People of The Living God

Psalms 150

 

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April 2017



 

 

 

 

WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS

THE ROLE OF SHEPHERDS

Alfred King

        Since the recent election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States, I have come across several open letters addressed to the evangelical church, which is receiving a certain amount of credit (or blame) for the new president winning the election.  In these letters the evangelical church has been accused of racism, homophobia, Islamic phobia, hatred, white supremacy, being judgmental, self-righteous, and several other choice words, all because Trump was elected.  In a couple of these letters (actually well written and I believe with good intentions) the evangelical church is responsible for all the turmoil, division, hatred, marches and even riots that made the news as a result of the election.  It seems evangelicals are to blame if a Muslim finds a nasty note stapled to his door which tells him to go home or that they are not welcome in this country.  Apparently, similar things have happened to other foreigners, to some in the LGBT society and to some within our black community.  I would like to at least comment on some of these issues, more as an overview rather than attempting to address each remark.

        First of all, scripture is very clear that God sets up whom He wills and He removes whom He chooses to remove.  All serious Christians believe this.  Consider these scriptures: Dan. 4:17,This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.”  And Dan. 4:25b: “till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.”  Those who believe God’s word would accept whomever was elected and put in the White House because we know that God is in control and He will take care of those who faithfully walk with Him.  Our hope, peace and security rest in God and not in any man or group of men, for God promises to make all things work together for good to them that love the Lord (Rom. 8:28).  This is not to imply that Christians are flippant or unrealistic, but we believe the Bible to be the word of God and, therefore, we stand upon it firmly without fear of the future.  We firmly believe God is on the throne and He cares for His sheep.  I know no one in our church or other Christians with whom I am familiar who voted for Trump in the primaries, yet Donald Trump won the Republican nomination.  In the main election, none of those I personally know expected Trump to take the election and most people in America did not give him any hope of winning.  So how did He get in?  God is sovereign and He sets up whom He wills.

        Since we “Evangelicals” believe God is in control, we also believe that those whom God sets in office are the result of the conditions within the nation.  If the nation (overall) is a righteous nation, doing good generally speaking, living moral lives, living according to what they know is right according to their conscience, treating their neighbors respectfully, etc., God will set good rulers and governors over them.  However, if the people of a nation live willingly and continually in sin, disregarding God’s moral law and encouraging others (especially their children) to practice evil, God will set up evil rulers over that nation.  The filth that pours out of Hollywood, for instance, is polluting our nation.  The debauchery that floods our internet and flows into many homes, not only contaminating the adults but also poisoning our children, is grievous to God and a reproach to any nation.  The violence in our cities coupled with the riots, stirred up by activist leaders who make their wealth by exploiting others is an abomination and an extremely destructive force to any nation.  Should a nation who turns its eyes away and allows a million babies to be murdered (“legally”) every year, think God will put in good leaders to rule over them?  If they think so, they are miserably deceived.  God deals with a nation depending upon how that nation lives according to God’s moral law.  I choose to use the term moral law because it does not mean that every citizen is a born again believer but they live by that law which God has placed within the heart of every man.  Consider Rom. 2:14-15, “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”  Scripture clearly teaches that every man knows instinctively, basic right and wrong.  God has created man this way.  When we violate that law written in the heart, we allow sin to grow in our lives.  God created man with the awesome power of choice.  We can choose to violate our conscience and do evil, or we can choose to listen to our conscience and do what is right.  It is a matter of choice.  Consequently, Trump is in the White House because of how America stands before God.

“Evangelical Christians Do Not Love”

        While I know of no one (including Christians) that claims to be perfect, yet all serious Christians are striving to obtain the love of God, first for God and then love for one another.  We often fall short in allowing God’s love to flow through us.  Yet, being accused of not loving and being judgmental is very debatable.  It is true that there are those who exude hatred and resentment towards non-christians, especially towards those they feel are a threat to the society in which they live.  They may feel concern for their children if elements of Islam move into their vicinity, or have a sense of danger if a gay couple moves next door.  Many times it is not as much for themselves as it is for their children.  But in all sincerity, to be like Jesus (as these letters encouraged us to be) is to be judgmental.  Jesus condemned the religious leaders of His day with such scathing rebuke that it is easy to understand why they wanted to kill Him.  He laid the ax to the root of the tree.  Jesus called them, “whited sepulchers full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness, a generation of vipers, blind guides, fools, hypocrites” (Matt. 23).  This God Who so loved, Who was the very personification of love, was demonstrating love to these Pharisees and religious leaders by warning them of their condition, a state of which they seemingly were unaware.  They had been blinded years before through the teaching of those who went before them and they found themselves “twofold more a child of the devil” than their predecessors.

        A few years ago after I had attended a Bible school and had been active in the church for several years, a man whom I knew well came to the Lord.  He attended the church I was attending and we talked a lot about the things of the Lord.  He would call me at work and want to go eat lunch together.  So we would meet someplace and often spend two hours or more discussing the word of God.  Not long after he was saved he met a young lady about his age and he began to witness to her and in his zeal gave considerable time ministering to her.  She was recently divorced and was losing her home, plus, she had many other problems that overwhelmed her.  He called upon me to help her move to an apartment and we moved her belongings and tried to get her new place as nice as possible.  Eventually, she came to the Lord.  Of course, we were thrilled.  However, my brother, still young in the faith, wanted to help her grow in the Lord, so he spent considerable time with her, aiding her and encouraging her.  After a few years passed, the lady became solid in her faith and moved west and she still today loves God tremendously, Praise God!  I was talking to this brother a few years later and I told him I was very concerned about him spending so much time with this lady, for they were about the same age and she was divorced but he was married.  I told him I felt it was very dangerous and he was vulnerable to be tempted and ensnared by the devil.  He responded by rebuking me and told me I had failed him.  I knew the danger he was in but did not alert him.  Although nothing ever developed between them, I knew he was vulnerable and I allowed him to remain in danger rather than warn him.  He was right in rebuking me.  I had failed him as an older Christian and as a Christian brother.  I should have told him the truth.  So when people think Christians are judgmental or critical, it’s not always their intention, but rather they may be warning them of the danger of judgment day “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thess. 1:7-9).  With this in mind: Did I show love to my brother or did I please myself in not being offensive or judgmental?  When we share the Gospel, we warn people of the “wrath to come” (which is Biblical).  Am I showing love or pleasing myself if I do not warn them?  Do I refrain from warning of eternal judgment because I don’t want to be judgmental?  If it be a friend: Can I say he is truly a friend if I refuse to alert him to the eternal consequences of sin.  So I ask the same question to those who wrote their letters to Evangelicals: “What would Jesus do?”  What did Jesus do?  Jesus always spoke the truth and He let the chips fall where they would.  Sometimes the seed fell on good ground, such as in the case of the Pharisee Nicodemus, and sometimes it fell upon bad soil like that of Caiaphas.

