People of The Living God

Isaiah 53

 

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March 2014



 

 

BROTHER RANDALL WALTON

 

        This month’s issue of The Testimony of Truth is dedicated to the late Pastor Randall Walton, who served as editor from 1981 through 2011. He also pastored “People of the Living God” congregation from 1975 until he resigned due to health problems in January 2012.  God took him home on January 15, 2014.  Due to space, we will give just a very brief outline of his 91-plus years here as it would take volumes to write of the fullness of his life which he dedicated to God early on.

        Brother Randall Rex Walton was born May 22, 1922, in Lindsay, California, to Vern Ray and Marie Sechman Walton.  He was the youngest of seven siblings.

        The Walton family attended an Assemblies of God church in Pasadena where Harry Miller was pastoring.  When a church split occurred, the Waltons, along with several other families left the Assemblies to join Harry Miller in a new nondenominational church which eventually took the name “People of the Living God”, a title still retained today.  This was 1933, in Montrose, California.

        While attending this new-found church, at the age of fourteen, Bro. Randall was born again and began his walk with God.  When he told of it later, he said, “It was so wonderful I just couldn’t get over it.  I just didn’t know that you could be in the flesh and be so happy as I was.”

        About a year later, in the heart of the depression years, the church sent several of its members to Daley, Kentucky, to minister and establish a mission.  Daley was in the poorest county in the poorest state of the union at that time.  They had no electricity and no running water “unless you ran when you carried it.”  Bro. Randall was still a student in high school, but he went there in March 1938 to help with the work both as a laborer and a musician.  One of the projects was to begin educating the children in and around Daley.  Bro. Randall went to school under the tutorship and instruction of Harold and Lorraine Scullin, the leaders in the Kentucky work.  School classes were held until noon each day and then they would labor in the physical work required and also would visit the poor sharing the Gospel and inviting them to the church services and encouraging the children to attend school.  Gifted in music, he was an asset to the ministry by playing his guitar for the services and wherever the need arose.  He was also asked to lead the song service for the services from time to time, and this began his road to the ministry, a ministry which included music director, song writer, pastor and editor.

        The ministry in Kentucky was short lived when the school burned down in the spring of 1940.  Their living quarters as well as the school had been built above a sawmill.  Everything they owned burned and they were left with just the clothes they were wearing.  The situation was dire and while Bro. Harold and his wife remained for a time, there were not the means to support the others who were there.  Brother Harold, not knowing what to do, sent the laborers back to their homes.  Bro. Randall joined his relatives in Coatesville, Indiana, and finished his high school education in 1941.

        After high school, Bro. Randall worked at several different jobs: a chicken doctor, Coca Cola salesman, house painter and odd jobs.  He asked the hand of Helen Bennett, a fellow believer, and they were married April 26, 1942.  They were going to move down to Tennessee to help out with the work there, but Bro. Miller asked them to remain where he was, get a job and send $7.00 a week to support the farm endeavor in Tennessee.  Bro. Randall worked and supported the farm endeavor until he was drafted into the military in November 1942.  His first child, Donna Marie, was born while he was in training and in January 1945, he was shipped overseas.  He soon found himself the driver of a tank in the 13th Armored Division (the Black Cats) in the Third Army – General Patton’s.  He saw action as he drove his tank through France and into Germany.  Bro. Randall returned to the states in July ’45, was honorably discharged in November ’45.

        Throughout this time, Bro. Randall and Sis. Helen had received the monthly letters which evolved into the magazine today entitled, “The Testimony of Truth.”  Brother Miller had moved east and located an old paddle-wheel steam engine river boat in Saraland, Alabama, which he purchased for the purpose of ministry.  He wrote an invitation to any who wished and felt led to go to Saraland to help ready the boat for ministry.  His original plan was to travel up and down the rivers, stopping at little towns and having services either with a tent or on the boat itself when possible.  The plan was to work through the summer preparing the boat for ministry and then most of the people would return to their homes.  There were prayer meetings almost every night throughout that summer, seeking God’s leading for the future ministry.  As summer’s end neared, hopes that the boat could be readied by fall were dashed, for it was far from serviceable.  Then one night one of the brothers had a dream in which instruction was given concerning the plan for the people.  When this brother told Bro. Miller the dream, Bro. Miller gathered all the people together and had him tell the dream to the people.  They all recognized the dream to be from the Lord and had the witness in their own hearts that God wanted them to come together in a communal lifestyle to further God’s work.  The communal lifestyle which had begun in California was re-established.  Some of the members continued to work on the boat while others found work in the area so funds would be provided for the work.  This group of zealous and dedicated Christians labored during the day, had Bible studies and prayer meetings every night and on weekends they visited homes for the elderly and neighbors to share the Gospel.  Bro. Randall and Sis. Helen decided to travel south to join in this effort late in 1947.

        While in Saraland, Bro. Randall and Sis. Helen had their second child, another daughter whom they named Beverly Colleen.  The desire for ministry was very strong among the people and as the boat seemed to get bogged down, lacking funds and laborers, they were led to purchase a tent and begin to hold tent meetings throughout the southeastern states.  It was not long before Bro. Randall found himself taking the tent, along with other brethren, to various towns in the south, not only leading the singing but also doing some of the preaching.  They would go to a place, have nightly services for about three weeks and then move on to another location.  Throughout the next few years, People of the Living God had tent meetings in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.  Bro. Randall was very involved in those meetings and, while holding tent meetings in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1952, his third child, a son, Randall Ray, was born.

        The conditions at Saraland were very primitive and, once the decision to live communally was agreed upon, better living arrangements were needed.  Brother Miller found two abandoned army barracks in Chickasaw, Alabama, not too far from Saraland, which he leased to provide more practical living quarters.  There was quite a bit of work necessary to make it suitable, but after some time and effort, the members moved in.  By this time there was a greater realization of the need for steady income so a construction company was set up of which Bro. Randall was the overseer.  He had a gift in architecture and was able to draw plans for the homes which the construction crew built.  They also did reconstruction jobs on existing buildings.  He took on many tasks that he had to learn about as he ventured into them, but he was able to succeed with God’s help and this became the main source of income for the community.  Bro. Randall would also preach and teach during this time as opportunity arose and at the same time, he completed his college degree from Alabama Bible College on June 1, 1958.

