ABRIDGED SERMONS FOR DISCUSSES
God's Kingdom Society
WHO IS JEHOVAH?
JEHOVAH is the name of the Almighty God. His name JEHOVAH in Hebrew language means “Self-existing One”. One Who lives of Himself. He is uncreated: He has neither beginning nor end. He lives from everlasting to everlasting. – Psalm 90:2.
The name JEHOVAH was first revealed to Moses by God Almighty Himself when He was to send him to deliver the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt. – Exodus 6:3.
Apart from His name JEHOVAH, He has other names and titles. He appeared to Abraham as ALMIGHTY GOD (Genesis 17:1). He is also known as I AM (Exodus 3:14), JEALOUS (Exodus 34:14), MOST HIGH (Numbers 24:16), JAH (Psalm 68:4), ANCIENT OF DAYS (Daniel 7:9,13) and many more.
There was a time when JEHOVAH was alone. At that time, the heavens and the earth had not been made and He was upon nothing. Time came when it pleased Him to create. His first creation was the Logos in Greek or Word in English which means an interpreter or spokesman for JEHOVAH. It was when he was sent to this world as a human being, that he came to be known as Jesus Christ. The Bible shows that it was through him that God Almighty created all good things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. – John 1:1-3, 10, 14; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:15-17; Revelation 3:14; etc.
Some people believe and teach that JEHOVAH is not a person and that He has neither shape nor form. But this is not true. According to the Holy Bible, JEHOVAH is a person.
In Genesis 1: 26,27 God Almighty, addressing His creative agent said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” The man Adam who was made in the image and likeness of God was a person; therefore JEHOVAH Himself must be a person.
Ezekiel the prophet saw God in a vision and described Him as a man sitting on His heavenly throne. He added that from His waist upward and from His waist downward were as bright as fire. God’s throne, he added, was as sapphire stone, and within it was the colour of amber, and the bright colours of the rainbow was round about the throne. – Ezekiel 1:26-28. This account shows that JEHOVAH is a person.
Micaiah the prophet also said: “I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left”. (2 Chronicles 18:18) If God is not a person how can He sit on throne, or have right and left hands?
Stephen also saw God in a vision. He declared: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God”. (Acts 7:55,56). This again shows that God Almighty is a person.
When it is said that JEHOVAH that is a person, it does not mean that He is a person like men on earth. He is a personality of the highest order. God has no blood, flesh or bones because He is a spirit personality. – Luke 24:39; 1 Corinthians 15:44,49,50.
JEHOVAH has four attributes, which He gave to men, but those of men have been corrupted by Satan the devil. They are wisdom, power, justice and love. With His wisdom and power He created the heavens and the earth, and all things therein, both visible and invisible.
With His power He destroyed the first world with water but saved Noah and his family of seven. He also used His power in destroying Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea but saved the Israelites. He has promised to use His power during the Battle of Armageddon in which He would destroy the Devil and his cohorts and deliver His children into His everlasting Kingdom. – Revelation 20:1-3, 7-9; Roman 16:20.
JEHOVAH showed His justice when He sentenced Adam to death for breaking His just law in the Garden of Eden. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. – Romans 6:23.
JEHOVAH God showed His love for mankind when He sent His only Begotten Son, Christ Jesus, to come and die to redeem man from sin and death so that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16.
The dwelling place of JEHOVAH the Almighty God is Mount Zion in heaven – the Heaven of heavens. From there He sees everything in the whole universe. (Job 34:21,22; Hebrews 4:13) In Psalm 11:4, it is written: “The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: …” God Himself said: “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool…” – Isaiah 66:1,2.
In John 17:3, Jesus Christ said: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” From this we can understand that the accurate knowledge of these two Great Personalities gives one everlasting life.
WHO IS GOD?
The word “God” is derived from an Hebrew word Elohim, which means a “mighty or powerful one”. There are many gods but the Creator of the heavens and earth, by reason of His supremacy over all others, is known as the “God of gods, and Lord of lords” (Deuteronomy 10:17). The Psalmist said: “For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” (Psalm 95:3) And in 1 Corinthians 8:5,6, Saint Paul wrote: “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many), but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”
The Bible clearly shows that the name of God Almighty, the Creator of the heavens and earth, is JEHOVAH. He revealed this name to Moses the prophet when He said: “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.” (Exodus 6:3) And the Psalmist stated: “Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD. That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the Most High over all the earth.” – Psalm 83:16,18.
His name JEHOVAH in Hebrew Language means Self-Existing One. One Who lives of Himself. He is uncreated, having neither beginning nor end, and in the words of the Psalmist, He is “from everlasting to everlasting”. – Psalm 90:2.
Apart from His Name JEHOVAH, He has other names and titles. He appeared to Abraham as ALMIGHTY GOD (Genesis 17:1). He is also known as I AM (Exodus 3:14), JEALOUS (Exodus 34:14), MOST HIGH (Numbers 24:16), JAH (Psalm 68:4), ANCIENT OF DAYS (Daniel 7:9,13).
When the heavens and the earth had not been created God was alone and was upon nothing. His first creation was the LOGOS in Greek or WORD in English – an angel who was later sent to this world as a human being and was known as Jesus Christ. (Proverbs 8:22-30; John 1:1-3,14; Revelation 3:14) It was through him God created all other things perfect, both visible and invisible. – Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:15-17.
Some people believe and teach that the Almighty God is not a person and that He has no body, shape or form. This is not true according to the Scriptures.
In Genesis 1:26,27, the Holy Bible states clearly that God made man in His own image after His likeness. What then is an image? An image is a picture of the outward appearance of something. So, the fact that man who is the image of God is a person, having body and shape proves conclusively that God Himself is a person having body and shape. He is a personality of the highest order.
Ezekiel, the prophet of God said that he saw the likeness of the LORD as the appearance of a man upon His throne in heaven. He added that from His waist upward and from His waist downward were as bright as fire. – Ezekiel 1:26-28. This also proves that God is a person.
Micaiah the prophet also said: “I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left”. (2 Chronicles 18:18) If God is not a person how can He sit on throne, or have right and left hands?
Stephen also saw God when he fell into a trance. He declared: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God”. (Acts 7:55,56). This again shows that God Almighty is a person.
It is those without the accurate knowledge of God that do not know that God is a person. The Psalmist said: “Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?” – Psalm 94:8, 9.
The Bible shows clearly that there are differences between the personality of God and that of man. St. Paul stated that there is a spiritual body and there is a natural body. (1 Corinthians 15:44) The Almighty God and His angels have the spiritual body while we human beings have the natural body.
When it is said that God is a person, it does not mean that He is a person like men. He is a spirit person of the highest order and has no blood, flesh and bones. Jesus Christ said that: “a spirit has no flesh and bones”. (Luke 24:39) And St. Paul said that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” in heaven. – 1 Corinthians 15:49-50.
God Almighty has four attributes, which He also gave to man; but that of man have been corrupted by Satan the devil. They are wisdom, power, justice and love.
With His wisdom and power, He created the heavens, the earth and all things in them perfect. (Jeremiah 10:12; Proverbs 3:19) He showed His power in destroying the first world with water because of the wickedness of men, but saved Noah and his family of seven. (Genesis 7:1-24) He, again used His power when He delivered the Israelites from bondage in Egypt and destroyed Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. (Exodus 9:16; 15:1-13.) He also promised to use His power during the Battle of Armageddon in which He would destroy Satan the devil with his wicked angels, and deliver His children into His everlasting Kingdom. – Revelation 20:1-3, 7-9; Romans 16:20.
The Almighty God manifested His justice when He passed the sentence of death on Adam for violating His just law in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 2:17; 3:9-12,19; Psalm 89:14).
He expressed His love by sending Jesus Christ – His only Begotten Son – to the world to redeem mankind from sin and death. Jesus Christ himself said: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” ( John 3:16) See also Romans 5:8.
The dwelling place of God Almighty is Mount Zion in heaven – the Heaven of heavens. From there He sees everything in the whole universe. (Job 34:21,22; Hebrews 4:13) In Psalm 11:4, it is written: “The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. And God Himself said: “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool…” – Isaiah 66:1.
One cannot be saved without having the accurate knowledge of God and without doing His will at all times. He said through the Prophet Jeremiah: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” – Jeremiah 9:23,24.
And Jesus Christ said: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” – John 17:3.
Having gained the knowledge of these two Great personalities, holding fast one’s faith till the end is all that is required to obtain everlasting life which God Almighty promised mankind.
WHO IS JESUS CHRIST?
JESUS CHRIST is the name of the only begotten Son of the Almighty God. His name “Jesus” in Greek or “Joshua” in Hebrew means “JEHOVAH is the Saviour”, and “Christ” means “anointed”. Bringing these two names together, it means that Jehovah will save His people through His Anointed One.
Apart from the name Jesus Christ, he has other names and titles. He is known as Shiloh (Genesis 49:10), Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23), Michael (Daniel 12:1), Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2), the Son of Man (Mathew 12:8,40), the Lamb of God (John 1:29), the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David (Revelation 5:5), and many others.
The Holy Bible shows that the first of God’s creation was the LOGOS in Greek or WORD in English meaning an Interpreter or Spokesman for JEHOVAH, who, when he was born into this world was known and called Jesus Christ. He was Jehovah’s creative agent by whom the heavens and the earth and all perfect things in them, visible and invisible, were created. Hence, it is written in John 1:1-3 that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” The Holy Bible further states that Jesus Christ is “the beginning of the creation of God.” – Revelation 3:14
Moreover, in his epistle to the Christians at Ephesus, St. Paul wrote: “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ”. – Ephesians 3:9. See also Colossians 1:15-18.
Chief of Angels
Jesus Christ was the chief of the angels whom JEHOVAH often sent to deliver and communicate with His holy men and prophets of old.
He was the Melchizedek, King of Salem who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of kings, and Abraham gave him tithes of all. – Genesis 18:1-5; 14:18-20; Exodus 3:1-5; Hebrews 7:1-3.
Jesus Christ is also known as the “King of kings” because he is the Universal King of God’s righteous government of peace (Revelation 17:14). Concerning him it is written: “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.” – Isaiah 32:1.
After man had sinned and fallen away from the favour of God by breaking His just or perfect law in the Garden of Eden, the sentence of death was passed upon him, but for the great love which Jehovah has for the human race, He thought it fit to send His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Righteous, into this woeful world to redeem man from sin and death. – Deuteronomy 19:21; John 3:16,17; Romans 5:12,18; Matthew 20:28.
Long before the first advent of Jesus Christ to the world, many prophecies were written concerning him. In the book of Isaiah chapter 7 verse 14, it was prophesied that a virgin would conceive and bear a son whose name shall be called Emmanuel, which means “God with us”. – Matthew 1:23.
It was prophesied that he would be born a Jew and a prophet to whom all people would give ear (Genesis 49:10; Deuteronomy 18:15); that a fore-runner would prepare the way of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3); that he would ride into Jerusalem upon an ass (Zechariah 9:9); that he would be hated, despised and rejected of ungodly men. – Isaiah 53:1-3.
Furthermore, it was foretold that Jesus Christ would be betrayed by a familiar friend (Psalm 41:9); that the price of his betrayal would be 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12,13); that he would be oppressed and brought like a lamb before the slaughter (Isaiah 53:4-7); and that he would be resurrected and his flesh would not see corruption. – Psalm 16:10.
In fulfilment of these and other prophecies, JEHOVAH God changed Jesus Christ from spirit to human and he was born in Bethlehem by a virgin in the month of OCTOBER according to Bible and history.
After his birth, he remained with his earthly guardians, Joseph and Mary, till he was about the age of 30 when he was baptized by John the Baptist in River Jordan (Luke 3:21-23). After his baptism he did the work of his Father for three and half years. During this period, he preached the gospel to the poor, recovered sight to the blind, healed the sick and did other miraculous and good works. – Luke 4:18,19; Matthew 4:23,24; 11:2-5
The primary purposes of Christ’s coming to the earth in the flesh are:
- To preach the Good News of God’s Kingdom to the poor and common people so that those who believe in him and serve God in truth might have everlasting life. – Luke 4:18-21; John 10:9,10.
- To shed his blood as a ransom for the redemption of sinful mankind. – Matt. 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:5,6
Humility and Obedience
We cannot claim to be Christians if we are not making serious efforts to follow the good examples of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He was truthful, kind, gentle, humble, and lowly in heart. Christ himself said: “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord” ( Matthew 10:25). Other relevant Bible texts include Matthew 11:28-30; 1 Peter 2:21.
Because of Christ’s humility and obedience to do his Father’s will, JEHOVAH God exalted him above all creatures in heaven and on earth. About this St. Paul wrote: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth; and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11.
Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men. And it is through him alone that we can get salvation in God’s Kingdom. St. Peter said that there is no other name under heaven whereby we can be saved. (Acts 4:12) What is more, Jesus Christ himself said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John 14:6.
Before anyone gets life everlasting, he must know the two Higher Powers – God Almighty and Jesus Christ – as it is written: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hath sent.” – John 17:3.
The word ‘kingdom’ is taken from the words, king dominion and it means a territory under the rulership of a king. Thus, God’s Kingdom is the universal empire or government of righteousness and peace that would cover both heaven and earth, to be inhabited by spirit persons and human beings respectively under the Sovereign control of JEHOVAH.
