People of The Living God

Psalms 91

 

Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size

December 2012



 

WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS

When The World Is More Righteous Than The Church

Alfred King

        In the well-known Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, ”Ye are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14).  Jesus clearly stated the church is to be the light in a dark world, not vice-versa.  Isn’t the church to be separate from the world and not influenced by its ways?  When the world has positive influence on the church, something is terribly wrong.  When the world has to stand up and tell the church that its deeds are evil, serious decadence has begun in the church.  When the church says, “I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing” (Rev. 3:17) and the world calls its hand, exposing her wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked state, the church has slipped to a very low spiritual state.  This is happening in our day.

        While America has always claimed to be a Christian nation, she has not been a perfectly moral country.  Not all the early settlers who came to America were Christian.  However, the moral foundation upon which this country was established was largely founded upon the Bible, which is God’s word.  There are blessings for anyone, even those lost in sin, if they apply God’s moral principles to their lives.  Consider some social problems that would be avoided if men would just observe a few commands found in God’s word.  If man would not kill, there would be no need for states having to decide whether there should be a death penalty or not for there would be no murders.  If men would not steal, there would be no need for locks on our doors or bars on our windows.  If men would refrain from fornication and adultery, there would be no rape, there would be no venereal diseases (including AIDS), and all the problems and consequences brought on by those transgressions would be mute.  Abortion would not be a topic in today’s politics.  If there were no divorce, there would be no broken homes and there would be very few children being raised by a single mom or a single dad.  Parents would not be concerned about their children becoming pregnant or hooked on drugs and their lives destroyed.  There would be no drug pushers, for they would not earn the dollar at the expense of another’s addiction and torment.  If all men would follow the moral teachings of scripture, there would be no need of law enforcement, no need of prisons or jails, no need for dishonest lawyers and politicians.  The list could go on.  Such a simple solution to so many of America’s social problems: The Word of God.

        While the title of this article is, “When the World is more Righteous than the Church”, I have digressed briefly, to show where America is today.  Let us go back into history and take a few examples of when the world was more righteous than the church.

        When the early Puritans, Pilgrims, Quakers and other groups came to America seeking religious freedom, there were many, no doubt, that truly loved God and desired to serve Him in the way they understood scripture taught.  However, the difficulties they experienced in the new land, the privations, that totally revolutionary way of life and the pressures they endured brought upon them many unforeseen pressures and hardships.  There were unwise decisions made at times by those in leadership as well as by members of these groups.  Listed here are only a few things and does not refer to each of the Christians groups mentioned above.  Some of these Christian groups reverted back to the Old Covenant through their “witch hunts” in which witches were hunted down and burned at the stake, many being innocent of the crime for which they were accused.  Nevertheless, the early settlers considered this in keeping with God’s word.  There were many non-Christians (as well as many Christians) who began to speak out against these atrocities and sought means by which it could be stopped.  A moral world was more righteous than many in the church.  It was a continuation of the witch hunts of Europe and strikes of other religious activities in which murder was the “Christian” solution to a problem.  The witch hunts seemed to be in league with some of the activities which occurred even during the Reformation when “Christians” (such as Martin Luther and John Calvin) had those whom they deemed “heretics” murdered, and thought that somehow they had done God a service.  But how is murder for any reason in keeping with God’s word?  How can one study God’s word and come to the conclusion that the church has the authority to slay fellow believers just because of some doctrinal difference?  Unfortunately, this same mentality found its place in the theology of some the early settlers of America.  Even an un-professing world knew better.

        Slavery was introduced to America with the arrival of the first negro slaves in Virginia in 1619.  Christians in the new world purchased and owned slaves just as unbelievers.  It is recorded in the writings of the few slaves who learned to read and write, describing some of the atrocities which took place among many black slaves, performed, very often by those who were “good Christians”, attending church faithfully.  While many Christians did take their stand against slavery and especially the mistreatment of slaves, the world also saw the hypocrisy and began to labor for the emancipation of slaves.  The world seemed to have more discernment of right and wrong than many so-called Christians.  This dark part of American’s heritage brought about one of the saddest wars in the history of mankind, right in the very heart of the country that claimed to be a Christian nation.  Did America pay a price for this sin?  Even today, a hundred and fifty years later, we are still paying the price: Remember God’s word: “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).  This applies to nations as well as people and America paid a tremendous price for the sin of slavery.

        Coming now to the present day, we find the same techniques Satan has used in the past working again.  We have our great Christian campaigns, our TV prosperity preachers, who even when they are exposed for their infidelity, mishandling of funds, fleecing the sheep, many times telling out-and-out lies, the church refuses to hold them accountable and it falls upon those who profess no faith in Christ at all who are forced to expose the hypocrisy and lies.  It was James Randi, a non-Christian who exposed Peter Popoff for the fake he was.  Peter Popoff was a “great faith healer”, bringing in nearly four million a year through his healing crusades. Randi exposed his so-called “word of knowledge” by tapping into the radio frequency through which his wife, Elizabeth communicated with him during the crusades.  Elizabeth would gain knowledge of certain infirmed people when they entered the auditorium and have them fill out cards explaining their infirmity.  She would then feed Popoff that information from a camper trailer near the auditorium via a small receiver in his ear.  The church remained silent while the world saw through the hypocrisy and lies, and it took the world to finally uncover the hypocrisy.

