and forever, but we have never witnessed such a miracle.  Time seems to be a part of the process: a time of testing, some burning, more testing, more burning, more testing more bur…, etc.  Eventually, there will be nothing left to burn.

        The problem with most of us, however, is that when we feel the nearness of the heat, we make a quick retreat to some other area, or change the subject, or bury our consciousness in a television show or a ball game, or some other activity that will dull our senses and sensitivity to the workings of the Holy Spirit.  What it boils down to is that people are fairly well satisfied with themselves as they are and do not intend to change; consequently, we have Christians who have known the Lord for years who are no different than they were twenty or thirty years ago.  They show little, if any, progress in overcoming weaknesses or faults of character, or of becoming more Christ–like.

        It is time for us to recognize the purpose for which we have been saved as well as the reason for the fiery trials which often come our way, and yield ourselves to the baptism of fire that the cleansing process may be made complete; God is raising up in the earth a people who will measure up to His standards of righteousness, purity, and true holiness.  They will have gone through the refiner’s fire and have come out as pure as gold and silver that they may offer unto Him an offering in righteousness.

 

 

THE FIG TREE

Luke 21:29–31

Randall Walton

        We recently received a condemnatory letter which accused us of being anti–semitic because of some things Bro. Curtis Dickinson had to say about Zionism.  At no time has he, nor we, expressed any anti–semitic sentiments in the least.  We are concerned for the souls of the Jewish people as much as anyone else is.  What we have not supported is the supposition that the present movement of Jews and others to Palestine constitutes the return of Israel to the promised land.  We find very little to substantiate the idea that this modern “Israel” is the Israel of God.

        Strangely enough, the “proof” which many theological students use for their position is found in the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:32,33 where He says: “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.”

        This parable came at the end of His lengthy discourse concerning His second coming and the events which would precede and herald it.  He affirms very graphically that the conditions He outlined were absolute markers of the nearness of His advent in the same way that a blossoming fig tree signals the soon arrival of summer.

Israel And The Fig Tree

        Modern interpreters of the Word claim that the fig tree represents the establishment of Israel as a nation; an event, they say, which is to precede the coming of Jesus.  But, when, in all Biblical history, was Israel ever likened unto a fig tree?  An olive tree, yes!, but a fig tree, no! (Rom. 11:17–24)  Jesus merely stated a natural fact concerning a natural happening, and He said in the same way that a fig tree with young tender leaves tells us summer is near, so when we see “all these things” which He had described, we know the end is close at hand.  It takes a big imagination to imagine that He had the rejuvenation of Israel in mind with this statement.

        Israel was a nation consisting of 12 tribes, or families, ten of which broke away from the central government several hundred years before Jesus’ first appearance.  The other two tribes, Judah and Benjamin along with Levi, were called Jews and were headquartered at Jerusalem.  The other ten became known as Israel and were subsequently scattered among the heathen nations.  The Jews also were driven from their homeland and were scattered throughout the world.  Very few of either of these two groups preserved their ethnic purity.  They intermarried and migrated from place to place so that today it is difficult, if not impossible, to identify the real descendants of ancient Israel (the theory of British/Israel notwithstanding).

The True Israel

        Physical bloodline is no longer important in the eyes of the Living God.  It was necessary to preserve Jewish nationality before Jesus was born in order for Him to be a descendant of David and fulfill His kingly role.  Also, God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled in Jesus: “And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.  Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you” (Acts. 3:25,26).

        The blessing promised to Abraham, then, came through Jesus who gave Himself for the whole world (all the kindreds [families] of the earth) (I John 2:2).  Now, anyone, anywhere, who calls on the name of the Lord can be saved and become, through Jesus Christ, the children of Abraham.  “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” (Gal. 3:7).  Remember, this was written to gentiles in a heathen land.

        To these same people Paul stated further: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:26–29).

        A true Israelite, then, is one who has been saved by the blood of Jesus and whose life has been submitted to the lordship of Jesus, irrespective of race, nationality, ethnic background, or sex.  The significance of “for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” has a profound meaning for the true believer.  As “Abraham’s seed” he is on an equal basis with the physical Israelite as if he were literally a descendant of Abraham with royal blood running through his veins!

        “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one INWARDLY; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom. 2:28,29).