God Almighty promised through His holy prophets of old that He would set up His Kingdom where His faithful worshippers would be blessed with everlasting life in perfect peace and happiness. King David in one of his famous songs declared: “All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy Kingdom, and talk of thy power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his Kingdom. Thy Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.” – Psalm 145:10-13.
The Holy Bible shows that Jesus Christ is the head and king of God’s glorious government. In Isaiah 9:6,7 it is written: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end…” The Prophet further said: “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.” (Isaiah 32:1) See also Daniel 7:13,14 and John 18:36,37.
With Jesus Christ in heaven, apart from the angels are his body members, the Saints, who are the 144,000, chosen and anointed Christians. (Revelation 14:1-5) They are also known as the “Little Flock”. (Luke 12:32) They make up the cabinet of Christ and they will reign with him in heaven. – Luke 22:28-30.
The capital of God’s Kingdom is Mount Zion in heaven, the seat of the government of Christ about whom God said: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” – Psalm 2:6.
Some churches teach that God’s Kingdom will only be in heaven. But this is not true according to the Holy Bible. Our Lord Jesus Christ during his days on earth spoke of the “other sheep” class. (John 10:16) These are the disciples of Christ who are not of the class of the “little flock” but would be given the grace to dwell in the kingdom of God here on earth. He said: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5). He later taught his disciples to pray to our Heavenly Father thus: “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9,10.) These show that God’s Kingdom will also be here on earth.
It is not in this world of sin, which is full of troubles and wickedness at the instance of Satan the devil that God will bless the righteous with everlasting life. God has promised to create new heavens and a new earth where the just would dwell in perfect peace and righteousness forever. – Psalm 37:10,11; Isaiah 65:17-25; 2 Peter 3:13.
The ancient worthies, meaning the holy men and women of old from the first righteous man Abel to John the Baptist, the last prophet before Christ shall be resurrected and blessed with life everlasting in God’s Kingdom here on earth. Also to be resurrected to live on this earth everlastingly are all the disciples of Christ, apart from the anointed Christians. – Job 19:25, 26; Matthew 8:11,12; John 11:24-26, etc.
A great multitude whom no man could number shall not die but shall pass through the great tribulation and Battle of Armageddon into the third world – the world without end. – Daniel 12:1; Revelations 7:9,10,13-15.
The great tribulation would be climaxed by the greatest battle ever, the Battle of Armageddon, a war in which Jesus Christ with his holy angels will destroy Satan the devil and all his hosts, both spiritual and human agents. – Jeremiah 25:30-33; Zephaniah 1:14-18; Matthew 24:21; Revelation 20:1-3.
After the Battle of Armageddon, Christ will reign for a thousand years. During this period, the resurrection of both the just and unjust will take place (John 5:28,29). The just will be given everlasting life while the unjust are to be judged and punished according to their sins. Every one of the unjust shall be given 100 years to work. At the end of this period, the obedient ones shall be granted everlasting life while the disobedient ones shall die the second death, which is everlasting destruction. – Revelation 20:7-10,13,14; 21:8; Hebrews 12:29.
When Christ shall have brought all things to perfection, he will hand over the Kingdom to the Almighty Father and so JEHOVAH shall be all in all. – 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.
The beauties of the Kingdom of God cannot be described enough in human words. There shall be no oppression, injustice, bribery and corruption or any form of unrighteousness. Even among the beasts there will be peace and harmony as it is written: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid”. – Isaiah 11:6-9. Please also look up Isaiah 65:17-25.
When the Kingdom shall have been fully established here on earth, righteousness would hold sway. Then there shall be no death, neither sorrow, nor pain but perfect peace and happiness forever and ever. – Isaiah 33:20,24; 25:8,9; 2 Peter 3:13,14; Revelation 21:1-7.
Apostle Paul admonished that as we are receiving such a kingdom, which cannot be moved, we should have grace with which to serve God in the way He wants with reverence and godly fear. – Hebrews 12:28.
GOD’S KINGDOM HAS COME
When Jesus Christ was asked by the Pharisees as to when the Kingdom of God would come, he answered and said that “…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 (or among) you” (parenthesis ours) – meaning that he (Jesus Christ) being the future King of the kingdom was then in their midst. – Luke 17:20,21; John 18:36-37.
After his resurrection, Jesus told his apostles that all power had been given to him. (Matthew 28:18) But he did not immediately use the power. He remained on earth for forty days before he ascended quietly into heaven in the presence of his apostles. – Acts 1:3,6-11.
On reaching heaven, the Father commanded him to sit down at His right Hand until He would put all his (Christ’s) enemies under his feet. – Psalm 110:1; Matthew 22:44; Acts 2:34-35
Christ, being an obedient Son, sat patiently until the waiting period came to an end in 1914 when he was brought before JEHOVAH – the Ancient of Days – and was crowned with a crown of pure gold. – Daniel 7:13,14; Psalm 21:3.
After the coronation of Jesus Christ, God commanded him to rule in the midst of his enemies. (Psalm 110:2.) In executing his Father’s command, war broke out in heaven. Jesus Christ with his angels fought against Satan the devil with his demons. Satan was conquered and driven out of heaven, with all his wicked angels down to the earth. Thereafter God’s Kingdom was set up in heaven. – Revelation 12:7-12.
The devil knowing fully well that he has a short time to live, plunged the nations of the world into the First World War of 1914-1918 in his desperate attempt to destroy all flesh. Jesus Christ however stopped the war suddenly in 1918 for the sake of his elect particularly the remnant of the 144,000 chosen and anointed Christians. – Matthew 24:7,8,22,31; Revelation 12:17.
After the international war of 1914-1918, Jesus Christ came to his temple to raise the dead saints to meet him in heaven and to select the remnant of the 144,000 chosen and anointed Christians (Malachi 3:1) whom he commissioned to preach the good news of God’s established kingdom in all the earth as a witness to all nations before the greatest tribulation of the world would begin. – John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Revelation 10:7-11; Matthew 24:14,21.
The anger of the nations as expressed in the World War 1 was a clear proof that God’s Kingdom has been set up and that Christ Jesus has taken up his power to reign in fulfillment of Bible prophecies.- Revelations 11:17,18; Matthew 24:7, 8.
Daniel the prophet made a statement concerning the establishment of God’s Kingdom when he said: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever”. (Daniel 2:44) This means that when the kingdoms of the world are complete and are operating in one body, then JEHOVAH (the God of heaven) would set up His righteous Government.
The kingdoms that ruled the world were seven in number and each of these governments had in its turn ruled the world under the influence of Satan the devil, as it is written, “And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” (Revelation 17:10,11) The five that had fallen at the time of the prophecy were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece. The one that was ruling at that time, was Rome, and the other that was not yet come was Britain. The eighth referred to as “the beast that was, and is not”, which was the League of Nations which was formed in 1919, after the World War 1, but went into partial destruction at the outbreak of the World War 2. It came up again when the war ended with the name United Nations Organisation, now United Nations.
The “abomination of desolation” prophetically referred to by our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:15,16, also fulfilled on the defunct League of Nations that was wrongly called “the political expression of God’s Kingdom on earth” by the political and religious leaders of the world. It became an abomination in the sight of God because it was full of lies and hypocrisy and it brought destruction or desolation to many countries during the Second World War. Christ said: “…that which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God”. (Luke 16:15) The League of Nations was highly esteemed or praised by ungodly men and therefore became an abomination in the sight of God. Jesus Christ warned that when we see such an organisation existing at the end of the world, we should read and understand and tell people who love to praise JEHOVAH (those who are in Judea) to flee into the “mountains” meaning God’s organisations for safety and protection.
Concerning the establishment of the Kingdom, the Prophet Isaiah under inspiration said: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” (Isaiah 2:2) Physical facts which have fulfilled in line with Biblical prophecies show that we are now in the last days. These signs include the First World War, pestilences, earthquakes, increase of knowledge, availability of easier and faster means of transportation, unprecedented rise in violence and crime among nations, etc. – Matthew 24:7,8; Daniel 12:4,8-10; 2 Timothy 3:1-5,13.
In fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah, “the mountain of the Lord’s house”, which refers to God’s Kingdom belonging to Jesus Christ and his body members, has been set up “in the top of the mountains”, which is Satan’s entire organisation, both visible and invisible, in these last days. (Hebrews 3:6; 1 Corinthians 3:16,17) The declaration of the angel about the setting up of God’s Kingdom in heaven following the casting out of the Devil from heaven to this earth show that God’s Kingdom in heaven has been established on top of Satan’s entire organisation. (Revelation 12:7-12) The Kingdom so established shall be raised higher than “the hills” which symbolise the petty clubs, unions and societies of the world. “All nations” refers to all lovers of truth and righteousness in every nation who will flee into the kingdom knowing that it is the only place of safety and protection.
Jesus Christ likened the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth to a grain of mustard seed, which was sown in the field and which grew and became a tree in whose branches the birds of the air took shelter. – Matthew 13:31, 32.
The “grain of mustard seed” represents (individually or collectively) the remnant of the 144,000 anointed Christians, selected and sent into the world in this last day by Jesus Christ, the “sower” of the seed. The “field” is the world into which the anointed ones are sent; the “herbs” represent the petty clubs, unions and societies of the world. The “tree” represents the kingdom while the “birds” picture all lovers of truth and righteousness who on hearing God’s truth will associate themselves with the Kingdom Organisation wherever it may be established.
The parable of the mustard seed fulfilled on St. G. M. Urhobo of the blessed memory – the instrument used by the Almighty God to found the God’s Kingdom Society. “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.” – Isaiah 60:22.
Any church organisation that is preaching the truth without compromise, having being founded by one of the anointed remnant, in any part of the world is the Kingdom of God. Without fear of criticism we say with all sincerity and by strength of faith that the God’s Kingdom Society (GKS) is God’s Kingdom in this part of the world. Jesus Christ said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, (in truth of course, Psalm 145:18) there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) Parenthesis ours. And where Christ the King is, there the kingdom is also.
Indeed, God’s Kingdom has come. But it is when the kingdom has been fully established and the earth made new, with righteousness and peace everywhere, that there will be no more sorrow, pain or death. – Revelation 21:1-5; Isaiah 65:17-25.
GKS IS GOD’S KINGDOM
“GKS” stands for God’s Kingdom Society – The Church of the Living God – with her headquarters as Salem City, Warri, Nigeria.
God’s Kingdom is the universal empire or government of righteousness and peace that would cover both heaven and earth to be inhabited by spirit persons and human beings respectively under the control of JEHOVAH the Almighty God.
According to the Holy Bible, after the coronation of Jesus Christ as the head and king of the Kingdom, God Almighty promised to set up the kingdom in this period known as the last days – Isaiah 2:2; Daniel 2:44; 7:13,14, Psalm 2:6.
After Christ had successfully carried out his mission on earth in his first advent, he ascended into heaven and his Father told him to sit at His right hand till He would make his enemies his footstool. (Psalm 110:1) The waiting period came to an end in 1914 when his Father commanded him to rule in the midst of his enemies. (Psalm 110: 2) Following this command, war broke out in heaven between Jesus Christ and the Devil, as a result of which Satan the Devil and his wicked angels were driven down from heaven. God’s Kingdom was then set up in heaven. A voice in heaven said: “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the Kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” (Revelation 12:10) The devil in an outburst of anger plunged the world into a global conflict known as the World War 1 with the aim of destroying all flesh, but the Almighty God stopped that war through Jesus Christ for the sake of His elect. – Revelation 11:17,18; Matthew 24:3-8, 22.
It was prophesied that the Almighty Father would give the kingdom to the saints and this prophecy is already fulfilling by the grace of God. (Daniel 7:18,22) Jesus Christ also said: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) Furthermore, he said: “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Luke 22:28-30) The Bible shows clearly that the remaining ones of the apostles’ class, known as the “remnant” would be chosen by Jesus Christ in this last day. (Matthew 24:31) So, wherever any of the saint is found in this age, there is the kingdom of God. They are the kingdom seeds. As ambassadors of Christ and instruments of God, they are used by JEHOVAH to found His Kingdom Organisations through the preaching of the truth to the people in every part of the world. – 2 Corinthians 5:20; Matthew 24:14.
GKS is God’s Kingdom because: –
1). She was founded by God through St. Gideon Meriodere Urhobo of the blessed and eternal memory. The qualities of a saint of God were clearly seen in him – the fact that he saw Jesus Christ in vision, that he was not taught by man, that he was bold and fearless in preaching the truth, and the persecutions he faced, all establish the fact that he is an ordained servant of God. – 1 John 2:21,27; Matthew 24:31; John 15:20,21.
2). She preaches the truth without mixing it with lies. Jesus said: “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matthew 7:15, 20; John 8:31,32; Proverbs 14:5, 25.
3). She was founded in the last days in which the Scriptures say the kingdom of God would be set up. This is a clear proof that the God’s Kingdom Society is a part and parcel of the Kingdom of God in this part of the world. – Isaiah 2:2; Daniel 2:44.