        While we are certain that there were many Christians who did see what was going on with the Popoff crusades, it took the world to expose him.  However, there is another case which was a sham, and in this account it was the Christian group, Cornerstone, who exposed it for what it was.  This case was of a great story teller named Mike Warnke, who claimed that he had been a Satanist in the mid-sixties and was elevated to the status of a Satanist high priest.  In his book entitled, The Satan Seller, Warnke goes into great detail of his life as a Satanist and boasts of having 1500 followers who were submissive to him.  The problem was, it was all untrue.  Mike Hertenstein and Jon Trott of Cornerstone exposed his lies in their book, Selling Satan, published by Cornerstone Press in 1993.  What is even more troubling than Warnke’s deception, is the critical responses of many “Christians” to Hertenstein’s and Trott’s expose.  Following are two letters sent to Cornerstone for you to consider:

“I was not impressed with your article on Mike Warnke – you have done no more than the secular press does.  It’s bad enough what happened in Mike Warnke’s life, but you went way too far!  What about the scripture that says whether it’s preached for the wrong reason or the right reason, nevertheless Christ is preached? (sic)

“You talked more about condemning this man and making him out to be a fraud than saying we need to lift him up and pray for him.  Christ didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery.  Is sin different because a man is on a pedestal?  Or how about looking within your own life?  Yes, sirs, I am angry.  I am a minister and I come under fire about things.  You spoke on forgiveness slightly; why not totally focus on lifting up a brother rather than condemning?  Think about it!  Does God condemn you even now when you mess up?”*

Another letter:

“Why are you trying to bring down Mike Warnke?  He has saved more people than you can imagine.  Maybe not all his life is what you think it is.  I have been to three of his concerts here is Pismo Nazarene Church, and I and two friends have reached the Lord through Mike.  You know Satan will go and make up lies to bring Mike down because he is afraid of Mike.  Please explain yourself to me.”*

        Did not Jesus emphatically and specifically strip the religious tapestry from the hypocritical Pharisees and Sadducees of His day, revealing their hypocrisy and exposing their nakedness?  Is the Church to allow “wolves in sheep’s clothing” to continue their diabolical work of deception on the grounds of love or mercy?  Is it acceptable “to do evil that good may come?”  Can a Christian preach a false gospel to reach a certain class of lost people?  One “Christian” group, several years ago taught that it was okay to have sexual relationships with others as long as you were witnessing to them of Christ’s love for them.  Is this garbage acceptable to a holy God?  Is it permissible to sin because we have some “noble” intention?  “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God:” (I Pet. 4:17).  “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (I Cor. 11:31).  It is evident from the preceding letters that too many Christians don’t want sin exposed.  Too many want to continue in sin and still be a Christian.  Jesus plainly stated, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon”(Matt. 6:24).  ”A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit”. (Matt. 7:18).  In chapter three and verse eleven of James, James reaffirms the same point with the question, “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?”  The call to the 21st century church is to awaken, awaken to a state of alertness where she doesn’t fall back into that former state of slumber that has allowed the enemy to sow tares among the wheat and spew out lies in place of the Gospel.  It is a call to return to the Lord with all one’s heart and with all one’s soul.  It is a call to trim the lamps and to be certain that there is oil in the vessel so the lamp will not go out when tribulation and persecution arise because of the word.

        The recent election in “Christian” America has caused great concern among conservative Christians, not only in America but around the world.  There are letters circulating on the internet, written from Christians in foreign countries, expressing concern and desiring to encourage God’s people not to lose hope but to turn to God with a greater determination, consecration and surrender.  The call is back to the old paths which are set down in God’s Word.  II Chronicles 7:14 is once again the answer to America’s problems and the Believers’ future, “If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  It is certain that any honest Christian knows and believes this to be the answer.  God’s promises are sure.  He will always do what He says He will do.  God will forgive and heal “IF.”

        There have been events in America’s history that have awakened and stirred God’s people to call out in repentance and God always showed His great faithfulness and mercy, bringing her through great adversities.  Sadly, the events in recent history, which have been successful in awakening the Christian church has been only temporary and have failed to keep her awake for any considerable time.  Instead of awakening a sleeping giant, the giant has only aroused enough to turn over and go back to sleep.  She awakes, but her comfortable lifestyle has caused her eyelids to be heavy and she soon drifts back into that peaceful state of sleep, unaware of the gradual shifting of the world around her to the point of no return.  America has touted the fact that she is a Christian nation, stamping it on her currency, her national buildings and monuments as well as in every state’s capitol building.  Her Christian roots have been publically displayed for over two centuries in her court houses and court rooms and she was unashamed of her Christian heritage.  But America is changing.  She is turning away from the mores which made America great and she has lost her moral compass.  She is drifting into an ungodliness that God declares very clearly and emphatically will cause His blessings to cease and will bring His judgments just as it did on His people Israel.

        The cry of the watchmen is there are enemies both within and without the church.  The church must begin to cleanse itself from within by returning to the teachings and commands of Jesus Christ.  I close with the warning words of Jesus from Luke 21:34-37, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.  For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.  Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.  And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” It’s time that the church have the positive effect it was intended to have upon the world.

*Credits: The Kingdom That Turned The World Upside Down by David W. Bercot: pages 42 & 43. Scroll Publishing

 

 

CHRIST – THE END OF THE LAW

Romans 10:4

Randall Walton

        This verse from Paul’s letter is often referred to as “proof” that Jesus did away with law, but if that is what Paul was actually saying, then he certainly contradicted himself, and that in this same letter: “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the DOERS OF THE LAW shall be justified” (Rom. 2:14); “Do we then make void the law through faith?  God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31); “wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, just, and good” (Rom. 7:12); “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin” (Rom. 7:14).

        The word “end” as used by Paul in 10:4 does not mean termination or cessation.  Its actual use is a goal or a certain point to be reached, as Peter more plainly describes in I Peter 1:9: “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”  Certainly no one would argue that faith terminates when we are saved!

        The goal of the law, then, is Christ, or as Paul explains it in Romans 8:3,4; “what the law could not do, in that it was weak THROUGH THE FLESH, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for (or because of) sin, condemned sin in the flesh; That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.”

        Remember that Jesus perfectly fulfilled all the demands of the righteousness of the law.  Through His example, He demonstrated that it was possible for us to so live that the righteousness of the law would be fulfilled in us also.  He condemned sin in the flesh – He gave us the power and the victory to overcome the weaknesses of the flesh and walk in obedience to every standard and command of God.  That is our goal in life; that is the end toward which we move, and Jesus is the means to that end!

Jesus, The Lawgiver

        John 1:17 is often quoted to us as further “proof” that the law was superceded by “grace and truth,” the implication being made that before Jesus came there was no grace nor truth, and that Moses was responsible for the awful law to which Israel was bound.

        However, Moses did not originate nor make any laws for ancient Israel.  God Himself made the laws, and He gave them to Israel through His servant Moses.  God wrote the Ten Commandments on stone and handed them to Moses; then He dictated a complete civil and ceremonial code to that man who was the meekest man on earth (Num. 12:3).  Moses was a mere channel or mediator whom God used as a messenger to the people.

