People of The Living God

John 3:16

 

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April 2016



 

 

 

 

WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS

DECEPTION: A SIGNPOST OF THE END

James Sanderson

        With the political upheavals in Eastern Europe and the outbreak of hostilities in the Middle East, there has been an increased interest in Bible prophecy.  The last few years have witnessed a proliferation of books and magazines that attempt to detail the events leading up to the coming of Christ.  Secular and religious publishers alike have capitalized on the present anxiety over world conditions.  People want to know what the future holds.

        This same concern had begun to settle in the hearts of Jesus’ disciples not many days before His crucifixion.  As Jesus sat upon the Mount of Olives, His “disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be and what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3)

        Our Lord responded immediately with an admonition that no Christian should treat lightly, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matt. 24:4).  Although Jesus spoke of many events and conditions that would occur before His coming, the one theme that He emphasized over and over throughout this discourse was the theme of deception.  “For MANY shall come in my name…and shall deceive MANY” (Matt. 24:5).  “And MANY false prophets will arise and shall deceive MANY” (vs. 11).  Even the elect would not be completely immune to this onslaught of deception.  “For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (vs. 24).

        Our Lord Jesus Christ was not the only one to issue warnings concerning this great work of deception that would occur in the end of time.  “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:13).  “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (I Tim. 4:1).

The Nature Of This Endtime Deception

        The word deception in Greek means “to cause to stray, to lead astray, to lead aside from the right way, to lead into error.”  This same Greek word is also used of sheep going astray.  Deception is nothing more than an insidious work of the enemy to distort the truth and undermine the work of God in the hearts of His people.  A deceiver misrepresents truth by presenting error in such a way that it seems like truth.  Deception is a snare that traps the unwary.  Those who are deceived believe they are following truth when, in reality, they are walking in error.

        Since the day “that old serpent, which is the Devil,” tempted Eve, deception has been an ever present phenomenon among men.  The record of ancient Israel is replete with warning after warning of God’s judgment upon those who follow false prophets.  Although deception has occurred in various degrees and in many forms down through the ages, the deception of this latter day will be quite different in many ways.

        First of all, these warnings of Jesus Christ and the apostles indicate that deception will be a major hallmark of the end of time.  This deception will become so intense and on such a worldwide scale that not a few but MANY will fall victim to its deadly snare.  “For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:35).

        Secondly, one must understand that these warnings from the Word of God are not confined merely to such influences as the New Age Movement, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, or eastern mysticism.  This deception that Jesus and the apostles so vividly described will arise from the midst of those who have had a genuine experience with the Lord and who claim to know and represent Jesus Christ.  “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them…And MANY shall follow their pernicious ways” (II Peter 2:1-2).  “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28-29).  Take careful note.  These individuals whom the word of God classes as the MANY are not the heathen.  These are people who once had a walk with God but lost their way by following error perpetrated by false prophets.

        The religious guise of the leaders of this deceptive movement is also another outstanding characteristic that one must consider.  The false prophets and apostles in the vanguard of this great movement will perform many miracles in the name of Jesus Christ.  These outward claims to divine approval will sway the masses to accept these individuals as God’s representatives.  They will so closely resemble the real that even the elect will have difficulty discerning the counterfeit.

        Remember that most of these false prophets are themselves deceived.  They firmly believe that God supports their actions and messages.  Their supernatural gifts fool, not only their followers, but also themselves.  Listen to the awesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ as these individuals stand before the judgment bar of God.  “MANY will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:22-23).

        Finally, those who succumb to the deception of this final hour will find themselves without hope.  On many occasions in past ages, those who listened to the lies of the enemy often had an opportunity to repent and return to the way of the Lord.  The Scriptures are quite clear that grave eternal consequences await those who yield themselves to the deceptions of this endtime.  The Apostle Paul calls this widespread work of the enemy “the falling away” or, as it says in Greek, “the apostasy” (II Thess. 2:3).  (Note that the Greek text uses the definite article “the,” indicating the unusual nature of this endtime apostasy)  The ultimate result of this falling away will be the irretrievable loss of the soul.  “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Heb. 6:4-6).  “And for this cause GOD shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thess. 2:11-12).

        These warnings from the word of God should evoke a sense of urgency and concern from the hearts of God’s people.  This is no time to drift along in a state of apathy and indifference.  Many will lose their way because they failed to consider the importance of this message and make the proper preparation.

        In these last days, as deception sweeps the land, it will become most imperative for every Christian to have his senses exercised to discern what is of God and what is not.  One may not be able to distinguish the real from the counterfeit merely by the outward display of supernatural manifestations, especially if those manifestations are accomplished in the name of Jesus Christ by seemingly reputable individuals.

        Have no doubts about it.  Deception is on the program.  No one will be to avoid the issue; for every Christian is going to have to make a definite decision for or against God.  What kind of preparation can one make now in order to stand for God in the evil day?  How can one discern what is of God and what is not of God?  In order to find answers to these vital questions there are at least two areas that one must consider.  First of all, one must understand the nature or character of the false prophet himself.  Secondly, one must consider his own personal walk before the Lord.

The Marks Of The Deceiver

        There are many voices in the land seeking the attention and even the allegiance of God’s people.  Although a few may be genuine, many others display the marks of false prophets.  The airways are full of them: teachers, preachers, and so-called prophets – all claiming to represent Jesus Christ.  Many of these individuals base their claims of divine approval upon their supernatural gifts or upon supernatural manifestations that occur under their ministry.