4).The process of gradual growth of the kingdom as prophesied in the Scriptures fulfilled on the GKS by God’s grace. In Matthew 13:31,32 Jesus Christ gave a parable in which he likened the growth of the kingdom to that of a grain of mustard seed, which is the least of all seeds but which becomes a tree, having branches, where the birds of the air take shelter. And in Isaiah 60:22, God used Isaiah the prophet to say: “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time”. The GKS, which God used St. G. M. Urhobo, to start as one man in Lagos in 1934 , has today grown into a mighty Christian organisation having branches in Nigeria and abroad by God’s grace.
5). Her uncompromising attitude towards falsehood and all manner of evils or sins, show that she is the planting of JEHOVAH, the Almighty God. – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Isaiah 58:1.
6). The practice of Christian love as commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ is found in her by the grace of God. – John 13:34,35.
It is because the GKS is the Kingdom of God that right from her inception lovers of truth and righteousness have continued to flow into her for salvation by the grace of God. This is in line with the word of God through Isaiah the Prophet, to wit “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:7) It therefore behoves every one to continue to serve God faithfully till the end so as to be ushered into the everlasting kingdom when fully established by His grace.
THE FEAR OF GOD
The word, “fear” according to the dictionary is “feeling caused when one is in danger or by nearness or possibility of danger or evil”. Also it means “dread and reverence”.
The fear of God is reverence for Him, which makes a person not to break His commandments. A person gets the fear of God through knowledge of the holiness and greatness of God Who has the power to inflict punishment or even death upon those who disobey Him by breaking His law.
In Proverbs 8:13, King Solomon stated: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” Furthermore, he said: “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.” (Proverbs 16:6) And Moses rightly told the children of Israel who were frightened by what they saw and heard from Mount Sinai: “Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your face, that ye sin not.” – Exodus 20:18-21.
Anybody who says he is a worshipper of God or a disciple of Jesus Christ must fear God in whatever he does in this world. If we do not fear God, we are not true or faithful Christians and we will not be saved in God’s Kingdom. Isaiah the prophet admonished us that God should be reverenced and feared. (Isaiah 8:13) The Lord God promised to give His people one heart and one way so that they may fear Him forever for their own good. – Jeremiah 32:37-40.
How can a person get the fear of God? King Solomon answered this question when he said that a person could get the fear of God if he is serious in searching for the wisdom or knowledge and understanding of the way of God. – Proverbs 2:1-5.
There are many good things a person can get if only he fears God in everything he does. In the first place, the Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10; Job 28:28) It is a fountain of life, and helps one to depart from the snares of death. (Proverbs 14:27) Moreover, the fear of the Lord tendeth to life. (Proverbs 19:23) It is always well with them that have it. (Ecclesiastes 8:12,13) Therefore, it should be constantly maintained (Deuteronomy 14:23; Proverbs 23:17) because it makes a person to live long. (Proverbs 10:27) “By humility and the fear of the LORD”, said the Preacher, “are riches, and honour, and life.” – Proverbs 22:4.
There are many examples of people of old who feared God and were blessed by Him in the Holy Bible.
The Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah were striking examples of such ones. Pharaoh told them to kill every man-child born by the Hebrew women. They bluntly refused to obey the order of the king because they feared God. This made God to bless them with many children. – Exodus 1:15-21.
Joseph is another striking example of one who feared God. When the foolish wife of Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, wanted him to sin with her, Joseph refused because he feared God. And because of this godly act, God promoted him, and made him ruler, next in command to Pharaoh, King of Egypt.-– Genesis 39:7-23.
Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth, are further examples of those who feared God. He blessed them with a man-child who became known as John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ and a great man in the work of God. – Luke 1:5-14, 24,25,57,58; Matthew 11:7-11.
Every worshipper of God is charged to keep His commandments and serve Him in the way acceptable to Him, with reverence and godly fear. (Deuteronomy 13:4; Hebrews 12:28) And St. Peter admonished us to “pass the time of your sojourning here in fear”. – 1 Peter 1:17.
Finally, King Solomon said, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.
THE IMPORTANCE OF WISDOM
WISDOM is defined as “the ability to apply relevant knowledge in an insightful way, especially to different situations from that in which the knowledge was gained”.
According to the Scriptures, wisdom, is the in-depth and accurate knowledge of God Almighty and His son Jesus Christ. It is the attitude to life based on the progressive understanding of the word of God. Wisdom is obtained through the spirit of God which enables one to know, by observation, experience, and reflection, the principles of right living.
Wisdom is different from knowledge, which is a body of facts or information and it can puff one up when not properly managed. It balances and gives direction to knowledge.
The Bible shows that it is God Almighty Who gives wisdom. We should pray for the wisdom of God. (James 1:5) King Solomon did so and God gave him much wisdom and understanding. (1 Kings 3:3-15; 2 Chronicles 1:7-12) “For the LORD giveth wisdom; out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” – Proverbs 2:6.
The wisdom of God is very important. It makes a man’s face to shine. (Ecclesiastes 8:1) It also gives life as King Solomon stated: “For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.” – Ecclesiastes 7:12.
The wisdom of God cannot be gotten for gold, neither is silver weighed for it. (Job 28:15) The Bible says, “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding… Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” (Proverbs 3:13-18) The Scriptures also state: “When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee; and understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things…” – Proverbs 2:10-15.
There is so much to gain if we have the wisdom of God. “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!” (Proverbs 16:16) Furthermore, King Solomon commanded: “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.” – Proverbs 4:5-9.
David the Psalmist said: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgements of the LORD are true and righteous altogether: more to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:7-11).
Therefore, the importance of the wisdom of God based on the Bible cannot be overstated.
The wisdom of this world is vanity and foolishness with God. (1 Corinthians 1:19-20) But the wisdom of God acquired from the Holy Bible brings salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, as it is written: “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”. – 2 Timothy 3:14,15.
Finally, Solomon, the Preacher, admonished us to keep sound wisdom and discretion so that we might live and be blessed; and so that we may not stumble but walk in the way of the Lord safely by His grace. – Proverbs 3:21-23.
WHAT IS TRUTH?
The word “truth” means anything which agrees with facts and reality or that which is not false or fictitious.
At the time he was arraigned before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, Jesus Christ told Pilate that he came to bear witness to the truth. This made Pilate to ask: “What is truth?” – John 18:37,38.
The “truth” according to the Holy Bible is the WORD OF GOD otherwise known as “the everlasting gospel” (Revelation 14:6,7) or “the gospel of peace” (Romans 10:15; Ephesians 6:15). The Psalmist said that the law or commandment of God is the truth, and that His word is true from the beginning. – Psalm 119:142,151,160.
Jesus Christ said the word of God is the truth. In his prayer to his Father on behalf of his disciples, he stated: “Sanctify them through thy truth: THY WORD IS TRUTH …” (Emphasis ours) – John 17:17.
In John 1:17, it is written: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” This is the truth, otherwise called “the gospel of the kingdom” that was preached by Jesus Christ, which he also commanded his disciples, (particularly the apostles) to preach in the whole world for the salvation of the sheep of God. – Luke 4:17-21; Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20.
It was God Almighty Who moved men through His Holy Spirit to utter or write all that is contained in the Holy Bible. David the Psalmist said: “The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and His word was in my tongue.” (2 Samuel 23:2) And, writing to Timothy, his spiritual son, St. Paul stated: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” – 2 Timothy 3:16,17. Other relevant Bible texts include Daniel 12:8-10; 2 Peter 1:20, 21.
The truth comprises doctrines, judgments, instructions and divine promises. Doctrines are the basis of Christian beliefs; judgments are for the discipline of the believers; instructions are for the guidance of the Christians in following the path of truth and righteousness and divine promises give hope and comfort to the faithful.
Jesus Christ our Lord and Master said: “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63) And St. Paul stated: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12.
It is quite clear that the word of God or the truth has spiritual force. It is able to change the whole character of a man from evil to godly inclination. King David said: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes… More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward”. – Psalm 19:7-11.
The truth as a light guides the people of God in the way of life. The Psalmist stated: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105) And King Solomon said: “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” – Proverbs 6:23.
The truth cleanses one from sins. This happens when one who believes in it translates his belief into action by putting away evil and doing that which is good. The fact that God’s word, the truth, cleanses one from sin was further strengthened by Jesus Christ when he said to his disciples: “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3) And St. Paul described the word of God as water when he wrote that Christ gave himself up for the church “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” – Ephesians 5:26.
In Psalm 119:9, it is written: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word.” And the Psalmist again added: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” – verse 11.
It is clear that without the knowledge of the truth no one can practise the righteousness of God or obtain salvation. It is the truth that purifies as to make one holy; the truth instills the fear of God in the believer; it gives faith; and it gives sound wisdom and understanding that enables one to distinguish between holy and unholy, or right and wrong. – Ezekiel 44:23.
It is clear that without the knowledge of the truth no one can practice the righteousness of God or obtain salvation. It is the truth that purifies as to make one holy; the truth instills the fear of God in the believer; it gives faith; and it gives sound wisdom and understanding that enables one to distinguish between holy and unholy, or right and wrong.
It is God’s will that all who would be saved must come unto the knowledge of the truth. In 1 Timothy 2:3,4, St. Paul stated: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”. See also in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-14.
What is more, Jesus Christ said: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:31, 32.
WHICH IS THE TRUE CHURCH?
The word “church”, is derived from a Greek word ekklesia which means a congregation or body or assembly of Christians. Some people refer to “church” as “a place of Christian worship.” This is not correct according to the Holy Bible.
The word “church” was first used by Jesus Christ as recorded in the book of Matthew chapter 16 verse 18 when he said to Peter: “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…”
The “rock” here refers to Jesus Christ who is the head of the Church and not Peter (1 Corinthians 10:4; Colossians 1:18). Jesus Christ did not use the word “church” to mean a literal house or place of worship. All through the Holy Bible, there is no place where the word church is used in reference to a building set aside for worship but to a congregation of Christians. – Acts 14:27; Rom 16:5,16; 1 Corinthians 16:19; etc.
The word “true” in the caption of the subject gives the understanding that there are false or counterfeit church groups as well.
Today, there are very many church groups all over the world and new ones spring up almost every day. If one considers the differences in doctrines and method of worship among the different church groups, it will not be correct to say that all of them belong to Jesus Christ and are serving the one true God.
All the church denominations cannot be true while they are opposed to one another in doctrines and methods of worship. St. Paul stated: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” – 1 Corinthians 1:10
Jesus Christ knew very well that false prophets would be many in this last day and would go about to establish false religious bodies, so he warned against them. – Matthew 24:11,24-25.
False prophets are dangerous because they lead people to destruction. In Isaiah 9:16 it is written: “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed”. And Jesus Christ said: “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” – Matthew 15:14.
It is not by long existence, popularity, performance of miracles, seeing of visions or dreams, or material possessions that make an organisation a true one. The most important thing with which a true church organisation can be identified is the preaching of the truth of God’s word to the sheep of God so that they may be free from Satan’s bondage and be saved in His Kingdom. – Mark 16:15,16,20; John 8:31,32,36; Matthew 19:30.
Examination of Doctrines
In order to know which church is true and which is not, we must examine their doctrines and practices using the Holy Bible as our yardstick. Jesus Christ gave this warning: “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.” – Matthew 7:15-20; 15:19,20.
The teaching that the soul is immortal or that the soul can never die is very wrong according to the Holy Bible. Man, animals and fishes of the sea are living souls. They are all subject to death. God said through Ezekiel the Prophet: “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine; the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4,20) Therefore, any church group that teaches that the soul is immortal is not a true church organisation.
Again, the belief that all the faithful will go to heaven when they die is not true according to the Bible, God promised to extend His kingdom to this earth where He will bless some of His faithful worshippers – the other sheep – with everlasting life in perfect peace and happiness. Christ said: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth”. – (Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:9-11, 22, 29). So, any church group that believes and teaches that all the faithful will go to heaven is not a true church of God.
There are those who preach that Christians are commanded to preach from house to house. This is false. Jesus Christ and his apostles did not preach from house to house. The early Christians did not do so. When St. Paul said that he “kept back nothing that was profitable unto you … and have taught you publicly and from house to house”, he was addressing the elders of the church at Ephesus and not unbelievers. (Acts 20:17-20) When He was sending his disciples to go and preach, Jesus Christ gave a positive instruction when he said: “Go not from house to house”. (Luke 10:7) So any church group that teaches that Christians are commanded to preach from house to house is not a true church organisation.
It is wrong therefore to accept every church denomination as true and as belonging to Jesus Christ. John the Apostle admonished: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) And St. Paul also warned: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good”. – 1 Thessalonians 5:21. See also 1 John 2:21; Galatians 1:8,9.
The true church, therefore, is the Christian organisation in any part of the world that preaches the truth, as contained in the Holy Bible. And so with all sincerity and without fear of criticism we say that the God’s Kingdom Society (GKS) is the true Church of God in this part of the world. She was founded by God through one of the remnant of the saints in person of St. G. M. Urhobo of the blessed memory. She preaches nothing but the whole truth as contained in the Holy Bible. Anyone who joins her and serves God faithfully till the end will obtain salvation by His grace.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DOCTRINES
DOCTRINES are the basis of the Christian faith. But some people do not care to ascertain whether what they are taught or to believe in their church organisations are in accordance with the revealed truth of the Holy Bible.
This careless attitude is making false prophets to easily deceive them as said the Almighty God through the Prophet Jeremiah “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof” – Jeremiah 5:30,31.