The Roll Of Church Leaders

        Take special notice of the seriousness of these words found in Ezekiel 33:2-6.  “Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.  He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him.  But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.  But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand”.  Who are these watchmen?

        “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-12).  These ministries are put in the body for a reason.  They are to be watchmen.  “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence” (Isa. 62:6).  Those who are called to these ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4, are to be watchmen.  They are to be in the tower watching.  For what are they watching?  They are watching for the Lord so when He comes they may open the door for Him.  They are to be in prayer and in the word so they are hearing when God speaks.  They are to be preparing the people for the coming of the Lord whether it be His presence which meets with them when they come together for worship or whether it be when He pulls back the heavens and descends with a shout and with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God.  These ministers are to have their sheep ready and waiting for their Lord.  But that’s not all that he is watching.  He is also watching for the enemy.  He is to guard the sheep from the wolves in sheep’s clothing.  He is to keep sin out of the congregation of the saints.  He is responsible to warn the people of those things which will destroy their walk with God.  Genuine Christians realize that their adversary the devil, as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8), and I can assure you that he walks into every evangelical church at some time to looking for ways to destroy God’s people.

        Most Christians who sit in the pews every weekend have no clue of the responsibility that rests upon those ministers who watch for their souls.  They listen to a sermon, shake the pastor’s hand with little knowledge of the burden a genuine pastor has for the sheep entrusted to his care.  He not only prepares a sermon or Bible study each week or visits the sick, but he must be like a surgeon who, when he sees sin in the camp or finds a wolf in sheep’s clothing, he must attempt to cut out the evil without destroying the good sheep.  He must prayerfully and yet fervently deal with the cancer of sin that will spread through the church if not removed, yet in the surgery of removing the cancer he must not destroy the good that sits right beside the cancer.  If the watchmen see the plague coming and he allows it to spread through his congregation, the people may perish in their sins, but God will hold the minister accountable for his timidity in dealing with the plague.  We are discussing not some physical cancer that destroys the body, but we are speaking of a spiritual cancer that will destroy the soul in eternal flames.  And what is even more disturbing is that many pastors do not even know their own personal responsibilities before God and are not only allowing sin to creep into their churches for the specific purpose of destroying their sheep, but are welcoming it in many ways.  God warned through Isaiah the prophet concerning this state of today’s watchmen.  Consider Isa. 56:10,His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.”  But the problem doesn’t always rest with the ministers, for many times even when the watchman is sounding the alarm and blowing the trump, the people will not hear.  “Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet.  But they said, We will not hearken” (Jer. 6:17).  Such is the mindset in much of American Christianity today.

Final Remarks

        The fact that we have a Trump presidency does not in itself tell us anything.  We do not know the future, whether he will accomplish everything he has promised or if God’s judgment will fall upon us through his administration.  But there is hope, and that hope is in Jesus Christ.  There are and have been many, many Christians praying about this past election.  God is a very merciful God and His mercies are new every morning.  God hears the cry of His people and He will answer.  The situation today is much like Sodom in the days of Abraham and Lot.  Abraham sought God that He would spare the city of Sodom if there were just fifty righteous people in Sodom.  God said He would spare it for fifty righteous.  Abraham must have been concerned that there were not fifty righteous souls in Sodom so he asked God again if there were forty and then thirty and he finally stopped at ten.  If there were ten righteous God vowed He would spare the city.  However, there were not even ten righteous souls in Sodom and God destroyed it with fire and brimstone.  Yet, He heard Abraham’s prayer and spared Lot and Lot’s two daughters.  The rest in Sodom were destroyed in God’s judgment.  So, the hope for America is the faithful evangelicals, those who cry and sigh for the abominations that are committed in our country.  They bear a burden for the souls of men and pray for revival to spread across this land.  They are those who pray that God will spare this land for the sake of the righteous.  Are there enough righteous for God to spare America?  Are there those who are interceding for America and for revival?  Are there those who love enough and care enough to warn sinners of the destructive path they are on?  Are there those who are more concerned about what God thinks than what men think?  Are there those who will do as Jesus did and speak the truth?  These are the ones who bring hope to America.  May God once again bless America!

 

 

 

 

THE FEASTS OF THE LORD

Randall Walton

        The following article has been written in response to several inquiries we have received asking us to explain our views concerning the annual holy days which were observed by ancient Israel.

        We judge no man “in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day” (Col. 2:16), and we ask that you reciprocate with us in this regard.  We hope to offend no one, but state our beliefs as we feel God directs us.  But we will not disfellowship any who disagree with our stand.  We hope that you will show us the same consideration.  R.W.

The Feasts Of The Lord

        There is much confusion among Christians regarding the observance of the holy days which were given to ancient Israel.  This confusion has resulted in division among the people, division so strong that a multiplicity of denominations has been brought forth, with each faction claiming they are right and all others are walking in darkness.  Most of the different groups will not fellowship with those who disagree with them, and the result of this disfellowship has been a weakening of the body.

        It is our desire to place this topic in the proper perspective so that the body of Christ may rise above the pitfalls of factionism and unite themselves in the love of Christ.  Only through the unity of the body will the church be powerful to wage warfare against its common foe, Satan.

        Opinions on this topic fall generally into one of three categories: 1) we are to keep all of the feasts; 2) we are to keep some of the feasts; 3) we are to keep none of the feasts.  Many people believe that the annual observance of the Lord’s supper is the proper method for observing the Passover, while many others disagree with that view.