        In 1959 Brother Miller was led to begin a move to New Orleans, Louisiana.  Once a church building and a house across the street from the church were purchased, Bro. Randall and his family moved to New Orleans.  In 1960, Brother Randall, along with some other members of the community began work on the church and the house.  By 1963, the whole community had moved to New Orleans.  In New Orleans several members obtained jobs as teachers working at a private school on New Orleans’ west bank.  The school was struggling financially and by the close of the 1963-64 year, it was bankrupt.  Brother Miller borrowed money to purchase some land next to the school and began erecting a school building for the coming year.  Bro. Randall was given the task of drawing up the plans for the new buildings as well as overseeing the work.  The school was built in spite of extremely difficult conditions and opened in September, although the building was not totally completed.  The school grew considerably over the next few years and Bro. Randall and Sis. Helen both began to teach.  He taught seventh and eighth grades, some history and band.

        Bro. Randall was very satisfied teaching and he especially dedicated himself to the music program.  However, in 1971, Brother Miller passed away and this jarred Bro. Randall and caused him to realize that he was too involved in the school and needed to return more seriously to the ministry to which he knew he was called.  He quit teaching at the end of the 1970-71 school year and began seeking the Lord.  Just prior to Brother Miller’s passing, he had purchased a ship, a WWII minesweeper, in hopes of using it as he had years earlier intended to use the old paddle-wheel boat.  He wanted to see the community more involved in ministry and have the Gospel light shine more brightly.  Bro. Randall began laboring to ready the boat for ministry.  It was a great undertaking but it was used only a few times in the seventies, with Bro. Randall as the pilot.  The seventies were a time of testing for Bro. Randall as he became senior pastor of People of the Living God in 1975.  While retaining the boat project, he taught Bible classes, preached and involved himself in forming a musical group of the PLG church members called, “The King’s Heirs” which would go anywhere a door was open: homes for the elderly, churches, etc.  This group consisted of mostly brass and woodwind instruments and an electric piano.  Because of the limited instruments and varying abilities, Brother Randall arranged most of the music that was used.  The King’s Heirs played and sang, offering a variety of Gospel music wherever they went.  The group grew to 27 musicians and singers.

        In September 1981, Brother Randall called the assembly together and told them he had been led by the Lord to begin a move to Tennessee.  It was over the next few months as many fasted and prayed that God led him to some land just south of McMinnville.  Brother Randall received leading in various ways and God worked several miracles in providing the land that God had shown him People of the Living God were to obtain.  Over the next decade and a half, the work in New Orleans gradually closed, the properties were sold to purchase land in Tennessee and to launch a new work.

        The school in New Orleans had been a secular school but Brother Randall desired to see a Christian school established in Tennessee where children could be taught Bible and subjects that would benefit them, not only in this life but in the life to come.  The first members of People of the Living God moved to Tennessee in December 1981, however, Brother Randall did not move until February 1986 where he lived until his passing.  His first project in Tennessee was to build a dairy which would be the means of providing a tuition free Christian education.  The dairy still operates today providing funds for Cedars of Lebanon Academy where over fifty students attend daily, most of whom are from the surrounding area and are not members of People of the Living God church.  An old school house was purchased and refurbished in 1985-86.  Several classrooms were added at that time but a few years later, four more classrooms were needed, bringing the number of classrooms to nine.  A gymnasium, library and music room were later added.  Of course, with the dairy, farming became necessary for feed.  Hay, corn silage and corn grain were needful for feed, so farming also became a necessary part of the labor equation.  It was a learning experience for Brother Randall as well as the members of People of the Living God but God blessed through the years.

        Brother Randall has designed and built several buildings as living quarters as well as some houses for those with families and children.  A couple of Brother Randall’s building adventures in his latter years included remodeling the chapel and adding a stage to the gymnasium, both of which he personally labored on when he was eighty and above.

        While occupied in the labors and designing of the projects mentioned above, he also wrote regularly for the Testimony of Truth, encouraging and admonishing his readers to make their calling and election sure, endeavoring to point those who read his articles to be awake and aware of the changes taking place in our society and in our country.  He remained confident that God will prepare a place of gathering for His people as our constitutional freedoms slip from us and Christians become the target of the world and its system.  He was certain that God will gather His people together in the last days and believed that those days are fast approaching and the time is close when God’s people must begin to make a choice between whether they will conform to the world or they will conform to the image of Jesus Christ.  Those who will choose Jesus, must come out of the world and be joined to God and His people.  That was Brother Randall’s vision for the last days.  God will gather His people to places where they are protected from the “face of the serpent”.  One of those places is the place Brother Randall was led to establish in 1981, and he labored tirelessly until he was physically unable to do so.  In the words of his wife, Sister Helen Walton, “He was totally devoted to God’s Work.”  His passing is a tremendous loss to People of the Living God, but his life is still a testimony to all who knew him and one that will live on. 

 

 

TIMELY ADMONITION

WHERE’S THE POWER?

Randall Walton (January 1986)

        One of the most notable words in the Bible is power.  In the New Testament the word is derived from two different Greek nouns, both of which are alive with mighty supernatural significance.

        One of these is DUNAMIS, from which we get our English word “dynamite,” and which literally means miraculous works or strength.  The other is EXOUSIA, which means authority, privilege, superhuman influence.

        Both of these words are used extensively in connection with the church, the followers of Jesus, and the kingdom of God.  Both terms are nearly synonymous with the early church and the disciples of Christ and their ministries.  In fact, if we were to delete the word power from the Biblical text, the early church would lose its character, its unworldliness, its glory, its impact on society, its uniqueness in the history of mankind.

        The people who comprised that pristine body were little different from a cross-section of general humanity in any given age except for the fact that their lives had briefly brushed against the universe’s dynamo of super-energy, and a bit of it had rubbed off onto them.

        It would be simpler to state what Christ could not do than to list the multitude of miracles He worked, for we would merely say “nothing” – there was nothing He could not do, yet John supposed that if all His works were written, the world could not contain those books.  To state that He was the very source of super-normal power and authority lacks still the proper description of His sovereignty and greatness.  He Himself testified that “All power (exousia) is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18), and He also claimed that He had the keys of both hell and death (Rev. 1:18).

        He openly demonstrated that He had authority over demons and Satan himself.  His power over nature was manifested again and again.  He not only walked on the water, He made the stormy seas calm, transformed water into excellent wine, passed through the walls of a building, commandeered a school of fish, placed a curse on a fig tree, was captain of a ship cruise which took zero seconds to navigate across the sea, etc.