St. Paul warned Timothy to guard the doctrines of God jealously and charged him to warn others to “teach no other doctrine”. – 1 Timothy 1:3. See also 1 Timothy 4:16 and Galatians 1:8,9.
During the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, he warned his followers against false doctrines, which he referred to as the “leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees”. (Matthew 16:6-12) And Apostle Paul referred to such teachings as “doctrines of devils.” (Matthew 16:6-12; 1Timothy 4:1-5) But how many people pay heed to these exhortations?
Some people belong to certain church organisations just because they were born there or married there or attended the school built by the church. To remain in a church organisation which teaches false doctrines on such grounds is dangerous as they have not the truth of salvation. (Proverbs 16:25) It is only the truth or God’s word that can make one free. – John 8:32; Ephesians 4:14,15.
In many church organisations they teach a lot of things which have no scriptural authority. They hold the vain traditions of men and invented dogmas which the Holy Bible warns against. – Matthew 15:7-9.
At this juncture, it is very necessary that we examine some of the doctrines being preached in some of the churches today.
Many have been taught to believe that the soul is immortal or that the soul cannot die. This is wrong. The soul dies. – Psalm 89:48; Ezekiel 18:4,20; Matthew 10:28-30; Mark 8:36.
Some say that all good Christians will go to heaven and the bad will be tormented forever in a place call “hell fire”. This is not true. God created heaven for Himself and Jesus Christ, the Saints and the angels will be with Them there. – Isaiah 45:12,18; Psalm 115:16.
The vast majority of those to be saved will be in God’s Kingdom here on earth. (Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:9-11,22,29; Isaiah 65:17-25; Revelation 21:1-5) There is no fire in hell. Hell is the grave and it is meant for both the good and the bad. It is from there they will be resurrected on the day of resurrection. – John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15.
Some ordain women as pastors. This is also wrong. – 1 Corinthians 14:34,35,37 and 1 Timothy 2:11-14 condemn this practice.
Any doctrine that is not in conformity with the Scriptures should not be believed by true Christians. – Isaiah 8:20; Galatians 1:8,9
True doctrines are from God and they cannot be obtained from anywhere other than from the Holy Bible and from the true servants of God. – Jeremiah 3:15. Other relevant Bible texts include John 7:16,17; 2 Timothy 3:16,17.
Anyone who wanders from the teachings of Christ or the Truth as stated in the Bible cannot receive the grace of salvation. We should rather hold fast to the doctrines of Christ that lead to life. – Titus 2:1,7,8; 1 Timothy 4:6,7,16.
The Holy Bible enjoins worshippers of God to prove all things and hold fast that which is good. – 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1
Doctrines are important because it is the belief based on pure or true doctrines that can lead one to eternal life. In other words, any belief that is not based on the truth of the Bible cannot give one salvation.
ARE CHRISTIANS COMMANDED TO PREACH FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE?
THERE is no command or precedent that true Christians should spread the gospel of Jesus Christ from house to house; notwithstanding, some religious groups still stick to this practice without any biblical authority.
In Matthew 24:14, Jesus Christ commanded that the gospel of the kingdom should be preached in all the world as a witness unto the nations before the end would come. See also Matthew 28:18-20. Any religious group who decide to carry out this command is expected to also follow laid down precedent according to the Holy Bible.
Some who believe and teach that Christians are commanded to preach the gospel from house to house do cite certain portions of the Bible to support the practice. One of such is Acts 20:20 where St. Paul told some Christians that he taught them “publicly and from house to house.”
The account of Acts 20:20 can be better understood if we read from verse 17. Apostle Paul was not addressing ordinary converts but the elders or local leaders of the Ephesian Church, as it is written: “And from Miletus he (Paul) sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church…” – Acts 20:17-20.
Another text, which, some use as authority to support the practice of preaching from house to house is Acts 5:40-42. But the text reports that after the apostles have been beaten up, they went out of the council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer indignity for Christ’s sake. And daily in the temple and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. In actual fact, those houses where the apostles taught and preached belonged to the Christian believers. It was customary with the early Christians to be gathering in their houses, and they engaged apart from hearing God’s word in eating together or breaking bread from house to house. (Acts 2:46; 20:7) Moreover, during this time, the early Christians were under severe persecution. It will therefore be unwise or unsafe for them to preach from house to house when they were being hunted for. – Acts 8:3.
Again, some do cite Matthew 11:1 and Mark 1:38 as authorities. But in these texts, we are made to understand how Jesus Christ preached the gospel not from house to house but in the open and from city to city, villages and in the synagogues. However, there were occasions in which Jesus Christ lodged in private homes and did preach to those who came to him or he went there to do spiritual good as directed by the Holy Spirit or he was invited. In any of such cases, we could see that the house belonged to one of his followers or believers like the case of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42), the case of Zacchaeus. – Luke 19:1-10; etc.
The manner of Christ’s preaching in the course of his earthly ministry is expressly reported in the Holy Scriptures. His manner or custom was to teach the people in the synagogues or temple or places were the Jews always assembled. – Luke 4:16; Mark 6:1,2.
Moreover, when he was under arrest, and the high priest of the Jews wanted to know of his doctrines, Jesus gave an answer that should serve as an eye opener to those who believe in preaching from house to house. He said: “I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.” – John 18:20.
The misleading practice by some who preach from house to house was prophetically mentioned by St. Paul as a sign of the last day. In his epistle to Timothy, he wrote among other things: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women … Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth… But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” – 2 Timothy 3:5-9.
When Jesus Christ sent out his seventy disciples to preach, he charged them not to go from house to house. He said: “And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.” – Luke 10:7.
DO ALL MIRACULOUS CURES COME FROM CHRIST?
MIRACLES are defined in good dictionaries as “an event or occurrence that does not follow known laws of nature or that which is completely unexpected.”
Certain religious leaders, revivalists or crusaders are known to lay claims to power to perform miracles or divine healing in our time. Some of them claim their authority from the words of Jesus Christ recorded in the Book of Mark 16, which states: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature…. 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.” – verses 15-18.
This is no authority for any one today to make the bogus claim of having the gift of divine healing and miracles. Verses 19 and 20 of the same book and chapter show vividly that what Jesus Christ said was specific to the apostles, and it fulfilled on them as was manifest in their works. As it is written: “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they (the apostles) went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” – Mark 16:19,20.
Moreover, the signs were of secondary importance. The primary aspect of the command was: “Go ye into all the world, AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE.” Obviously, it is BELIEF IN THE GOSPEL that brings God’s blessing and in the end salvation to the people.
When Christ said: “these signs shall follow him or her that believe”, he did not mean every believer. Not even all the apostle healed the sick in their days. Bartholomew, Andrew and Thomas Didymus are not known to have healed anyone? Were they therefore not apostles or servants of God just because they healed none?
St. Paul stated clearly that God dispenses His gifts as it pleases Him and that NOT ALL BELIEVERS DO MIRACLES. He said: “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” He then asked: “are all apostles? are all prophets? Are all teachers? ARE ALL WORKERS OF MIRACLES? HAVE ALL THE GIFTS OF HEALING? DO ALL SPEAK WITH TONGUES? …” – 1 Corinthians 12:4-10, 28-30.
If ALL ARE NOT workers of miracles; if ALL DO NOT speak with tongues, why do certain preachers of today go about saying that performance of miracles is the mark of the true Church?
Another text which miracle workers frequently cite to support their claims is John 14:12-14 in which Jesus Christ declared: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; …” The disciples of Christ never did greater miracles than he did. The primary mission of Jesus Christ was to preach the gospel (Luke 4:43), and for the three and half years of his ministry, he concentrated primarily on the Jews. (Matthew 10:5,6; 15:26,27). What Jesus Christ meant was that his disciples would do the work of dispensing the gospel for a far longer period and to many more nations than he did. – Luke 24:45-47; Acts 1:8.
That performance of miracles cannot be used as a proof of God’s true servants is clear from the fact that, false prophets or satan’s agents can do them. (Exodus 7:10-13,19-22; 8:5-14; Matthew 24:11,24; 7:22,23). Saint John and Apostle Paul in their books exposed the activities of false prophets and showed that they can perform miracles – Revelation 16:13,14; 13:11-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12.
Miracles workers in our days also engage in stage-managed miracles; use sorcery/witchcraft power to perform miracles. – Acts 8:9-13; 3:1-10.
The GKS believes that God does miracles but not through human agents any more. – Malachi 4:2; Jeremiah 33:6; Isaiah 35:8-10
It should be noted that the Almighty God has power to prevent false miracles from happening. But He does not. This is to prove those who claim to worship Him whether they whole-heartedly trust or rely on Him for their needs or believe and follow false prophets for help. – Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 1 John 4:1.
Performance of miracle on a person does not in any way guarantee salvation or eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Lazarus who was resurrected by Jesus Christ did not continue to live but died again.- John 11:38-45.
Not all ailments will be cured now, but in God’s Kingdom fully set up. (2 Corinthians 12:8,9; Isaiah 35:5,6; 33:24) Until then, those suffering from one problem or the other should exercise implicit faith in God and endure them till God’s time.
In so far as the doing of wonders are concerned, false prophets can do them, Jesus said: “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 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”. – Matthew 24:11,24.
So you can see that the mere performance of wonders or so-called miracles IS NOT what is necessary to identify the church of Christ today. Rather, such wonders are the works or marks of false Christs, prophets or agents or instruments of the Devil. Did the magicians and sorcerers of Egypt in the days of Moses not turn their rods into serpents as Aaron did? Did they also not by enchantment cause frogs to be in the land of Egypt as Aaron did? Did those “wonders” show up the magicians and sorcerers as the servants of God? Read Exodus 7:19-22; 8:5-14; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.
False miracle workers and divine healers will be destroyed by God through Christ unless they repent. Jesus Christ made known what their fate will be when he said: “… 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”! – Matthew 7:21-23.
IS THE SOUL IMMORTAL?
SOUL means any living, moving, breathing creature such as man or beast. It also means life or spirit. In either of the senses, it is subject to death.
The word soul first appeared in the Holy Bible in Genesis 2:7 where it is written: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Please look up also Genesis 46:26,27; Exodus 1:5; Numbers 31:28.
Many scholars and religious organisations believe that the soul is a separate living being or an entity in man that continues to live after death. True Christians are not expected to be carried away or believe such wrong opinion or views as warned in the Scriptures. – Colossians 2:8.
The doctrine of the immortality of the soul originated from Satan the devil. This happened when he deceived the woman (Eve) in the Garden of Eden saying, “Ye shall not surely die”, contrary to God’s commandment that in the day Adam and his wife disobey His law by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they will surely die. – Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-4.
So, when some Christians erroneously believe and teach that the soul is an immaterial thing in man that continues to live after man’s death, and that it can never die, they are only helping to spread the lie of the devil that man does not die completely.
It is wrong to believe that the soul can never die. The Psalmist said: “…None can keep alive his own soul.” (Psalm 22:29) Again, he stated: “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?” – Psalm 89:48. See also Genesis 2:7; Exodus 1:5.
Man, animals and fishes are souls (Numbers 31:28; Revelation 16:2). They are all subject to death. Speaking through Ezekiel the Prophet, God said: “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” – Ezekiel 18:4,20.
But some may argue that it is the soul that sins, that dies. But one may ask: ‘Who then is free from sin in this imperfect world that is under the vile influence of the devil?’ King Solomon said: “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” – Ecclesiastes 7:20.
Jesus Christ admonished us not to fear the devil who can kill the body but is not able to kill the soul but we should rather fear God who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28) The devil can kill a person but he has no power to stop his future existence.
Apostle Peter referred to a prophecy that says that any soul that will not hear that Prophet (Jesus Christ) shall be destroyed from among the people. (Acts 3:23) And Christ again asked: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36) All these show that the soul dies.
However, Job the prophet of God said that there is a spirit in man (Job 32:8). This spirit is the life or power of existence in man, which strengthens the organs of the body and makes them to function. This spirit is not a living being having separate existence to make its own choice. It is the breath or spirit of life. When this spirit leaves man, he dies and returns to the dust and he is alive again at the resurrection when God gives him back the spirit. It was the Psalmist who said, “Thou hidest Thy face, they are troubled: Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth Thy spirit, they are created…” – Psalm 104:29,30. Also Ecclesiastes 3:19,20.
It is clear from the Holy Scriptures that soul refers to human beings, animals, life or the power of existence in them; and in both senses of the word, it is subject to death.
WHAT IS HELL?
HELL has been defined by some religious organisations as a place of fire where the wicked will be punished everlastingly. It has been used to frighten believers into subjection to the priests or pastors.
The word hell is derived from the Hebrew word sheol and the Greek word Hades, and it simply means the grave, pit, tomb, sepulchre or the condition of the dead. Another Greek word translated as hell in the New Testament of the Bible is Gehenna.
There is not a word in the account of creation to show that God prepared a place with fire for the eternal punishment of sinners. In the first chapter of Genesis there is a comprehensive record of how the heaven and the earth, the sun, moon and stars and the seas were created. If there were such an important place of unquenchable fire where there are “millions and millions of tormented creatures”, as taught by certain churches, it would not have been omitted from the inspired account of creation.
