People of The Living God

Romans 10:9-10

 

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November 2015



 

 

 

 

WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS

“BEHOLD THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH”

Armando Montes

        The Scriptures plainly teach that our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, is coming again.  The return of the Lord is extensively taught in the New Testament.  Our Lord Jesus spoke about it, and His disciples confirmed it (John 14:1-3; Matt. 16:27; II Thess. 1:7-10; I John 3:2,3; Acts 1:9-11).  The coming of the Lord will be the most outstanding event for the child of God.  Those who love Him “in spirit and in truth” are “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

        The Scriptures dealing with this topic raise several questions, but we’re not going to discuss any of them.  We’re not going to discuss the manner of His coming, nor the time of His coming.  Our one and sole aim is a practical one.  It is time for God’s people to take hold of the truth of the Second Coming of the Lord and prepare themselves to receive our King of Kings.  Truth that has been set forth in the Scriptures has a definite purpose.  Our Heavenly Father designed truth to accomplish a specific work within the heart of man.  “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).  “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).

        About 2,000 years ago our Lord Jesus came as King and Savior of the world.  Although His First Coming was foretold by His prophets of old, just a few people acknowledged Him as the Son of God.  The ecclesiastical organizations of His day failed to recognize Him as the Messiah.  “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11).

        The Bible tells us that most people were unprepared for the First Coming of the Lord.  They did not believe the Word of God and were blinded by men’s ideas and traditions.  The ecclesiastical movements missed the whole plan of salvation.  They held the traditions of the elders and, consequently, lacked spiritual sight to perceive the Messiahship of Christ.  The god of this world blinded their minds lest they believe the many prophecies concerning the life and ministry of the promised Messiah.

        John the Baptist was called “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).  He was “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” (Matt. 3:3).  The main theme of his preaching was the need of spiritual preparation to receive the Messiah.  He fulfilled his ministry as the forerunner of the Lamb of God.  The religious leaders of his time did not take heed to his message.  They rejected John’s baptism of repentance.  They refused God’s way of preparation through John’s ministry.

        Just a handful of devoted saints were able to recognize the Lord as the Christ and the promised Messiah.  They perceived that He was the “consolation of Israel.”  They walked close to the Lord and He gave them spiritual discernment to recognize “the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”  They received divine knowledge through the Spirit of God.  As sons of God they were led by the Spirit because they walked in the Spirit.

        The history of mankind is about to be wound up.  In His time our Heavenly Father will close His workshop in “this present evil world.”  Our Lord will come again to receive His people, “the precious fruit of the earth.”  He’s going to present to Himself a glorious church, holy and without blemish.  The Christian Church, then, is under obligation to meet these standards.

        A work of preparation must be done in the heart of every individual, if he is to come to the holy presence of the King of Glory.  At Mount Sinai, before God proclaimed His eternal Law, the Lord said unto Moses, “Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes” (Ex. 19:10).  The people of Israel needed to prepare themselves because God was going to speak to them.  The priests had to wash their hands and feet before entering the sanctuary to minister in the presence of the Lord (Ex. 30:19-21).

        We are told to “come boldly unto the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16).  God is holy, pure, sacred.  Man is sinful, unclean, impious.  The only way that man can come to God is through our Lord Jesus Christ.  “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).  We surely thank the Lord for the precious sacrifice of Calvary that made possible that we have “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Heb 10:19).

        The lack of spirituality among God’s people is evidence that His church is unprepared for His return.  Today there is much religious activity among the Christian churches, but we do not have a spiritual Church.  Spiritual people walk in the Spirit and manifest the fruits of the Spirit in their daily lives.  God has been looking for and will have a spiritual people.  This is the Church that our Lord Jesus is going to receive to Himself.

        The pitiful division among the Christian churches is another sign that God’s people are not ready, are not “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2). Our Lord Jesus prayed “that they all (His disciples, the believers) 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 17:21).  This is not the condition of the Church today.  The Lord is not coming back to receive a split church, divided into hundreds of factions.  He is coming back for His Body, His Bride, one people bound together with eternal cords of love.

        Division is a true evidence that there is a lack of love; that love has not been perfected.  Agape, or divine love, “shall cover the multitude of sins” and “suffereth long.”  Paul listed “seditions” as one of the works of the flesh: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness…seditions (Gal. 5:19,20).  This word “seditions” has to do with “division, dissension” according to the Greek text, and it is translated “divisions” in Romans 16:17 and I Cor. 3:3.  Division is of the devil.  It must be dealt with in the Body of Christ.

        Our Lord Jesus Christ emphasized the need of preparation.  He warned His disciples of the necessity of watching and being ready.  “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching” (Luke 12:37).  To watch means “to give strict attention to, to be cautious, to be active, to exercise constant vigilance over something.”  The same warning is stressed in Matt. 24:42-51; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 21:36; Rev. 16:15 and other verses of Scriptures.  “Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is” (Mark 13:33).

        “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not” (Luke 12:40).  To be ready means to be prepared, in this case prepared to receive our Lord when He comes.  The disciples also taught the urgency of being on the watch.  Brother Paul told the Corinthian church to watch and stand fast in the faith (I Cor. 16:13).  Brother Peter admonished us to be “sober, and watch unto prayer” (I Peter 4:7).  “Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments” (Rev. 16:15).

        Along our highways and main roads there are thousands of warning signs which have been posted to guide the drivers and help them to drive safely and carefully.  These signs have been designed to lead the drivers and keep them in a constant state of watchfulness and vigilance.  Along “the way of holiness” the Lord has provided in His Book many signs to help His children to walk in the narrow way.  If any man follows these instructions, he will have a safe and happy journey to heaven.  Obedience to these signs, to the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be the right preparation before His return.

        Let us consider just a couple of these signs: “And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13).  These are the words of the Lord of the universe, the coming Judge.  Occupy means “to busy oneself with, to be occupied in anything; to carry on a business.”  According to the parable of the talents or pounds, God has invested something in each one of His children, in each one of His servants.  He expects them to get busy, to produce and increase this investment.  “Being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10) is a safe means of preparation.

        “Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments” (Rev. 16:15).  Watching and keeping one’s garments brings down the blessings from heaven.  To which garments did our Lord Jesus Christ refer?  The prophet Isaiah gives us the answer, “for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).  These are the robes that God’s people need to have on to meet the Lord.