        It is accurate, then, to say that He was subservient to no other power than His own heavenly Father, that He was not subject to any force, government or authority.  Even when He stood captive before Pontius Pilate He boldly declared that Pilate had no power over Him and that, if He so desired, He could call for twelve legions of angels who would come for His deliverance out of Pilate’s hands!  The kingdom over which He reigned was an eternal, heavenly, spiritual kingdom to which all other kingdoms, including the kingdom of darkness, were subject!

        Astounding as it may seem, Jesus shared His power and authority with His disciples (Matt. 10:1,8; Luke 10:1,9, 17-20; John 20:22,23).  He gave them power over disease, sickness, demons, and death.  He further empowered the church (Acts 1:8) so that it would truly be the light of the world, a city on a hill that would not be hidden, but would stand as a beacon for the benefit and deliverance of all mankind.  The book of Acts is a glorious testimony of that fact.

        That first church was a house of power over the power of the enemy.  Miracle after miracle marked the ministry of the apostles, prophets, deacons, evangelists and pastors.  The world well knew that those men had been with Jesus because of their message and ministry.

        There were a number of distinguishing features about the early church that were undoubtedly responsible for the presence of the power of God.

1.  There was unanimity among the saints.  It is written of them that they were all of one accord, of one heart and soul.  It is evident from this that they were bound together with love, not with emotions nor theological concepts.  They had a common goal and purpose, an objective which did not include a building program nor a membership drive, nor a crusade of evangelistic endeavors.  Their goal was ordered of the Lord, for He had told them that they would be baptized with the Holy Ghost in a few days and that they would receive power and become witnesses unto Him (Acts 1:5,8).  This expectancy was the cohesive force that held them together in oneness of purpose and provided the proper spiritual atmosphere for the Holy Spirit to fall upon them.

        After seven days’ seeking the Lord in complete unity, they were ready for the “rushing mighty wind” to fill the place where they had gathered.  “With one accord in one place” was certainly a mark of distinction which welcomed and made possible the advent of the POWER of God.

2.  “They that believed were together” (Acts 2:44).  This early group consisted of believers.  Belief is much more then a mere mental acceptance of a religious tenet (even though such a tenet may in itself be true).  A believer is one who is moved by conviction to respond in a positive way to that which he purports to believe.  Belief begets change, adaptation, reformation, determination, perseverance, dedication; and those qualities were clearly evident in the lives and actions of those saints.  The power of God was for them because the conditions warranted its operation – they were believers!

3.  “Were together and had all things common” (verse 44).  While we don’t say that God commanded them to sell “their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need” (verse 45), it is a fact that the power of the Almighty was in their midst and “many wonders and signs were done by the apostles” (verse 43).  Historically, when the people of God forsook their “common” way of life, the power they once knew declined also.  Before the first century was gone, the Christian community and the power of the early church were no more.

4.  “Fear came upon every soul” (verse 43).  This theme is repeated many times throughout the Acts.  Fear as used here embraces reverence and awe, not terror.  To have deep respect and reverence for the presence of God is a sign of wisdom.  The closer to the Lord a person walks, the greater is the reverence, because the understanding of the greatness and marvelous glory of God becomes keener.  One of the most outstanding examples of this is when Moses spent 40 days atop Mt. Sinai in the presence of the Lord.  The glory literally shone upon his countenance.

        John testified that he saw a being so awe-inspiring that “I fell at his feet to worship him.  And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God” (Rev. 19:10).  Whoever this being was, he was not God, but his very appearance and demeanor was such that it caused John to fall at his feet.  This deep respect for things spiritual was one of the marks of the first century saints, and this attitude provided the proper atmosphere for the power of God to work.

        Drawing nigh to God is a humbling act, not that the Lord deliberately humbles a person; man is so inferior, so insignificant compared to the divine presence, that the gap is more apparent as man’s awareness of God is quickened.  But that’s where the power is.

5.  “Praising God” (verse 47).  Thanksgiving, gratitude and extreme joy were qualities which indelibly marked these folks.  “And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 13:52).  Genuine praise which pours forth from a thankful soul is well-pleasing to God and provides a platform for the power of God to be demonstrated, for the kingdom of God is “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17).

        Praise and power are partners, but praise is more than words which talk about God.  Praise and worship are expressions of adoration from one who deeply appreciates and loves the Living God, whose affection is set upon Him, and who, because he loves Him so, is completely devoted to Him.  Such a one as this becomes a channel through which the power of the kingdom flows (I Cor. 4:20).

        This list is by no means complete, but it should serve to show us why the power which identified the early church is missing today.  If God’s people are to see the great power and the authority which was once delivered unto the saints at work once again in the earth, there must be a return to the pattern which has been set before them.

        We believe that God will awaken His people and that they will begin to return to Him and His will.  Before Jesus comes back again, it will be said of the church that she is glorious, “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:26,27), and the power of God will rest upon her!

 

 

THE RISE AND FALL OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

Randall Walton (August 1974)

        Throughout man’s history, no other movement, religious or political, ever made such rapid and far-reaching progress as did the Christian religion in the early centuries A.D.  Although Mohammedanism claims more adherents than does Christianity, it is largely confined to a common ethnic group.

        On the contrary, Christianity, like a great tidal flood, swept across national boundaries, upsetting old traditions and uniting men of different races and origins into a vast brotherhood under a single banner.  This surging tide advanced throughout Asia and Europe and continued, unabated, for several centuries, until it began to subside for lack of more lands to overwhelm momentarily.

        However, historians and theologians have failed to recognize a most important and fundamental truth about that massive inundation: it was not a continuation of the freshet that occurred in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, as many teach!

        The basis for this conclusion is in a comparison of the results of these two deluges, which also plainly shows the differences between what is called Christianity, and actually following Christ.

        For substantiation of this premise we need only to investigate the book of the Acts of the Apostles.

Traits Of The Early Church

        Probably the outstanding feature of the early church was the ministry of the power of the Holy Spirit among God’s servants.  In sharp contrast to the accustomed rituals of the Jewish synagogues, the gatherings of the early saints were solemnized by the presence of the Comforter who, as Jesus foretold, led, guided, spoke, and showed them things to come (John 16:7-15).  They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they expressed themselves as if drunken (Acts 2:4-16).

        Many signs and wonders were done by the apostles: miraculous healings were wrought (they were healed every one: Acts 5:15-16); evil spirits were cast out; dead were restored to life (chapter 9:36-41); prison doors were unlocked by the angel of the Lord (chapter 5:19); Philip was caught away and transported to another place (chapter 8:39).