        Grace and truth are found in the Old Testament as well as the New; also, Jesus Himself issued forth at least a hundred different commands (law) during His 3½ years’ ministry.

        Not only that, it was Jesus who wrote the Ten Commandments and who gave the “law of commandments contained in ordinances” to Israel through Moses (John 1:3; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2; I Cor. 10:4).  So, the implication that Moses and Jesus were in competition to each other is entirely erroneous!!

Handwriting Of Ordinances

        The Scriptures differentiate between the law of God (the Ten Commandments) and the law of Moses (ordinances), both of which were given by God.  Ordinances are special, specific, temporary injunctions which are issued for a particular group of people for a given period of time.  They have a definite and singular purpose for their existence.  Once that purpose is attained, there is no further need nor applicability for said ordinances.

        Paul made reference to these ordinances in Ephesians 2:15 and Colossians 2:14 where he said that they had been abolished and nailed to the cross.  He also referred to these as the law which “was our schoolmaster unto Christ” (“to bring us” was supplied, not in the Greek text) (Gal. 3:24).  The ordinances which embraced the proper manner of animal sacrifice pointed to the “Lamb of God.”  When Jesus, the perfect Lamb, was sacrificed there was no more need for the animal sacrifices nor the ordinances concerning them.

        The Levitical priesthood was also a part of that “handwriting of ordinances” which was abolished because of the Messiah.  Now we have a “great high priest” who ever liveth to make intercession for us.  All the laws which pertained to the Levites were nailed to the Cross and have no jurisdiction over us today.

        But the Ten Commandments were not abolished!  They were magnified, amplified, engraved upon the tablets of our hearts (Heb. 10:16-18)!  As such, they judge not only our actions and deeds, but also our very motives and the “thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

Law Necessary

        The Law of the Lord is, among other things, a clear statement of what constitutes righteousness and the standards which are approved of God.  Law gives a positive definition of sin and tells what sin is!  Since “sin is transgression of the law” (I John 3:4); therefore, all who reject God’s law are still in their sins and are in danger of judgment as sinners.

        There is only one kingdom which operates without law and that is the kingdom of Satan.  There the lawless and rebellious work in the darkness of sin’s bitter night, cut off from God and life, doomed to destruction because they refused to obey their King and Master.

        No government can long exist without law and order whether that government is of men, of Satan, or of God.  Jesus stated that “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matt. 12:25).  The condition of division here described is one of total anarchy or lawlessness.  The kingdom or house of Satan is that kind of disorganization, one whose future is total destruction and annihilation.

        But the kingdom of God is a kingdom of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost,” and these conditions are preserved for the citizens of this kingdom by the steadfastness of its laws!  To imagine that the kingdom of God, or the church of Jesus Christ, operates without law is to place it on the same level as the kingdom of Satan.

        Also, the very integrity of the law of God will be the basis for the judgment at the last day, or as Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

        Where else to find the will of the heavenly Father except in His divine law?  His law is a plain declaration of His perfect will, His expectations, His pleasure, His demands.

        In the day of judgment, the question we will all have to answer will be whether we adhered to God’s law for the deeds done in the body (II Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:12), not whether we were religious and good moral people by the world’s standards, but according to the standards set forth by God in His own law.

The Correct Perspective

        Many people consider law to be restrictive, bondage, and spiritually stifling, as if those who love God’s law walk in constant fear lest they accidentally break one of God’s laws and, thereby, become guilty of all!  Nonsense!  Christians enjoy the greatest liberty and freedom of all people on earth, not because they are under a condition of “no law,” but because they are given the power and ability to obey God’s gracious law, and because as they walk in the Spirit, the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in them.

        We understand that the “law of commandments contained in ordinances” has no claim upon our lives, but we do recognize the eternal qualities of the Ten Commandments (all ten of them), and the viability of the commands of Jesus as found in the Four Gospels.  We also accept the inspired words of the apostles which are found in the rest of the New Testament, and consider all these as law, pure, exact, with corresponding punishment and/or discipline for negligence in obedience to them.

Two Sets Of Laws

   God’s Laws

 

 

   Moses’ Laws

Perfect (Psa. 19:7)

 

 

Imperfect (Heb. 7:19)

On Stone (Deut. 9:10)

 

 

In a book (Deut. 31:26)

Defines Sin (Rom. 7:7)

 

 

Pardon for sin (Lev. 4:27-35)

Not destroyed (Matt. 5:17)

 

 

Abolished (Eph. 2:14-16)

Doer is justified (Rom. 2:13)

 

 

No justification (Gal. 2:16)

Complete (nothing added)
     (Deut. 5:22)

 

 

It was added (Gal. 3:19)

Eternal (Psa. 111:7,8)

 

 

For a specific time (Heb. 9:1-10)

Established (Rom. 3:31)

 

 

Nailed to the Cross (Col. 2:14)

Placed in the Ark
     (Deut. 10:5).

 

 

In the side of the Ark
     (Deut. 31:26).

Includes duties to God
  and man

 

 

A civil and ceremonial code

A moral code

 

 

Levitical priesthood: circumcision,
  sacrifice, juristic matters, marriage,
  divorce, inheritance rights, etc.

 

 

 

WE HAVE A KING

Curtis Dickinson

        In identifying Jesus, the apostle John calls Him “the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5).  John saw Him, having “on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev. 19:16).

        So accustomed are we to having everything demonstrated before us in living color and recognizing things by our five senses, that the present glory and power of Jesus are hardly considered by any and generally rejected by many.  The popular concept in religion today is that Jesus has yet to begin His reign, that He is king-elect but has not taken office yet.  It is widely taught that when He does begin to reign, He will obliterate all evil and exalt all Christians to places of comfort and pleasure.  The Epicurean thought prevails that since the world is in such a terrible condition, Jesus could not be reigning now, for if He were in control He would not allow things to get into such a mess.

        By this reasoning we would have to deny that God has ever been in control.  Was He in power after creation?  Then how could the terrible sin of Adam occur?  Was He in control during the time of Nebuchadnezzar?  Then how could such evils as then existed be allowed?