        To keep one’s garments implies the work of taking a watchful care.  The garments of salvation received from the Lord at the time of our conversion can be defiled and stained by sin.  The Christian believer is under divine command to keep his vestments unspotted, undefiled from the contamination of the flesh and the things of the world.  The Christian believer is to walk pure, free from the defilement of sin and from faults.  Those who will meet the Lord will walk with Him in white.

        “And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure” (I John 3:3).  Which hope?  To see Him, to be like Him, according to verse 2.  If we long to see Him, if we long to be like Him, then we are to purify our souls “in obeying the truth through the Spirit” (I Peter 1:22).  Obedience to the words of the Master is God’s means to purify ourselves, to prepare ourselves to receive the Lord.  Dear Brother, do you know that He’s coming soon?  “When the Bridegroom cometh will your robes be white?  Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb?”

 

 

 

 

WOMAN WITH ISSUE OF BLOOD

Alfred King

        As she counted the few remaining coins, a cloud of hopelessness and despair settled upon her, for she had spent all her living on physicians while her condition was no better but only grew steadily worse.  For twelve long years she had suffered while the wise and most professional medical experts of the day were unable to get to the root of her illness.  The unwelcomed but naked truth that settled upon her brought tears to her eyes, which ran down her cheeks and dripped from her chin.  All hope was gone.  She had tried every suggestion given her by friends and family and now it seemed she was destined to live her few remaining years with discomfort, pain and weakness, for she would steadily grow worse, without any means left even for some temporary relief.  As she sat there realizing all earthly hope was gone, she remembered that some had spoken of a man named Jesus Who claimed to be the Son of God and Who cast out devils and went about healing all that were sick.  Suddenly, a rush of optimism filled her soul and a strange confidence and assurance filled her being that her deliverance was in this man they called Jesus, the Christ.  She immediately went out, knowing that her only hope was to find this man who opened blind eyes, unstopped deaf ears, caused the lame to walk, cleansed the lepers and healed the multitudes.  It was not too difficult to find Him, for there was always a great multitude following him.  She found Him as He was on His way to minister healing to a twelve year old girl who was at the point of death.  Not having much strength or energy, despair attacked her, for the crowd following Jesus seemed to form a formidable barricade, forbidding her from ever reaching Him.  In spite of the obstacles before her, she determined that she must press through the crowd, for faith was building inside her, a faith that brought a confidence that if, she could just touch the hem of His garment, she would be healed.  Struggling and pressing her way slowly through the throng, she finally was able to reach out and touch just the hem of his robe.  Immediately, the issue of blood was dried up and she was completely and totally healed.  Just this gentle touch of Jesus’ garment brought what all her wealth, coupled with all the best doctors of the day, could not.  Jesus was able to grant healing which no doctor was able to offer.  He was the answer to her need and she found deliverance and freedom for the first time in twelve long, weary years.  Jesus turned and spoke some very comforting words to her, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” (Mark 5:34).  One can only imagine the joy that filled this woman’s heart as she returned to her home, rejoicing and giving praise and thanks to God.

        There are those today who have been enslaved to sin and have suffered the repercussions of the curse of sin.  There are those who are tormented in their minds and can only find temporary relief through some drug or possibly a sinful pleasure, which when completed, leaves them more tormented than before.  Doors may have been opened where evil spirits are allowed to depress, plague and distress.  Sleep is turbulent and many times is tormenting.  These are the precise people Jesus came to deliver.  Jesus said in Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”  Like the woman with the issue of blood, recorded in Mark 5:25-34, anyone who will believe God’s word and will sincerely call upon Christ Jesus can find deliverance and freedom from sin’s bondage.  He can experience the same joy that this woman found 2000 years ago.  There are multitudes who have already come to Christ and know personally and experientially the freedom that He holds out to any who will humble themselves, pray and ask God to set them free.

        As we approach the Thanksgiving time of year, let us remember where Christ has brought us from and give thanks, not only for our physical blessings but especially for the life we now have in our Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us remember where God brought us from and also where we might be today if He had not first loved us and reached down His hand and picked us up from a terrible sinful pit.  Let us never cease to praise Him and give thanks for His Holy Spirit, sent to abide within us to lead, comfort and teach.  So great is this salvation that God provides in Christ that one wonders why all men do not repent and find this life and peace that only God can give.  Sometimes Christians are like Israel of old; we murmur, complain and doubt and, consequently, miss the blessing God has for us and lose the joy of the Holy Spirit.

        As we near the Thanksgiving period, let us remember the words written by the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:31-39, “What shall we then say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?  It is God that justifieth.  Who is he that condemneth?  It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

        Thank you Lord Jesus.

 

 

 

 

THE REAL YOU

James Sanderson

        “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23).  Throughout the Word of God, the Lord places particular emphasis on the heart of man.  The word keep in this portion of Scripture means “to guard, maintain, observe diligently, and protect” (dictionary).  The Septuagint reads, “Keep thine heart with the utmost care.”  In other words, the Lord is saying, “Pay attention to what is transpiring in your heart.  Watch what is influencing it.  Be aware of what is coming out of it.  Be concerned about the condition of your heart.”  Strong's Concordance states that the heart refers to “the feelings, the will, and even the intellect.”  Vine describes the heart as the “seat of moral nature and spiritual life.”  Unger defines the heart as “the laboratory and origin of all that is good and evil in thoughts, words, and deedsIt is the center of the entire man, the very hearth of life's impulse.”

        Man possesses a dual nature: a physical aspect and a spiritual aspect.  With this dual nature, man has the ability to comprehend and express on a much higher plane than that of other living organisms.  Man is also a free moral agent, possessing the power of choice.  These choices are made in the heart, man's spiritual aspect.  “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7a).  The heart defines the man.  What resides in the heart is one's true character.  In other words, the heart is the “real you.”  Thinketh in this portion of Scripture refers to all the activities of the inner life as a response to one's environment.  The most important task of every Christian is to deal with his heart.

The Focus Of God's Attention

        Expression emanates from the heart.  The brain is merely an organ that follows the dictates of the heart.  Jesus declared, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34).  Again, in Matthew 28:34, He inquired, “Why reason ye these things in your hearts?”  The Apostle Paul wrote, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Rom. 10:10).