        In addition, a new way of life was inaugurated.  With gladness and singleness of heart, every one relinquished his worldly goods and no man called anything his own (Acts 2:42-47; 4:31-37).  This plan received the divine stamp of approval when one couple was struck dead for lying about their possessions (chapter 5).  This KOINONIA, communal living, is alluded to in many of Paul’s letters as well as in the other New Testament books.

Decline Of The Early Church

        These are some of the results, or effects, of the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost.  Modern apologists explain these phenomena as measures to usher in the “church age” and to establish Christianity!  With the founding of the church a success, such works as healings and miracles were no longer necessary, so they say.  Neither was the expedient of having all things in common!  Once the church was firmly established, we are told, all these trappings were discarded in favor of a better way!

        The record shows, however, that this was not according to the plan of God.  The miracle-working power of the apostolic church died because carnal man refused to walk in obedience to the commands of the Lord and to follow the leading of the Spirit of God.  The ministry of the Holy Ghost was as a plumb line that measured the lives of the saints and revealed their failings and sins.  No wonder ungodly men planned its demise!

        The communal life made certain demands on the believers: the personal, individual cross was a reality; selfishness and greed were dealt with positively.  But carnality won the battle, and soon the communal living expired also.

        If one studies the labors and travels of the Apostles, he will readily observe that their work of spreading THE gospel was rather short-lived.  We recognize the fact that many souls were saved; thousands found their way to the Lord.  The catacombs of Rome are even yet a testimony to the faithfulness of those who sealed their faith with their own blood.  It is quite likely that in every century and cline, there have been many devout souls who have known the Lord.

        However, before the apostles had left the scene, spiritual rigor mortis had begun in the early church, and it is almost certain that by the second century the funeral and burial were complete.  Observe the following:

        The church at Corinth was undoubtedly the spiritual assembly in Asia.  Special miracles were worked there by Paul, at its inception, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit operated among them (Acts 19:6-12; I Cor. 12 and 14).  Yet, a short time after Paul left Corinth he was compelled to write to them in regard to their carnality.  In the interval of three or four years, sectarianism had gained such a foothold that the congregation had begun to splinter into man-following groups!  Paul wrote, “I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat” (I Cor. 1:11-13; 3:1-4).  This divided church also condoned fornication, and brother sued brother in civil court (I Cor. 5:1-2; 6:1-8).

        A year later, when Paul wrote his second letter to them, they had degenerated so far that they wanted proof that Christ spoke through Paul!  He commanded them, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith” (II Cor. 13:2-5).

        To the churches of Galatia, Paul’s admonition was equally scathing.  “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you – O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth?” (Gal. 1:6; 3:1)

        Paul’s ministry, itself, seems to have suffered some loss, for he told Timothy that he had left Trophimus at Miletum sick (II Tim. 4:20).

        Where were the gifts of healing when James wrote that the sick should call for the elders to anoint with oil and pray for him (James 5:14-15)?  It is truly wonderful that God does answer the prayer of faith – but can this be equated with the healing of the lame man by Peter (Acts 3:1-12)?

        In A.D. 66, Jude found it necessary to urge the church to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3).  Where was this faith?

        Further evidence of the decadence of the church is found in John’s letters to the seven churches in Asia (Rev.2 & 3).  The tone of each of these is condemnatory and bears the warning that except they repent, they should be cut off.  There is no reason for us to believe that repentance was ever forthcoming.

The Rise Of Christianity

        As the power and the glory of the Apostolic church died out, a religious movement rose in its place.  This was the tidal flood of which we spoke earlier.  Rolling relentlessly forward, it overwhelmed every obstacle, swallowed up its victims along the way and entrenched itself as an impregnable fortress.

        With the outward appearance of a holy revolution (it was called Christian), it literally forced pagans and barbarians to become followers at the point of the sword.  To placate some of the hordes thus captivated, many of the pagan rites and festivals were adopted – or should we say Christianized?

        Although it was religious in nature, this movement certainly was not spiritual, nor was it according to the pattern found in the book of Acts.  This, itself, is enough to disqualify its claim of being the descendant of the early church!

Christianity Defined & Judged

        Today, we may include under the title of Christianity all of the professing ecclesiastical bodies, either Catholic or protestant, whose standards are not those set forth in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, and who are not led by the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14).  Many of the so-called Christian churches are actually Anti-Christ in practice and doctrinal beliefs.  “Accepting” Christ as savior, they reject Him as Lord and Master, despising His commandments and denying His words.

        This so-called Christianity is a part of that great city, Babylon, of Revelation 17 and 18.  It is she who is “become the habitation of devils, the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Rev. 18:2).  She is also the woman in Revelation 17 who has embraced the world and is guilty of every abomination known to man.  God’s wrath is kindled against her, and He will completely destroy this impostor who has trafficked in men’s souls.

        Many honest, God-fearing saints are entrapped in the confines of the harlot city, realizing that all is not well, but not knowing how to deal with their dilemma.  There is no hope of converting or reforming this fallen institution called Christian.  God’s judgment has been pronounced upon it; it is just a matter of time until the whole Babylonish system crumbles and falls.

Time To Come Out

        To the good souls who are enmeshed in the machinery of that city, the Lord gives one hope of deliverance: “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).This is the call of the hour!  It is most imperative that those who love God turn back to the Book and forsake the manmade institutions which pose as the Church of Jesus Christ.

        To the “come-outers,” the Lord will restore the power and glory of the early church (Acts 3:20,21; Eph. 5:25-27), along with the government and order as shown in the book of Acts.  This will then be the church against which the gates of Hell shall not prevail.

 

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Randall Walton (July 1984)

 

        We have been asked by many people why it is that we do not use sacred names when referring to deity: Yahweh, rather than God; Yashua, instead of Jesus, Messiah in place of Christ.  It has been pointed out to us that the English words are of heathen origin and therefore should not be used when speaking of the Creator or His father.

        This argument is based upon the assumption or belief that Hebrew is a sacred language, since it is the language by which the Almighty communicated with man in olden times.

        Our practice rests upon our belief that there is no sacred language used among mankind today.  While Hebrew was the language of the Hebrew people, and while the Living God did speak to Hebrew people in that native tongue, this fact doesn’t present a valid reason for us to believe that Hebrew was God’s choice for mankind, nor that this is the language used in heaven by God and the angels.