        What counts with God is not our fleshly lineage, but our spiritual relationship with Him.  If we are born again and we are in fellowship with Him, we are a part of His family and are spiritually the sons of God; we have all the rights and privileges which are a part of our inheritance through Jesus Christ.

The So–Called Nation Of Israel

        Much has been made of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which allowed the immigration of Jews to Palestine and paved the way for the establishment of the “State of Israel” in May 1948.  The fact that the Jews who settled in Palestine called their political entity Israel does not make it so, any more than everyone who calls himself Christian is really a Christian.  (Incidentally, we are not opposed to the Jews’ immigrating to Palestine.  We are opposed to terming them Israel as if they are a special, chosen people upon whom God is bound to pour out His blessings.)

        By the definition we have already given, Israel is made up only of true believers in Jesus Christ: all others are excluded.  This certainly does not mean we are anti–semitic; it merely means we uphold the teachings of the Scriptures: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

        This means that there is no special benefit to anyone because of his race or ethnic background.  “No man” means just that: “no man” has access to the Father except through Jesus, whether he is Jewish, Israeli, gentile, or whatever.  It remains a fact that the present inhabitants of Palestine are diametrically opposed to Jesus and His followers.  Their only hope is to be born again, renounce their religious affiliations, and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord, Master, and Saviour.  And it seems unlikely they’ll do that.

        Furthermore, there is no unconditional promise that Israel, as is mentioned in Bible days, will ever be restored in the land of Palestine.  God’s Israel in these last days are those who have had the circumcision of the heart, or as Paul so aptly affirms: “we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3; Gal. 6:15,16).

Jerusalem, The Holy City

        There is only one truly holy city in existence, and it is not of this earth.  Paul states that “Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all” (Gal. 4:26).  That is the holy city.  The earthly Jerusalem, he said, is “In bondage with her children” (Gal. 4:25), and John, in Rev. 11:8, likens her spiritually unto “Sodom and Egypt, the city where our Lord was crucified.”

        It is certainly possible that the Lord will do a great work (a short work) in the city of Jerusalem before Jesus returns, but it will not be done by the enemies of God.  He will use the church, or His Body, to fulfill His glorious purpose in the earth (Eph. 3:10).  And the church is composed of people of every nation, kindred, race, tongue and color, those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

        All who spurn the precious Lamb of God remain in their sins and will be judged accordingly regardless of who their ancestors were.  God’s chosen people are those who follow Jesus wherever He leads them, for He is the great Shepherd of the sheep (Heb. 13:20), as well as the door of the sheep (John 10:7–9); He is also the vine (we are but the branches) (John 15:5), and he is the “author of eternal salvation (Heb.5:9) unto all them that obey him.”  All others are rejects!

 

 

“HE HAS PURPOSED”

(Ephesians 1:9)

Lorraine Scullin

        The great drama of the ages in which all beings of the universe have part moves toward its conclusion in these last days.  God had determined the purpose of this great spectacle even before the world was created.

        Although Satan and his host of fallen beings questioned God’s wisdom and found fault with His methods of dealing with His creatures, it was a circumstance that God had foreseen and incorporated in His plan for man.

        These evil beings impugned His motives and declared that He had not acted from love and devotion to His creation.  They even attacked His very nature disputing His justice, denying His mercy, and accusing Him of partiality toward a certain class of individuals.

        God knew, also, that this doubt concerning His character would be implanted in many of the rational beings of the universe; but since He had created these beings with a freedom of will, such obstacles would only make His demonstration more spectacular, and the final attainments of His creatures more remarkable.

        According to His plan these accusations against the Most High MUST BE ANSWERED.  They are NOW BEING REFUTED by the exposing of the true character of every moral being in the universe and by a great demonstration of God’s true nature.  Through the process of testing, the actual condition within every individual is being revealed.  This is the “eternal purpose” of the Father.  He is NOW showing unto PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS in heavenly places His great wisdom in subjecting His creatures to a PROCESS of SIFTING and TESTING “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:10,11).  As a result of this method, God’s nature is revealed and His character vindicated.  Herein is His “manifold wisdom.”  There is not a being in the universe whose nature is not made manifest by this PROCESS, including the Father of glory Himself.