Hell is the grave, pit or heart of the earth where every kind of character – good or bad – goes after death. It is not meant for the wicked alone. Jacob was a godly man and it was through his twelve sons the nation of Israel came into being. When he received the news that Joseph, his son, was dead (false it was though), he refused to be comforted and he said: “ … I will go down to my son into hell, mourning.” (Genesis 37:35, Douay Version). But the Authorised or King James Version renders the text thus: “…For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning”. It is the same Hebrew word sheol that is translated hell in the Douay Version (Catholic Bible, as some call it) and grave in the Authorised Version. Did Jacob mean that his son Joseph was gone into hell as referring to a place of fire and that he too would go there? Certainly not
According to the Holy Bible, there is no such place of eternal fire created by God for the punishment of sinners. Otherwise, Adam through whose disobedience sin entered the world would have gone there. But when Adam violated God’s law in the Garden of Eden, the sentence of death was passed upon him that, “In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground; for out of it was thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:19) If there was a place as hell different from the grave, for sinners, Adam would have been the first man to go there.
Job, the man of God, talking about hell said: “…There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest… the small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.” (Job 3:11-19) Furthermore, Job prayed to God to hide him in the grave or hell when he said: “O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me.” – Job 14:13.
The grave, pit or hell is for all men, nobody can escape it except by the special grace of God, hence the Psalmist asked: “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?” – Psalm 89:48.
The punishment of the wicked will be in this life or at the resurrection not at death. The dead know nothing, they are lifeless as said King Solomon, “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything…” – Ecclesiastes 9:5,6.
There is no place as hell reserved for the punishment of the wicked. Our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ who was not a sinner went to hell in fulfilment of God’s word in Psalm 16:10 where King David referring to Christ said: “For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption”. And Saint Peter testified to the fact that Christ went to hell but God raised him on the third day to which they were witnesses.” – Acts 2:29-32; 5:29, 30; 1 Peter 2:21-24.
Gehenna is a picture word associated with a place at the outskirts of Jerusalem where refuse and other undesirables were thrown into, and destroyed either by fire or by worms. Jesus Christ used it to symbolize the everlasting destruction of the wicked – Mark 9:43-48; 2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:1-3; 33:1-2,6; Jeremiah 7:30,31.
When Jesus Christ talked of cutting off of hands and feet or plucking out the eyes that offended us and to cast them into hell fire, he meant that anything very dear to us that would cause us to offend which will make us go to everlasting destruction should be put away from us. – Mark 9:43-48
Though, according to the Holy Bible, there is no place like hell fire to punish the wicked, it does not mean that the wicked will not be punished. The Bible says the wicked will never go unpunished. (Proverbs 11:19, 20; Isaiah 3:11) God will use other means to punish them before they are finally destroyed. – Romans 6:23; James 1:14,15; Jeremiah 15:3; 16:4; Revelation 20:13,14; 21:8.
The misconception of hell as a place where the wicked would be tormented in everlasting anguish is not true. It is meant to put fear in those who are spiritually–unlearned.
Hell is the grave, the place of the dead, where all good and bad people are buried until the day of resurrection. – John 5:28,29.
JESUS CHRIST HAS COME, BUT WHERE IS HE?
The second presence of Jesus Christ is one of the fundamental doctrines of the Holy Bible. During his first advent on earth, he promised his apostles that after he had died and gone to heaven, he would come again to receive them unto himself. – John 14:1-3; Revelation 22:12,20.
St. Paul also confirmed the promise of Christ to come again in his letters to Christians in his days. (2 Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13; etc.) So, the promise of Christ’s second coming is not in dispute in the Christian religion.
The areas where opinions and interpretations vary are: “How will he come?” “Will he be visible to human eyes? When will he come?” and “Has he come?”
As to how Christ will come, some professed Christians make reference to Acts 1:9-11 where two angels who appeared after his ascension said that Jesus Christ would come in like manner as he was seen going to heaven.
There is nothing in the utterance of the two angels that gives the understanding that Christ would come again in the flesh. The angels did not say Christ will come in like form or shape but in like manner. The manner of Christ’s ascension was quiet. There was no public demonstration or flourish of trumpets as to attract the attention of the world. His second coming therefore will also be quiet. It is those who watch by being spiritually vigilant to understand the signs of the times that will know of his second presence. – Revelation 3:3; 16:15.
Again, some erroneously make reference to Matthew 24:27 where it is written that the second coming of Jesus Christ would be as the lightning that cometh out of the east and shineth unto the west. This again does not show that Christ would come visibly the second time as some believe. The correct interpretation of this text is that at the second presence of Christ, who is the light of the world (John 8:12), men will be spiritually enlightened as to have the accurate knowledge and understanding of the purpose of God that would make them know of his return. However, this knowledge will not cover the whole world instantly but gradually as the sun comes from the east and shines even to the west. In the long run, the whole world would know of his presence through the preaching of the saving gospel by His true servants.
Many who believe and are waiting to see Christ physically do refer to the Book of Revelation 1:7 where it is written: “Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
This text should not be interpreted literally, because it is figurative. The word “clouds” in the text symbolizes invisibility. It was the clouds that received Christ out of the sight of the apostles when he ascended to heaven. (Look up Acts 1:9-11.) “Every eye shall see him” in the text does not mean the literal eye, but the eye of understanding. (Ephesians 1:17-19) To “see” means to discern or to understand. So, “every eye shall see him” means that people will discern or get to understand from the signs of the time that Christ has come the second time. Those who pierced Christ in the text under reference are opposers of truth and righteousness or those opposing the work of God today. They are the ones to wail at Christ’s second presence because he will take vengeance on them. – 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 2:8-10.
Jesus Christ himself told his disciples that the world will never see him again when he said: “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more …” (John 14:19,22) This was also confirmed by St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthian Christians. – 2 Corinthians 5:16.
As regards the time Christ would come again, the Holy Bible shows that it is in the last days in which we are now living. That we are now in the last day is without doubt. The signs of the time that have fulfilled Bible prophecies show that we are now in the last days or the end of the world in which Jesus Christ promised to come again. – Daniel 12:4, 8–10; 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
In Matthew 24:3-8, it is clearly revealed that the end of the world will be marked by nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in divers places. This found fulfilment in the war of 1914 – 1918, and it was labeled World War 1. This was followed by a widespread epidemic – the Spanish influenza. Earthquakes have continued to ravage various parts of the world from that time till now showing that Christ has come the second time. See also Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-30.
Jesus Christ has come again but in spirit. He is in eternal glory in heaven with his attention focused on the affairs of the sheep of God all over the world. – Matthew 18:20; 1 Peter 3:18,22.
The second coming of Jesus Christ is by revelation and Christians are advised to walk by faith and not by sight. – Luke 17:26-30; 2 Corinthians 5:7.
THE FALSEHOOD OF TRINITY
A major erroneous teaching amongst those who profess the Christian faith today, is the doctrine of trinity, which according to those who believe and teach it states that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are one indivisible entity. It states further that all are equal, none is greater than the other; that the Father is uncreated, so too the Son and the Holy Spirit uncreated. That the Father is a person, the Son is a person and Holy Spirit also is a person, yet they are not three persons but one and so on.
The Trinity doctrine was introduced by one Theophilus of Antioch and later adopted by the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD as an article of faith in the Church.
But from a critical examination in the light of the Holy Scriptures, the Trinity doctrine is not true and no part of the Scriptures supports it. Christ did not teach it neither did his apostles.
It is commonly held by professed Christians that the trinity doctrine is beyond human understanding – that is, it is a mystery. This is a ploy by trinitarians to run away from the facts or to avoid the searchlight of Scriptural criticism, which the doctrine cannot stand.
We hold that if the doctrine remains a mystery, it ought not to be taught at all. Christian teachers must preach what they know and what they can prove. Jesus Christ himself said: “We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen.” – John 3:11. Please read also Deuteronomy 29:29; Ephesians 3:3-9; 1 Corinthians 2:9,10.
Reference to 1 John 5:7 which says: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” as authority for trinity doctrine by some professed Christians is very wrong because, that portion of the Bible is an interpolation – a spurious text inserted into the Bible by biased translators. It should not be believed by true Christians.
Those who hold to the trinity doctrine also misinterpret John 1:1-3 which states: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God …” The beginning here is the beginning of God’s creation when Christ was created and not God the Father.
The doctrine of trinity has no biblical basis – it is false. We agree that the Father is God and that the Son is a God but in no place in the Bible is the Holy Spirit referred to as God. Apart from the Son Jesus, there are other creatures both in heaven and on earth who are also gods but they, including Jesus Christ, are all subject to the Father. – Psalm 82:1,6; Deuteronomy 10:17; 1 Corinthians 8:5,6.
According to the Bible, God the Father is a separate entity from the Son. He is the Great Architect of the universe and the Source of life Who is responsible for the existence of Jesus Christ. He only is uncreated, and in the words of the Psalmist, He is “from everlasting to everlasting”. – Psalm 90:2.
It is wrong to say that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one and the same God. They are separate entities. In an attempt to find support for trinity in the Scriptures, some people do cite the statement of Jesus Christ at John 10:30 to wit: “I and my Father are one.” It is worthy of note that Christ did not include the Holy Spirit in this declaration, and so it does not suggest the existence of trinity. Moreover, Jesus did not mean that his Father and himself are one in substance or selfsame person; rather he meant unity of purpose. – John 17:20-23.
If it is admitted that the Father and the Son are one and the same God Whose substance cannot be divided, it implies therefore that when Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary, the Father and the Holy Spirit were also there, and there was no God in heaven! So too, when Christ was killed and buried, there was no God in existence for the period of three days and three nights during which Christ was in the grave! This is unthinkable and blasphemous!
That the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not one, inseparable God, is shown by the fact that during the baptism of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove and the voice of the Father was heard from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. – Matthew 3:13-17.
Furthermore, Jesus told his disciples, “I go unto the Father.” (John 14:28) This shows that the Father was somewhere else; in fact, He is a SEPARATE PERSON and has always been in heaven. – Matthew 6:9; John 11:41,42.
The Holy Bible plainly shows that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Almighty God because he derived life from the Father. – John 5:26; 1:1-3.
St. Paul described Jesus Christ as “the firstborn of every creature” through whom God created all other things. – Colossians 1:15-18 and Ephesians 3:9.
Christ is also known as the “Amen”, “the Faithful and True Witness”, “the BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD.” – Revelation 3:14.
Another error in the trinity doctrine is the point that the three persons are co-equal. No one in heaven and earth is equal to God Almighty. He Himself declared: “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?” (Isaiah 46:5; 40:18; 42:8)
When Jesus Christ came to the world he showed clearly that he is subordinate to the Father. He said: “I can of mine own self do nothing…because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” – John 5:30; 12:49.
Jesus Christ positively said to his apostles: “Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: FOR MY FATHER IS GREATER THAN I.” – John 14:28
It is on the strength of this understanding St. Paul stated: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and THE HEAD OF CHRIST IS GOD.” – 1 Corinthians 11:3.
Trinitarian teachers are like the erring priests of Israel to whom God said: “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? And if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name…” – Malachi 1:6
According to the Bible, the Holy Spirit is not a person; it is the active force of God with which He (God) moves His worshipers to carry out His will. Believe in God Almighty through Jesus Christ gives one salvation by God’s grace. Jesus Christ stressed this when he said: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) Here again Jesus Christ excludes the Holy Spirit.
DOES BAPTISM WASH AWAY SIN?
The word BAPTISM is derived from the Greek word baptizo which means immersion or dipping in water.
Baptism is a vital requirement in the life of a true Christian. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”, said Jesus Christ, “but he that believeth not shall be damned.” – Mark 16:16.
Jesus commanded his apostles: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Spirit).” – Matthew 28:19
A Christian is baptized when he or she is immersed or dipped in water in the name of the Father (JEHOVAH), the Son (Jesus Christ) through the Holy Spirit, which is, the power of the Father. It is therefore wrong to administer baptism by pouring or sprinkling of water as some people do.
All the instances of baptism known in the Bible were of immersion. There was never an occasion anyone for any reason was baptized by sprinkling or pouring of water.
John the Baptist who started baptism never poured water on anybody, and he always administered it in a place where there was enough water for people to be immersed. (John 3:23) He baptized Jesus Christ in a river at Jordan. – Matthew 3:13-17.
It is this example of Jesus Christ, the Founder of Christianity, his disciples must follow. There was no unnecessary ceremony or formality: no one stood as “godfather” or “godmother” of Jesus, and money was not charged as some churches do.
It was the same example of Christ’s baptism, which in fact, is the standard, Philip the Apostle followed when he baptized the Eunuch of Ethiopia. Both of them entered the water and the Eunuch was baptized. – Acts 8:26-39.
Many church denominations today believe that baptism washes away sin, and it is because of this wrong belief countless number of people all over the world (including infants) have been baptized by the priests.
The truth of the Bible which no one can gainsay is that baptism does not wash away sin. It is the blood of Jesus Christ through the truth that cleanses one from sin. Jesus said in his prayer to the Almighty Father concerning his apostles: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17) And in 1 John 1:7 It is written: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. See also Matthew 26:27,28; Revelation 1:5.
If the purpose of baptism is to wash away sins, why was Jesus Christ who was not a sinner baptized? (1 Peter 2:21,22; Hebrews 4:15) The fact that he who was without sin received baptism, gives the understanding that it has a different meaning in the context of the Scriptures.