        One of the most flagrant errors perpetrated by the powers of darkness is the idea that signs and wonders are indications of divine approval.  Supernatural manifestations alone, even from the Lord, do not prove that God condones the actions, ministry, or message of a particular individual.  For example, the fact that some people were baptized in the Holy Ghost at a particular service only demonstrated that those individuals were hungry for God and that God filled them.  The glory for such an outpouring does not rest upon the minister or evangelist.  Furthermore, God is not the only source of signs and wonders.  Evil spirits masquerading as angels of light are also capable of inspiring supernatural manifestations.

        King Saul, blinded by hatred and envy, journeyed toward Ramah in search of David.  God had already stripped this ignoble character of his position of authority because of disobedience.  As he entered the town with murder in his heart, the Spirit of God came upon him; and he prophesied.  The Bible records that he even prophesied before Samuel “all that day and all that night” (I Samuel 19:22-24).  This marvelous experience in the Lord accomplished nothing in Saul’s life.  Bitterness of spirit continued to ravage the soul of this man until the day of his death.

        The prophet Balaam was another extraordinary individual.  The supernatural powers and gifts of this man enabled him to communicate directly with the Most High.  On one particular occasion when he had fallen into a trance, Balaam pronounced a wonderful blessing upon the children of Israel by the power of God.  Yet the name of this rebel will continue in infamy as an enemy of God “who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (II Peter 2:15).

        In this latter day as supernatural occurrences become more widespread, it will be most essential that God’s people heed the warnings of Jesus Christ.  Is one to accept a self-proclaimed prophet or miracle worker simply because he uses the name of Jesus?  Does his acceptance by a large cross section of Christendom make him immune to all scrutiny?  Is it not the privilege and even the obligation of every child of God to distinguish the Spirit of Truth from the spirit of error?  The Lord commended the church at Ephesus because they had “tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and…found them liars” (Rev. 2:2).  On what basis is one to judge these false prophets of whom Jesus warned?

        “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).  God’s divine yardstick is His word.  Jesus declared, Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:15-16).  The identifying marks of the deceiver is the kind of fruit that he produces, not his claims or his profession.

        The word ravening in Greek as an adjective means “rapacious,” that is, “grasping, greedy, given to plunder.”  As a noun this same word means “an extortioner.” An extortioner is one who obtains money underhandedly by the abuse of his authority.  An extortioner is a manipulator who will resort to almost any devious means to make a buck.  The false prophet has not real concern for the sheep.  He is nothing more than a shrewd operator who has learned how to traffic in the things of God to satisfy his own greed.  Religion is nothing more than another business.  The apostle Peter similarly characterized these false prophets, “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you…beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices” (II Peter 2:3,14).  The materialistic message and lifestyle of the false prophet would be quite foreign to that lowly Man of Galilee and His devoted followers.

        Neither the message nor the services of a true prophet of God were ever for sale.  Jesus declared, “freely ye have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8).  On two occasions our Lord drove out of the temple the moneychangers and those who bought and sold.  “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” (John 2:16).

        Another obvious mark of a false prophet is the inaccuracy of his prophetic utterances.  The Bible is quite clear that true prophecy by the Holy Spirit must be 100% accurate.  In some Charismatic circles, certain individuals are now teaching that one can “learn to prophesy.”  Through practice one can become more accurate with his prophecy.  Such a doctrine not only cheapens the gifts of the Holy Spirit but also promotes confusion and invites any type of undisciplined spirit to operate.  In genuine prophecy the Holy Spirit will never make a mistake.

        The Apostle Peter clearly stated, “For the prophecy came not in old time (literal Greek, “not at any time”) by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:21).  The Moffett translation says, “Prophecy never came by human impulse.”  Neither human ingenuity nor human engineering will ever produce true prophetic utterance.  Much of what is pawned off as prophecy in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement is a mere travesty of the real operation of the Holy Spirit.

        It is rather amazing how willingly the multitudes will embrace any self-styled prophet without question as long as signs and wonders occur under his ministry.  The Bible calls upon the church to “try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1).  A number of years ago a certain Pentecostal evangelist became quite popular through his many healing campaigns.  It was reported that many miraculous cures occurred during his meetings.  Unfortunately, many failed to examine his message or his prophetic utterances.  One such prophecy declared that America would be destroyed by an explosion in 1977, which, incidentally, was supposed to be the year that the millennium would be ushered in.  This same man taught that Eve gave birth to Cain as a result of sexual relations with the serpent.

        The accuracy of the prophetic utterance must determine the authenticity of the prophet, not the display of signs and wonders.

        “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.  And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?  When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:20-22).

        “when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him” (Jer. 28:9).

        Another distinguishing mark of the false prophet is his compromising, water-down message which is designed more to appeal to the masses rather than draw men closer to God.  “By good words and fair speeches” he deceives the hearts of the simple into accepting a perverted gospel.  “God wants you to prosper,” “name it and claim it” “seed-faith,” “Positive thinking,” Positive confession,” “prophesy your future,” “inner healing,” “power ministry,” “possibility thinking” – the list of slogans and catch phrases continues on and on.  The faithful servant who truly loves his Lord cannot help but experience a sense of grief because of the vast disparity between the shallow message of these modern-day spellbinders and the plain, simple truths of Jesus Christ.

        The message of the false prophet is conspicuous for its lack of emphasis on the words of Jesus Christ.  His message is devoid of any call to a humble life of obedience to the commands of the Master.  The themes that Jesus constantly emphasized – self-denial, daily cross-bearing, renunciation of earthly possessions, and death to one’s own plans and ambitions – have little appeal to the multitudes.  Nor do such teachings grant the notoriety that the false prophet craves.