        The books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are the main Old Testament sources for consideration. And, in order to derive an over-all view of the topic, it is necessary to examine all of these books.  The following references are most relevant: Ex. 12:1-51; Ex. 23:14-16; Ex. 34:18-22; Lev. 23:4-44; Num. 28:16-31; Num. 29:1-40; Deut. 16:1-17.  It is only by consulting all of these passages that an understanding can be gained about this subject.

Three Important Points

        1.  Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread were given before Sinai (the giving of the law), and they therefore stand in a class by themselves.  Also, these two were concurrent, and in many instances when one is mentioned, both are included: “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover” (Luke 22:1).

        2.  The other feasts were for Israel to observe AFTER they had reached Canaan “When ye be come into the land which I give unto you” (Lev. 23:10).  Israel was an agrarian people.  They were to till the soil and produce food for the people and feed for their livestock.  Their feasts were to include both animal sacrifices and meal offerings, made from the produce of their farms.  Of course, no farming was done during their 40 years’ wandering in the wilderness.

        3.  Every holy day or festival included a day or more of convocation, and that day was called a Sabbath, a day of rest (Do not confuse this with the weekly seventh day Sabbath).  A convocation was an assembly, a gathering of the people for worship and ministry to the Lord.  Thus, Passover had two Sabbaths (the first and seventh days); the feast of trumpets and the day of Atonement were Sabbath days, and the feast of Tabernacles had two Sabbaths, the first and eighth days.

Seven Feasts In All

        Let us now consider these feasts in consecutive order, beginning with Passover since it was first in the year.  1) Passover was in celebration of the death angel’s passing over the houses of the Israelites while they were in Egypt.  The one redeeming feature of the Passover was the blood of the lamb which was sprinkled upon lintels and doorposts of their houses.  Remember, this feast was in regard to deliverance from death.  The meal which was eaten included unleavened bread and this marked the beginning of the feast of Unleavened Bread.  2) Unleavened Bread.  This was kept in honor of Israel’s being delivered from Egypt, “for in it thou camest out of Egypt” (Ex. 23:15).  Deliverance from bondage is the theme of this feast.

        These two feasts (concurrent) began on the 14th day of Abib at sundown.  This date is found today by counting 14 days from the first new moon after the vernal equinox. Incidentally, this day usually coincides with the full moon.

        3) Feast of first-fruits (Lev. 23:10-14).  This annual celebration began after Israel was in the promised land.  It occurred in conjunction with the Passover, the day after the Passover sabbath, and consisted of a newly cut sheaf being waved before the Lord by the priest.  Other offerings were also made: a lamb without blemish, fine flour with oil, and a drink offering of wine.

        Paul spoke of Jesus as the FIRST-FRUIT in I Cor. 15:20-23, and this was in regard to His resurrection.  It is possible that the waving of the first-fruit on the day after Passover prefigured Jesus and His resurrection, and if so, then it has certainly been fulfilled.

        4) Feast of Weeks.  This was called feast of weeks because it occurred seven weeks (plus one day) from the day after Passover (Lev. 23:15,16).  This was known as Pentecost, which means 50, and was also called the first-fruit harvest.  The first-fruits feast consisted of waving a sheaf on the day after Passover.  The sheaf may have been no more than a few stalks of the winter wheat or oats which was grown in those days.  But fifty days from that time, the crop was ready for harvesting, and they were to use this to make two leavened loaves of bread.  No doubt this pointed to the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the early church and a harvest of souls was brought into the kingdom.  The use of two loaves of leavened bread is most significant in view of the fact that the church was leavened with sin, tradition, and people of a questionable character.

        5) Blowing of Trumpets.  This feast took place on the first day of the seventh month and was a memorial day.  It was a Sabbath, and a convocation was called.  Trumpets were used in Israel for a number of purposes: 1-music; 2-to call an assembly (gather the people together); 3-to sound an alarm (usually as a call to battle) (Num. 10:1-10).

        Since this feast was a memorial (in honor of past events), we can only speculate as to what the trumpets were blown in regard to.  Throughout the travels of Israel in the desert, they were used to call the people together, to assemble the tribes, either for moving to another location or for warfare.  Although trumpets were prominent in prophetic accounts for the last days (Matt. 24:31; Rev. 8:2), this feast appears to have no significance for the church today.

        6) The Day of Atonement.  This was the one day when the High Priest entered the Most Holy Place in the tabernacle (or the temple).  See Lev. 16:1-34.  This ceremony was the means of cleansing for the people for their sins and transgressions.  It was a picture of the work and ministry which Jesus accomplished on the Cross with the shedding of His blood.  Not only was the literal, material tabernacle and altar cleansed (which prefigured the heavenly), but also the fleshly temple or sanctuary.

        Paul stated in Romans 5:11, “our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”  Jesus’ death, then, certainly meant the fulfillment of the feast of Atonement.

        7) Feast of Tabernacles (tents) (Lev. 23:34-43).  This festival was celebrated by the people by erecting booths made of tree boughs and branches.  This served to remind them of their origin and the fact that they had lived after this manner when they first arrived in Canaan (Lev. 23:43).

        This feast was also called the feast of ingathering (Gen. 23:16), or harvest, as it occurred in the seventh month (the end of the civil year) after their crops had been gathered (Lev. 23:39).  Many Christians believe that, since this feast was at harvest time, it had some significance in regard to the time of harvest at the end of the age (Matt. 13:39).  However, there is no positive evidence that this view is correct, and there is no corroborating substantiation in the New Testament.

The New Testament Speaks

        The best method for determining whether any of these feasts are valid for the church is to consult the New Testament testimony.  All of the feasts were obligatory throughout the lifetime and ministry of Jesus, even up to His death.  But the question remains, were they carried past that point?

        In our study of the Scriptures, we have concluded that of the seven feasts which were kept by Israel, only Passover (and Unleavened Bread) are carried over to the New Covenant era.  This conclusion is based upon the following Scriptures:

        “And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.

        And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.

        For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:14-18).