        The primary focus of God's efforts in the earth is man's heart.  God places inestimable value on the heart.  “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (I Sam. 16:7).  “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins” (Jer. 17:10).  The word search means “to examine intimately, to penetrate” (Strong's).  Wilson states that this word means “to examine with pain, care, and accuracy, in order to make a full and clear discovery or a complete, exact calculation” (Old Testament Word Studies).  The Lord has undertaken a painstaking process to which He is fully devoted.

        Throughout this process of examination, nothing is hid from the Lord.  “Shall not God search this out?  For he knoweth the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21).  God is concerned not merely with one's actions but also with the secret motives of the heart.  “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).  The word discerner embraces the idea of “discriminating and passing judgment on the thoughts and feelings” (Vine, page 317).  For example, the Lord equates hatred toward one's brother with murder (Matt. 5:21-22; I John 3:15).  Also, to look upon a woman with lust is to commit adultery in one's heart (Matt. 5:28).  Since this searching process is for man's benefit, God expects full cooperation.

Needs To Be Converted

        What is God's evaluation of the human heart?  Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it” (Jer. 17:9).  The word of God demonstrates that the unregenerate heart of man is in a desperate situation.  One shudders at the evil that the human heart is capable of devising.  A casual view of history reveals a long list of atrocities that man has committed against man.  One need not look merely at history but also at one's own heart.  Is anyone immune to the same atrocities?  The Hebrew word for “desperately wicked” is used only twice in the Old Testament.  According to Wilson, this word means “to be sick unto death.”  What more graphic description can one find?  One must understand that this is the Lord's evaluation.  Man's heart is seriously ill and, without God, is dead spiritually.  One finds it difficult to grasp the wretchedness of the human heart.

        The Apostle John wrote that Jesus “knew what was in man” (John 2:25).  What does the word of God reveal about man's inner condition?  “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23).  In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus, also, adds extortion, excess, hypocrisy, uncleanness, and iniquity (Matt. 23:25-28).  In short, sin resides in the heart of man.

        The Apostle Paul refers to the “natural man” and the “carnal mind.”  These terms describe the heart of man in its unregenerate state.  “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).  “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14).  The human heart is completely out of tune with God.  The Apostle Paul aptly summarizes the true condition of man's heart before God, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12).

A Marvelous Promise

        The heart of man is in a state of moral depravity as a result of his own moral choices and alienation from God.  Job posed a vital question, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?  Not one” (Job 14:4).  Man has so defiled himself with sin that he is incapable of rehabilitating himself spiritually.  Apart from the intervention of Almighty God, man is destined to face eternity separated from God.  The prophets of old record a marvelous promise of hope and assurance from the mouth of God, “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us, he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19).  That word subdue means “to tread upon; to subdue, to bring into subjection” (Wilson).  God promised to deal with the root of man's problem: sin in the heart.  The prophet Jeremiah, also, prophesied, “In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve” (Jer. 50:20).

        The manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ brought the fulfillment of this divine promise.  “Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).  Note that God would not merely provide forgiveness for sin but actual deliverance from sin itself.  “For sin shall not have dominion over you” (Rom. 6:14).  Again Paul writes, “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3).  The Apostle John also declared, “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins: and in him is no sin” (I John 3:5).  The Father's answer for the wretched condition of man's heart is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  The good news of the gospel is that man, through Jesus Christ and Him alone, can now find lasting and complete deliverance from sin.

Conversion Of The Heart

        Without a radical change in the heart, man is doomed to eternal separation from God.  That radical change is called conversion.  Jesus declared, “Verily, I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3).  The Apostle Peter also commanded, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19).  The process of conversion is God's method of dealing with sin.  The word convert means “to turn one's self about, to turn around” (Thayer's Lexicon).  The human heart is leading man in one direction, but God is directing him to turn around and go another direction.  “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isa. 30:21).

        Conversion encompasses more than one experience.  There is the initial experience of salvation, or the new birth, and then there is the life-long work of the Lord to correct the twisted nature of the human heart.  This process involves the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the blood of Christ, and the full cooperation of the individual believer.

        Conversion begins with conviction.  The individual must first realize his true condition before God.  Since man is dead in trespasses and sin, he is blind to the wickedness that lurks within his heart.  His spiritual eyes need to be anointed with heavenly eye salve.  The Scriptures reveal that there is a divine influence on the sinner to lead him to God.  Jesus declared, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.  This he said, signifying what death he should die” (John 12:32-33).  God appeals to man through the cross of Calvary.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son” (John 3:16).  The greatest act of love occurred when Jesus gave Himself willingly to die upon the cross.  If this supreme act of love does not touch the heart of man, nothing else will.  The agent in this work of conviction is the Holy Spirit.  “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8).

        The conviction of the Holy Spirit produces grief, or godly sorrow, as the individual begins to realize the rebellion that has ruled his heart.  This godly sorrow will motivate the sinner to come to God in true repentance.  “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance” (II Cor. 7:9).  As David of old, he will cry out, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.  Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.  Against thee, thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and clear when thou judgest” (Psalm 51:1-4).  Repentance must become an attitude of the heart that remains with the Christian all his life.

Regeneration

        When the sinner recognizes his heart condition before God, repents, and calls upon the Lord for forgiveness and deliverance, a marvelous transformation occurs in his life.  The Word of God refers to this transformation as the new birth.  “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  This regeneration, or rebirth, is a process carried out by the Holy Spirit.  God's Spirit comes and makes His abode in the heart of man.  The new believer becomes “an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22).  He is now “a new creature” (that is, a new creation) in Christ Jesus.  “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17).  He has now passed from death unto life (John 5:24-25).

        After the new birth, the believer is no longer in bondage to the dictates of the self life.  He has a divine influence working within his heart to help him to follow the path of righteousness and truth.  Doing God's will and pleasing the Lord now become the supreme motives in his life (II Cor. 5:15).

 

 

 

 

THE SABBATH CONDEMNED

 

        The following article is typed just as it was sent to us and is written to persuade others that the seventh day Sabbath is no longer the day which Christians should observe.  Great study and effort has convinced the author (who was not revealed) that Sunday is the Lord’s day.  The different points presented are very cleverly gathered and assembled in order to reason away one of God’s very simple commandments, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”  We will follow this article with our rebuttal and show where the author has erred.