Baptism is an outward expression of one’s conversion and vow or agreement to serve God by doing His will through Jesus Christ, by the power of God, all the days of one’s life until death, but with the hope of resurrection. St. Peter said: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 3:21.
Without being dipped in water, the spiritual significance of baptism cannot be fulfilled. The water covering the person is a symbol of death, and being brought out of water denotes resurrection. The idea is that the person has agreed to submit to the will of God and serve Him faithfully till death (if it is God’s will that he should die). Such ones who die have the belief or faith that he would be resurrected in due time as Christ was raised from the dead to the glory of God.
In the light of this understanding St. Paul said: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed that henceforth we should not serve sin.” – Romans 6:3-6; Colossians 2:12.
If one must be buried with Christ by baptism into death, how does sprinkling or pouring of water fulfil this? And how then is resurrection symbolized?
Should Infants be Baptised?
Some church groups hold that infants should be baptized. Some of them make reference to the statement of Jesus Christ in which he said: “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” – Mark 10:13,14.
This is a very misleading argument. Christ Jesus did not make the statement on the occasion of baptism nor did he by that instruct anyone to baptise children. He did not baptise children; he did not even baptize anyone but his disciples did. – John 4:1-3.
What happened was that the children who were brought before Christ were blessed by him. (Matthew 19:13-15: Mark 10:13-16) This is what the pastors and priests should do and not to baptise infants.
There is no single instance of a child that was baptised. Even Jesus Christ himself received baptism when he was about the age of thirty.
A person must repent of his sins, believe and accept Jesus Christ as of faith before he is baptised. And that was why when the Ethiopian eunuch asked for baptism, Philip answered: “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” The eunuch then said: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” It was there and then the eunuch was baptized. – Acts 8:36-39.
Infants cannot fulfil these conditions: they are too “innocent” to repent, and have not the knowledge to believe in Christ or to accept the spiritual responsibilities baptism imposes on one.
It is clear that baptism does not wash away sin. If it does, there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to come and die for the sins of the whole world.
This is the truth, and we can do nothing against the truth but for it. – 2 Corinthians 13:8
IS HEAVEN FOR ALL THE FAITHFUL?
The belief that heaven is the home of all faithful worshipers of God is common among those who profess the Christian faith and others who are not in the Christian faith.
Some who believe and teach that heaven is the home of all the faithful often cite or make reference to the words of Jesus Christ in John 14:1-3 where Christ said: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
This statement of Jesus Christ cited above is not for all his disciples. Jesus Christ was addressing his closest associates or the twelve apostles.
Earlier, Jesus Christ had shown that there are two classes of Christians. On a certain occasion after praying to his Father, he called all his disciples together and from them he chose twelve whom also he named “apostles”. (Luke 6:12-16; Mark 3:13-19; Matthew 10:1-5) This shows that there is a clear distinction between the class of the apostles, otherwise called the “little flock” (Luke 12:32) and the class of the other disciples also known as the “other sheep”. (John 10:16) Therefore, the statement of Christ in John 14:1-3 is exclusive to the apostles and not to all Christians.
Some also make reference to Enoch and Elijah who they believe had been taken to heaven by God. (Genesis 5:22-24; 2 Kings 2:11-14) As regards Elijah, the Bible does not show that he went to heaven where God Almighty dwells. Enoch was translated by God that he should not taste death. (Hebrews 11:5) According to the Holy Bible, there are three heavens. (Genesis 1:20; Job 35:11; 2 Corinthians 12:1-3) Elijah was taken to the first heaven (firmament), not to the third heaven where God dwells and was turned to nothing. On the day of resurrection, he as well as Enoch will come back (Hebrews 11:32-35). Moreover, if Enoch and Elijah were in heaven, Christ would have said so. Rather he declared: “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” – John 3:13.
All the ancient worthies, Abraham, Moses, David and others including the first righteous man Abel to the last prophet before the birth of Christ, John the Baptist, will be here on earth. – Acts 2:29,34; Matthew 11:11; 8:11,12; Luke 13:28,29; Hebrews 11:4-40.
The Holy Bible shows clearly that God Almighty had long promised through the mouth of His holy prophets to create new heavens and a new earth where He will bless His faithful worshippers with everlasting life in perfect peace. – Psalm 145:10-13; Isaiah 65:17-25; 2:2; Daniel 2:44; 7:18, 22, 27.
The first class of Christians – saints (numbering 144,000) who are also known as the little flock will rule with Jesus Christ in heaven; while the other sheep will be in the kingdom on earth. – Revelation 14:1-5; 7:1-4,9-15; 21:1-5; 2 Peter 3:13.
The earth will not be destroyed as some believe. God made it not in vain but to be inhabited. (Isaiah 45:12,18; Ecclesiastics 1:4) Only the evil and wicked system of things on earth will be eradicated. – Hebrews 12:26,27; 2 Peter 3:7, 10-13.
In other words, while the apostles will be rewarded with immortality in heaven, countless numbers of men, women, boys and girls will be rewarded here on earth by God. Christ said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) He further asked us to pray for God’s Kingdom to come from heaven to this earth so that the will of God will be done here on earth. (Matthew 6:9,10) Certainly people will be in the Kingdom here on earth to do God’s will as it is being done in heaven. See also Psalm 37:9,11,22,29,34; 115:16.
It is clear that all the faithful will not inherit the Kingdom of God in heaven. While few will be there, uncountable number of faithful worshippers of God will be privileged to be in the Kingdom here on earth by His grace.
CONTENTMENT means the state of being satisfied with one’s possession or achievement in life. A contented person is never worried by or envious of other people’s wealth and attainments. Rather he is peaceful, happy and satisfied with whatever state he finds himself in this world; for he realises that it is vain to be unnecessarily anxious for anything which he has not yet got. The Holy Scriptures say: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6,7.
Such one waits on God – Whose will and time are the best. “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked,” said King David. (Psalm 37:16) And King Solomon declared: “Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.” – Proverbs 28:6; 16:8.
The prophet Samuel practised contentment during the years he judged Israel. Because he was a man who was satisfied with what God had blessed him with, he could boldly throw the challenge that if there was anyone whom he had cheated or oppressed, such one should come forward and expose him. But there was no such accusation. Rather all of them testified as to his integrity. – 1 Samuel 12: 1-7
Another case of contentment is that of Nehemiah the governor. Though he had opportunity of corruptly enriching himself, he refused to do so because he had the spirit of contentment. – Nehemiah 5:1-15.
St. Paul gave us, Christians, a very good example of contentment, which we should emulate. He declared: “… Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content, I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” – Philippians 4:10-13.
Discontentment is the opposite of contentment. It is a sin. The Bible abounds with a lot of instances of discontentment. Lucifer fell from his lofty position because of discontentment and greed – for he not only wanted to be like the Most High, but also thought of exalting his throne above the stars of God. – Isaiah 14:12-16.
Another instance is that of Gehazi the servant of Elisha who went after Naaman the captain of the Syrian army and asked for gifts which his master the prophet Elisha had earlier rejected. He was struck with leprosy because of his greed. (2 Kings 5:20-27) We are warned in Proverbs 1:10-19 not to keep company with sinners.
Also, the case of Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli the high priest is yet another example of lack of contentment. They grossly and continuously abused their sacred office because of greed and so brought disgrace and ruin on their family. – 1 Samuel 2:12-36; 3:11-14.
We are advised to learn to be satisfied with whatsoever thing we have and live by honest labour with faith in God. “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8) During his ministry, advising publicans and soldiers who came to him for baptism, John the Baptist told them: “ Exact no more than that which is appointed you. … Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages”. – Luke 3:12-14
The above advice is timely because, wealth acquired through corruption, fraud, oppression or violence is not blessed and will in the end vanish. As it is written: “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.” (Proverbs 13:11) And God Himself said: “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.” – Jeremiah 17:10,11.
Finally, the Holy Bible admonished: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have.” (Hebrews 13:5) There are more spiritual blessings from God if one leads a honest life of holiness with contentment. “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches,” prayed Agur, and he added, “feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” – Proverbs 30:8,9.
WHERE ARE THE DEAD?
The DEAD are those who are no more living, or are no more having the breath of life in them.
Today, there are divergent views by people of different beliefs or faiths as to where dead people go after death.
There are people who hold that no one can tell where the dead go or what happens to man at death.
The heathens for instance believe that when a man dies, he does not die but merely changes his form, and becomes more powerful. They also believe that the dead are transformed to live another life, hence, when announcing their death, they use the word “transition”. Some say that the spirit of the dead hover around his people – hearing and seeing them, hence some worship or serve the dead.
Some who profess the Christian faith believe and teach that if a good man dies he goes to heaven; while the wicked go to a place of fire called hell. Some say that most dead people go to purgatory – a place which according to them, the dead are purged of whatever sin they had committed before they would be fit to enter heaven.
Other views about the dead by some are expressed in the doctrines of REINCARNATION (that is, the return of the soul of a dead person to earth after death in a fresh bodily form) and TRANSMIGRATION (which is the passing of the soul of a dead person into some other material form or body – whether human, animal, plant or inanimate object). Many who share these beliefs hold that soul is a part of man that continues to live after his death.
These views are not correct according to the Holy Bible. To say that the soul is a living entity or being in man, and after death is able to live on its own or enter another body to continue its existence, is very wrong. Also, it is not correct to say that the soul is immortal and that it either goes to heaven to enjoy eternal bliss or into “hell-fire” for punishment. The Bible says that the soul dies. – Ezekiel 18:4,20; Acts 3:23; Psalm 89:48; 22:29.
With regards to the creation of man, the Bible states: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7) The living soul or person is made up of the body from the dust of the ground and breath of life or spirit. When the breath of life or spirit goes out of man or animal, the organs of the body cease to function and that means death.
Sentence of Death
By way of definition, “death” is the cessation of life; hence it is the opposite of life. The origin of death can be traced back to Adam in the Garden of Eden. God commanded him saying: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”. – Genesis 2:15-17.
When he broke the law, God passed the sentence of death on him that, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” – Genesis 3:19.
We can see from this text that, in handing down His sentence after man’s disobedience, God said Adam would return to the dust from where he was made. This is the grave. Man was made out of the dust and he returns to the dust at his death. The dust therefore, is the place of the dead. And, it is the force of this divine sentence that works in man to bury the dead in the grave, tomb or sepulchre where they turn to dust again. True worshippers of God do not practise cremation (the burning of a corpse to ashes), neither do they dispose of the dead by exposing them to be eaten up by birds or beasts as certain tribes do.
In Ecclesiastes 3:18-20, King Solomon said among other things that, both man and beast have one breath. He added: “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again”. Please see also Job 34:15.
The grave is the place of the dead hence both David the Psalmist and Isaiah the Prophet stated that the dead who have gone down into the grave or pit cannot praise God nor remember Him. – Psalm 6:5; 115:17; Isaiah 38:18,19.
Giving reason why the living should not trust nor look out for or hope for blessing and protection from mortal man, King David stated: “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” – Psalm 146:3,4.
And giving counsel to the children of God towards making the most of the opportunity of their existence by serving Him faithfully and zealously, King Solomon stated: “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” – Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10.
Moreover, Job categorically stated that at his death, the grave or pit would be his house where he had made his bed, and that his place of rest would be in the dust or grave which he referred to as “the house appointed for all living.” – Job 17:13-16; 30:23.
In all the wonderful revelations of God through the ancient prophets, Jesus Christ and his apostles, as contained in the Holy Bible, no indication is given that a person can be born twice or more. Rather, what is made known is the doctrine of resurrection. And by resurrection is meant the raising of the dead back to life. This God promised to do through Jesus Christ at the time appointed. – Hosea 13:14; John 11:25.
The vision of Ezekiel the prophet concerning the dry bones was a demonstration of how the dead would be raised. (Ezekiel 37:1-14) There is no point of a soul entering into a body and being reborn. It is the breath of life otherwise referred to as spirit, God would send to revive the dead. – Psalm 104:29,30.
What is more, Jesus Christ said: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” – John 5:28,29. See also Luke 14:14; Acts 24:15.
The hope of resurrection for the dead makes true Christians not to be overwhelmed by sorrow or to mourn for the dead as non-believers do. St. Paul in his epistle to the Thessalonian Christians said: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13,14,18.
It is when the dead are raised that they shall be judged and rewarded according to their works as stated by Jesus Christ. Until then, except the “Little flock”, the saints, who go to heaven according to the Scriptures, all others must remain in their graves. Thus, Paul the Apostle stated: “And as it is appointed unto men ONCE to die, but after this the judgment.” – Hebrews 9:27.
It is very clear from the Scriptures that the place of the dead is the grave – “the house appointed for all living” (Job 30:23). The dead are silent, lifeless and motionless in their graves. They are not in any mood of joy or sorrow, pleasure or pain. They have no knowledge any more of anything that is done under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10.
RESURRECTION means a rising from the dead or the act of bringing back to life. It is one of the fundamental truths of the Holy Bible. But for the resurrection of the dead man could not have counted himself better than the beast. Indeed, resurrection is the hope of all faithful worshippers of God.