        That Jesus is now reigning as king is one of the prominent doctrines of the Bible.  Daniel wrote, “I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came unto the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:13,14).

        This was fulfilled when Jesus ascended to heaven in the clouds: “When he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:8,9).

        His enthronement as King was one of the main themes on the day of Pentecost.  Peter cited the promise of God that one of David’s descendents would sit on his throne, then quoted David’s own prophecy in Psalms 16 concerning the resurrection of Jesus.  According to Peter’s sermon, Jesus ascended to sit on that throne “For David ascended not into the heavens; but he saith himself ‘THE Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet.’  Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified” (Acts 2).

        Jesus Himself claimed the authority of King of kings before His ascension, when He said to the disciples, “All authority has been given to me on heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18).  Anyone making such a claim would have to be insane, a deceiver, or else the very King of kings with sovereign power over all heaven and earth.

        The apostles delighted in affirming that Jesus is in power.  Peter wrote that He “is on the right hand of God, having gone into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him” (I Peter 3:22).  Paul wrote that when God raised Jesus from the dead He made Him “to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph. 1:20,21).

        We are not to be deprived of the great honor and joy of having such a King by those who insist that Jesus is not yet King and has not yet established a kingdom.  The fact that He is not physically present and visible to the eye does not mean that He is not “real” nor that He does not literally reign.  God, though invisible, has always had power over His creation.  The world in the day of Noah was in violent rebellion against Him, but He had sovereign power over it and exercised His power over the elements to bring the flood that destroyed all but the family of Noah.  He was invisible to the citizens of Sodom; but His laws, which they violated, were well known.  While demonstrating His power to destroy the evil cities, He also used His power to bring out Lot and those of his family who would go with him.

        God has always had sovereign power over the world, and at the ascension of Jesus “he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:22).  Paul wrote that He will continue to reign “until he hath put all enemies under his feet.  The last enemy that shall be abolished is death” (I Cor. 15:25,26).

        Because He reigns, we can take seriously His admonition: “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  Because He is in sovereign power, we can believe that “all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

        When the Jews were trying to have Jesus killed, Pilate brought Him out to the crowd and said, “Behold your king.”  But the people, prompted by the Jews, cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him.”  Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?”  They answered, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:14,15).

        The world has always preferred the simulated glory of sinful rulers to the real glory of God.  Today, rather than seeking “first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,” men seek government regulation, government control and government security.  Charity is assigned, not to the good Samaritans, but to self-serving bureaucrats who make a career of spending other people’s money.  Children are turned over to the state as soon as they are able to enter day-care programs and left there until they are grown.  Let Caesar rear the children, provide employment, care for the aged and sick, and be responsible for us from the cradle to the grave.  Self-discipline and responsibility appear as evils, rather than privileges given to man in God’s image.  For the most part, the world wants no king but Caesar.

        True glory is not in such things as Caesar provides.  The glory of our King is in His perfect submission to the Father, when He took our sins and bore them in death.  His glory is in His perfect self-control, under severe temptation and the pressure of His enemies.  His glory is in His compassion, His mercy and His faithfulness.  His glory is in His sinlessness that enabled Him to rise from the dead, victorious over death and the grave.  Such glory makes even the angels sing: “Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).

        Popular millennial teaching has many believing that Jesus must return to Jerusalem to begin His reign.  They say there must be a terrible war, with blood filling the valley of Jezreel, and that there must be a military battle to win the victory for Christ and His kingdom.  Such teaching ignores a vast portion of scripture and denies the present authority of King Jesus.

        Jesus reigns NOW, and all who are in Him are citizens of His kingdom.  His reign knows no geographical bounds, and there is no one who does not come under His authority.  We do not fight our battles with bombs or bullets: “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal” (II Cor. 10:3), but the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17).

        The fact that multitudes in the world deny Christ and walk in their own lusts does not negate the fact of His sovereignty as King.  David prophesied that He would “rule in the midst of (His) enemies” (Psa. 110:2).  He rules by law, the commands clearly recorded in scripture: “the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

        At present He allows us to obey or disobey, but when He appears again, He will exercise His kingly power in judgment to destroy all who reject His sovereign rule (Luke 19:27; II Peter 3:7-12; II Thess. 1:7-9).  God’s purpose to have man in His image, living in harmony with His sovereign will, must ultimately be accomplished.

        Therefore, “let us keep the commandments, without spot, without reproach, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in its own times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality” (I Tim. 6:14-16).

 

 

OFFENCE

E. Sanderson

        “It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!” (Luke 17:1)

        Our congregation has gone through the John Bevere study, Bait of Satan.  Do YOU know what satan’s bait is?  Would you be surprised to hear that it is offence?  I had never thought of it, but it does make sense.  The whole scheme of satan is to turn people away from God any way he can.  If he could get you through love, he would.  However, since love is a main characteristic of God, there is no way he can use love (except for the wrong kind: love of money, love of self, love of the world).  But not true love.  Therefore, he has to “draw us away” (if possible) by more devious means.  So, let’s look at offence.

        Notice, the above verse has two parts.  Jesus says “It is impossible but that offences will come.”  He is saying to watch out, you will be offended at one time or another; which, if you think about it, is true.  Now, offence doesn’t have to be a big thing, like slander or defamation of character.  Satan usually isn’t so blatant.  No, offence can also come in little things, such as a tone of voice or a look.  Many times a person doesn’t realize that he has been offended at that moment.  But, with thinking about what was said or done, the offence starts building.  This is the crucial time.  And a most crucial question must be asked, “What am I going to do about this offence?  Let it fester and boil until it destroys me, or get rid of it before it can do any damage to me and others?”

        In looking in Webster’s dictionary, there are several meanings for “offence” which may apply.  (1) something that outrages the moral or physical senses; (2) the means or method of attacking or of attempting to score; (3) the act of displeasing or affronting.  Strong’s says it this way: (1) snare, (2) occasion to fall (of stumbling), (3) thing that offends, (4) stumbling block.  So, whether you look at a secular definition or a spiritual one, the “offender” will hurt the “offendee” and can cause serious damage to him, even to the point of making him lose his way with God.