        Jesus actually is stating that there is yet to be a fulfillment of the Passover!  A check of Matthew and Mark will reveal that the message there is comparable to Luke.  The inference that we make in this statement of Jesus is that 1) they would continue to eat of the Passover; 2) it has not been completely fulfilled; 3) after it has been fulfilled, Jesus will partake of it again.  Jesus Himself, then, carried the observance of the Passover and Unleavened Bread over into this dispensation!

        It is appropriate then to ask, “What significance did the feast of Passover have other than that which is obvious in the Old Testament?”

The Conquest Of Sin And Death

        The original Passover with the feast of Unleavened Bread was in respect of deliverance from both death and bondage.  That bondage was signified by leaven.  Leaven, of course, typifies other than bondage to Egyptian slave masters.  Leaven is a type of sin, corruption, false doctrine, and traditions of men.  Both of these, death and sin, were conquered and dealt with through the death of Jesus on the Cross.

        “But now is made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immorality to light through the gospel” (II Tim. 1:10).

        “in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. 9:26).

        Without question, Jesus fulfilled completely His part in the matter of death and sin.  He abolished death and put away sin!  Now, it is perfectly in order for us to ask whether Christians still die?  Of course, they do!  Do they still sin?  Of course, they sin!  Are they still in bondage to anything?  Yes, many of them are!  Even though Jesus abolished death and did away with sin, saints are yet involved in both of these dreadful circumstances.  What is the answer then to these things?

State Versus Standing

        In order to understand the objectivity of the accomplishments of Calvary, it is necessary to consider the difference between the legal status of the saints and their actual state.

        We refer to the legal status as the standing or divine reckoning.  This is how God reckons or evaluates the saints based upon the finished work of Jesus upon the Cross.  God accounts His people as clean, pure and holy because of the blood of Jesus which was and is efficacious, not only for forgiveness of sins, but for the total cleansing from sin (I John 1:7-9).

        Paul spoke of Abraham’s faith being so steadfast that God imputed righteousness unto him (Rom. 4:3,22), and stated that He will impute the same unto us – if we believe on Him (verse 24).

        Now, our actual state is usually far below that of our standing: we are far from being perfect, but God calls us perfect (Phil. 3:15; Heb. 10:14), because He looks upon us through the blood of Jesus – “Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Rev. 1:5).

        The unceasing labor of the Holy Spirit is to help us bring our actual state into harmony with our standing.  The Spirit of God works night and day encouraging, strengthening, reproving, correcting, and instructing the saints in their upward journey.  We are in the process of being made partakers of the divine nature, putting on the new man, putting on Jesus Christ, being conformed to the image and likeness of Jesus, apprehending that for which we have been apprehended, and entering into His rest (II Peter 1:4; Eph. 4:24; Rom. 13:14; Rom. 8:29; Phil. 3:12,13; Heb. 4:11).

        Jesus has already finished His atonement and has made full provision for the people of God to acquire this wondrous goal.  The people, however, have not fulfilled their obligations and commitments for the achieving of this high and heavenly calling, and they are living and walking far below God’s standard.  Passover and Unleavened Bread are a TESTIMONY that they have not yet taken hold of the call of God, and this feast points to that day when the reason for Christ’s death becomes a reality. The people will have put on Christ, and the church will be glorious and without spot or wrinkle!

A Glorious Church

        The church has never had a very clean record.  From its inception leaven was a problem (Acts 5:1-10).  Paul, in his first letter to the saints at Corinth, rebuked them sharply for permitting leaven to remain in the congregation, and he commanded them to purge out the old leaven (I Cor. 5:1-8).  He said that they were unleavened (their standing), yet he told them to get rid of their leaven (their state).  He left them without excuse for their sins, for he said, “For Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.”

        Jesus had provided for their cleansing but they refused to apply the necessary means to attain to that standing.  Further, he ordered, “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness.”  Notice that he did not say to spiritualize the feast, he said to KEEP IT: however, purge out the leaven from your ranks, cleanse yourselves, get rid of the malice and wickedness.  Jesus has died and there is no excuse for those gross iniquities.  “KEEP THE FEAST…but with the UNleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

        This in no way abrogates the observing of the feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread, but rather CONFIRMS IT in a most positive fashion.  Israel of old kept the feast only in a physical manner – there was no expulsion of sin and wickedness from them.  The practice did not enhance their spirituality.  But now that Jesus has died, the feast is to be accompanied with cleansing of the life and heart (II Cor. 7:1).

        This is the call to God’s people today as well.  Before Jesus returns, the church will have entered into that glorious state (or state of glory).  Not only will sin be completely conquered and overcome, death also will be destroyed!  “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Cor. 15:26).  “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”  Not until the saints cease sinning and dying will the feast be completely fulfilled!

        Jesus has already legally abolished death.  The church is called to make this a reality.  This enemy is already under His feet (Heb. 2:8; Eph. 1:22,23), but it must be made His footstool (Heb. 10:13).  Until this is accomplished, the full meaning of Passover and Unleavened Bread will not be fulfilled.  But when it is fulfilled, Jesus will come forth and eat and drink with the church, and the Feast will be complete.

        “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known” (I Cor. 13:10-12).

        That day is fast approaching, but until that day, People of the Living God will continue to “keep the feast” in knowledge of its significance.  On the night of the 14th day of the month of Abib they will eat the Lord’s Supper with unleavened bread and wine (used in place of the lamb and sprinkling of blood).  Prior to this day, they will have emptied their houses of all leavening and will keep leavening out of their homes for seven days, with the understanding that this points to the complete cleansing of their own lives of everything which is ungodly and unclean.

        Care will also be taken to ensure that the cleansing of the flesh and spirit is accomplished.  After all, if we only remove leaven from our homes and not our hearts, we are no better off than Israel of old.  God uses this feast as a vivid reminder that our state and standing are not equal, and that HE WILLS TO HAVE THEM BE.

        Passover this year, 2017, begins on Monday, April 10th at sundown.  From sundown on April 10th until sundown April 11th is Passover Sabbath, and the first day of Unleavened Bread.  People of the Living God will observe the week of Passover and Unleavened Bread from April 10th at sundown through April 17 at sundown. May God richly bless all those who observe this feast.