After Adam had violated the perfect law of God in the Garden of Eden, God passed the sentence of death upon him. As a result, the descendants of Adam, having been born in sin were guilty and hence death, which is the wages of sin, was brought on the human race.
But the Almighty and Merciful Father, not willing that men should continue to die, had long ago purposed, not only to redeem man from death by the resurrection of the dead, but also to put death to an end. To this end, God said through the Prophet Hosea, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” – Hosea 13:14.
The ancient worthies before Christ believed in this promise of God and they exercised strong faith in it. They all believed that death could not prevent them from coming back to receive their reward from God in His due time.
The prophet Job who suffered severe afflictions and trials at the instance of the devil, prayed that God should hide him in the grave until the time when God would raise him from the dead. He said, “O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee…” (Job 14:13-15). He also confirmed his faith in God’s promise of resurrection when he further declared, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” – Job 19:25,26.
The prophet Isaiah also spoke in prophecy about resurrection. He declared, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isaiah 26:19) In a vision, Ezekiel saw a valley which was full of dry bones. God told him to prophesy on the bones; they came together and were covered with flesh. Ezekiel prophesied to the wind and breath came on the dead and they resurrected. God showed that He would raise the dead and put them in their own land. – Ezekiel 37:3-14.
When King Herod, in his attempt to kill the infant, Jesus, killed innocent children in Bethlehem in those days, God comforted the mothers of the dead children with the assurance that the children would come back from the grave. – Matthew 2:16-18; Jeremiah 31:15-17.
When Jesus Christ came to this world, he confirmed the reality of resurrection in an encounter with the Sadducees who do not believe in resurrection. (Matthew 22:23-28; Luke 14:12-14) St. Paul also stated in his letter to the Corinthian Christians that resurrection is an indisputable fact. – 1 Corinthians 15:12-33, 35-43; Acts 24:15.
The Bible shows that it is Jesus Christ God has given the power to raise the dead. Jesus Christ showed an example of the power when he raised Lazarus who had died four days before. When Satan the devil used wicked men to kill Jesus Christ, God Almighty raised him from the dead on the third day. In Revelation 1:18 Christ declared, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death.” This means that Christ has authority to raise the dead and put an end to death.
According to the Holy Bible, there are three classes of resurrection: The First Resurrection, the Better Resurrection and the General Resurrection. The First resurrection belongs to Jesus Christ and the Saints (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). And that of the saints is to take place in this last day. The Better resurrection is for all faithful men and women of old before Christ. They will be raised from the dead to inherit the Kingdom of God here on earth.
The General resurrection is for the remaining human race – both just and unjust. While the just will be rewarded with everlasting life in perfect peace and happiness, the unjust will be judged and punished according to their sins. This will take place during the Millenium or 1000 years reign of Christ. Jesus Christ stated, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. – John 5:28-29
It is because of this hope of resurrection which true Christians have that makes them not to mourn like pagans who have no hope when they lose their beloved ones. St. Paul admonished: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Wherefore comfort one another with these words;” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13,14,18
From all that has been stated here, it is clear that resurrection is a reality and the hope of faithful worshippers of God from all ages.
ARE CHRISTIANS BOUND TO KEEP THE SABBATH LAW?
The SABBATH LAW was one of the Ten Commandments given by God through His servant Moses. Enacting the law, God Almighty said: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made Heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” – Exodus 20: 8-11.
The law was so severe that a defaulter was made to face death. This being a shadow of things to come was, however, modified by Jesus Christ. The Scripture says: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” – John 1:17..
The law was very strict that nobody was allowed to kindle fire on that day, and the penalty for breaking it was death. Read Exodus 35:2,3. In the days of Moses, a certain man who was caught gathering sticks on the sabbath day, was brought before him and Aaron, and all the congregation of the people. The sentence of death was passed on the guilty man: “And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.” – Numbers 15:32-36.
After the Jews returned from the Babylonish captivity, some of them kept the Sabbath with all seriousness. Trading was not allowed. (Nehemiah 10:31). When Nehemiah the prophet noticed that some of the Jews were trading on the sabbath day, he contended with them, and ordered that the gates of Jerusalem be shut at sunset a day to the sabbath day and to be opened after that day. To enforce this, Nehemiah positioned some of his servants at the gates. – Nehemiah 13:15-17,19.
Before his advent on earth, it had been prophesied that people should hear Jesus Christ – the Messiah and Greater Prophet. In this regard, the Prophet Moses said: “The LORD thy God will raise unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken”. (Deuteronomy 18:15) This is also supported in Acts 3:20-23.
By virtue of the authority God vested on Jesus Christ, he modified the sabbath law amongst others. This is the reason why he did not teach his disciples to keep it. Also, the apostles of Jesus Christ never enjoined other Christians to observe the sabbath.
Furthermore, Christ showed that it is not wrong to do good works on the sabbath day. This he demonstrated by healing an impotent man on a sabbath day. – John 5:1-17. Read also Matthew 12:9-12; Mark 3:1-5. He also allowed his disciples “to pluck ears of corn, and to eat.” – Matthew 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28.
However, the change of the sabbath day from Saturday to Sunday was made by Emperor Constantine of Rome in 321 A.D.
The sabbath, which means “rest” foreshadowed the real rest God promised His true worshippers in the future establishment of His kingdom fully set up. It will be in God’s kingdom fully set up and this is what we His worshippers should labour for. Writing on this, St. Paul has this to say: “For if Jesus (that is, Joshua) had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” – Hebrews 4:8-11.
The sabbath law being one of the ordinances blotted out by Jesus Christ, nobody should be judged on it as Paul the apostle said: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Colossians 2:14-17) Christians are not bound to rest on a particular day but on any day of one’s choice. The Sabbath is not to control us as Christ said: “… The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” – Mark 2:27,28.
From all that we have seen in this subject, it is clear that Christians are not bound to keep the Sabbath Law.
DOES GOD ANSWER PRAYERS?
PRAYER is a solemn petition or request or giving of thanks to God. It is an act of worship that pre-supposes the insufficiency of the person saying it, and his dependence on God. Prayer is a very good thing. It is forceful; it gives comfort and hope, and strengthens our will and faith.
David the king and prophet, who derived great benefits from prayers, exclaimed in his song: Praise waiteth for Thee, O God, in Sion: … O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come. – Psalm 65:1, 2.
Instances of prayers that were answered by God abound in the Holy Bible. The case of the Children of Israel in Egypt readily comes to mind. When the Israelites were suffering under the bondage of the Egyptians during their sojourn in Egypt, they cried to God and He heard their prayer and chose Moses to go to Egypt to deliver them. – Exodus 2: 23-25; 3: 9,10.
Mention can be made of Hannah one of the two wives of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham. Whereas Peninnah had children, Hannah whom their husband loved more was barren – she had no child. Because of this, she was made an object of reproach by her enemies. However, she believed that God Almighty could give her the desire of her heart. She went into the temple and, in the bitterness of her soul, earnestly prayed to the Lord. In her prayer she vowed that if God will give her a man child, then she will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life. – 1 Samuel 1:9-11
As Hannah prayed silently, with her lips moving but her voice not heard, Eli the priest, who sat beside the door-post of the temple, thought that she was drunk and cautioned her to put away her wine from her. But Hannah answered: “No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.” Eli the Priest, then prayed God to grant her petition. – 1 Samuel 1:12-18
In God’s due time Hannah’s prayer was answered. She conceived and gave birth to a male child whom she called Samuel meaning asked of God. (1 Samuel 1:19-28) This is another good example to show that God answers prayers.
Under the reign of King Hezekiah, the cities of Judah were invaded by the King of Assyria, Sennacherib, who boasted of his might and blasphemed the God of Israel. He issued threats and warned Hezekiah and his people not to put their trust in the Lord their God nor think that they could be delivered from his hand. He then sent a letter to Hezekiah in which he reproached the Most High.
On receipt of the letter, Hezekiah went into the house of God and prayed. Among other things he said: “Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God… Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.” – Isaiah 37:14-20.
In answer to the prayer of Hezekiah, God defended Jerusalem, and His angel went out and killed 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp. Thus the king of Assyria, despite his boasts, threats and blasphemies, found his army woefully defeated and was compelled by divine force to retreat to Nineveh where he lived. There, again, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch, his god, his own sons fell upon him and killed him with their swords. That was the ignominious end of that godless man. – Isaiah chapters 36 and 37
Whatever is our need, let us take it to the Lord in prayer; and provided it is not tainted with sin, He will grant us the desire of our hearts. We should never be anxious for anything but as Scripture says “in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”. – Philippians 4:6.
When some people pray and they do not get what they ask for within a month, six months, a year or two, they grow impatient and become lukewarm in their religious devotions. They, having developed a feeling of hopelessness, and lost faith in the Almighty God, turn to seek aid from idols, witch-doctors and so on and so forth. This is very bad of those professing to be Christians. We must know that whatever we pray for will be granted us not according to our will but God’s will, and in His own due time. We are therefore required to wait on the Lord (Psalm 27:13, 14) and it is commonly said that, “God’s time is the best”.
Furthermore, we should learn to be patient and to wait on the Lord as Zacharias and his wife, Elisabeth did. True to the word of the angel to Zacharias, Elisabeth became pregnant and in her old age she brought forth a man child who grew and became the famous fore-runner of Christ our Saviour. (Luke 1: 5-57) Indeed it is rewarding to be patient in waiting on the Lord while continuing to practise righteousness.
Many prayers are not answered due to sin or because the people “ask amiss”, that is, in the wrong way. As it is written: “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” – Isaiah. 59:1,2; James 4: 3.
It is true, God does not hear sinners but if any sinner repents and worships Him in truth, his prayers will be answered. (John 9: 31) And John the apostle also stated: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” – 1 John 3:22.
If a wicked man prays, as some often do, and his desire is accomplished, we should know that it is not God that answers his prayer but the mimic god, Satan the devil, who is the author of evil. The Bible makes it clear that the prayer of the wicked is abomination to God. – Proverbs 28: 9; 15: 29; Psalm 66: 18.
All prayers must be directed to God ONLY through His Son, Jesus Christ, whom He made the mediator between Himself and men. This is important. Prayers through any other medium would not be answered by God. – John 14: 13, 14; 15: 16; Ephesians 5: 20; 1 Timothy 2: 5, 6.
Prayers of Faith
Also, we must exercise FAITH in God for our prayers to serve any useful purpose. Jesus said: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, BELIEVING, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21: 22) Saint James enjoined that whoever lacks wisdom should ask of God who gives to all men liberally and he added: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that (FAITHLESS) man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” – James. 1: 5-7. See also James 5: 13-15; 1 John 5: 14,15.
How to Pray
Jesus Christ warned that we should not behave like hypocrites who “love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corner of the streets, that they may be seen of men”. Rather we should say our prayers in private, “and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly”. The habit of repeating words over and over again, as some do, is not the practice of true Christians. – Matthew 6: 5-8.
Now that it has been established beyond all doubt that God answers prayers, we must form the habit of praying always, particularly in this sin-ridden and dangerous age in which we are living. (Luke 21:25-28, 33-36; 1 Timothy 2:1-4) Jesus Christ in a parable taught “that men ought always to pray, and not to faint”. (Luke 18:1-8) And St. Paul exhorted: “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) This does not mean that we should lose all sense of moderation, and pray frantically and fanatically. There is time for everything. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) Except one is suddenly faced with danger, which could make one pray or call on God excitedly for help, one should always be calm and sober when praying.
In conclusion, let us remember at all times the admonition of Saint Peter to wit: “But the end of all things is at hand: BE YE THEREFORE SOBER, AND WATCH UNTO PRAYER.” – 1 Peter 4:7
FAITH according to the Bible is firm belief in God and His word as contained in the Holy Scriptures. It is also a show of trust or exercise of implicit confidence in God. St. Paul dilated on the meaning of faith when he stated: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1.
Faith is a very important spiritual quality, which any true worshipper of God must have in order to please Him. It is by it we believe that God exists and that it is He Who created all things perfect – both visible and invisible.
In the Holy Bible there are examples of men and women who showed faith in the service of God. Abraham is a very striking example of a man who showed strong faith in God. God told him to offer his son, Isaac, as sacrifice to Him. He did not argue but got himself ready to do it when God through His angel stopped Him. God provided a ram for the sacrifice instead of Isaac. This show of faith by Abraham was highly commended that it was imputed to him for righteousness, and he was called the Friend of God. – Genesis 22:1-18; James 2:21-24.
Sarah, Abraham’s wife was a woman who showed faith in God. When the LORD through His angel told her that she would conceive and bear a son, she believed despite the fact that she was already old and past the age of child bearing. Because of her faith, God gave her strength to conceive and deliver a male child, Isaac. – Genesis 17:19; 21:1-3; Hebrews 11:11,12.
Another striking example of people who showed great faith were the three faithful Jews during the reign of a gentile king called Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. The king set up a golden image and ordered that when the people heard the sound of trumpet they should all fall down and worship the golden image, which he has set up. The king added that anyone who refused to bow down would be thrown into the furnace of fire. But these three Jews by name Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had knowledge of the law of God which says that they should not bow down to other gods according to Exodus 20:4-6. So they told the king that they would not bow to the image. They said further that if the king threw them into the fire they had the faith that their God in heaven will deliver them, and that even if He did not deliver them, they would not bow to the golden image.