Origin Of Languages

        It is recorded in Genesis 11:1-9 that before the flood of Noah’s time and immediately thereafter, all of mankind used one language.  The sons of Noah became migratory, and as they multiplied and spread themselves abroad upon the land, they began to build cities.  They also concocted the idea that they could build a tower so high as to reach unto heaven.  Their plans, however, were thwarted when God confused their single language and touched their tongues in such a way that they could not understand each other.  Thus were the languages of the earth created.

        We have no reason to believe that Hebrew was not simply one of those languages which erupted from the explosion of confusion on that dreadful day.  Babel reigned because of it, and that spelled the end of the ONE language that men had known to that time.

        It is perfectly reasonable to assume that from Adam to Babylon mankind spoke heaven’s tongue.  Moses wrote the book of Genesis hundreds of years after the confusion of tongues at Babylon, and he wrote in the Hebrew language, not in the heavenly.  Therefore, we do not know by what phonetic sound the Creator addressed Himself to men prior to Babylon, but whatever it was, it was not Hebrew!  Paul, in I Corinthians 13:1, speaks of the “tongues (languages) of men and of angels;” obviously, the native(?) language of the angels is not the same as that of men, and it is logical to believe that the angels speak the language which is used in heaven, except when speaking to mankind: then they evidently converse with man in each one’s own native tongue.

        The Lord informed the prophet Zephaniah that he would “turn to the people a pure language” (Zeph. 3:9).  It shouldn’t be difficult to prove that Hebrew does not meet that qualification.  A language without definite vowels is hardly a pure one.  This is why the tetragrammaton YHWH has so many different pronunciations!  Vowels are non-existent (except for vowel points), which means that the actual sounding of words was a matter of traditional practice, as words were passed from one generation to another.

        We wish we knew the original language spoken among men prior to Babylon.  But since we don’t, we believe it is logical for people to use the words and sounds which are native to their own given language when speaking of deity.  We hold no grudges nor ill feelings toward anyone who chooses to use Hebrew along with their English or German, or Spanish, or whatever, but we feel that those of us who choose to use only one language should not be discriminated against.

        We do not believe it is blasphemous, disrespectful, nor abominable to refer to the Creator as Jesus Christ.  We are convinced we are not addressing some ancient pagan deity when we call upon God.  (After all, who was first, our Living God, or the pagan gods of stone, marble and gold?)  If the heathen chose to name (in their native tongues) their gods after the true and living Being, should we change the title or appellation of our great God?  I think not.

A Name

        Names, generally speaking, are used as identifiers.  They are descriptive of that which they accompany, whether it be a tree, an insect, a bird, or a being.  The scientific names of most animate and inanimate objects describe the object.

        Heaven is also particular about the titles and names which are used among men to describe the great living Being.  Thus, when the angel appeared to Joseph and spoke of the soon-to-be-born baby, he said “thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).  No doubt this message was spoken in Hebrew; according to Strong’s Concordance the Hebrew equivalent could be any of the following: Hosea, Hoshea, Jehoshuah, Jeshua, Jeshuah, Jesus, Osee, Osea, or Oshea.  As far as we are concerned, it could also be Jesous, Jesu, or any other combination of letters and sounds, so long as the meaning is not altered.  In whatever language of man He is spoken of, He must be known as the Savior!

        In Matt. 1:23 it is further stated that “they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”  This is not just a combination of sounds.  There is profound meaning here: “God is with us,” it proclaims!  This is descriptive of the very character and nature of the Savior.  The fact that many parents have chosen this name for their own sons, does not mean we should abandon the use of it for our Lord Jesus Christ.  When we refer to Him as Emmanuel, we do not address some ancient deity, pagan god, or the next door neighbor!  He is God, and He is with us.  His very name declares this truth.

        In Exodus 34:14, we find this amazing statement: “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord (Yahovah), whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (el).”  This tells us something about the Almighty’s nature, also.  He will not share His rightful place with any other Being or entity.  Those who worship Him must exalt Him alone, for He alone is worthy of being worshipped.  And, in order to impress this fact upon mankind, He says this is my name – my identity.  “I am supreme, I am the living Being; I hold all the power of both life and death in MY hands.  I share my dignity, honor, and majesty with no other.”

        We could rightfully address Him, then, as Jealous!  Since His name exalts Him, and describes Him, it is perfectly logical for us to proclaim that we serve Jealous (howbeit, we don’t expect to observe this being done), and since we understand what is meant by it, we could rejoice in it.

        There are other examples which we could cite to further this explanation, but they all would serve the same purpose, i.e., to show that all the names of the Almighty are but a revelation of His divine nature.  Whatever they say about Him in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Syrian or Chaldean, they should be the exact equivalent in English or any other of the modern languages used by man.

        Since it has been prophesied that there will be a restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of the prophets (Acts 3:19-21), it is possible that the original tongue by which God conversed with man before the tower of Babel will be restored.  If this becomes a reality, then we shall no doubt learn the precise acoustical sound of His glorious name.

        Until that possibility becomes reality, we will most likely continue using the English translation of the Hebrew and Greek (especially since there is such a divergence of opinion of how the Hebrew words are pronounced), and will continue to have no revulsion or antipathy toward those who persist in their use of the same.  Our common goals and destinies are founded upon the Rock which is the cornerstone of all true believers, not upon the phonetic sounds of any of man’s languages.

 

 

RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD

Randall Walton (October 1984)

        “The hour is coming, AND NOW IS, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.  For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have live in himself” (John 5:25,26).

        These words of life which issued forth from the lips of our Savior, are the basis of that glorious experience known variously by such terms as the first resurrection, the new birth, conversion, born-again, reconciled to God, accepting Jesus as one’s personal savior, etc.  This is a present, on-going reality which is taking place on a grand scale during this “day of salvation.”

        The very tenor of the message in these verses sets the tone of the condition of all mankind who are outside of covenant relationship with Jesus Christ: they are DEAD!  Dead in trespasses and sins, Paul says in Ephesians 2:1,5.  Every person is or has been a participant in that state of existence.  Physically, he is alive, but spiritually, he is stone cold, lifeless, helpless, without God, lacking the very substance which gives spiritual life to any entity.

        The cause of death can be traced back to our original parents, Adam and Eve, for God instructed them that if they should disregard His orders, death would be the immediate result.  Adam lived for 930 years (physically), but he ceased living spiritually when he yielded to rebellion against God’s command.  He was cut off from the very source of life, separated from his Creator; the cords of fellowship and sustenance were severed.