        A “love of the truth” is definitely not a characteristic of the false prophet.  Truth is too revealing and demanding.  It lays bare the heart and sanctifies the life to God.  When an individual repeatedly rejects truth and yet seeks to use the power of God for his own selfish ambitions, the Holy Spirit departs, leaving that individual susceptible to the influence of “seducing spirits.”  He will begin to receive “new revelations” that he believes are from the Holy Spirit when they are actually manifestations of the powers of darkness.  Such is the condition of the false prophet.

Preparing For Deception

        One cannot find a better defense against deception than a life completely devoted to Jesus Christ.  Such devotion encompasses more than a nominal Christian experience.  The new birth and even the baptism in the Holy Spirit will be insufficient to carry anyone through the dark days that are ahead.  Jesus emphasized this point in His parable of the sheep and the Good Shepherd, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” (John 10:27,5).  The sheep were so devoted to the Shepherd that they listened to everything that He had to say and followed His every command.  They had developed such a close companionship with the Shepherd that they were not fooled by the voice of a stranger.

        How does one develop such a life of devotion that these sheep possessed.  The secret lies in understanding two words from this passage of Scripture: HEAR and FOLLOW.  The sheep heard the voice of the Shepherd because they were attentive only to what He had to say.  Their hearts, minds, and desires were not focused on other things.  The cares, pleasures, pursuits, and all the other attractions and distractions of this world did not draw them away from listening to His words.  Like Mary of old they sat at His feet and heard His words.  What the Shepherd had to say was of such vital importance that they didn’t have time to listen to other voices.

        God’s definition of the word HEAR is quite different from man’s.  On the Mount of Transfiguration a voice from heaven declared, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; HEAR YE HIM” (Matt. 17:5).  Peter echoed this same message in the book of Acts, “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye HEAR IN ALL THINGS whatsoever he shall say unto you.  And it shall come to pass that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people” (Acts 3:22-23).  In God’s Book hearing is synonymous with doing and obeying.  The sheep did not merely sit spellbound receiving audible sounds from the Shepherd.  When He issued an order, they obeyed.

        The word follow is quite significant, too.  The Greek word here means “to cleave steadfastly to one, to conform wholly to his example in living and, if need be, in dying also” (Thayer).  Following the Shepherd was a full time occupation for the sheep.  It wasn’t something they did in their spare time nor only on the weekend.  The Shepherd’s plans were their plans.  His goals were their goals.  His will was their will.  His way of life was their way of life.  Their own ambitions and pursuits in life had been laid on the altar of sacrifice.  No longer did they make their own decisions or prepare their own course in life.  They had no personal attachments to this life.  Neither the world nor its systems held sway over their lives.  The Shepherd set the agenda; they merely followed.

        Only those who have this same devotion will be able to endure the rain, the floods, and the winds that will come against every house.  Only those who have this same devotion will be able to distinguish the real from the counterfeit.  Only those with this same devotion will be able to tell the difference between the voice of the stranger (the false prophet) and the voice of the Shepherd.  The closer one’s life conforms to the words of Jesus Christ the less likely that individual will be susceptible to deception.

 

 

 

 

THE LAW

Harold Scullin

        Through many clever and ingenious devices and ways, the archenemy of the work of the Lord has used certain kinds of men to strike out against the law of the lord.  It has been, and still is, the avowed purpose of the forces of evil to blind the understanding of people as to the magnitude and purpose of the law of the Lord.   If individuals can be made to believe that the law has been done away and that they are not under the law, that it is null and void – then the next step is to negate the obligations and demands as set forth in the law.

        The dignitaries of hell, aided by the spirits of confusion, spirits of deceit, lying spirits, and spirits of perversion, through the centuries of time have perfected erroneous doctrines relative to the law of the Lord.  It is important to Satan’s program that such a foundation, built upon error, be laid, in which many will trust.  In order for the spirits of disobedience, the spirits of license and permissiveness to manifest themselves through individuals, they must first blind the individuals and cause them to be convinced and believe that their foundation rests upon the Word of God and that their actions and conduct are supported by the Scriptures.

        Those agencies in the realm of darkness, into whose hands this special work of deception has been committed, have done their work well.  They will be rewarded richly by their master.  The teaching, or idea, that the law restricts a person in his walk with God, or that the law genders bondage (that is, that it brings the individual into bondage through its demands, that it does not permit the expression of the individual, and that it curtails or limits freedom and liberty), is now a universal doctrine.  This is made evident through individuals and groups who are rising up against law and order.  Society as a whole, education, politics, religion, and even the homes are permeated with this devilish teaching.  The spirit of lawlessness is slowly but efficiently destroying all that is decent and good.  The earth is being made corrupt and defiled by the propagation of lawlessness.  As we see this spirit manifesting itself in the nations and governments of men, we are appalled that such conditions could ever come to pass.  There is always a cause, or reason, for every result or effect.

        The majority of the larger denominations and scores of the smaller religious groups, including many of those who claim to be independent and who say that they use only the Bible as their guide, are anti-nomian (against the law) in teaching and in practice.  These systems of anti-nomianism believe and teach “that under the gospel dispensation (or the dispensation of grace) moral law is of no use, or demands no obligation, because faith alone is the necessary means to salvation.”  There are many ramifications, offshoots, or outgrowths from the main branch of anti-nomianism.

        Dr. C.I. Scofield, author of the infamous annotated Scofield Bible states in his notes on the third chapter of Galatians that “The law was a curse and that Christ bore that curse on the cross.”  He goes on to say, “The believer is both dead to the law and redeemed from it, so that he is not under the law, but under grace.”  In other words, he is saying that men are no longer obligated to keep the law since it was done away.  Let us stop right here and analyze these appalling, unscriptural statements.