 

 

 

 

FULFILLING A PURPOSE

Curtis Dickinson

        You would not be reading this if you were one of the millions who believe, as evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould, that life is meaningless.  He wrote, “We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures;…We may yearn for a ‘higher’ answer – but none exists.”

        Of course, there is an answer.  Astronomer Fred Hoyle wrote, “As biochemists discover more and more about the awesome complexity of life, it is apparent that the chances of it originating by accident are so minute that they can be completely ruled out.  Life cannot have arisen by chance.”

        Life has a designer.  The Psalmist knew this when he wrote, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).  God Himself indicated His purpose when He said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness” (Gen. 1:26).  This is the “purpose for every person, to live, think and act in a way that reflects the Creator.”

        God designed a creature with whom He could fellowship, as expressed by John: “and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3).  By “fellowship” is meant a relationship in which our wills are attuned to His, to love what He loves and hate what He hates.  It is a mind-to-mind relationship in which we think His thoughts after Him and bring our desires into harmony with His.

The Example

        Such harmony is exemplified in Jesus, who is “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 3:15).  Everything He did was in keeping with the Father’s desires, so that He could say, “I do always the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:29), and God could say, “this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).

        He never used temptation as an excuse to act contrary to God’s will.  “In all points (He was) tempted like as we are” (Heb. 4:15), but never once chose to follow a course that displeased God.  Even when called upon to give His life for sinful man, Jesus’ response was, “Not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:24).  In every way He reflected the Father’s image.

        Salvation is not an end in itself, as many seem to think.  God’s purpose is not merely to have man believe in Him, but to have man in His image and in fellowship with Him.  John wrote that every one that hopes to be like Him, “purifies himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:3).  Of all things that are sought after today, purity must be at the bottom of the list.  When Vice-President Dan Quayle criticized the immorality of a TV character he became the object of national scorn!  Moral purity is not a popular commodity.  Yet, God is pure, and it is His purpose to make us pure.  If that is not our purpose as well, then we are not followers of Christ and must be pursuing some purpose that will never be realized, for only the purpose of the creator will ever be brought to perfection.

Purpose Misplaced

        In much modern religion little attention is paid to God’s purpose.  The thing that counts is what works with regard to large congregations.  Biblical demands are replaced by counseling based on psychology.  The faith is less God-centered and more attuned to meeting people’s “needs.”  Instead of people seeking to purge themselves of sin, they seek a church that has been purged of such old-fashioned concepts, where they can “feel good about themselves” without the agony and discipline of repentance.  Too many think of God as a powerful tool to be used in gaining their own designs, rather than as One to transform them to His own design.  Such transformation may be painful, and thus resisted rather than embraced in faith.

        Some may believe that they are pleasing God because they continually pray for Him to meet their demands, but such attempts to use God are a rejection of His purpose, and will fail.

        From the beginning the adversary has sought to defeat God’s purpose by lies and deception.  He convinced Eve that she would not die for disobeying God, as God had said that she would become “as God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5), another way of saying that she could make her own rules and disregard the Creator’s instructions.

        This deception has borne abundant fruit in our century, with the effort to push God out of public education, out of government and out of our lives.  But God is not to be pushed.  God Himself is the Pusher, not the pushee!  In the final consummation of things, He will have man in His image, pure and immortal, in a happy fellowship with Him.

        And what of the great majority who reject His purpose?  “There was found no place for them” (Rev. 20:11,15).  Eternal life is not promised to those who spend their year demonstrating that they do not want the kind of life for which God created us.  They have traveled the “broad way that leads to destruction” (Matt. 7:13), and death and destruction will be their end (John 3:16; Acts 3:23; Psalm 37:20; II Peter 3:7).

Inevitable

        Jesus “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (II Tim. 1:10), revealing what it is to have life through a resurrection from death, and immortality in God’s image.  He is a demonstration of God’s purpose.

        Nothing in the world can change, diminish, or stop God’s purpose.  It is immutable.  Paul calls it His “eternal purpose,” because it is fixed and unchanging.  John reminds us that it will be fulfilled in each Christian at the coming of Christ: “We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is” (I John 3:2).  Paul explains it this way: “We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (I Cor. 15:51-53).

        Today, as in Paul’s day, the whole creation aches for the day of judgment and removal of all sin and death, that once more things may be good in God’s eyes, as they were in the beginning.  We Christians also “groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:19,23).

        The problems of the world will not be fixed by congressional mandates, peace conferences, treaties, military force, nor by the efforts of the social engineers and political idealists.  The only solution is a return to the design and purpose of the Creator.

        The world obviously does not desire that solution.  But Jesus said that His disciples are not of the world, even as He is not of the world (John 17:14), and we still can pursue God’s purpose in spite of the direction of the world.

        Paul wrote that we are to “put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Col. 3:10).  It is not within our power to make ourselves into the image of God – He is still the Maker; rather it is as we consider the glory of the Lord that we are “transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (II Cor. 3:18).

        It is ours to seek His face, to learn and do His will; it is His to transform us, and in the day of resurrection, to bring us forth in His image.

        Not all can pursue the same occupation, but all can pursue the same purpose.  One doesn’t have to be wealthy, nor in perfect health, nor have a high I.Q., nor live in some particular place, nor have outstanding talent.  Neither sickness, poverty, opposition, persecution, nor any other adversity can keep one from choosing God’s purpose and pursuing it all one’s life.  “We know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE” (Rom. 8:28).

 

 

 

 

“LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU…”

Phil. 2:5

John Sanderson

        The church at Philippi made quite an impression on the Apostle Paul.  Paul had founded this church during his missionary journey, and a lasting bond of fellowship was established.  Though he did not seek aid from this group of followers, Paul praised them for the care he did receive (Phil. 4:10).

        Even though he did not rebuke or chasten this group of believers, Paul did, however, exhort them to yet a greater service to the Lord and especially as it concerned the inner man.  He wrote, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:5-8).