 

THE THREE GREATEST EVENTS

        What was the greatest work God made on the first day of the first month of the first year?  And that work gives life to the world.  “LET THERE BE Light.” Gen. 1:1-3.  The greatest work of God made on the first day was to give bright “LIFE” to the world.  The SON gives life to the world.  The “SUN” gives life to the world. 

        Thousands of years later we still are receiving life from the sun.  Today we see the great work of the sun, yet men deny the creator of it and honor evolution.  How can any man deny that great work of creation when he looks up and sees the sun?

        What was the three greatest events in history of the world?  A great hymn writer tells us.  One of the greatest poetry hymn writer tells us, who lived about 200 years ago – wrote.  The author of 127 hymns whose name was Christopher Wardsworth based his hymns on the Trinity.  The 3 greatest events, he tells us what were the 3 great events in history that occurred on the first day of the week.  The first, the creation of light.  The second, The Resurrection.  The Third, the giving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:2.  He refers to these events as “The Triple Light.”  The Holy Spirit gives light.  “I am the Light of the World” John 8:12.  He wrote “On this day the heavenly manna falls, Christ rose from the depth of the earth.  And Living waters flowing, with soul refreshing streams.  Where gospel light is glowing, The Spirit sent from heaven.  A triple light was given.”

        “In Him was life and the life was the Light of men” John 1:4.  The 7th day was the ministration of death.  The letter that killeth. II Cor.3:7.  No manna could be found on that day. Exo. 16:25.  On the first day the true manna from heaven was given.  John 6:32.  This was the ministration of life which the law of Moses did not give.  The law gave the ministration of death. II Cor. 3:7.

        “For the commandment (10 commandments) which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.” Rom. 7:10.

        The rich young ruler who was zealous to observe the law for life – he observed all these commandments for life, he found to his sorrow that it does not minister life. Matt. 19:20.  He left sad and grieved.

        At the giving of the law there was fearful thunder, lighting-storm tempest- the whole mountain Sinai on fire, with blackness and darkness with the sound of trumpet.  The earth trembled and shook. Exo. 19:19.  And so terrible was the sight that Moses said, “I exceedingly fear and quake.” Heb. 12:21.  At the giving of the law about 3000 died.  Exo. 32:28 whereas at the coming of the Holy Spirit.  The (New covenant) 3000 were saved. Acts 2:41.  The Holy Spirit was given on the first day the resurrection day.

        About 350 years ago a man of God, who spent years in prison for his faith, who according to the encyclopedia he wrote the greatest allegory ever written and his book –The Pilgrims’ Progress the most read of all books outside the Bible – by the pioneers who settled this country- He wrote “The law instead of cleansing the heart by its working from sin doth revive, put strength into and increase it in the soul, even as it doeth discover and forbid it –for it doeth not give power to subdue.”  He also wrote the book- On the 7th day Sabbath.  He said thus, “The Lords day, as was said, is the christians principle manna day…the manna was gathered by the disciples… the true bread of God, the sheaf of first fruits, which is Christ from the dead, was ordained to be waved, on the morrow after the Sabbath. Lev. 23;11  Thus began the day after the Sabbath, and thus it has continued through all ages to this very day.  Oh! what a manna day this was to the church.”

        On this day Christ opened to them the scriptures and broke bread with them. Luke 24:27  He also added that “No manna shall be found on the Sabbath.” 

        Jesus Christ was the first fruits from the dead. I Cor. 15:20  This observance was given by Moses, was to take place on the first day of the week following Passover according to Lev. 23:11  This day along with feast of weeks which we call Pentecost was to take place on the first day following the Sabbath, which is always on the first day of the week.

        The ministration of life replaced the ministration of death.  This law written and engraved in stone was the ministration of death. II Cor. 3:7  No more need for types and shadows, blood sacrifice, meat offerings and observing feast days and holy days. Col 2:16  Or observing days and months and times and years for life, like the Galatians did. Gal.4:10

        “For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  For 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 sin condemned sin in the flesh.” Rom. 8:2

        This law is the letter that killeth. II Cor 3:6  It is the light that shows us our sins and needs, it revives sin and puts strength into sin and increase it in the soul, even as it doeth discover and forbid it.  It convicts every man at sin.  As Christ told us, “There is one that accuseth you even Moses in whom ye trust.” John 5:45  Moses law is the letter that kills us, condemns us, it is the law of sin and death.

        The man who has no sense of sin and need, has the greatest need of all -  For he is sensless like the Laodicean church which has need of nothing.  Rev. 3:14 is spiritually dead. like the last day church.  Our greatest need is repentance.”  God now commands all men everywhere to repent.” Acts 17:30  “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:5

        Todays church has not known, neither the law, nor their own sins.  “For by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Rom.3:20  We know what sin is by that law.  Though he tells “That the law was not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, murders, liars, etc. I Tim. 1:9

        When I was teen age, I hardly ever heard of a political correct or theological correct doctrine, that you hear from all direction now, it is the most important doctrine nowadays, in the end of time.  That you observe the correct Sabbath day, The 7th day.  A doctrine that was regarded as none essential in Pauls day by the early Christians. Rom 14:6  But most important to the Jews and Pharisee.  “This man is not from God because he keepeth not the Sabbath day.” John 9:16

        “Have you discovered the true sabbath yet?  This question you have to answer.  The same question the early Christians had to contend with in Acts 15.  Ye must observe the circumcism and the Sabbath and the ordinance of Moses, the new moons and holy days or ye cannot be saved.  Paul and Barnabas had no small dissensions and disputation with those Jews concerning this.  They did not agree with them; so they had to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles to settle the question.  The apostles and the elders came together to consider this matter. Acts 15:6  Then Peter the chief of the apostles rose up to tell how God gave the Holy Ghost the gentile who never observed those things and put no difference between them and us, but purified their hearts by faith.  Then he asked them, “Now therefore, why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.” Acts 15:10  then they wrote to the gentile believers gave them the 4 necessary ordinance from the law, that they should observe. 4 essentials.  Peter said, “Neither our fathers nor we able to bear this yoke”- That law required perfect obedience and neither he nor any of the Jews had kept it perfect as the law required.  So there is a curse on everyone from not keeping this law, to perfection.  The Jews were zealous in keeping that law.  But they miserably failed.  Jesus told them “None of you keepeth the law.”