1.  Man is not under the law, but under grace.  First of all, the Scripture emphatically, unequivocally, states: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4).  If there is no law, there is no sin – for how can man break or transgress law that is not in force?  Why do we bother to teach our children not to steal, not to lie, not to kill, and not to disobey – if there is no law for them to transgress?  Why do not godly men and women and young people yield to the baser passions of the flesh if there is no law against it?

2.  If there is no law, there is no sin; therefore there are no sinners.  According to the Scriptures it is “the transgression of the law” that constitutes sin and thus makes the transgressor a sinner.  “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).

3.  If there is no sin, there are no sinners; therefore, there is no need of a Saviour.  Then Christ’s death would be of no avail.  His life, His ministry, His death would have been useless (according to the teaching of Dr. Scofield).  We thank God that we know that we are sinners saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

4.  If there is no sin, there is no grace.  Again we quote from the Word of God.  “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20).  Consider the magnitude, the height and the depth, to which this verse reaches.  Where sin abounds, or wherever there is sin, grace much more abounds – or there is greater grace than sin.  When Lucifer sinned in rebelling against God, grace was also made manifest in that he (Lucifer) was cast out of heaven and the other beings were protected and delivered from his evil influence.  There was grace in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve transgressed the commandments of God.  It was the grace of God that drove them from the Garden, “lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Gen. 3:22).  Great grace was showered upon Israel when the people rebelled against the Lord and were scattered among the nations and in captivity – “but if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find Him, if thou seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.  When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto His voice; (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He sware unto them” (Deut. 4:29-31).  “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18).  This reads and sounds like New Testament teaching.  It is!  “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

        Such teaching and reasoning (that there is no law) make pardon and forgiveness meaningless.  How can one be forgiven for an act that is not judged as sin?  Such doctrine makes the Lord a tyrant and the Scriptures a lie.  Such arguments are anti-Christ.

5.  The law was a curse.  According to Isaiah 42:21, He magnified the law and made it honorable.  Then, according to the reasoning of these glib-tongued expositors, Christ magnified and made honorable the curse.  This is blasphemous.  In the first place, the Word of God does not say the law was a curse.  Dr. Schofield made that statement.  The Scripture says, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Gal. 3:13).  That is quite different from Dr. Scofield’s deviation.  Paul declared, “The law is HOLY, and the commandment HOLY, and JUST and GOOD.  For we know that the law is SPIRITUAL” (Rom. 7:12,14).  David said, “The law of the Lord is PERFECT, converting the soul” (Psalm 19:7).  How can an instrument that is holy, just, and good, and spiritual, and perfect be a curse?  Of course, it cannot!  Friends, examine your doctrines and see if they are built upon the “cunningly devised fables” of men.  Make sure of your foundation.  (Space and time will not permit a discussion of “the curse of the law.”)

6.  Jesus did away with the law.  He made it null and void.  In Psalm 138:2, David wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “For thou hast magnified thy Word (His law) above all thy name.”  Also, in Isaiah 42:21, we are told that “He will magnify the law and make it honourable.”  Now, if Jesus did away with the law and made it null and void, then He also did away with His Word – for His Word and His law are one.  Also, in doing away with the law, He would have dishonored His own name, for we just read where He magnified the law above His name.  Words cannot be found that are forceful enough to decry and express disapproval of such deceitful and slanderous and defamatory statements regarding the Word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Peter describes these imposters, and pronounces righteous judgment upon them by the power of the Holy Spirit, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption” (II Peter 2:1,12).

        It is time that the covering of lies and deceit be stripped off of every doctrine that is not according to the Words of Jesus, and that the law of the Lord shine forth in all of its brightness, majesty, and glory.

        Before man was created and placed upon the earth, even before the foundations of the earth, there was law.  It was the law of the Lord that protected and sustained the throne of God in the day that Lucifer rebelled against the government of the Lord.  This is the first recorded instance we have of sin – “the transgression of the law.”  There always has been law; there always will be law.

        Law reaches into every phase of creation.  The sun, the earth, the planets, and the galaxies are all controlled by inflexible laws.  Their orbits, their speed, their size, their gravitational force, are the results of the design and plan of the Great Law-Giver.  Before science was ever born, the Creator had established laws regulating the cycle of the wind and the rain (Eccl. 1:5,6,7 and Job 36:27-29).  Only in recent years have men discovered these laws.  Laws exist not only in the visible creation, but also in the invisible creation of God.  The atom, with its electrons, protons, and neutrons, functions according to absolute fixed laws.  Don’t tell the physicist or the chemist that there are no laws – you will be laughed to scorn – and rightly so – for in working with the atom, these men of science know that absolute obedience to the laws that control these invisible particles is a must for survival.

        Plants and animals all obey the laws of their being. There is no resistance or rebellion on their part to their environment or to what they are.  In fact, they have no choice in the matter.

        How different it is with man.  Man was created a moral being – that is:

  1. He possesses within his being, by act of creation and birth, a moral law.
  2. He has, innate within him, a knowledge of good and evil.
  3. He is a free moral agent – he has the ability and power to make an intelligent choice for or against an issue.

        The ability to make an intelligent choice between good and evil necessitates an instrument to define what is good and what is evil, and also to impose limitations or restrictions on good and evil.  This instrument is moral law, which every individual born into this world possesses.  Moral law consists of laws that are compatible to the nature of the being, and are laws that are best suited for moral beings.