        This death was far more serious than that which he experienced 930 years later, for it meant a cessation of the bliss and profound potential of divine stewardship which he received from God in that heavenly state.  As a consequence, the relationship which he and Eve had enjoyed with their Creator was not passed on to their progeny; rather, the state of death – separation from the Living God, the well-spring of life – became the awful heritage of all their offspring.

        Death cannot produce life; neither could Adam and Eve give to their children that which they did not possess.  In sorrow they would beget children; however, God showed His unbounded love for humanity, in promising to make reconciliation for mankind through a future Act of Retribution upon the serpent who was directly involved in the death of the first man and woman.  God said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15).

        It is quite likely that God also told this couple more about His plan of redemption for the human race, for we find that their second son, Abel, offered sacrifices of his flocks to God (Gen. 4:4; Heb. 11:4).  It is reasonable to believe that these offerings were to symbolize the advent of the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world,” and the vicarious death of God’s Son which would at once provide atonement for sinful mankind, and would “bruise the serpent’s head” (Heb. 2:14,15; I John 3:8; Rom. 5:8-12).

        By so doing, God successfully thwarted the devil’s attempts to destroy the divine plan – the creation of God’s family, a society so exclusive, that its members are obliged to possess the same characteristics, qualities of nature and attributes as those of its Creator.  One of the prime requisites for the family members is that they be able to receive LIFE; that is, spiritual life, the essence of, or germ of that God-quality which is true life; that which originates from God, is sustained by God, and is continuous, never-ceasing, eternal!

        In order to achieve this prerogative, drastic steps had to be taken.  Provision had to be made for the resurrection or revivification of the dead!  If Adam’s children were to partake of that water of life which only emanates from the fountain of life, then the matter of death and its cause must be dealt with.

        It really isn’t a question of whether mankind is intrinsically good or evil.  It is a case of death versus life, and the fact that Adam had nothing but death (spiritually) to pass on to his descendants.  Man is unable to create life.  Neither his ingenuity nor his good works can produce it.  Not one of his moral deeds (nor a combination thereof) could even ignite a mere spark of that life.  He could never earn it, nor do anything to merit nor deserve it.  The sole justification for the gift of life from God to humanity is His unspeakable LOVE!  There is no loftier ideal, no greater theological concept than that of God’s love for His creation.

        In consideration of all the hazards and potential problems involved, He counted the cost of reclamation worth the necessary price and was willing to allow the seed of the woman, Jesus, to become the propitiation for the sins of the whole human race, to bruise the serpent’s head, to make reconciliation a possibility, and to instill life where life had never been.

        “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (I John 5:11,12).  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

        This eternal life state begins with resurrection from the death state.  Physical restoration to life is a supernatural act; likewise, spiritual resurrection is supernatural and is under the direction and control of the Living God.  Many people have the mistaken notion that some sort of action on their part brings about this phenomenon: joining a church, making a public profession of faith, water baptism, citing the Lord’s prayer or the Apostles’ Creed, but not one of those things makes the slightest contribution to this miracle.

        Only the author of life can give life.  Only He has power to resurrect the dead, inanimate spirit of man.  Only He has the means to instill within the breast the stirrings of revival, new life, animation, awareness, awakening of the spirit.  “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:14).

        Adam died twice, first spiritually; then nearly a thousand years later he died physically.  Since the first death was spiritual, the first resurrection is also spiritual.  Best of all, it is available now, at the present time; for Jesus said, “the hour is coming and NOW IS, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”

        If you, friend, have not experienced this wonderful resurrection, let me encourage you to listen for the voice of Jesus.  If you are weary of the ways of death, you can be raised from the dead and receive life anew, for Jesus declares that, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25), and “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).  And Paul adds, “You, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened (made alive, raised up) together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col. 2:13).

        This is the day of salvation; this is the time for those who are dead in their sins to hearken to the voice of the Savior as He calls them out of the darkness of death into His marvelous light and life.

 

 

SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM

Randall Walton (January 1955)

        “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ…should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:3,4).

        The “gospel” or “good news” is that gospel which Jesus commanded should be preached in all the world as a witness unto all nations – the gospel of the kingdom.  “The kingdom of God is at hand; the kingdom of God is come unto you; it is not of this world: it is not in word: it is in POWER; it is within you.”  This glad tidings of power was to be confirmed by signs, wonders, and miracles, and was declared to be available to those who are “rich in faith” (James 2:5).  “These signs shall follow them that believe.”  Believe what?  Believe God!  Down through the centuries of time, He has waited for men to believe Him, take hold of His promise, and be the sons of God in truth and in deed.  We are ministers not of word only, but of power.  “for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (II Cor. 6:3).

        To the true child of God there is a real warfare in the spirit.  We wrestle “against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Satan, who is god of this world, is desperately seeking to blind those who would take hold of the kingdom of God.  Unbelief is one of his weapons, and through unbelief he causes many men’s minds to be taken up with the cares of this life, the gain and pursuit of the things of this world, the nourishment and care of the natural man.  As god of this world, he would bind men down to things; worldly, earthly things.  Jesus commanded that we should take no thought for what we should eat or drink, nor for what we should put on.  He promised that the Father would clothe us, feed us and care for us, even as He cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field.  Why do we not believe Him?  As long as we burden ourselves with the cares of the world, the “god of this world” has made a success of his work.  That is why Jesus warned us to take heed lest we be overcharged with the cares of this life.

        Now “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:12).  We are called to take, and possess, this kingdom that has been rejected of men.  To do so will require all of our energies, all of our time, and we must walk after the spirit – not after the flesh.  The powers of darkness will resist us on every hand and will search for ways and means to cast us down.  Therefore, we can have nothing in our lives that will give them a place to work.  Paul warns us thus: “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (II Tim. 2:3,4).  It is high time that we, then, as good soldiers disentangle ourselves from the affairs of this life, and begin to believe God, obey His word and trust in Him.  This is the way to fight the fight of faith, and without faith it is impossible to please Him.

        Consider the people who lived in the days of Noah and of Lot (Luke 17:26-30).  They ate, drank, married, were given in marriage; they bought, sold, planted and built.  Doesn’t sound like such a very wicked crowd, does it?  They were just dong that which came naturally – serving themselves and having treasures of the things of this world.  But their own affairs robbed them of the things of God (because they served themselves instead of God), and they went down in the destruction of God.