        How does one deal with the offences that come his way?  There is a wonderful song that says: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”  I believe this is the secret.  If you are lost in Him, you won’t even notice the things happening around you.  Someone can say something hurtful or look at you wrong and you won’t even notice it.  However, since most of us are not so lost in Jesus, there is something further that we must do.  We must remember that when an offence comes, we cannot harbor it.  It must be discarded as soon as it comes, because the longer it stays the more bitterness will grow in us.  And bitterness will bind you, separate you from God, and eventually destroy you.  You have just fallen into the hand of satan!

        Ephesians 4:26–27 says, “let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”  You may not think you are angry because of an offence, but the longer you think about it, the angrier you will become.  Deal with it before the day passes.  It will be harder to deal with when you have had time to think and dwell on it.  Do you see that not dealing with an offence is giving place to the devil?  Don’t give place to him!  Remember, nothing is as important as your relationship with Jesus Christ.  Don’t allow anything or anyone to come between you and your Lord.

        The second part of the verse in Luke says, “woe unto him, through whom they come!”  Notice, the woe is to the offender.  Some people take delight in offending others; it seems to make them feel powerful.  This kind of offender ignores the “woe” to his own destruction.  Jesus goes on to say in Luke 17:2, “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”  Matt. 18:6, says, “and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”  Now, that is a serious statement.  It were better to die than to give an offense!  How much plainer can that be?

        I pray that no one reading this is an offender by choice.  For those who are or have been offended, remember what Jesus said, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Matt. 5:11).  Remember you have a choice.  You can make the offence a stumbling block or a stepping stone.  The stumbling block will lead you away from God.  The stepping stone will lead you closer, oh, so much closer, to God.  So, turn your eyes upon Jesus and let Him take care of all your offences and trials.  Don’t “give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27).  Remember, offences may come, but you don’t have to harbor them.  Let them go and you’ll find peace in your soul.

 

 

BLOW THE TRUMPET IN ZION

James Sanderson

        “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand” (Joel 2:1).

        The trumpet was an instrument used to arouse and stir people to attention.  Its mighty blasts mustered troops to the fray and alerted the citizenry in times of peril.  When the Lord had to declare a message of utmost importance, the “voice of the trumpet” summoned the people.

        If there were ever a time when Zion (God’s people) needed to be aroused and brought to attention, it is now.

        “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:14).  Sleep is a serious spiritual condition that is closely akin to death.  Physical sleep can be quite strengthening to the body, but spiritual sleep is very detrimental to the soul.  Sleep is a lethargic state in which the individual becomes insensitive to the move and work of the Spirit of God.  Involvement in religious activity is no indication that one is awake.  In fact, religious activity can have a hypnotic effect on the soul, making the individual believe that all is well.

        To awaken God’s people in this desperate hour is probably the most urgent task of the Holy Spirit.  The majority of Christians are just plain satisfied when they need to be watching and praying.  Many are living as though everything is going to continue the same way that it always has (II Pet. 3:4).  What Jesus declared to His generation holds true today, “Ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matt. 16:3)

        This is a very critical hour.  Sleeping Christians will not be prepared.  Impending judgment from the Lord hangs over this nation as a pall.  Jesus called this time just before us “the days of vengeance” (Lk. 21:22).  The prophet Joel called it “the day of the Lord.”  “For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be” (Mk. 13:19).  “Alas! for that day is great so that none is like it” (Jer. 30:7).

        The world has experienced bloodshed, wars, pestilences, plagues, and natural disasters.  The two most devastating wars were fought in the past 100 years leaving a trail of death and destruction unparalleled in all of earth’s history.  Yet, if Jesus and the prophets are correct, none of these past events can be compared with the perilous conditions that will prevail worldwide in the day of the Lord’s anger.

        It would not be an overestimation to say that the vast majority of humanity, including most of Christendom, will not be prepared for the coming of the Lord.  Jesus clearly likened these days to the days of Noah and the days of Lot.  Only a “few, that is, eight souls were saved” from the upheaval of Noah’s day (I Peter 3:20).  The rest of humanity “knew not until the flood came and took them all away” (Matt. 24:39).  Lot and his immediate family were all that fled safely from the conflagration that swept through Sodom and the neighboring cities.  The prophet Isaiah, speaking of this very time declared, “Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left” (Isa. 24:6).  Only “a remnant shall be saved” from the ravages of this final hour (Rom. 10:27).

        Is it possible to understand why most people will be unprepared for the coming of the Lord?  Once again the Scriptures do not leave us in the dark on this vital issue.

        Israel was completely unprepared for the first coming of the Lord.  Their prophets had accurately foretold the coming of the Messiah.  They had even described many of the major events in His life and ministry.  The whole nation of Israel looked forward with anticipation for this Mighty Deliverer.  Expectancy reigned in the hearts of every Jewish family.  At the Passover feast each year a place was reserved for this honored Guest as a reminder that He would come.

        Sadly, we observe with the apostle John, “He came unto His own, and His own received him not” (Jno. 1:11).  When their Messiah appeared, they never recognized Him – the One for Whom they had long awaited.  In fact, He was despised and completely rejected by the majority.  They “crucified the Lord of glory” (I Cor. 2:8) and “put Him to an open shame” (Heb. 6:6).  Israel failed to discern the “time of her visitation.”  Forty years later in fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus, the city of Jerusalem was leveled; over a million men, women, and children were killed, the temple was destroyed, and almost 100,000 people were led away as prisoners and slaves to Rome.  What an ignoble ending for a nation that bore the name of the Great Jehovah God!

        The 20th and 21st Century Christian looks back with consternation at this historic tragedy and wonders, “Why?”  On the other hand, should not one ask if a similar situation is not developing as the time of the second coming of our Lord draws near?  Is it quite possible that most of present-day Christianity will not discern the day of their visitation?  Some very disturbing parallels begin to emerge as one studies the conditions in Israel at the time of Christ and compares them with the situation in Christendom today.