        Today there is none that keeps the Sabbath perfect as the law requires.  John 7:19.

 

 

 

 

THE SABBATH CONDEMNED

OUR RESPONSE

The Editor

        Several points were made by the author of the previous article, and we will address each point specifically; but first we want to present an overview to show how the author distorts the scriptures, forcing them to conform to the desires of one who refuses to accept truth.  This is not to say the author is not a Christian, nor to judge his relationship with God or his eternal destiny, that is God’s place.  However, we do recognize the danger and deceitfulness of our arch enemy Satan, who inspires such thoughts as those found in this article.  Let’s observe how Satan has deceived those who accept these reasons for breaking the fourth commandment.

An Overview

        The fourth commandment, given to Israel from Mount Sinai, was not only spoken by God to all the people so that all heard God’s voice, but it was also written by the very finger of God on two tablets of stone.  Deut. 5:4: “The Lord talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire”.  Deut. 5:22-23 “These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more.  And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.  And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness.”  “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” is a very plain and simple order given by God.  The Ten Commandments, (which includes the Sabbath command) while being included in the Mosaic law, are exclusive and distinct from those laws given by Moses.  Moses was the “mediator” of the law which is called “the laws of Moses” or the “Mosaic law.”  The Ten Commandments were not given through a mediator; they came directly from God Himself to the people.  God chose the word, “Remember” when He spoke the fourth commandment because it was something they had not been able to faithfully observe for the 400 years of slavery in Egypt.  It was something their forefathers observed before their tenure in Egypt, and they needed to return to that previous order.  This is vividly clear in God’s words as He speaks of His Sabbath day.  Let’s read the whole content regarding this command and take special notice that He refers to His rest on the seventh day of creation.  Ex. 20:8-11: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”  Why did the Lord bless and hallow (make holy) the seventh day?  Because He had finished His creation and He rested on that day.  That’s why the seventh day is the “Lord’s day,” not the first day.  It should be very clear to any truth-searching heart that this command was not a law given through Moses.

        In the garden, the serpent questioned God’s command regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  “Hath God said?”  “God doesn’t really mean it.”  “God knows that you will become as one of the gods, His intentions are selfish.”  Satan’s techniques are much the same today as in the beginning.  He still questions God’s word and is an expert in using scripture to deceive.  He is professional in wresting the scriptures to say something opposite of what is actually being said.  In the article above, we see how scripture upon scripture is brought in to this subject in order to make void one simple and plainly spoken command.  Let us address each point specifically.

The Three Greatest Events

        According to the article above, the three greatest events in history occurred on the first day of the week and they are: 1) Creation of the sun, 2) Jesus’ resurrection, 3) The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.  Number two and three would no doubt rank high in greatness, but the creation of the sun would not find itself in my list of greatest events.  The incarnation for one is far greater than the formation of the sun.  Aside from this concern, if these three events were the greatest, that fact would not change God’s command to observe the Sabbath.  What do any of these events have to do with God’s Sabbath?  Absolutely nothing!  The second point of concern here is that of the resurrection.  Jesus could not possibly have been resurrected on the first day of the week.  Jesus stated in Matthew 12:40 that He would be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.  It is mathematically impossible to get three days and three nights from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning.  You have one day and two nights.  Since it is obvious from scripture that Jesus died in the afternoon and was hastily placed in the tomb just before sundown, in order to have three days and three nights, Jesus would have to be resurrected in the afternoon.  This is exactly what happened.  Jesus was resurrected Sabbath afternoon.  He was crucified on Wednesday and died Wednesday afternoon.  The reason His body was taken down from the cross and hastily placed in the tomb was because the Sabbath was drawing on, but this was not the seventh day Sabbath, rather it was the Passover Sabbath.  The argument that Jesus rose on Sunday morning is false to begin with.  However, even if Jesus were resurrected on Sunday morning, how does that change God’s divine order to observe the seventh day?  The point is moot and is one of the tactics of Satan to change the word of God.  “The Three Greatest Events” argument to change God’s ordinance (Isa. 24:5) has no substance at all.  But just as the serpent beguiled Eve in the garden, so he once again has beguiled another through his subtlety.

No Manna On The Sabbath

        We will address the issue of the ministration of death later.  For now we will consider the issue that no manna was given on the Sabbath.  Actually, this fact supports the observance of the Sabbath; however, the author here twists this point to say that God changed the day to another and so He will not feed His sheep on the Sabbath.  This is total nonsense.  When Jesus gave an example of how His disciples were to pray, He prayed, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).  We can and should partake of the Bread of Life daily, seven days a week.

        The author tacks the verse in Exodus 16:26, which states that no manna would be provided on the Sabbath, to a verse penned by the Apostle Paul in II Cor. 3:7 which reads, “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away.”  Has the church become so infiltrated with false teaching that she no longer understands the very fundamental doctrine of Christianity, which is: God’s wrath rests upon all men because of Adam’s transgression?  Consider carefully what Paul wrote to the Romans in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”  If this were not true, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross.  Why did God’s wrath rest upon all men?  Because all have sinned.  What is sin?  Sin is the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4).  Was then the law the “ministration of death” as Paul taught the Corinthian church?  Absolutely!  How?  Because if there is no law, there is no sin.  Sin cannot exist if there is no law.

        Yet, if we take Paul’s words to the church at Corinth to mean that the law, called “the ministration of death”, is no longer pertinent or is no longer in force, then there is no such thing as sin.  If there is no sin, there is no need of repentance, there is no concern which day one observes or if he observes any day at all.  In fact, there is no need to be saved because we are not sinners.  The whole argument is so full of holes that one wonders how a born again believer can even contemplate such nonsense.  But false teachers have persuaded multitudes that the Sabbath law has been done away while the other nine still stand intact.  Nine in scripture is the number of judgment, and those who do not observe all ten commands stand in jeopardy of God’s judgment.  Each Christian needs to seriously study this topic, for it is much more important than most people think, including those who observe the Sabbath.