        For someone to deny the existence of moral law is not only absurd, but also irrational, for they must deny factors that govern the very nature of their being.  The fact that we are repulsed by murder, acts of violence and injustices, lying, people suffering from sickness and the lack of the necessities of life, are all evidences of moral law in the individual.  Here is an inescapable law to which every man, woman, and young person will give an account.  Transgression of these innate laws constitutes sin.  At the age of accountability, choices are made for or against the knowledge of good and evil – hence every individual becomes guilty before God; he becomes a sinner by his own deliberate choice – he chooses to transgress by an act of disobedience.  Moral law that is within each person cries out against acts of transgression and disobedience.  This inner voice that speaks against disobedience must be trampled down by the sinner.  Violence must be committed against one’s nature in order to commit deeds that are evil.

        Moral law existed long before the history of man.  The fact that Lucifer could choose of his own volition to rebel against God is evidence that he was a moral being.  His act was the result of his own deliberate choice.  Lucifer broke the first commandment (Ex. 20:3) – “Thou hast said in thine heart, I WILL” (Isa. 14:13,14).  He was “perfect” until “iniquity was found” in him (Ezek. 28:15).  Likewise, Adam and Eve broke God’s law by acts of their own choice.  Eve coveted – she “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes…she took of the fruit thereof” (Gen. 3:6).  She transgressed her knowledge of good and evil.  Moral law was in the earth before Sinai.  Did not the Lord tell Cain: “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?  And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door” (Gen. 4:7)?  After Cain had killed his brother Abel, and the Lord confronted him with the deed, why did Cain tell the Lord he did not know where Abel was?  If there was no law, how did he know he had done wrong?

        If there was no law, why did the Scriptures say that “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Gen. 26:5)?  The Ten Commandments had not been given as yet.  Where did Abraham obtain these laws?  At Sinai, Moses was given the Ten Commandments written by the finger of God.  These commandments are moral laws, and this includes the law concerning the Sabbath.  It was Jesus who wrote the Ten Commandments, not Moses (Ex. 24:12; 31:18; 32:16; Acts 7:37,38; I Cor. 10:4).  Now, for men to teach that Jesus did away with the Ten Commandments is a lie, and is blasphemous.  Men are still under obligation “to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy strength, and with all thy soul” (Luke 10:27).  Anything else is idolatrous.  The Sabbath has not been changed, neither is it just for the Jew.  “The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27).  Moral law was given by Jesus Christ.  Did not Jesus say, “Think not that I am come to destroy (or do away) the law, or the prophets: I came not to destroy (or make powerless), but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17)?  By fulfilling the law, He did not do away with it or make it null and void.  He kept and obeyed it.  “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15).  His obedience to baptism and righteousness was accomplished by meeting the demands and requirements of the law and righteousness.

7.  It is impossible to keep the law.  We shall put this excuse of the purveyors of poison, those who try to circumvent the law, under the microscope of God’s Word and let it be the judge.  What these teachers of the blind are trying to make us believe is that the law was so demanding that the people could not possibly obey its statutes.  Just stop to consider the position in which such an argument places the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus gave the law – He demanded that they keep the law.  Yet these ministers of error say that the law could not be kept.  According to this perverted reasoning, Jesus, who knows all things, knew then that they could not keep the law when He gave it to them.  Not only that, the law was to be their judge.  Is this the kind of a King and Saviour and Judge that the Word of God portrays?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  These “deceitful workers, who transform themselves into the apostles of Christ” not only give a false, or misleading presentation of Christ, they also dishonor Him and His Word.  The sheep of the Lord are confused and wander blindly, seeking truth, and all they find are “tables full of vomit and filthiness” (Isa. 28:8) – the spewing forth of lies that were cooked up in hell!  The Law can be keptIt has been keptIt will be kept!  If the law cannot be kept, as the teachers of error would have us believe, then why did Jesus say, in Luke 6:46, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”  And some of His last words were, “Teaching them to observe (keep) all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20).  The apostles taught the same doctrine that Christ taught.  “And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him” (Heb. 5:9). According to I Peter 4:17 – judgment will fall upon those “that obey not the gospel of God.”  Read the testimony of the lives of the “men of God” throughout the Bible, and you will find that the great men of God, spoken of in Hebrews the eleventh chapter, were men who obeyed the Lord and kept His laws.  Abraham obeyed the voice of God, kept His charge and His commandments, His statutes, and His laws.  David: “Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.  Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart” (Psalm 119:33,34).  Job: “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12).

        Israel was commanded by the Lord to keep, to observe, to obey all of His commandments, His statutes, and His laws.  They were told that they were to be a holy nation, a witness and a testimony to the nations round about them of the blessings that follow those who love the Lord and obey His law and His Words.  The Lord promised these things to Israel if they would “keep therefore and do them (His commandments, statutes, etc.); for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people (Deut. 4:1,6,8; Deut. 7:6,7,8; Deut. 28:1,2,8,9,10,13).  Did the Lord God, the Saviour that we serve, command Israel to keep and do laws, commandments, and statutes that were impossible for them to keep?  Did He also give them great and mighty promises that would not be fulfilled because they could not keep His Laws?  This is the kind of a God and Saviour that is being presented to the multitudes through lies that dishonor the law of God.  Has the Lord Jesus Christ been presented to you in this fashion?  If you have been so instructed, you have been taught that there is no law.

        The Great and Mighty God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is a God of mercy, love and justice.  Israel could have kept, obeyed, and fulfilled the commandments and the law of the Lord – but they rebelled against His laws, they walked after the imaginations of their own hearts, they forsook the Lord.  “In those days there was no king in Israel: and every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).  “And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by His messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because He had compassion on His people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy” (II Chron. 36:15,16).  And as a final indictment against this people and to stop the “mouths of the gainsayers” and to refute the lies of men, Jesus gave a scathing rebuke and pronounced judgment upon the people of His day because they did the same works of their fathers (Matt. 23:1-38).  Read verses 34-38: “How often would I have gathered thy children together…and ye would not” (verse 37)

        Israel chose not to serve Him.  Men’s choice not to serve God is the basis of God’s righteous judgment against an individual or a nation.  Israel was no exception.