        The Jewish nation had long since rejected the lordship of Christ even before He appeared as the Lowly Man of Galilee.  Many centuries before, they had demanded a king “like all the nations” (I Sam. 8:5).  God spoke to the prophet Samuel and declared, “They have not rejected you, they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (I Sam. 8:7).  By the time Jesus appeared, most of the People of the Book had become divided into various sects none of which bore any resemblance to the original pattern given to Moses.  They had transgressed many of the commandments of God and replaced them with the “traditions of the elders” (Matt. 15:3).  Their evangelistic zeal was phenomenal!  “Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matt. 23:15).  They had the accouterments of religion such as the temple and the priesthood, but their hearts were far from God.  They wanted to be called by His name, but they didn’t want to obey His words.

        Israel of old was also unprepared for the Messiah because of preconceived notions as to how He was to appear.  They expected a Messiah who would remove them from most of their difficulties by restoring Israel to its former political glory.  No longer would they have to bear the humiliating yoke of the Romans.  Once again they would have a king like the nations.  At one point in the life of Jesus, they even attempted to force Him to be king (Jno. 6:15).  The Lord had no interest in that type of rule.  He didn’t meet their expectations; consequently, they rejected Him.

        Except for Roman rule, most Jews were quite satisfied with the status quo.  Many of the church leaders loved worldly acclaim and the greetings in the market places.  Prestige and success had become the motivating factors of the day.  They “loved the uppermost rooms at feasts” (Matt. 23:6).  The praises of men were more important than the praises of God (Jno. 12:43).  Merchandizing in the things of God had become so widespread that on two occasions Jesus had to drive the moneychangers out of the temple along with those who bought and sold.  On another occasion He declared, “Ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers” (Matt. 23:14).  In short, they loved the world so much that they carried it right into the synagogues and the temple.  Jesus called it “an evil and adulterous generation” (Matt. 12:39).  Because the message of Jesus was diametrically opposed to this subservience to mammon and carnality, they chose a secular king.  “We have no king but Caesar” (Jno. 14:15) was their final declaration as Jesus was led away to be crucified.

        Would it not be fair to examine modern-day Christianity with the same scrutiny?  Certainly those who want to be prepared for the coming of the Lord do not want to fall into the same traps as ancient Israel did.  “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (Rom. 10:11).

        When Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, came to earth, He bore a message directly from the Father.  That message was called the gospel of the Kingdom.  The good news was not merely salvation from hell.  It was the good news that men can become citizens of the kingdom of God.  He also established certain laws, commands, and precepts by which the subjects of that kingdom would be governed.  Furthermore, He introduced a way of life which was the framework in which those teachings were to be followed.  That way of life was a life of sharing in common among the brethren the physical and spiritual blessings that God imparted so bountifully.

        Anyone who decided to become a genuine follower of Christ had to make a total sacrifice of everything.  One’s own desires, plans, ambitions, possessions, and goals in this life were laid on the altar of sacrifice.  The Christian embraced a new purpose in life: to obey the teachings of the One Who had died for him.  Those teachings called for a life of self-denial and daily cross-bearing.  Love for God and the brethren supplanted the desire to please self.  Theirs was not a religion of 10%; it was a sacrifice of all.

        There were no salaried clergy who could look forward to a nice little “nest egg” for retirement.  “Silver and gold have I none” was the declaration of Peter at the time of Pentecost.  That great apostle to the Gentiles also declared, “I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung that I may win Christ.”

        The government in that early body of believers was quite different from the organizational structure that is seen today.  There were no church headquarters in the modern sense of the word.  There were no elected boards to direct the outreach of the church.  They had continued communication with the Head.  As long as they sought divine instruction from heaven, they received it by supernatural means.

        It does not take a theologian with a string of doctor’s degrees to see that the Christian church today has strayed far from the true pattern established by Jesus Christ and the apostles.  Few ministers of the gospel would require their constituents to meet the rugged demands of discipleship set forth by Jesus Christ.  If one is to make an honest appraisal of the overall situation, he must conclude that the majority of church organizations have rejected the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  Our Lord posed a very pertinent question, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”  One might pose another thought-provoking question.  If Jesus Christ once again came to earth and lived exactly the way He did in the days of Israel, how many would recognize Him as the King of kings and follow in His footsteps?  What would be His indictment of this generation?  It is one thing to be born-again and receive Christ as one’s Savior; it is another to make Him Lord of one’s life by obedience to His commandments.  “We will not have this man to reign over us,” is echoed by the church today (Lk. 19:14).

        Many preconceived ideas regarding the return of Christ are prevalent today.  Unfortunately, because of these opinions, many Christians will fail to make the proper preparation.  The doctrine of a secret rapture is one of those ideas.  It will be a tremendous letdown to untold millions who are banking on a secret appearance of Jesus to remove them instantly from most of the calamities of this latter day.  Such a doctrine allows one to bask in false security while he continues living the way he wants.  As long as one is truly born again, lives a decent moral life, and is active in his church, he has it made.  There is nothing to fear.  All of that destruction, the wrath of God, the Great Tribulation, the wholesale persecution of Christians, and the anti-Christ system are for everyone else.

        There is not space enough here to analyze this false hope.  One should read Luke 17:26-37.  Noah and Lot were not taken out of the earth.  The admonishment not to return for one’s stuff would be of little value if the individual will be suddenly removed in a secret rapture.  Jesus prayed that God’s people would not be taken out of the earth, but that they would be kept from the evil (Jno. 27:15).  The rapture fable is completely contrary to this prayer of our Lord.  The people in this passage were not “taken out.”  Finally, Revelation 12:14 tells us that the eagles were gathered “into the wilderness, into her place” for three and one half years.  The wilderness is not in the sky.

        The doctrine of the rapture is so tenaciously believed in evangelical and fundamentalist circles that only the reality of the coming events will awaken them to its fallacies.

        As with the Jews of old, institutional Christianity is quite satisfied with the status quo.  The Laodicean church of this day declares, “We are rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (Rev. 3:17).  Never before in earth’s history has there been such an amalgamation of the world and the church.  On every hand one sees compromises being made with the world.  The merchandizing spirit of Babylon has swept through the church.  This is the day of great evangelistic efforts that reproduce nothing more than the same worldly church that fostered them.  Modern-day prophets proclaim peace, prosperity, and worldly success.  All of this is carried out under the supposed aegis of God and His word.