The Rich Young Ruler

        The claim regarding the rich young ruler reveals a surprising lack of understanding of the message Jesus conveyed to this young man.  This account has been included in scripture so that we who would follow Jesus Christ can take inventory of our own hearts and see if there are gods in our lives.  If one reads the account, carefully he will notice that the commands this man had observed from his youth were the last five or six of the Ten Commandments.  It is obvious that although he had kept these commands from his youth, he was aware that something was still missing in his life.  The issue Jesus was addressing was that while this man had faithfully observed several commands, he had missed the very first command, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3).  His god was his wealth.  Upon hearing Jesus’ words, his head dropped and he turned sadly away for he knew in order for him to obtain eternal life, his god of riches would have to be cast aside.  Jesus stated emphatically that man cannot serve God and mammon [riches] (Luke 16:13).  To use the account of the rich young ruler in an attempt to dismantle the commands of Jesus is unfathomable.  The Apostle Paul in writing to the church at Thessalonica warns of those who do not have a love for truth and states that God shall send them strong delusion that they would believe a lie (II Thess. 2:10-12).  To the Romans he speaks of those to whom God has given over to a “reprobate mind,” a mind void of judgment: a mind without common sense.

3000 Died, 3000 Added

        Returning to the article above: the next endeavor to convince us that Sabbath observance is no longer required is taken from Exodus 32:28.  The author presents this as though 3000 Israelites died with the giving of the law.  This is not so.  Exodus 32 gives the account of the golden calf.  The three thousand who died were not killed because the law was given on Sinai but because they bowed down to an image.  The author gives the impression that it was the day the law was given that the people died, and this is not the case; it appears to be weeks later.  He then swings over to the New Testament book of Acts and refers to the scripture where 3000 were added to the church after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Again, he makes the same basic claim that the law is done away.  How does this point do away with the Sabbath?  What relevance does this flimsy argument have to the Sabbath?  And what about Ananias and Saphira who died at the time of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?  His point that Pentecost fell upon the first day of the week is not true.  Jesus kept the Passover with His disciples the night before He was crucified.  He was crucified on Wednesday and since the Jew’s Passover was to begin at sundown, they endeavored to speed up the death of the three crucified.  They found Jesus already dead, and they hurried to get Him from the cross and into a tomb by sundown because the Passover was to begin.  Therefore, Passover began on Wednesday evening at sundown (or according to Jewish time, the beginning of our Thursday).  Counting fifty days from Thursday would place Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Friday.  (For more information concerning this time period, send for our free tract entitled, “Three Days and Three Nights” or go to our website and look for the same title under “Tracts”.)

John Bunyan’s Statements

        The author quotes from John Bunyan to substantiate his case.  No one doubts John Bunyan’s love for God and His word, nor do we question his dedication and search for truth.  However, no one’s words can be taken over scripture.  Even John Bunyan would not want his teachings to be placed above God’s word.  However, just because a great man of God believes and teaches a certain doctrine, does not make it true.  If it is not biblical, it is false doctrine.  There are many great men of God who have held to Sunday observance, but that doesn’t make it correct.  God’s word is the standard, not what men teach or believe.  This is why we must study the word ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to teach us.  Let’s observe Bunyan’s remarks.

        Bunyan wrote, “The Lord’s day, as was said, is the Christian’s principle manna day.”  He then states, “no manna shall be found on the Sabbath.”  With due respect, we counter this, first of all, in the statement “the Lord’s day.”  There is not one verse in the entire Bible that states the first day is the “Lord’s day.”  However, read carefully the following verses, for they show us which is the Lord’s day.  Isa. 58:13: “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.”  Mark 2:27-28: “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.”  Take special notice also of a few verses found in Exodus 16.  This is regarding the gathering of the manna which took place before the law was given on Mt. Sinai.  Exodus 16 shows that the Sabbath was in observance before the law was given at Mt. Sinai.  Ex. 16:23: “To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord.”  Ex. 16:25: “for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord.”  One more verse found in Genesis, Gen. 2:2-3: “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.  And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”  What does it mean that God “sanctified” the seventh day?  It means He made it holy and set it apart from the other days of the week.  It’s just as when He sanctified the various vessels for use in Solomon’s temple.  Those sanctified items were to be used for nothing but service in the temple.  They were set apart for a specific purpose, and they were holy.  So God set apart the seventh day and made it holy.  Beware of any person who rails against the Sabbath, for it is a very dangerous thing to oppose God on this issue.  It’s one thing not to understand or to question in our search for truth, but quite another to absolutely refuse to consider it and take a firm and rebellious stand against it.

        “No manna shall be found on the Sabbath” is in support of the Sabbath, and using it in the manner in which it has been used in this article is to distort and twist the scriptures to one’s own purpose.

Acts 15

        *The ramblings in the article that refers to Acts 15 show that little is understood of the gathering of the Apostles in Jerusalem to discuss Barnabas’ and Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles.  The author makes the statement that the doctrine of the Sabbath was “a doctrine that was regarded as none essential in Paul’s day by the early Christians.”  Since the Sabbath was “none essential”, are we to conclude that the rest of The Ten Commandments are “none essential” as well since they were not discussed in the conference in Jerusalem either?  God’s laws and commands were very important to the Apostles, including Paul and the early Christians.  Christianity finds its roots in the Old Testament where the Sabbath was considered very important, and that importance was taught to the Gentile converts.  The evidence of this is seen in the book of Acts for the apostles gathered on the Sabbath for worship and teaching in synagogues and even by the river, according to Acts 16:13.  Read Acts 13 which records the Gentiles desired the words be taught again the next Sabbath.  Acts 13:42-44: “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.  Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.  And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.”  It is very interesting that these Gentiles met on the Sabbath at the Synagogue and it was determined that Paul and Barnabas would wait a whole week to preach the Gospel to these hungry Gentiles, when they could have observed the first day of the week and had their gathering the next day.  But nothing is mentioned or even suggested that they meet on what is today called “the Lord’s Day” Sunday.  Why?  Because the seventh day was the day Paul and the Apostles observed, and it was the day they taught the Gentiles was the correct day.  It was the day God hallowed and blessed and not a day man set aside in place of God’s order.