        Lest the god of this world also blind you with things, seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness.  Don’t’ forget that the things which are seen are temporal; the things which are not seen are eternal (II Cor. 4:18).

 

 

THE CALL OF GOD

Randall Walton (January 1972)

        The entire universe is waiting in anticipation for the greatest showing of magnificence ever seen or imagined by mortal man.  God has worked for nearly 6,000 of earth’s years to produce this superhuman display of splendor and sublimity.  And perhaps the most astounding feature of the program will be the participants themselves: not angels, seraphims, cherubims or other heavenly creatures, no – lowly, dust-of-the-earth man will play the principle role in this wondrous affair (Eph. 3:9-11; Eph. 1:3-11; Col. 1:21-28; Rev. 10:7).

        Its very annunciation caused the angels to wish to know more of its details.  Ironically, though they will help to stage the event and assist in the training and preparation of the participants, they themselves will be spectators beholding in awe and wonder the revelation of God’s grandeur and greatness of wisdom!

        If this sounds fantastic and fictional, may we remind you that it is entirely Scriptural.  Before creation, God formulated a plan embodying this event, and while much of it has been revealed to His servants, in all probability the greater part of it will be known only as it takes place.

        Salvation to so many people involves only the most fundamental of Christian experiences: repentance, conversion, baptism, receiving the Holy Spirit, church membership and hopes for eternal life.

        However, salvation, as mentioned by the Apostle Peter (I Peter 1:10-12), was of such magnitude and dimension that angels desired to look into it!  God promised to give unto mankind a glorious inheritance that angels are not candidates for: immortality.  At the present time man is a “little lower than the angels” who are themselves mortal beings capable of sin and separation from God.

        Yet, in His eternal wisdom and power, God has determined to raise mankind from this inferior state and to recreate him into a creature above the angelic state of being – actually to become “like Him” (I John 3:2).

        This is nearly incomprehensible to us, for our finite minds are helpless when confronted with the Divine; our ability to evaluate properly His character, personality and attributes is limited by the very nature of our existence.  And to consider that this is available to us in our lifetime – indeed – shall be accomplished, taxes our faculties to their utmost.  Only the integrity and infallibility of God’s word gives us courage to accept the credibility of the promise.

        Peter stated that unto us are given “exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature” (II Peter 1:3,4).  Paul’s words in Romans 8:18-21 agree with this, that “the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”

        Many scholars assent to this thought, to a point.  They place the attainment of this state of glory with the events recorded in I Corinthians 15:51,52: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump…the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

        However, this is not the change we are speaking of – instantaneous, at a given moment of time.  We refer to a process which involves passage of time, and is in progress now!  The vicissitudes of life with all the uncertainties and vagaries inherent therein are implements that are used to assist in the training and development of these sons of God.  This is the purpose of life – why we are here!  Philosophers and sages have searched diligently for millenniums for the answer to this ageless question which has been contained within the confines of the Book these many generations.

        God has beautifully illustrated this process to which we have been subjected by the use of word pictures, or analogies, so that by comparison with the things that we know, we may be able to grasp at least a general knowledge of His eternal plan.

1 – The world as arable land.

        The parable of the sower, Matthew 13:3-23, is a good example of God’s labor and investment.  No man plants and tills the soil for work’s sake: he spends himself in hope and expectation of a harvest.  So, likewise, God has every right to hope for and to expect a fair return on His investment and labor.  The word of God, planted and cultivated in the soil of man’s heart, will bring forth fruit unto perfection, provided the soil is conducive to growth and responds to the cultivation, periodic rainfalls, etc.

        Unlike natural soil, however, man has a decisive role in the results; his own will determines whether he will respond to the labors of the Spirit of God and will contribute to the growth and development of the seed planted in his heart.  Each of us chooses whether he is “he which received seed by the wayside,” into “stony places,” among the “thorns,” or into the “good ground.”

        “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15:1,2).  In verse 5 He says, “ye are the branches.”

        The branches have a specific purpose and task – producing fruit.  The Father’s efforts are exerted to help the branches perform this job.  The purging process, trimming or pruning, is for the sole purpose of increasing the output of fruit, without which the branch is considered undesirable and useless and is, therewith, discarded.  Production is an absolute requisite for continued existence as a branch.

        “Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain” (James 5:7).  One of the essentials for the maturing of fruit is water.  In spiritual affairs, the water, or rain, typifies the downpour of the Holy Spirit.  At Pentecost there was a refreshing rain upon God’s servants – the early rain.  The prophet Joel speaks of the early (former) rain as moderate and adds, “he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month” (Joel 2:23).  This wondrous outpouring will complete the Father’s husbandry, for then the precious fruit of the earth will be ready to be received by Him.

2 – Metamorphosis.

        Several species of insects undergo drastic changes in their life cycles from egg to adult.  The butterfly, for example, experiences three forms of existence before he emerges as the gorgeous creature which gracefully beautifies his habitat.  This entire life cycle is expressed by a Greek word, metamorphos, and is used in the Scripture to describe the life process of the saint.  “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed (metamorphos) by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2).

        “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed (metamorphos) into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Cor. 3:18).

        The servant of God progresses, changes, advances, as he lives for God.  The end in view is to “be like Him,” the same image, the same glory.  There is no place for retrogression or stationary status.  We change from glory to glory even as the lowly insect changes from one life stage to another, or death begins to encroach upon us.  Yet, we know that some shall reach adulthood, full maturity, and will be shown to be the sons of God (Rom. 8:19; Heb. 2:10).

3 – A father and his son.

        “And scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Heb. 12:6).  Discipline and remonstration by the Almighty has a definite purpose.  Many parents mete out punishment according to their whims at a given moment.  Discipline may rest upon the parents’ disposition, which itself may be strained and incongruous, because so many people allow their temperament to be conditioned by their environment and circumstances.  Thus, many children are dealt with too harshly, not harshly enough, or are ignored altogether.  The ultimate good of the child is too seldom considered.  So many times the foremost thought is to “get him out of my hair!”

        Not so with our Father.  He constantly corrects, checks, and chastises as we need it: the proper discipline, in the right amount and at the right time.  With all of His correction there is a therapeutic and rehabilitative force that serves as a help and remedy for future weaknesses so that we may become overcomers.  “But he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness” (Heb. 12:10).