        The teaching of men, whether for or against truth, does not affect the truth itself.  Because men once believed and taught that the world was not round did not affect or change the truth of the matter.  Later, when men found that the earth was a globe, and taught so, neither did this change the truth.  The Word of God is truth.  It is immutable, it is irrefutable, it is incorruptible, and it is eternal.  The Word of God is not subject to the vagaries of the human mind.  Jesus stated, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words (His law) shall never pass away” (Matt. 24:35).  “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matt. 5:18).

 

 

 

 

MIRACLES OF GOD IN THE TRAVELS OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL

Harry Miller

(Study No. 2)

        Sometimes we look at the great men of the Bible and think that they were born with a special endowment of faith.  But as we read carefully over the Bible account of their early life, we see that they were very human, and all too often “men of like passions as we”.  Moses was no exception to this rule.

        Moses was eighty years old when the Lord spoke to him from the burning bush.  His first thought was, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharoah!”  He doubted that even the Lord could do anything with him, an old shepherd, a man who had spent long years in the desert.

        After the Lord had told him that He would be with him, he then doubted that any one would believe he was sent of the Lord; so he asked the Lord His name that he might have some other name to give than his own to these people.  The Lord then gave him the name: “I AM THAT I AM.”

        Moses still questioned whether anyone would believe that God had sent him.  He said, “they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice.”  So the Lord gave him miracle working power with the rod, the miracle over leprosy, the power to turn water to blood.

        The man of God trembled within himself as he thought of facing the king and the princes of Israel, so he said, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent,…I am slow of speech,and of a slow tongue.”  The Lord told him that He had made man's mouth, and also his eyes;  He made the deaf, the dumb, and the blind, “Now therefore go and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.”

        But the servant of the Lord feared, and in unbelief he asked the Lord to send someone else.  “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses.”  The Lord was not angry with Moses because he was a timid man, but because he doubted God's ability to do what He had said.

        Take note that every argument of reason was met with an answer of reason by the Lord, but as soon as Moses asked for another to meet the occasion, the Lord made no more argument.  There was no haggling over the matter.  The issue was closed, and Aaron was made the speaker.

        If any act of unbelief in the Presence of the Lord, there must of necessity be immediate action on the part of the Spirit.  This action is usually to the hurt of the individual, and he is given the thing he asks for, but the price he pays is usually very high.

        Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, had prayed for years to be given a child and then when he was old, the Lord sent Gabriel who spoke to him and said, “thy prayer is heard.”  The promise of a child was given him by this mighty angel who told him, “I am Gabriel, that stand in the Presence of God.”  But this poor priest lived so far from the Spirit of God that he doubted the sight of his own eyes and the hearing of his own ears.  So he inquired of Gabriel, “Whereby shall I know this?”  And Gabriel answered, “thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words” (Luke 1:20).  He had asked for proof and it was given to him.

        In the eyes of heaven, unbelief is a very black sin; and we find it usually is a forerunner of disobedience.  Moses had not been living up to ALL the light he had, and at the time the Lord called him, this weakness of character almost cost him his ministry and his life.  On the way to Egypt one night while stopping at an inn “the Lord sought to kill him” (Ex. 4:24).  In Genesis 17:9-14 we read of the Abrahamic covenant of circumcision; every male was to be circumcised when he was eight days old, but Moses had married an Ethiopian woman who did not believe in all of the rites of Moses' religion.  Rather than have trouble in the family, Moses did not press the matter with her.  In the eyes of heaven, he honored his wife and her wishes more than he did the commandments of God the Father.

        He was now on a mission for the Almighty.  God had said, “I will go with thee.”  Moses was nearer to power than he realized.  This thing had to be settled; before his call went any farther, it was necessary that he meet this issue.  The Spirit pressed upon him mightily until Zipporah realized that he was near death.  In desperation, she, herself, met the demands of the covenant of the God of Moses, but in her anger she abused him because of this.

        God requires from every servant full obedience.  All of the way or none of the way.  As soon as the covenant was fulfilled, the scripture says, “He let him go” (Ex. 4:26).

        “And the Lord said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses” (Ex. 4:27).  They met in “the mount of God,” and here Moses told his brother all that the Lord had instructed him.

        Many people do not believe in signs, yet whenever God has worked to any great extent, He has always given signs to encourage the faithful to believe in Him.  There are many signs that are scheduled for this last day: “Signs in the heaven above and in the earth beneath.”

        “And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel” (Ex. 4:29-31).

        The work of liberation had begun.  These two workers, the Lord's agents, first gathered together the most influential people, the elders, and using the miracles as their credentials, they convinced these representatives of the people that they were sent of God.

        “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders” (Heb. 2:4).  As under the old covenant, God confirmed the word of His servants with signs, so also did He under the new covenant.  None of the signs of the supernatural work of God performed in Egypt were intended to convince or convert the people of Egypt.  God was conditioning His people and strengthening their faith for the rigors of the journey to the promised land.

        Slavery and cruel bondage had weakened God's people in this pagan country foreign to their home land.  God's people were in need of an education in faith; this becomes most evident as we continue to read of their journeys.

        Pharoah never became a believer, for he refused to HEAR (obey God).  “I will harden his (Pharoah's) heart” (Ex. 4:21), said the Lord to Moses.  This hardness of heart is the result of disobedience.