        Where are those who seek “the old paths”?  Those who truly love the Lord need to have a great burden of prayer that God’s people might return to the New Testament standards.  God’s spiritual blessings upon the church will return only as God’s people put forth the effort to see the true pattern restored.  God is now placing a mark or seal upon those who “sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof” (Ezek. 9:4).

        Yes, this nation is on the brink of a tremendous upheaval: “Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven” (Heb. 12:26).  The only ones who will be able to endure this day of shaking that is very imminent are those who make the proper preparation and meet the demands of the hour.

        The new birth and church membership will not be sufficient to carry anyone through the dark days ahead.  “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass” (Lk. 21:36).  Escape is not an automatic certainty just because one is called a Christian.  “Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zeph. 2:3).

        The cry at this midnight hour is, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him” (Matt. 25:6).  God is calling His people out of Babylon.  “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4).  “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; he will render unto her a recompense” (Jer. 51:6).  Only as God’s people extricate themselves from all that is of this world, diligently apply the words of Jesus Christ to their lives, and return to the apostolic way of life will they find deliverance “from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10).

 

 

A LETTER TO A FRIEND

 

        This “Letter To A Friend” is being reprinted as an example of the relationship any born again believer can have with the Lord Jesus Christ and to encourage all those who read it, not only to desire it but to seek until he find.  It is this personal relationship with Christ that will help sustain the believer through every tribulation, every attack of the enemy and all other disappointments and situations of life.  The love, joy and peace of God is obtained and maintained through this type of fellowship with Jesus Christ.  May it encourage each of you who read it.

                                                        October 23, 1985

                                                        Fruitland, Washington

Dear Friend,

        First of all, let me tell You that I have had a hard time finding a title by which to address You.  You are King, Lord, Master, Savior and so many other things; but I’d rather call You Friend because, after all, I met you in that way.

        I don’t recall if it was during the day or the night when I first met You.  Anyway, I was in front of my study table when I sought Your help.  Do you remember?  I was alone, carrying a heavy load, tired of fighting that problem that was consuming my soul.  Dear Lord Jesus, You came to my relief that night…now I remember, it was during the night hours when You “met the need of my heart.”

        As another friend taught me, I was “a sinner boy;” but, You loved me and heard my prayer.  I came to You seeking peace for my soul.  To serve You was not in my heart.  That night, You took away my problem; and at that time, I met You, my Faithful Friend.  Since then, You have been with me.  Thank You, Lord, for Your help and faithfulness unto me.

        You have surely changed my life.  About eleven years ago I came to America with many plans and ambitions.  You were not part of them, because I wanted to live for myself.  Today “my ambitions, plans, and wishes, at my feet in ashes lay,” but I have You, my Faithful Friend.  Let me tell You that You are more precious, MUCH MORE precious than those things that at one time “were gain to me.”

        You are the healer of broken hearts, and You satisfy the longing soul.  One time, several years ago – I remember very well – my heart was torn into many pieces.  I did not have any reason to live in this life.  After she left me that night, I was wholly empty.  I tried several things…“Like the woman at the well, I was seeking for the things that could not satisfy.”  The liquor and pleasures of life did not satisfy my thirsty soul.  THEN You came into my heart, and Your sweet Presence filled that empty place that she had left.  I was torn, and You healed me.  I was smitten, and You bound me.  Thank You, Lord, for giving me a new and better hope in my life.

        Some years have passed since I met You.  I don’t deserve all Your blessings.  Tears of joy have taken the place of tears of sorrow and anguish.  Your healing hand has touched my weak body several times.  Your guiding hand has shown me the way when life has been rough and difficult.  Your encouraging hand has lifted me up when distress has tried to come back to me.  I can’t count Your many blessings, but I want to name ONE…the one that proved to me that it IS sweet to trust in Jesus.

        How much encouragement I needed that time!  You allowed a situation to come into my life to show me a horrible condition in my heart.  You told me that I was going to be a warrior and that my life would be a daily fight.  I was worried because I had to contend with that problem that was, as a giant, very hard to defeat.  Then, I went to one of your children.  He, my Brother in Christ, prayed for me…and that night You gave me a dream that I don’t even remember, but it surely came from You.  Your holy Presence was in my room and that sweet song brought relief to my anguished spirit.  Yes, dear Lord Jesus, You sent Your mighty angel to sing for me that song that has been a weapon in my hands to pierce the enemy and overcome the frailties of my flesh.  How can I forget that night when the light of Your Word shone so deep in my heart!  Once again I learned of Your great faithfulness, and I began to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”  Now I should not be worried nor afraid for “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”  Thank You, Lord.

        One of the poets of my home country wrote: “I was defeated and in my defeat I was set free.”  It sounds like a contradiction, but I like this thought because it reminds me of what You did for me.  One day, I wanted to have my own way, but You prevented me from having my own way.  You fought and defeated me.  You showed me a better way of life.  How long it took me to surrender my life to You!  (Thank You, Lord, for Your longsuffering with me.)  “Then I repented of my sins and won the victory”…and You set me free.  In You I have tasted true freedom.  You liberated me from the world and the bondage of corruption.  Now I want to be Your free servant.  You see, the life of Christians is full of seeming contradictions.  Nevertheless, it is possible to be free and be Your servant at the same time.  Dear Lord, help me to be Your faithful free servant.

        For about 32 years I was in darkness, but one morning You healed my blindness.  Now, through the work of Your Holy Spirit, I have an understanding of the “eternal purpose” of creation.  I have just started my Christian life.  You, in Your infinite mercy and goodness, will lead me in my pilgrim journey.  “Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand,” but I’m just learning to trust in You.  “We walk by faith, not by sight.”  Because You are with me, “I can face tomorrow.”  We are living in the time when You are going to restore Your glory to Your people.  Many, many wonderful things are ahead of us.  I long to be, O Lord, an instrument in Your hands for Your glory and honor.  Lord, help me to reach this state.

        Dear Friend, with the passing of the years I have realized that now life is more precious and meaningful to me because You have shared Your great love with me.  In You I have tasted wonderful peace and joy.  I DO NOT regret (NOT AT ALL!) that day when I gave myself to you.  I am very satisfied with You.  Now, before I close this, let me ask You a question: “Are You satisfied with Me?”