        Each chastening and scourging is administered with the view of our becoming more like Him.  Each is an object lesson along the road to adult sonship and will aid us in our progress toward that goal.  It is as necessary to a child of God as any other experience or encounter, for “if ye be without chastisement…then are ye bastards and not sons” (Heb. 12:8).  Our partaking of His holiness is dependent upon our reception of the chastisement and is reciprocal with it: we partake as we submit, and to the same degree.

4 – The King’s Marriage (Matt. 22:2-14; Luke 14:16-24; Rev. 19:7-9).

        “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church (Eph. 5:31,32).

        Jesus implored the Father, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:20-23).

        Just as a man and his wife are one flesh in marriage, the church of God shall be one with Jesus and the Father.  There will be a marriage supper, or feast, as well as a wedding, to which man has been invited for nearly twenty centuries.

        A thorough study of the passages of Scripture bearing on this subject show that mankind in general has spurned the invitation proffered by the Lord, but there will be some servants; some poor, maimed, halt, and blind, who will be guests.  And the time will come when “the bride” (church) will have “made herself ready” and the oneness will be brought to perfection (Rev. 19:7-9).

        This is the glorious moment we anticipate and press hopefully toward.  When this is accomplished, the church will be displayed before humanity, principalities and powers (Eph. 3:9-11).  God will demonstrate through His people, not only His wisdom and power, but also the state of ecstasy, rapture and selflessness man could have enjoyed all along had he been willing to lay aside his own ways and walk in obedience and subjection to God’s will.

        Although many Bible scholars teach that the marriage supper will take place in heaven, the accounts dealing with this event contradict such an idea.  Consider the man who went in to the feast not having a wedding garment.  He was then bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness (Matt. 22:11-13).  This plainly shows that this is a celebration that takes place here on earth.  Surely no one would argue that the wicked would be received into heaven only to be cast out!

        There are signs that indicate that the time of the marriage, wedding feast, harvest of God’s field, or manifestation of the Sons of God is near.  Those who have “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” can discern the signs of the times and realize that now as never before it is time for the “wife of the Lamb to make herself ready.”  The days for playing church are ended.

        Any of us who expect to take part in the great end-time work must now meet every demand of the Word of the Lord or risk finding ourselves among those who heard the invitation but had other things to do.  Of them, Jesus said, “none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper” (Luke 14:24).

 

 

TIMELY ADMONITION

 “WHEN IN ROME”

Randall Walton (May 1986)

        There is a strong compulsion in most of us to be “one of the crowd,” to go along with the consensus of views, to agree as much as possible with our peers, or as the old saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do!”

        It’s strange how this idea affects so many Christians.  Because God’s mighty hand of judgment is not falling upon the majority of professing Christians, they assume that God turns the other way while they compromise with the enemy.  This is a foolish deduction, of course, for God has never been known to sanction unrighteousness.  His standards have never changed.

        We see the results of “me-too-ism” in the divorce statistics, in the breakdown of our family structure, in the spread of social disease, and the proliferation of fetal homicide.  These are all the effects of other causes, of course, and the greatest of these is the lack of moral courage to “take a stand.”

        The current profusion of illicit drug use is but one more evidence of the moral turpitude to which many hundreds of thousands have fallen, in complicity with others who have chosen the same downhill road of infamy.

        The “herd instinct” is found even in religious circles!  People “believe” certain falsehoods because their preacher or their fellow church members accept such doctrines.  For fear of being ostracized (or being “put out of the synagogue”), they disengage their mental apparatus and attempt to neutralize themselves.

        Yet, for all these many centuries the word of God has stood firm, immoveable, unchanging, uncompromising.  Some people have objected to its unswerving demeanor and have attempted to water it down in hope that in a diluted form it would be more palatable to more people.  It still orders its readers to follow its precepts whether in Rome or in Reno.  It plainly forewarns of the consequences for those who will conform to the status quo wherever they are.

        And there are those who object to the mention of consequences, but protest the loudest when they find their own reaping is in relation to their sowing, both in proportion and in kind.

        We often think that peer pressure is limited only to teenagers, but that is only a notion, for it is a circumstance which is common to man.  In plain language, it takes guts to declare oneself on important issues in the face of strong opposition.  “Everybody’s doing it” is a very persuasive force.  We need only to remember ancient Israel to prove the point.  There were few objectors when the people rallied around their golden calf.  All the Israelites above twenty years of age (except Caleb and Joshua) perished in the Sinaitic desert because they went along with the majority in their denunciation of both Moses and the call of God.  The rebellion was contagious: once begun, it couldn’t be stopped!

        Those who stand true to God may find themselves standing alone.  Even their closest friends, relatives and loved ones may choose to forsake them for the popularity of the way of appeasement.  The wide gate and the broad way make little demands of their travelers: although the company is composed of “many,” there is no congestion.  The journey is comfortable and well-pleasing to the man of the flesh.  Confinement is reserved for the “few” who choose the way which is straight and narrow.

        But, let us remind ourselves that each way leads to a definite destination – one to destruction, the other to life.  It is well established, then, that it is a dreadful mistake to conform to the Romans when one finds himself among them.  Only by faithfully upholding the uncompromising and unalterable Lord Jesus and His words, will we win souls for the kingdom of God.  And these souls must also be taught that the Father is looking for those who will love Him, and worship Him in the Spirit and the truth irrespective of the detractors.

        “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to STAND” (Eph. 6:13).

        The evil day is upon us and is increasing in intensity.  The time to learn to stand is now before the evil becomes completely uncontrollable.  Such a stand will require returning uncompromisingly to the word of the Lord, uncaring of people’s opinions and/or attitudes.  It will mean that God and His will become the foremost issues of your life.  It will mean that you surrender your self, your life, your all to Jesus and His word.  It will mean that you are willing to become a spectacle, a misfit, an outcast for the sake of the gospel.  It will mean that you are willing to let God have HIS way in your life, to mold you, shape you, conform you to the image of His Son.

        Are you ready to stand up for Jesus Christ and His cause, at any cost?

 

PASSOVER 2014

 

      Passover this year will be observed by People of the Living God on the evening of April 13, 2014.  The new moon following the vernal equinox, falls on March 30th.  Counting 14 days from the new moon brings us to April 13th.  At sundown on the 14th day begins the Passover.  The Passover Sabbath will be April 14th.  The Passover feast lasts for seven days, ending at sundown on April 20th.  We pray God will richly bless all those who observe this year’s Passover with Spiritual renewal and blessings.