Sunday Observance Originated With The Catholic Church

        It takes very little research to find the truth concerning when the seventh day Sabbath was changed to Sunday.  It was changed by the Catholic Church around 321 AD by Constantine.  The Catholic Church boasts of changing the day, and many Catholic scholars have written with wonder as to why Protestants observe their day instead of what the early church observed and taught.  The following is taken from the ninth edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, article “Sunday.”  “The earliest recognition of the observation of Sunday as a legal duty is a constitution of Constantine in 321 A.D. enacting that all courts of justice, inhabitants of towns, and workshops were to be at rest on Sunday (venerabili die Solis), with an exception in favor of those engaged in agricultural labor.”  Sunday worship was a pagan holiday in honor of the Sun god, from which we get “Sunday.”  (venerabili die Solis: the venerable day of the Sun)

        Let every person who calls himself or herself a “Christian” search with open hearts for truth, even if that truth upsets everything they have been taught in the past.  We must be lovers of truth regardless of the cost to us personally or how much it isolates us from others.  God’s people have always been in the minority and will be so until Jesus returns, for He said, “Many are called but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14).  Those chosen are those who have a love for truth, and that truth is found in God’s Word not in the Catholic Church nor in the teachings of those who “wrest … the …, scriptures unto their own destruction” (II Pet. 3:16).

* An article was published in the August issue of “The Testimony of Truth” which goes into Acts 15 in some detail and is recommended for those interested in understanding the purpose and the result of this gathering of the elders in Jerusalem.  The article can also be found on our website: peopleofthelivinggod.org  Click the link “Newsletters” and then open the August issue.

 

 

 

 

PHONE CALL TO THE EDITOR

        Following is the transcript from a phone call received in reference to an article published in the October issue of “The Testimony of Truth.”  The editor’s response follows.

        Hello, I want to make a correction from your Testimony of Truth.  You said that nothing happened in September.  Well it did.  The Pope was addressed in Congress as “Most Holy Father” and said he wanted a new world order.  What happened in September was America surrendered to the antichrist.  The Pope had an audience with the president and the first lady and they were celebrating bisexually and that Pope just chuckled.  Yes, something did happen, you were wrong, in September.  This is E.G.D. speaking.  God bless you.

Dear EGD,

        The article to which you refer, titled “Admonition and Warning From the Editor” was not intended to state that nothing was going to happen in September, but that the prophecies that were abounding in the news and from pulpits across America were not from the Lord.  The very first sentence in this article stated, “When I hear predictions by men professing to be prophets setting specific dates or those receiving revelations of Jesus’ coming, I always cringe.”  Notice the two concerns expressed: “setting specific dates” and “receiving revelations of Jesus’ coming.”  The events surrounding the Pope are not relative to either of the points mentioned in the article.  The fact that something happened in September of special note relative to the last days was not the issue or the point of the article.  Something happens every month that are signs of the latter days.  The ruling of the Supreme Court in June was a tremendous sign of the times.

        To my knowledge there were no prophecies that foretold the event of the Pope’s visit with the President and the first lady or of the ruling by the Supreme Court last June.  Yet both speak clearly that America is on a downward spiral and God will judge her.  I have searched the web for the incident mentioned in your phone call regarding the Pope but came up empty.  I’m not saying that it did not occur, but only that I was unable to find it.  There are many events taking place in our world today that are warning God’s people to prepare.  Jesus told His disciples to watch and pray always so they would be prepared in the day of God’s judgment.  Part of the watching is seeing the decline in godliness and morality while evil and iniquity increase.  It is the handwriting on the wall for those who have eyes to see, and every Christian needs to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3).  But in our watching, we must also be careful that we are not deceived by false prophets who prophecy but do not hear from God.

        Sincerely, The Editor

P.S.  CORRECTION: There was one error in the above mentioned article.  It is found on page 20 of the October issue.  The account from I Kings 22 is concerning King Ahab.  However, while the paragraph began with Ahab, it stated that Saul and his son were killed.  This is incorrect.  It was Ahab that was killed in this account.  The account of Saul and his sons being killed is found in I Samuel 31.  We apologize for this mistake.

 

 

 

 

“I HATE HIM”

Harry Miller

        Ahab, the most wicked king who ever ruled Israel, made this statement concerning one of the Lord’s prophets.  The occasion was when his friend, King Jehoshaphat, insisted that they get word from one of the Lord’s prophets about the outcome of a battle which they had planned.  These two conspirators had consulted four hundred prophets of the land, and they all had given the king the answer he desired: “Go up, the Lord is with thee.”  Four hundred men, masters of mysticism with one single message, should have been enough evidence for any ruler, but Jehoshaphat knew that there was a difference in prophets.  He wanted to hear from one that feared the Lord.

        He asked Ahab, “Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of him?” (I Kings22:7)  Then Ahab answered, “There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the Lord: but I HATE HIM; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (verse 8).

        In Ahab’s mind this fellow Micaiah was nothing but a troublemaker.  He had often before sought counsel of this prophet, but it seemed that all the man could see for his future was evil.  At other times Ahab had contended with the prophet that all he wanted was the truth, but when he got the truth it was so severe that the king revolted at the revelation.  Consequently, he just couldn’t tolerate the man.

        This particular day was a field day for the “prophets.”  They had a big audience in a big place (“a void [floor] place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria”).  Two of the great kings sat before them, each upon his throne.  These kings had “put on their robes.”  That means they were all dressed up for the big occasion.  Then “all the prophets prophesied before them.”  One of the high points of the day was when “Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah” gave a most impressive illustrated sermon by making two “horns of iron,” and then proclaiming: “Thus saith the Lord, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until they have been consumed.”  Then it was that all the prophets broke forth with one accord in promising prosperity to the king.

        The Lord’s trouble-making prophet had not attended this great affair.  He was at home when the king’s messenger found him.  It seems that the king’s messenger was a very amiable sort of soul, holding the philosophy of peace at any price.  He felt it his duty, in the face of present conditions, to admonish this most unorthodox member of the human family to use diplomacy.  He said, “Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth.”  The word of four hundred men is weighty proof.  Why make a fool of one’s self by being contrary?  Here was the privilege of a lifetime for an obscure, unliked man of his profession.  “Let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good” (verse 13).

        This is an old argument the devil has used in many ages to get the Lord’s prophet to compromise his message.  Many years after Ahab’s time, Jeremiah had to deal with the same condition among the professors of religion.  “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means (by their own rules and laws instead of the commands of the Lord); and my people love to have it so” (Jer. 5:31).  Jeremiah said, concerning the false ministers: “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14).