        Paul’s great desire was that the followers of Christ would reflect the mind of Christ before the world.  He wanted to hear that believers at Philippi would “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27).  To the church in Rome Paul wrote, “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 15:5,6).  Paul sought unity which comes from singleness of mind, centered in Christ.

        Since the Apostle Paul put much emphasis upon Christ to the Philippines, I believe we should see how the mind of Christ would apply in our lives today.

Christ                                                                  Christians

        Son of man came…to minister.              But he that is greatest among you shall

(Matt. 20:28)                                      be your servant.  (Matt. 23:11).

        I am among you as he that serveth.              And whosoever of you will be the chiefest,

(Luke 22:27)                                      shall be servant of all.  (Mark 10:44)

        I am meek and lowly in heart.                       He that shall humble himself, shall be

(Matt. 11:29)                                      exalted.  (Matt. 23:12; Luke 14:11)

        the meekness and gentleness of            Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord.

        Christ, who in presence am base            (James 4:12)

among you.  (II Cor. 10:1)

        for I do always those things that            We ought to obey God rather than men.

        please him.  (John 8:29)                       (Acts 5:29)

My meat is to do the will of him             Children obey your parents in the Lord.

        that sent me.  (John 4:34)                    (Eph. 6:1)

        by the obedience of one shall many               Servants, obey in all things your masters.

        be made righteous.  (Rom. 5:19)           (Col. 3:22)

 

        I believe that we can become useful in the hands of the King and show the rest of the world that we have the mind of Christ.

 

 

 

 

CHRIST’S PRESENT KINGDOM

Alfred King

        On the cover page of “The Testimony of Truth” it states, “Accept no doctrines or traditions of men, but take the whole Bible, and have their doctrine and interpretation of prophecy upon the plain words of Jesus Christ and the Apostles.”  It has been the policy of People of the Living God to base our teachings and doctrines on plain statements in scripture rather than on portions which are in parables, allegories, symbolism and those prophesies and revelations which are in dark speech and need interpretation.  We then attempt as much as possible to gain understanding of the parables, allegories, symbolism, prophesies and revelations based upon those scriptures which are clear and need little or no interpretation.  To begin with the book of Revelation and attempt to form a doctrine from the visions of John on the isle of Patmos is to work backward, because a person can come up with almost anything he wants to believe.  This is one reason there are so many different interpretations of both Daniel and Revelation.  The safe and most logical way to approach scripture is to begin with very basic teachings, gain a clear understanding of those, and then proceed cautiously and prayerfully into the unclear revelations and prophesies.  It is just like one’s secular education.  One must learn the basic alphabet before he can learn to read and write.  One must learn his numbers and from there add to that addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division before he can go on into higher math.  The same is true in our study of scripture.

        It is our belief that most of the confusion relative to end time events has come about because men have approached the scriptures by delving into the parables, etc. before securing a foundation based upon easy to be understood portions of scripture.  However, before we proceed into some of the plain portions of holy writ, let us understand that some of the scriptures we might consider plain, even they, many times need some interpretation, and in these cases we must gain that light from other plain statements.  For example in Mark 1:14-15 it reads, “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”  These words of Jesus are very plain.  Jesus refers to the “gospel” as the “kingdom of God.”  He also states that this kingdom is at hand.  While this is very plain, it does not tell us what exactly this kingdom is; we must search other places to gain insight into what it is and what relevance it has on mankind and especially upon Christians today.  This verse also states that this kingdom Jesus came preaching is “at hand.”

        This scripture is a plain statement, yet it doesn’t answer all our questions; it merely states that the Kingdom is the Gospel and that it is at hand.  At hand means that it is present and is within the reach of men.  However, if we look at other plain statements we find that Paul informs us exactly when a person is brought into this kingdom which Christ preached.  “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14).  These two scriptures show us that when a person is saved he is salvaged from sin and slavery to the god of this world and brought into God’s kingdom.  Clearly, then, the kingdom which Jesus proclaimed is a present kingdom and not something to be obtained in some future 1000 years.  As strange as it may seem, men prefer to take Revelation 20, which is written in very symbolic language and must be interpreted and base their teaching upon this portion of scripture rather than such plain statements as those recorded above.  I realize that we have only brought two scriptures to the table but there are many more which are unambiguous and which support the same hypothesis.  There is only one verse in the entire Bible which speaks of a 1000 year reign of Jesus on the earth and that is found in Revelation 20.  Yet men will take this one ambiguous portion of scripture and build an entire doctrine upon it.  We realize that men weave other scripture into this teaching to support it, but none of those verses speak of a one thousand year time period.  So what is the truth?

        If we are sincerely searching for truth, then let us lay aside our previous ideas (which is extremely difficult to do) and go first to the scriptures which need no interpretation.

Jesus Preached A Present Kingdom

        “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  These words were spoken by both John the Baptist and Jesus (Matt. 3:2 and Matt. 3:17).  Repentance is for this time, not some future time when Jesus returns.  Consider carefully a few verses that present a present kingdom.

        We are commanded to seek God’s kingdom with the knowledge that He desires to give it to us.

  1. Matt 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
  2. Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

        When one preaches the Gospel, at that moment the kingdom is come near so that it is within the reach of the hearer to enter.  Of course, this is through believing and finding salvation in Christ Jesus.

  1. Matt 10:7, “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
  2. Luke 10:9, “And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.”

        The following verses show us that the kingdom was available in the time of John the Baptist and still is for man today.

  1. Matt 11:12, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
  2. Luke 16:16, “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”

        Did Jesus cast out devils by the Spirit or finger of God?  If so the kingdom has come.

  1. Matt 12:28, “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.”
  2. Luke 11:20, “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.”

The Kingdom Of God Is Not Of This World

        The kingdom which Jesus preached is not an earthly kingdom which can be seen with the human eye.  That earthly kingdom which Israel desired in the days of Samuel, was a rejection of God’s rule and too often this is the teaching today, one that postpones the Lordship and Kingship of Jesus Christ to a future 1000 year period of time.  “God gave them a king in His anger and took him away in His wrath” (Hosea 13:11).  A physical kingdom was never in God’s plan, it was man’s way.  The kingdom that Jesus brought was and is a spiritual kingdom which exists in the believer’s heart.