        What must precede this process?  A choice.  Every being is endowed with the power to choose whether he will serve God out of a heart of devotion to Him or whether he will serve himself.  All beings of the universe make this decision of their own FREE WILL whether they are men, or supernatural beings, for none are puppets in God’s economy.  And no creature evades this choice.  Yet God compels no man to serve Him nor any creature to love Him under duress.  This would be a contradiction, impossible of fulfillment, for love cannot be coerced.  Love is begotten by the very character of the one who is loved.

        These accusations of the enemy were made against Him whose rain falleth “on the just and the unjust,” whose sun riseth upon “the evil and the good” (Matt. 5:45).  This love of God which flows out toward His creatures without thought of reward or satisfaction to the Giver touches every act of God.  But the devil declared that God “played favorites” with certain individuals.  He contended that it was a “deal” between the Creator and men, from which both would gain advantage, because the enemy cannot conceive of any act that is not done to satisfy and cater to self even if it be at the expense of the other beings in the universe.

        God is completely SELFLESS.  He is motivated by an intense love for His creatures AT A GREAT COST to Himself.  The cross stands a witness to the depth and extent of the Father’s love through time and eternity.  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  God allowed the murdering of His Son for the world – for those who were His enemies.

        Job demonstrated that the enemy’s contention – “Doth Job fear God FOR NOUGHT?” was without any foundation, and a complete lie.  For Job declared, “What?  Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?  The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 2:10; 1:21).  In this entire test which extended over many days, Job was a vindicator of God’s character which was under attack.  He showed that God was absolutely just and worthy of Job’s utmost devotion and that these leadings of the Lord in his life were actuated by God’s love for him.  Job came out of the “fiery trial” with his nature purged from much dross, (“I abhor myself”) with his love for God more fervent.

        “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him,” – and with material gain, - “And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).

        After this test Job was a richer man spiritually.  He had been humbled by this process and taught anew that NO CONDITION works for evil, but for good, to those who walk with God.  Job’s nature reflected greater likeness to the Creator’s character which Job was vindicating before men, devils, and angels.  He later prayed for those who had cruelly taunted him during the trying of his faith and who had hardheartedly suggested that his sins had brought on his troubles.

        Actually, he had reached a place of sufficient maturity in his walk with God, that the material within him could bear more refining and ENDURE more fire.  Job was growing “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13).

        In the solitude upon the summit of Mount Moriah, another man vindicated the character of God and demonstrated His manifold wisdom.  Abraham, an old man whose sole hope lay in the boy bound on the altar before him, stood a gazing-stock to angels and devils that he BELIEVED God and OBEYED Him in the face of every contradiction.  His mind, his emotions, his spirit were all subjected to the terrific impact of hell’s accusations and doubts.  But Abraham had not spent his life, walking in the flesh under the control of human reasonings.  He had walked day by day in obedience to the commands of the Lord, casting down the doubts and questions that evil powers had tried to inject into his mind.  He habitually practiced surrender to the word of the Lord by setting his will to do the Father’s will and by refusing to entertain the lies from the kingdom of darkness.

        When the crucial hour came, Abraham KNEW without any SHADOW OF DOUBT that God could raise Isaac from the dead.  Therefore he staggered not before so mighty a test.  The angels in the balconies of heaven saw this great demonstration of the OBEDIENCE OF FAITH and praised the Most High God for His wonderful wisdom.  And the devils had to acknowledge God was just in His requirement s and commands.

        To be vindicators of the Living God is one of the great privileges granted to the people of God in every period of time.  In this last day, also, there will be people who will vindicate His nature and set forth the complete wisdom of His acts.  The family of God will reveal His SELFLESS character.  They will demonstrate that God is devoted to those who CHOOSE to obey Him and who “open the door” to His manifold providences.

        The true children of our heavenly Father are those who have responded to His love and have deliberately chosen to “take up their cross” that they might “sanctify” Him.  By this the children of God are “made a spectacle unto the world and to angels and to men” NOW.  Christian people demonstrate their loyalty to God and their faith in Him.  Even though they have not seen Him they have loved and obeyed Him.  This DEMONSTRATION of practical devotion to God is the thing which vindicates God’s choice, and is complete proof of His infinite wisdom in leading “many sons unto Glory.”