        “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.  Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.  So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)  Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;  While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.  For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.  But with whom was he grieved forty years?   Was it not with them that had sinned.  Whose carcases fell in the wilderness?  And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Heb. 3:7-19).

        A heart that is continually exercised in disobedience becomes “hard” and in unbelief it departs “from the living God.”  This is the state of heart for which there is “NO REMEDY” (II Chron. 36:16).  In other words: when a heart is continually hardened against God, there comes a time when it reaches a place of no return.  It is impossible to renew him “again unto repentance” (Heb. 6:4-6).

        “In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord” (I Cor. 14:21).  In this letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle quotes from Isaiah twenty-eight which defines the reaction of “THIS PEOPLE” to the “TONGUES SIGN.”  “They will not HEAR me, saith the Lord.”

        The great tragedy of the Pentecostal movement is that the people through whom God speaks refuse to hear His voice by obedience to HIS WORD.  Each year the tongues speaking people are being sifted and separated into two distinct classes: the obedient class and the disobedient class.

        Strange as it may seem, miracles and signs demand continued faith and steadfastness from the believer in order for them to mean anything in his life.  The miracle of the serpent, which Moses and Aaron performed before the elders of the people, was forgotten in the day that these men rebelled against the leadership.  They also forgot many other miracles in the hardness of their hearts.

        Every supernatural manifestation from God should quiet the believer and cause him to walk more softly before his Maker.  His experience then deepens.  But to the flighty and shallow minded, supernatural manifestations are exciting, and like a wild engine, such a person will blow a lot of steam and make a great noise for a short time; but when trial comes, or anything that demands depth of character, he does not have it, and soon falls away.

        No sooner had the Lord begun to work for the Israelites than the powers of darkness settled down.  Work became harder, the taskmasters more brutal, the demands more unreasonable.  Everything went against them.  This is a sure sign of great victory, but the fellow in the fiery trial doesn't think so.

        They that “know their God shall be strong” (Dan. 11:32).  These poor miserable slaves had little faith in God, and few knew much about Him.  Had they known, they would have rejoiced that the day of deliverance was at hand.

        “Anguish of spirit” had them down.  Like beaten curs, they were so busy licking their sores that they took no time to look up and see the face of their Maker.  If Israel had held nightly prayer and praise meetings, this test would have faded into insignificance.  Instead of being thankful to God and His servants, they railed upon Moses and Aaron and verbally abused them.

        The Lord in His providence had planned that Pharoah should “drive out” the Israelites “with a strong hand”.  Rough treatment was necessary, for had they walked away from Egypt peacefully, it is likely that the greater part of them would have returned long before they even reached Sinai.  These people were so impoverished in faith that it was necessary to put them through a school of experience to teach them simple faith in the ability of God the Father to do what He had promised.

        How few people there are today in the so-called Christian nations such as ours who have this faith in our God!  On every hand, men have a great form of godliness, but where is the power?

        The same noon-day sun that melted the wax, also hardened the bricks made by the Hebrew people.  It was the same Son of righteousness who melted the hearts of the honest, that also hardened the heart of Egypt's king.

        God has armies in heaven (2 Kings 6:17 and Rev. 12:7), but they are not brought forth until resistance to His will makes it necessary.  Thus, in order to bring forth His armies, He must have resistance, and in order to have resistance, He provoked the Egyptians to wrath.  In the wrath of the enemy, God has always shown Himself strong in behalf of His people.  There are many references to this in the New Testament; especially in the book of Acts.

        The Lord had said, “The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord when I stretch my hand upon Egypt.”  As long as the inhabitants of Goshen were quiet and in peace, the people of Egypt knew nothing about their God.

        The king said, “Who is the Lord?”  These words were said in contempt.  He then multiplied the burdens of the people to show how he despised their God.  Moses and Aaron, after a session of prayer over this, returned to Pharoah.  This time they performed the miracle of turning the rod into a serpent, but there were men in Egypt's court who “did likewise.”  This counterfeit of hell was designed to take the hearts out of Moses and Aaron.

        The difference between the snake of the servants of the Lord and the snakes of the enemy was that the Lord's snake was genuine and he swallowed up those things that appeared as snakes.  “Enchantments” were used by the magicians.  They first made music, syncopated, illegitimate music with a wild off-beat throb that invited the spirits of fantasy, who assisted these impostors, to manifest to the eyes and minds of all spectators something that did not exist.  A “lying wonder,” a thing that exists only in the mind of the one deceived.  Today, in India, there are many “holy men” who will perform all sorts of lying wonders for a few pennies.

        The power of enchantments is very limited, and we find that these men could imitate only two plagues and one sign.  The snake and fire handlers of the present day are also unable to do any real miracle.  They cannot say, as Peter did, “rise up and  walk” to those who have never walked, neither do they raise the dead as Dorcas was raised by Peter, for when one of their own members die of the bite of an enchanted snake, they BURY HIM.  “The spirit that now worketh in the CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE” has come in our day, in the power of Satan, “With all power and signs and LYING WONDERS” (2 Thes. 2:9).

        There are two powers: One is of God and the other is of Satan.  Don't deny ALL power because some power is of hell.  If you walk humbly with the Lord, you will be able to discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not, and you shall know whether the manifestation is of God or not.

        “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16).  Friends, these signs are going to be restored to the people of God, and let us not be found wanting in the day of the manifestation of His power.  Many Jews said that the miracles of Jesus were of the devil.  They were deceived in thinking that the true power was in the organized church of which they were members, and in ignorance they blasphemed the Holy Ghost.  “FEAR GOD and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come” (Rev. 14:7).