  1. Luke 17:20-21, “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
  2. John 18:36, “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

        Rom. 14:17 is another verse that shows the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom which resides within the heart of those who believe and obey.

  1. Rom 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

        When does one experience this imputed righteousness of Christ, with His peace and His joy?  When they are born again.

The Kingdom Of God Is In Power

        We have already shown that Jesus demonstrated the power of His kingdom in casting out evil spirits.  Below are other portions of scripture that show the present power of God’s kingdom.  Take note of the power of the kingdom to heal, cast out devils, open blind eyes, cleanse the lepers, cause the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear.  There is no limit to the power of the kingdom except the unbelief that exists within the hearts of Christians and the false teachings that have postponed the kingdom to a different dispensation.

  1. 1 Cor. 4:20, “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.”
  2. Luke 10:9, “And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.”
  3. Matt 4:23, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”
  4. Matt 9:35, “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”
  5. Mark 9:1, “And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.”

        The fulfillment of Mark  9:1 was when the Holy Spirit fell upon the early disciples in the upper room recorded in Acts Two.  The outpouring on the day of Pentecost was the kingdom Jesus promised would come, and with that outpouring is the power that operates in the kingdom of God.  It is unfortunate that very few experience even a portion of this power today.  In our day, the need of a fresh outpouring is essential for what lies ahead for the church of Jesus Christ.

The Kingdom Of God Is Future

        Those reading this who believe in a future 1000 year reign of Christ upon the earth no doubt have a number of verses running through their minds that portray the kingdom as future.  For the sake of space I will only refer to a few of them and examine them in the light of the whole scripture.  However, we must realize that no matter what scripture says about the future kingdom of God, those cannot deny or annihilate those plain statements already brought to our attention in the paragraphs above that show the kingdom as a present reality, a kingdom into which those saved have entered.  There are some who teach that the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Heaven are two distinct kingdoms.  This is foolishness, for Matthew is the only Gospel writer who uses the term “kingdom of heaven;” the other three Gospel writers use the term “kingdom of God.”  Consider, for example, the Sermon on the Mount.  Matthew’s account reads, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” whereas Luke’s record states, “Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.”  (Matthew 5:3 and Luke 6:20)  There are several such references that show clearly the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God are one and the same.  Let’s consider some scriptures that speaks of the future kingdom of God.

  1. Matt 25:34, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”
  2. 1 Cor 6:9-10, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
  3. James 2:5, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”

        These verses show us that the kingdom is our inheritance, something to be gained in the future.

  1. Luke 22:16-18, “For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.”

        This verse teaches us that Jesus will again eat and drink with us in the kingdom.  This is definitely future.

  1. II Tim 4:1, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;”

        God will judge the living and the dead when He comes again, the same time in which He will come in His kingdom.  Again this is future.

Harmonizing The Scriptures

        From the verses above we find two things.  One is that the kingdom is present, and two the kingdom is future.  How do we reconcile these two?  While considering this we must remember certain truths that cannot be cast aside.  One of these is that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 15:50).  Jesus said it this way, “my kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).  So what we must conclude is that the one thousand year reign of Christ, termed “The Millennium,” cannot be true, for scripture clearly says that flesh and blood does inherit the kingdom.  The Millennium doctrine claims that Jesus will return to earth and set up His kingdom on earth and men and women will live here in peace and contentment for 1000 years under Christ’s reign.  This refutes Jesus’ words as well as the apostle Paul’s.

        How, then, are we to understand the kingdom of God?  Jesus told Nicodemus that one cannot see nor enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again.  He said you must be born again (John 3:1-21).  Paul states a man is translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God (Col. 1:13).  It is evident, then, that one enters the kingdom of God when he is born again.  He is like a baby.  He is on the milk of the word.  He is expected to grow into maturity.  The mature Christian is one who experiences the power of the kingdom, the power and authority that Jesus said would be manifest in His kingdom.  “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17-18).  These are mature Christians who have, through much tribulation, not only entered the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22) but who have begun to possess the power of the kingdom.  While time is involved in the maturing process, time is not the most crucial issue; it is the surrender of one’s will to the will of God.  The more one surrenders, the more he matures.  A person who has been saved only a couple of years may be more mature than another who has been saved for fifty years.  His maturity is based on his degree of surrender to Jesus Christ.  Jesus said in John 4:34, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”  Maturity is seen here in Jesus’ words.  The more one’s meat, his sustenance, his life is to do God’s will, the more quickly he will mature.

        We see, then, that the kingdom of God is not appropriated by just coasting along, but by Christ increasing in our lives and the flesh decreasing.  According to scripture, believers have been given power over all the power of the enemy (the devil, the world and the flesh).  Yet, while that promise is absolutely true, very few ever experience this power.  Why?  Because they are babes and are content to remain babes.  When scripture speaks of future elements of the kingdom, there are two aspects of this that must be considered.  One is the kingdom that scripture refers to after this life is over when all the saints are taken to heaven and live eternally in God’s kingdom.  The second part is that which is possible to experience of the power, glory and joy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in this life.  The early disciples and apostles experienced the wonderful and glorious power of the kingdom, and a place of authority in God’s kingdom where they executed judgment upon powers of the unseen world.  They cast out devils.  They healed the sick and raised the dead.  Their words were spoken with authority and were backed by the power of God.  How is it that they obtained this power?  It was through applying God’s word to their lives, being filled with the Holy Spirit and growing and maturing in Jesus Christ.