                                                        With love,

                                                        Bro. Armando

A Note From The Editor

        Brother Armando Montes is a native of Colombia, South America, where in his younger days he had studied for the priesthood in a Roman Catholic seminary.

        He came to the U.S. as a student-teacher to teach Spanish at Loyola University in New Orleans while he learned English, in hope of furthering his economic fortune when he returned home.  Through very unusual circumstances, he met some of the brethren from the People of the Living God group, and became interested in translating some of their tracts into Spanish as a means of accelerating his learning English.

        To his great surprise, he was led to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through his work of translating the literature.  As a result of his work, thousands of Spanish tracts have found their way into Central and South America, as far south as Chile, and up into the upper regions of the Andes Mountains in Peru, as well as throughout Brazil and the other countries along the Amazon River.

        Brother Armando was baptized in the Holy Spirit in the confines of his bedroom as he sought the Lord with a heart of thanksgiving and praise, and this experience drove him closer to the heart of God.  He renounced all earthly possessions and totally dedicated his life to the service of Jesus Christ in whatsoever capacity he is called upon to serve.

        Brother Armando is still with People of the Living God, ministering to the Spanish-speaking people in this area of Tennessee, writing for The Testimony of Truth magazine, and teaching Spanish at Cedars of Lebanon Academy, a Christian school.  He also tends to some of the livestock on the farm which supports the Academy.  May his devotion inspire yours.

 

 

 

ON THE SCRAP HEAP OF HISTORY

A. Wayne Wilhelm

        Lurking in the minds of concerned people is a growing realization that all is not well in America.  The assertion that America is God-fearing – and is progressing in godliness as a Christian nation – is questionable.  Surely there is much to the contrary to prove that, instead, America is suffering inner moral and spiritual decay, like the Roman empire and many other countries which ultimately fell to the sword.

        That America is falling away from a spiritually oriented purpose is apparent to the discerning.  The motto on our currency, “In God We Trust,” has become but a hypocritical cliché, a thinly veiled cover for deception practiced in high places.  In politics, in the communications media, and even in Church-related activities, this trend is obvious.

        Total responsibility does not rest in these areas, however.  When morality, which is based on religion, ceases to exist in the everyday lives of people, then the leadership collapses and falls apart.  It is an unwritten law that power echoes the will of the masses.

        Pilate was a classic historical example of this, and America’s leadership is no exception, because it, too, reflects the decline in moral standards of the people.  Since only token allegiance to God’s Word is offered, we see the visible signs and the causes contributing to America’s moral and spiritual decay.

        For example, there is a lack of God-fearing men in positions of leadership and a disregard for law and order in high places.  Substituted for God’s guidance is inordinate love for self and immoral pleasures.

        “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).  The early Americans considered the goal of personal godliness to be of overwhelming importance.

        Those first settlers came here to worship their God freely, as He intended for all men to worship Him.  Their hope was that His righteousness would become theirs by His grace as they lived obedient and dedicated lives.  They believed deeply that God meant what He said, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psa. 33:12).  They sought that blessing as they fled from persecution to their new homeland.

        If history and the Bible prove anything, then both certainly teach that the sins of America are the same sins that befell other disobedient countries and caused their downfall.  Then and now, God’s judgments are inflicted upon those countries that turn their backs on Him.

        Seriously consider the many present imminent troubles that confront this nation.  Do we believe that God will still allow the green light for America to blissfully continue her disobedience?  Or will He intercede?  Is America being “weighed and found wanting” right now?  If God’s verdict is “guilty,” then America is probably just another one of those worldly countries destined for the scrap heap of history.

To many, it is increasingly apparent that nothing can save America from this ignominious tragedy unless our people seek moral and spiritual renewal.  II Chronicles 7:14 tells us specifically what the people must do if they are to avoid the wrath of the holy God:

        “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  America should follow God’s directive before it is too late.

 

 

THE LAST DAY

Harry Miller

        “Fables” are the choice of the hour, and no matter how fantastic an interpretation of “dark speech,” it will be accepted by churchmen provided it confirms the main beliefs of the church.

        Doctrine should not be judged true or false by whether or not the church accepts it.  It should be judged by whether or not it is Scriptural.

        Doctrine should never be built upon dark speeches or code language.  Take the Plain Statements of Christ or the apostles, build a doctrine from them, and you will see clearly.  There are plenty of Plain Statements to prove any true doctrine.

        Consider the simplicity of the Word in Plain Speech: “What shall be the sign of Thy coming and the end of the world” (Matt. 24:3).  The world has an end, it is final.  “The end of this world” (Matt. 13:40).  “The end of the world” (Matt. 29:20).  “Then (cometh) the end” (I Cor. 15:24).

        “THE LAST DAY” is another PLAIN STATEMENT that should not be tampered with.  How many days AFTER the LAST DAY?  Could there be any days after the LAST?  Is there any Scripture to make us believe that we are NOT living in the “LAST TIME” and in “THE LAST DAYS”?  No – NOT ONE.

        Acts 2:17; Heb. 1:2; James 5:3; II Pet. 3:3, I John 2:18; Jude 18: All these tell us that THIS is the last time and these are the last days.  When we come to the END of this TIME and to the end of these DAYS we will have come to the LAST DAY, the END OF THE WORLD.

        “The resurrection at THE LAST DAY” (John 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24).  The “day of the Lord” is one of the “last days” (I Thess. 5:2-4).  “Shall come as a thief in the night.”  “As a thief in the night in the which the heavens shall pass away…the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Pet. 3:10).

        “THE LAST ENEMY” will not be destroyed a thousand years after a millennial period, but will be destroyed at “His coming” (I Cor. 15:23-26).  There are no more enemies after the LAST ENEMY.  There is nothing more to put down, nothing left to conquer.

        Paul says Christ “shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom” (II Tim. 4:1).  That places the judgment, the end of the world and the Last Day all at the same time.  There are many plain Scriptures to substantiate this.  “WHEN the Son of man shall come” (Matt. 25:31,32,46).  “THE DAY of judgment” (II Pet. 3:7).  “THE DAY of judgment” (Matt. 12:36).  Not A DAY but THE DAY.  THE day of judgment (II Pet. 2:9)  “T-H-E judgment” (Heb. 9:27).