 

 

DISCIPLES

Margaret Hall

        We are Jesus’ disciples.  The very word “disciples” indicates that we follow His discipline, His teachings and way of life.  This is what we have been sent to do.  “As my father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).

        Jesus said, “I came…not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38).  His whole desire was to please the Father by doing His will.  “I do nothing of myself…but as my Father hath taught me I speak these things…I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:28,29).

        The very words Jesus spoke were: 1- the Father’s (John 14:24), 2- the Gospel of the Kingdom (Mark 1:14,15), 3- the Father’s commandment (John 12:48-50), 4- the Truth (John 18:37; John 17:17), 5- spoken with authority (Mark 1:22,27).  Jesus’ words were not idle conversation.  They produced and still produce a response.  The hearer responds either obediently or disobediently.  This, in turn, results in a judgment of life or death.  There is no middle ground with truth (John 5:24; John 12:47-48; Hebrews 4:12).

        Jesus also said, “I can of mine own self do nothing, as I hear, I judge…I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which sent me” (John 5:30).  Although He had power to do mighty miracles, He exercised His authority only when it was in accordance with the Will of the Father.  Consider His response to Pilate, “Thou couldst have no power at all against me except it were given thee from above” (John 19:11).  (See also Matthew 26:53,54).  He surrendered His will to the will of the Father (Mark 14:36).

        Jesus and His Father were in complete harmony at all times.  He wants us to enjoy this wonderful relationship also.  “that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21).

        This same surrender of our will to the Will of God is essential if we want to be used by God.  The submission of our will to the Will of God is prerequisite to having a part in the manifestation of His Kingdom in this end time.  We must recognize that we are a purchased possession.  We are not our own.  “What?  Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price” (I Corinthians 6:19,20).  Therefore, we no longer have a legitimate right to say what we will and will not do.  “ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (James 4:13-15).  Our words should not be foolishness, but rather, they should be spiritually edifying to others as well as to ourselves.  “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer” (Psalms 19:14).  “The carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:6,7) and we are told to bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:3-6).  Even our thoughts must become subject to the Will of God.  This is how Jesus lived – completely under the direction of the Father.  This is the goal we strive to obtain (Philippians 3:13,14).

        In the fourth chapter of Matthew we read that Jesus was tempted of the devil.  Satan’s temptations were directed to Jesus’ human will.  Satan challenged Jesus to prove He was the Son of God by demonstrating His supernatural power.  Jesus was hungry and satan said, “command that these stones be made bread.”  Jesus had power to do this.  Next satan tempted Jesus to cast Himself down from a high place.  Jesus could have done this and not have been harmed.  Finally satan offered Jesus all “the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them” if Jesus would fall down and worship him.  Jesus yielded Himself only to the Father!  He refused to comply with satan’s provocations.  Jesus perceived by the Holy Spirit, not the carnal reasonings, and answered satan by the Holy Spirit.  The responses of Jesus go directly to the heart of the matter.  He would not exercise His ability to meet physical life’s need or His power over the physical world and His authority to control the world unless it was the Father’s Will to do so.  To use the power of God apart from the Will of God is spiritually unlawful.  That constitutes sin.  Jesus did not sin.  He demonstrated throughout His life that these conditions were under His authority – but never when it was in conflict with the Father’s Will.

        This same relationship is going to be manifested by God’s people in these last days.  They will be a people wholly submitted to the Will of God, directed completely by the Spirit of God, dead to all the reasonings, appetites and works of the flesh.  A people who walk as Jesus did.  Disciples.

 

 

IN MEMORIAM

 

Mrs. Maxine R. Coleman, a member of People of the Living God for the last 55 years, passed away on Sunday morning, July 10, 2011.  Born on November 23, 1916, she was 94 at the time of her death.

She became incapacitated after a fall in her apartment and had been in the McMinnville Home for the aged for the last eight weeks

She was a true representative of the grace and mercy of the Living God, and we will truly count the blessings that have been ours as we ministered to her needs.  We pray that God will grant her the blessings that she richly deserves, and grant peace to the loved ones she left behind.  The family members consist of a son and daughter, several grandsons and granddaughters, as well as great-grandsons and great-granddaughters.

We already miss her so very much.