Postponement Theology

        Jesus is the King of His kingdom.  He is today King of kings and Lord of lords.  He rules today in the kingdoms of men.  The greatest problem with the Millennium theory is that it takes away the kingship of Jesus Christ for today and postpones it to a future time.  C. I. Scofield in his reference Bible states in his notes under Matthew 11:28-30, page 1011, “The new message of Jesus.  The rejected King now turns from the rejecting nation and offers, not the kingdom, but rest and service to such in the nation as are conscious of need.  It is the pivotal point in the ministry of Jesus.”  Just because Israel (the Jews) rejected Jesus’ words and teachings and crucified Him in the end, does not change the Gospel Jesus came preaching.  What Scofield has done is to imply that God did not anticipate the Jews rejecting His Son.  Yet, throughout the Old Testament writings, it was prophesied over and over that the Messiah, Who was to come would become the Lamb of God.  All the sacrifices from Adam until Christ came were a testimony that One must die for mankind.  What Scofield has done is to negate the teachings of Jesus by postponing them to another “dispensation” and place above His words the writings of the epistles.  We see this even more clearly with his notes found concerning the Sermon on the Mount.  Take special notice of how Scofield makes a true observation and then twists the word of God to do away with the very truth he just acknowledged.  “the Sermon on the Mount is pure law, and transfers the offence from the overt act to the motive.”  This is a very true statement.  God looks at the heart, not just the outward deeds, although what is in the heart will eventually come out into the open.  He continues: “For these reasons the Sermon on the Mount in its primary application gives neither the privilege nor the duty of the Church.  These are found in the Epistles.”  Many things Scofield includes in his notes are true, and this is where deceit is more easily disguised, surrounded by truth.  Scofield has skillfully and articulately deceived himself and, unfortunately, many, many others.

        Jesus is King of His kingdom and all those who desire to enter must first be saved and then must obey the words of the King.  We find, then, that there are several aspects of the Kingdom of God.  We enter by being born again.  We gain authority as we surrender our wills to God’s, applying His word to our lives and living according to His teachings.  The kingdom in its fullness and all of its wonder and glory is certainly reserved for when this life is past.  It is a kingdom which shall never pass away, for it is an eternal kingdom.

 

 

 

 

THE MIXED MULTITUDE

Harry Miller

        “And the mixed multitude went up also with them” (Ex. 12:38).  As the fear of God fell upon the land of Egypt in ancient days, many of the natives, in their terror, began to turn to the faith given to saints.  The judgments of the Almighty shook the complacency of every man in Egypt, and those who feared for their own skins ran like rats for a place of safety.  God’s people offered such a place.

        The Almighty had not called all the world to become a “peculiar people;” He had called only the children of Israel.  However, the mercies of the Lord are such that He honors the faith of anyone who has a desire to follow Him.  God has always made provision for the “stranger,” even as it is written, “Whosoever shall call upon the Lord shall be saved.”

        Love and fear are both forces that impel men to seek God. Love is usually acquired as men earnestly seek the Lord.  Fear of the Lord “is the beginning of wisdom,” but it is not an end: it remains but a beginning; and he who fails to go on to Know God will soon find that as his fear ebbs away, so, also, does his desire for the Creator diminish.  Such is the state of the “mixed multitude.”

        The Egyptians who left their home country with the children of Israel, were like the “stony ground” hearers of whom Christ spoke.  “He that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for awhile: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended” (Matt. 13:20,21).  They received the Word with joy.

        The joy of salvation is a delightful experience.  Coming out of the darkness of an Egyptian bondage appeals to multitudes of people.  But, like the Egyptians of old, because of a certain “stoniness of heart” such believers will not endure.

        Endurance is a most vital factor to one’s salvation.  “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13).  The implication here is very plain: endure and be saved, fail to endure and be lost.  The author of the book of Hebrews stated this truth in the following way: “Christ as a son over his own house: whose house are we, IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb. 3:6).

        John Calvin believed that one experience of conversion to the faith of Christ secured forever the salvation of the soul.  This has been accepted as a major doctrine by Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and a number of lesser lights.  The purpose of this article is to lay bare the fallacies of the “once saved always saved” doctrine.

        The Scriptures present little hope for triflers and opportunists.  The “mixed multitude” who tagged along with Israel never saw the promised land.  But then there were also multitudes of the children of Israel “whose carcasses fell in the wilderness” (Heb. 3:17).

        Christ said “he that seeketh to save his life shall lose it.”  Here, then, is the end of the opportunistically motivated person.  In such a person the self life is predominant.  To him the world was made for self: himself.  People of this stripe rarely care to get “involved” in giving aid to the wounded stranger lying in the middle of the road.  Callousness of heart manifests itself in many ways in the life and actions of the opportunist.  Compassion and mercy are not part of his makeup.  This is the fellow who uses God, and the people of God, for his own ends.

        The “mixed multitude” is absolutely no asset either to the work of God, or to His people.  As a matter of fact, these triflers are more than a liability, or burden, to the Master’s work; they become treacherous hazards in His church.  As the Lord stated, “A man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matt. 10:36).  The “field” that was sown with “good seed” was also sown by the enemy with tares: they both grew together.

        “And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again” (Num. 11:4).  These alien characters, like rotten apples in a barrel of good fruit, contaminated all those about them.

        The apostle Peter believed that a washed pig was still a pig (II Peter 2:22).  In the letter to Titus, the writer said, concerning certain reprobates, “unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.  They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:15,16).

        The Christian faith demands that a man’s works testify to his faith.  “If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (I Tim. 5:8).  In the economy of God, deeds speak louder than words.  A person may fool himself by his own thoughts and words, but his deeds testify to his true position.

        The Hebrews of Christ’s day were thoroughly fanatical religionists who claimed to be the only true followers of the one and only God – yet all of their works denied the faith of Jehovah.  Here is the parable the Master applied to those who had but a profession of religion: “A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard.  He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.  And he came to the second, and said likewise.  And he answered and said, I go, sir and went not.  Whether of them twain did the will of his father?  They say unto him, The first.  Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you” (Matt. 21:28-31).

        A person’s WORKS are the evidence of his faith.  This Jesus taught in many ways.  “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).  In this same chapter He said, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (verses 24,25).  The proof that a person has hearing ears is that he does something about it.  Such a person’s faith will stand the rigors of the storm that must test all claims to faith.

        Providence accepts any man’s claim of faith in Christ, but these claims are subject to test.  This testing is done in order to eliminate the impostors, the triflers, and the free riders.  It will also pay dividends to the genuine, for it will deepen and broaden their knowledge of God.  “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life” (James 1:12).  The apostle Peter put it this way: “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:7).