        The people of Egypt had no fear of the God of the Hebrews.  They, too, had plenty of churches and many priests.  As a matter of fact, they were very much more religious than most people of today.  Religion tempered almost every affair of life.  The garnishment of their homes declared their faith in their gods; many customs of their churches were observed daily.  Men of state or of war never went forth in parade without a standard-bearer who showed forth their gods.  They served a god of their imagination, a god of tradition.

        Thus, when the great God of heaven did move among them, they were not aware that it was He, the great Creator.

        It is time for men today to turn away from their traditions and gods of custom, and seek the God of Truth, so that when He appears, they may be ready to receive Him.

 

 

 

 

THE GOOD NEWS

Randall Walton

        “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the good news (gospel.”

        The good news was so good that people had a difficult time believing it (and they still do).  The reason they found it so hard to believe was because the kingdom as Jesus presented it was not the kind they wanted nor expected.  All Israel longed for the good old days when Solomon occupied his father David’s throne, and they were considered equal to, or better than, the rest of the nations.

        Few people ever considered the kingdom of Israel (before it became divided) as an inferior kingdom.  It rubbed shoulders with all the other nations of the world.  Jerusalem, with both the temple and the king’s magnificent palace, was a showplace to royalty.  The fame of its golden treasures and the abundance of its riches reached to other continents.

        The one thing it lacked, however, was the stamp of approval from Almighty God.  While it is true that the Lord allowed Israel to become a kingdom, it was with His displeasure.  He not only denounced the idea, He said the act was a rejection of Himself from being king over them.  Pure logic seems to dictate that upon the knowledge of God’s condemnation of said kingdom, the elders of Israel would have repented in sackcloth and ashes, but no, they repeated their demands for a king, even after being told that when they cried to the Lord, He would not hear them!  Read the full account in I Samuel 8.

        Years later, the Lord told the prophet Hosea that “I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath” (Hosea 13:11).

        Still, the people yearned for a restoration of that “sinful kingdom” which God said He would “destroy from off the face of the earth” (Amos 9:8).  It had been a total abomination in the earth and a disgrace to the Lord, so much so that God sent the people into captivity and allowed other nations to rule over the country.

        But the idea of an earthly kingdom remained in the minds and hearts of the earth-minded people.  They could not grasp the truth that God, as a spirit being, was more concerned with spiritual values than with earthly affairs.  When Jesus came and declared the powerful message of a spiritual kingdom which was within their reach, they were just too obsessed with the thought of earthly glory and splendor to comprehend His marvelous words.

The Same Scene, A Different Era

        It is tragic that the majority of Christians today believe the same erroneous heresy that the ancient Israelites believed concerning the kingdom.  They are vainly anticipating that day when Jesus supposedly will come back to set up an earthly kingdom fashioned after the likes of Solomon’s.  Why, after destroying that sinful, earthly, material, carnal government would God, who is still a spirit being, desire to restore such an inferior and undesirable kingdom upon the face of the earth?  And how humiliating to Jesus it would be, after having sat at the right hand of the Father on high, to be subjected to an earthly, man-made chair called David’s throne!  The finest and most costly materials on earth are not worthy of seating our glorified Lord.

        The idea that Jesus will come back to set up a temporary kingdom on earth has no Scriptural backing whatever.  The kingdom which He said “is at hand” is an eternal kingdom, without end.  Any kingdom which would endure for a mere 1,000 years could not be the kingdom of God.  “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom” (Heb. 1:8).  “Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations” (Psalm 145:13).  “The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all” (Psalm 103:19).

        The kingdom which Jesus announced as “good news” is the rule of God set up within the hearts of His people: “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).  “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them” (Heb. 10:16).  “ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (II Cor. 6:16).  “the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool” (Acts 7:48,49).

        It is a sad commentary on the Christian religion that those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ fail to recognize His kingship, His Lordship, and His rule.  It is such a privilege to be under His divine commands, to know that you can please Him by doing His will, and to know the joy of communing with Him.  No wonder Paul said “the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17).  And no wonder Jesus said that this kingdom is attainable (at hand), and that this is THE GOOD NEWS!  And He commanded men to repent and believe the “good news.”

        In a day when there is so much bad news, it is comforting to know that the good news of the kingdom is still appropriate and relevant, and that in a world of turmoil, trouble, and terror, it is possible to thrive on the peace and joy of the heavenly, spiritual kingdom of the living God (Col. 1:13).

 

 

 

 

PASSOVER 2016

 

        People of the Living God will be celebrating the feast of Passover this year beginning on Thursday, April 21st at sundown.  The Passover Sabbath will be Friday, April 22nd.  The observance of the Passover Feast is not an issue of salvation.  However, it is a celebration that points back to Israel’s deliverance from Egypt when the death angel passed by those houses which had the blood sprinkled on the lintel and the door posts.  Israel’s deliverance from Egypt is a type and shadow of the salvation Jesus came to offer those who will believe in Him.  As the Israelites were slaves to Pharaoh and the Egyptians, in like manner men are slaves of sin and, consequently, slaves to the god of this world.  Jesus came to free men from the bondage of sin and create a free people who can, through the enabling power of the Gospel, overcome sin.  Just as Israel was delivered from Egypt with the intent they would possess the land promised to Abraham, so believers under the New Covenant are delivered from the bondage of sin in order that they might possess the kingdom of God, which kingdom is made available through Christ Jesus.  Let us therefore keep the feast in the power of the blood of the Lamb, knowing that we have been given a high calling, being ordained to possess all that Christ has promised to those that love and serve Him.