In the long run, because Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow to the image they were thrown into the fire after it had been heated seven times more. The heat of the fire was so high that it killed the men who threw them into the fire. But because of their implicit faith in Jehovah, He sent one of His angels to deliver them; and so the fire did not do them any harm. The king then commanded that they should come out of the fire and he, himself, acknowledged the saving power and supremacy of JEHOVAH. Then the King promoted these three faithful Jews in the province of Babylon. – Daniel 3:1-30.
From the story, one can see how faith in God can save one and bring one to prominence.
There are many other instances in the Bible of men and women who showed faith by what they did. In Hebrews chapter 11 verses 4 to 31, St. Paul gave a catalogue of some of the ancient faithfuls, from Abel to Rahab. In addition he said: “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens …” He also stated that because of the faith they showed, they will be privileged to take part in the “Better Resurrection”. – Hebrews 11:32-40.
Now, as the faithful of old showed great faith in God, one needs to exercise strong faith in Him the more in this time of the end of the world. It is not enough for anyone to say that he has faith. A person who claims to have faith in God but does no work to justify his claim is deceiving himself and cannot be saved. Concerning this Apostle James wrote: “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man may say he hath faith, and have no works? can faith save him”. (James 2:14) Certainly not!
As Christians one cannot please God unless he has faith in Him. St. Paul writing to the Hebrew Christians stated: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6.
It is through faith, by the grace of God, that Christians will be justified and saved in God’s Kingdom. Concerning this Apostle Paul wrote: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ…and not by works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8,9.) But this does not mean that we should not work for our salvation because we are to be saved by grace. St. Paul said in Philippians 2:12 that we should work out our “own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Faith is one of the spiritual weapons with which we can resist the devil’s temptations and persecutions. St. Peter reminded us that our enemy, the devi, is always going about looking for whom he may devour. – Ephesians 6:16; 1 Peter 5:8,9.
Before our prayers can be answered by God we must exercise faith or believe that He can grant our requests, otherwise our prayers will not be answered. – James 1:5-8.
Some may ask as to how one can get faith. St. Paul gave the answer when he said: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) For this reason, anyone who wants to have faith must not absent himself or herself from any assembly of the Church as it is the place where God’s word is preached in truth, that is, according to the Holy Bible.
Finally, if we say we have faith, we must continue to do the work of God or serve Him faithfully till the end otherwise we worship in vain. St. Paul gave a very firm admonition: “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but them that believe to the saving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:38,39) And Apostle Peter advised that we should receive the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls. – 1 Peter 1:8,9.
Like the apostles of Jesus Christ in his days on earth, we earnestly pray the Almighty Father, JEHOVAH, to increase our faith in Him by His grace.
WHAT IS MAN?
The theme of man featured prominently in the works of some writers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Man, they say, finds himself thrown into existence, without knowing where he is going, where he is coming from or why he is here on this earth. But this is not correct.
Among the creation of God on earth man is accorded a position of pre-eminence even though he was the last to be created by God. According to the Holy Bible, God has a closer relationship with man than with all other creatures on earth. It is His purpose that man whom He has made in His own image after His likeness and blessed with His attributes should worship and praise Him. (Isaiah 43:21; Revelation 4:11) God blessed man and said: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth”. – Genesis 1:28-30.
In order to help man fulfil the purpose of his creation, God gave him rules and regulations which if kept faithfully will bring abundant blessings to him. When the natural Jews were hungry in the wilderness Moses told them that God allowed it to humble and prove them and to know what is in their heart, whether they would keep His commandments or not: And that they might know that “man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live”. – Deuteronomy 8:2,3.
Obedience is a vital requirement in the service of God. It means keeping to the laws of God. It was man’s refusal to obey the laws of God in the Garden of Eden that brought trouble in the world. (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:19) Moses told the children of Israel to obey the voice of God for their own blessing. (Deuteronomy 11:27; 13:4) Children are commanded to obey their parents in the LORD. – Ephesians 6:1-3.
Faith is another key to salvation. It means absolute belief, trust or confidence in God. We do not see God yet we firmly believe in His existence in that there are many things we see around us that make us know that there is God. Jesus Christ admonished us to have faith in God (Mark 11:22) And St. Paul says without faith it would be impossible to please God. – Hebrews 11:6.
Knowledge of the will of God is also important. It helps us to discern between right and wrong and run away from evil. It is for this reason King Solomon said: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) Furthermore, he said for a soul to be without knowledge it is good. (Proverbs 19:2) And the Almighty Father lamented the destruction of the people for their lack of knowledge. – Hosea 4:6.
It is true that man by superior intellect is able to deal with his environment, protect himself from dangers, tackle problems, create ideas and use his experience for the good of his environment and humanity; which animals or birds cannot do. But whatever may be man’s achievements in the different spheres of life, it is nothing without God.
In Jeremiah 9:23,24, the Almighty Father warned that nobody should glory with his worldly achievements but the man who understands Him as the LORD who loves and judges righteously in the earth.
Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, was a typical example of a man who boasted of his worldly attainments and failed to acknowledge God. For seven years, he was struck with a strange illness that saw him behave like beast until God showed him mercy and restored him to humanity. – Daniel 4:17–37.
Herod, the wicked ruler, who beheaded James the Apostle of Christ, overreached himself by taking the glory of God. On a certain day when he was addressing his people, the crowd praised him for his oratory skills. He was carried away and took the glory by failing to acknowledge power of God; immediately an angel of the LORD smote him to death. – Acts 12:21–23.
David the prophet stated: “Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish”. – Psalms 49:12,20; Proverbs 22:4
The nothingness of man is seen when he sleeps and knows nothing around him and his inability to stop sickness, natural disasters, etc. Man is powerless, it is only by God’s grace that “we live, and move, and have our being”. – Acts 17:24 – 28.
While some people put their hopes in fellow men in time of trouble, Scriptures advised us in this wise: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish”. (Psalm 146:3,4) See also Psalm 60:11; 118:8,9; Proverbs 21:31; Isaiah 45:22.
And the Psalmist prayed that God should make him know his end and the length of his days. – Psalm 39:3–5. If only people will reason in the way King David did and understand the emptiness of man, they will have cause to be sober and to humble themselves under the mighty hand of Jehovah, the Almighty God.
Man is better than the beasts of the field because he is created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26,27) Man is blessed with the faculty to create, reason, meditate, appreciate, recall and make amends where necessary. Animals do not possess this intellect. The Psalmist says: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. – Psalm 139:14.
Moreover, unlike animals, man has the hope of resurrection. (Job 19:25–27) This is the pre – eminence man has over beasts. – Ecclesiastes 3:18–20.
Finally, King Solomon said: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man”. – Ecclesiastes 12:13.
THE LAST DAY
No period in the history of the world is as eventful is that known in the Bible as the last days. It is not a day of 24 hours; but an epoch, an era, an age, a period, a time that comprises about a thousand years. The Psalmist gave this understanding in Psalm 90:4. St. Peter expounded on this when he said, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”. – 2 Peter 3:8.
Job the prophet of God referred to this period as the latter day. (Job 19:25,26) Isaiah, another prophet of God called it the last days in Isaiah 2:2. Also the Prophet Daniel described this period as the time of the end. (Daniel 12:9) And our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ making reference to this age called it the end of the world – Matthew 13:39.
There is no doubt that the signs of the times confirm bible prophecies that we are now in the last day as God told Daniel the prophet in Daniel 12:4. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased”.
The prophet went on to say: “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” – Daniel 12:8 –10.
It is very true to state that we have seen increase in understanding the word of God, with more people endeavouring to practice the righteousness of God; while the devil is actively using men to perpetrate evil and wickedness in the world in fulfilment of the Bible.
In those days, when Christ was on the Mount of Olives, his disciples asked him, what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world? In answer, Christ said to them, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows”. – Matthew 24:3 –8.
This prophecy began to fulfil in 1914 when nations rose against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms in a deadly conflict that affected the entire human race prompting historians to call it World War 1. The war marked the beginning of the last days as foretold by Jesus Christ. The epidemics, earthquakes and pestilences that occurred during and after the war, like the Spanish Influenza which killed more people than the war itself, are proofs that we are in the last day.
Apostle Paul talking about the last day said: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…” – 2 Timothy 3:1–5.
There is hardly any part of this text under reference that has not fulfilled today. There is more uncertainty in the world of today than there were some decades ago.
The Holy Bible gives the understanding that a number of spiritual events will take place in this age of the end of the world.
- The second presence of Jesus Christ in fulfilment of his promise to his apostles. – John 14:1-3; Matthew 18:20)
- The resurrection of the dead saints. – 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:20 -23, 51-54.
- The selection of the remnant. – Malachi 3:1; Matthew 24:31.
- The establishment of the kingdom. – Matthew 13:31,32.
- The preaching of the everlasting gospel. – Matthew 24:14; 28:19.
- The judgment of the living. – John 12:48.
- And the gathering of the sheep of God – Luke 4:18 -21; John 12:31,32.
But the climax of this evil world would be marked by another significant and terrifying event known to Bible students as the “Battle of Armageddon”. Zephaniah, the prophet of God, aptly captured it as the great day of the LORD, when God would take vengeance against Satan the devil and all forces of unrighteousness. – Zephaniah 1:14 -18.
And Jesus Christ called it the great tribulation which no man had witnessed and after it, there will not be any of its kind again the world. – Matthew 24:21.
It is important for everyone to understand the signs of the times in order to work according to the purpose of God. Hence Christ admonishing his followers said: “Watch ye therefore and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man”. – Luke 21:34 –36.
In conclusion, Apostle Peter advised us in this wise: “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer”. – 1 Peter 4:7
WHAT IS SALVATION?
SALVATION is the greatest reward a true worshipper expects to receive from God Almighty. It means complete deliverance from sin and its consequences including death.
Salvation is for those who believe in God and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ and who worship Him in truth. Hence the Bible says salvation belongeth to God. Psalm 68:20 and Christ said: “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” – John 6: 47.
When the jailer of the prison asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved, they answered: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” – Acts 16:30, 31.
But it is NOT just the moment one believes in Jesus Christ that one is instantaneously saved neither does mere acceptance of Christ as one’s personal saviour qualify one for salvation.
A person is saved when the Almighty God through Jesus Christ gives him everlasting life as the Scriptures say: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. – Romans 6: 23.
Salvation is a highly and purely spiritual matter different from the ordinary usage which implies deliverance or preservation from danger, misfortune. Statements like John saved Mary from drowning in the river are made every time.
The granting of eternal life to anyone is not within the power of any mortal but it is the prerogative of the Almighty God. – Psalm 3: 8; 68: 20).
It is a plain truth of the Scriptures that salvation is the ULTIMATE reward of those who keep the faith of Christ Jesus zealously, steadfastly and faithfully till the end. Any Christian believer who later turns to be an apostate having caused his faith to be overthrown, is not worthy of salvation. This is why stress is always laid on steadfastness in the service of the Lord. Jesus Christ himself said: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” – Matthew 24: 12, 1 3.
If a person is saved or has everlasting life the very moment he believes and accepts Christ, there will be no point of ENDURING TILL THE END. St. Peter said: “Receiving the END of your faith, even the SALVATION of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you.” (1 Peter. 1: 9, 10) It is an illusion, therefore, for anybody to say or believe that he is already saved merely because he accepts Jesus Christ.
Even the early apostles of Jesus Christ were not saved instantaneously or given everlasting life as soon as they believed. Eternal life is a reward which God promised to give the faithful in His Kingdom of endless bliss.
If those who believed in Christ in his days on earth were given everlasting life or salvation in their time they would not have died.
The statement of Jesus Christ – “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life”- means more than the superficial interpretations some give it.
First, the belief must be genuine based on the unadulterated TRUTH of Christ because it is the express will of God that all those to be saved must “come unto the knowledge of the truth”. – 1 Timothy 2:3, 4.
Jesus said: “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” “And ye shall know the truth, and the TRUTH shall make you free.” – John 14:6; 8: 32.
Any belief therefore that is built on false doctrines cannot lead to salvation.
Second, the belief must be coupled with Christ-like virtues such as love, faith, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and so forth, which are “the fruit of the Spirit”. A believer who is an idolater or who indulges in stealing, fornication, adultery, witchcraft, bribery and such like, is unworthy of the grace of salvation. (1 Corinthians 6:9,10; Galatians 5:19-21) He has NOT repented. He has NOT accepted Christ. – 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Third, the belief must be constant and unwavering – not for a while but till the end. “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;” said St. Paul. (Hebrews 3:14) Furthermore, he stated: “If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” – Hebrews 10:38, 39.
And fourth, the belief must be demonstrated by works of love and righteousness in support of the faith. James the apostle said: “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?…Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils (and nominal Christians) also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD ALSO.” – James 2: 14-26.
When St. Paul said, “For by grace are ye saved through faith…not of works…” he did not mean that salvation could be obtained in a cheap manner without working to merit it. – Ephesians 2:8, Titus 2:11-14 and Philippians 2:12.
In the light of the Scriptures explained, it will be tantamount to self-deception for anyone to think that he is already saved for having made a mere oral confession of repentance of his sins or acceptance of Christ. Salvation is not as simple and as easy to obtain. It is by the grace of God.