        Ezekiel also experienced these same things, for he said: “Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing – the Lord hath not sent them – they have seduced my people, saying Peace; and there was no peace.”  They saved “the soul alive that should not live,” and they “strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life” (Ezekiel, chapter 13).  Years later, the prophet Micah said: “Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err – and cry peace; and he putteth not into their mouths – the priests teach for hire, and the prophets divine for money: yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us?  None evil can come upon us” (Micah 3:5-11).

        John the Baptist and Jesus both prophesied evil concerning the professors of the great church of their day, and the Lord Himself pronounced much evil, not only on the inhabitants of the seat of religious things, but to the city and temple as well.  The wrath of God was against it all.  The churchmen of Jerusalem hated Jesus because His message was not a message of peace.  “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Matt. 10:34,35).

        The true message of Christ is not based on silly sentimental things.  Many people have thought because “God so loved the world,” that God was sentimental about these earthly creatures.  This is not true.  God the Father planned the earth and all its chief functions.  The matter of atonement was settled long before the matter of sin entered the garden of Eden.

        Sin is the transgression of law: God’s law.  The real, true lover of God loves to do the will of the Father; he never feels that he is under the law.  Micaiah, a true follower of the Lord surely felt no bondage in doing the will of the Father.  It was a very simple matter for him to tell the messenger of Ahab: “As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.”  Here was a man that was a “faithful and true witness.”  If he were living today he would not be doling out soft soap, and sweet milk to chronic professors,” but he would be giving the saints “strong meat in the due season.”  Needless to say, if he were doing this very thing he would not be popular; neither would he have any great following (II Tim. 4:3,4).

        But turn back to that day in Samaria when self-will sat upon a throne of gold, and eyes burning with contempt and hate, looked down into the face of a very lonely man of God.  There, before the celebrities of Israel, this man, who was considered an unsociable radical, must now declare the true word of the Lord.  The “great” prophets of the nation, the masters of the arts of religion, looked upon this lone man with extreme contempt.  Sneering faces leered at him.  Jests and mockery were only kept under control because of the fear of the ill-favor of the absolute monarchs.

        “Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear?”  Out of courtesy, only, had this proud monarch condescended to enquire of this man he so detested.  Quickly the answer came: “Go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.”  Even the king was astonished at this.  He could hardly believe his own ears, so he blurted out: “How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?”  The old hypocrite!  This sounds like great piety. Without a doubt he had said this before to Micaiah, in order to impress him with his good intentions of wanting to do the will of God.

        This mock sincerity of the king is now answered in sincerity.  The real King of Israel spoke through the mouth of His prophet, and said, “I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master; let them return every man to his house in peace.”

        Ahab was furious.  Turning to his friend Jehoshaphat, he testily said, “Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?”  Zedekiah, the preacher of illustrated sermons, stepped forward and very dramatically struck Micaiah in the face.  The king roared to his servants to take Micaiah.  “Put this fellow in the prison,” he cried, “and feed him with bread of affliction, and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.”

        “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33).  “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).  “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord.  If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).  “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service” (John 16:2).  This has been the attitude of the world of hypocrites against the true people of God all down through the ages.

        Cain hated his own brother over the matter of religion.  The manner of true worship was made the distinction between these two men.  One obeyed the law of worship; the other substituted his own ideas.  For six thousand years these two classes of worshippers have come and gone on the scenes of time.  The “Abels,” who keep the law of God, have suffered at the hands of the religious “Cains,” often even unto death.  Men’s hatred seems to be fired up to a white heat because the truth of God is made manifest.  God’s truth acts like a trigger which sets off the explosion in the human spirit.

        Consider some of these occasions in the lives of a few kings of Israel; Zechariah the son of Jehoiada, when the Spirit of God came upon him, said to King Joash: “Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord – ye cannot prosper” (II Chron. 24:20).  For this, Joash had him stoned to death.  Hanani, the seer, told King Asa that he had not relied upon the Lord and had failed, so “Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house” (II Chron. 16:10).  For telling the truth of God, Jeremiah was thrown into a pit of mud and slime in the foul dungeon of the city’s prison (Jer. 38:6).  Many have been the witnesses of God who have stood for complete obedience to the Lord’s commandments.

        The strangest part about this account of king Ahab is the revelation of the depths of the wickedness of the human soul.  This man, an enemy of the God of heaven, was also his own enemy.  Such a man is a paradox, for the inner drives of his own spirit often bind his judgment to the plainest of facts.  It is very interesting to analyze this man’s conduct.  Take cognizance of this fact: he believed the prophet of God.

        Had Ahab used good honest judgment relative to divine communication, he would have had perfect confidence in the weight of evidence given him by four hundred men.  What was the testimony of one lone man?  Especially a man he despised?  But, in truth, Ahab did not have faith in his fine four hundred.  Deep within this vile sinner there was yet the voice of conscience!  He was troubled.  He hated God’s man because the message of God’s man never blessed his own self life.  A pricking brier, a fly in the king’s ointment, that was all Micaiah meant.

        Now, notice the foolish antics of a wretched sinner fighting God – “Put him in prison until I return in peace.”  Ahab definitely planned to disprove the message of the Spirit of Truth.  After he returned, he planned to make a show of this contemptible bearer of ill omen, this fellow who presumed to know more than all the other prophets, who had the audacity to boldly contradict the most learned religious men of his country.  Yes, he relished the idea of what he would do when he returned.

        Ahab said to Jehoshaphat: “I will disguise myself.”  What is this?  Kings in those days were brave warriors; no warrior would hide his identity. What was the motive?  The apostle Paul said, “He taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (I Cor. 3:19).  Here was a poor foolish mortal who was fighting, not only his earthly enemies, but he was fighting the God of heaven.  A silly thing!  Yes!  But many men have fought against God.  Ahab was out to prove God a liar.  He deceived himself into thinking that the disguise would make him a minor target to the enemy, thus his chances of survival would be greatly increased.  This piece of strategy almost cost Jehoshaphat his life.  And it did not save the king: then “a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel…and about the time of the sun going down he died” (II Chron. Chapter 18).

        “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal. 6:7,8).