DAY ONE »
ACTING PRESIDENT GKS POINTS THE WAY *TO PEACE
The Christian Feast of Tabernacles started successfully yesterday with the Acting GKS President Brother Felix Adedokun asserting that the solution to the troubles of the world was for mankind to return to God and do things in His fear so that He will bless them with His peace.
Addressing members from the four zones in Warri and environs who assembled at the GKS Grand Stand in Salem City Warri for the first day morning activities, the GKS Acting President referred to the words of God as recorded in Jeremiah 6:16 in which He directed the people to stand in the ways, “and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls…”
He said that because of the lack of the fear of God in many people, “there is so much selfishness, greed, killing, injustice and oppression all over the land” adding that, in line with Bible prophecies men “are lovers of their own selves … 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; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof…” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) According to him, the perils that stare us in the face on a daily basis confirm to us the more that we are in the last days, “when the wicked shall do wickedly” and when “perilous times shall come”. – Daniel 12:10; 2 Timothy 3:1-5..
“In this age of the in-gathering of God’s people into His Kingdom Organizations in different parts of the world, we the sheep of God, even if we are scattered abroad, (John 11:52) should always look to JEHOVAH the Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ, – the Greater and More Perfect Tabernacle”. We should “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and … run with patience the race that is set before us”, he said adding that “When we do so, then the promised rain as well as the peace of God which passes all understanding will be our lot by His grace”. – John 16:33.
According to Brother Adedokun, the Feast of Tabernacles is yet another opportunity “for all to hear the word of God and do righteousness, inspite of the odds that surround us”, warning that the interest of celebrants in the Feast of Tabernacles should not be merely the social aspect of eating and drinking, or of singing and dancing – but in acquiring the knowledge of God so as to grow in righteousness the more, citing Zephaniah 2:1-3 and Deuteronomy 31:12, 13.
Since street processions could not take place because of COVID-19 restrictions, representatives of the four zones in Warri, had to assemble in Salem City to present their gifts to the Lord’s Ministry after which they dispersed.
After the exhortation by the Acting President, members and groups in the four zones of Warri came out in their numbers to present their offerings to God, with joy. The four Sister’s Groups in Warri – Elizabeth, Phebe, Ruth and Sarah – gave substantial amounts to support the ministers’ building project, for Internet evangelism and the work of God generally.
Publicity Secretary, GKS
REPORT OF THE CHRISTIAN FEAST OF TABERNACLES 2021 – DAY ONE
OF WHAT RELEVANCE IS THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES TO MANKIND IN THIS AGE?
by Brother Andrew I. Okocha.
The ordinance regarding the Feast of Tabernacles is recorded in Leviticus 23:33-43, among other places. Among the provisions of the law are that the celebrants should hold holy convocations on the first day and last days (the eight day) and observe them as Sabbaths. They should make offerings to the Lord, dwell in booths, made of the branches and leaves of goodly trees, as a memorial to the fact that their forefathers dwelt in booths while they were travelling in the wilderness, from Egypt to Canaan.
In Deuteronomy 16:13-17 God directed that those who come to the Feast should not come empty-handed in that “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee”. It is thus a festival of thanksgiving and of rejoicing. It is also made clear that there should be no exception as to those who could attend the Feast, in that strangers and servants among them are required to be present – “in the place which the LORD shall choose”.
The most important aspect of the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles is the reading of the law of God to the people “men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it”. – Deuteronomy 31:10-13.
The speaker recalled the days when the Jews were in Babylonish captivity for 70 years after which, on their return, they came across the ordinance concerning the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. (Nehemiah 8:8-12, 14-18) The zeal with which they observed it was phenomenal “for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness”. – Nehemiah 8:17.
He said in this age of the last days when men’s hearts are failing them for fear due to religious, political and economic troubles, God Almighty has ordained that the Feast of Tabernacles should be observed annually as a means through which His people will be gathered into His holy mountain where they will be saved in His Kingdom when fully established.
Our Lord Jesus Christ gave the example to all Christians by participating actively the celebration of the Feast in his days on earth. He even taught the people to the amazement of one and all. – John 13:15,16; 7:2,14-17,37, 38.
It is evident therefore that the Feast of Tabernacles is of great relevance to Christians. Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, the seed of Abraham, all Christians are spiritual Jews, meaning that the laws of God should be observed by Christians to the extent that they had been amended by Jesus Christ, who has brought grace and truth to mankind. (Romans 2:28,28,29; 9:6-9; 3:23,24) He is the Tabernacle of God now among men. – Isaiah 33:20; Hebrews 8:1, 2; 9:11-14; 10:10-13; Revelation 21:1-3.
Reference was also made to the prophecy in Zechariah 14:16-19 where God Almighty made a clear-cut injunction that makes it imperative for all people, even unbelievers, to observe the Feast of Tabernacles. In view of this command by God and the fact that Jesus Christ celebrated it, no one can gainsay the assertion that the Feast is of great relevance to Christians.
However, because of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, we longer make animal sacrifices as was the case in the time of old. – 2 Corinthians 3:5,6,17; Hebrews 10:10-13; John 1:16,17,29.
The preacher caused to be read 1 Corinthians 5:7,8 that we should put aside personal differences and observe the Feast with clean minds. “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” See also Matthew 5:23,24; Luke 11:4; Matthew 18:24,25; Psalm 51:7,10,14,15; Acts 24:15,
Feast of Tabernacles First Day, Second sermon:
The New Jerusalem
by Brother Preye Chukwudi
Literally, Jerusalem is the capital of the nation of Israel. Jerusalem was the place where the people of Israel resorted for their major Feasts – the Feast of Passover, (unleavened Bread), the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles . – Deuteronomy 16:16.
Jerusalem was originally known as Jebus, the original inhabitants being the Jebusites, until it was conquered by King David and made his capital city. (2 Samuel 5:6-10) But because of the disobedience of the Jews, the city was taken by their enemies several times. Their conquerors included King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Egyptians, Alexander the Great, (the Greeks), and the Romans. See 2 Chronicles 36:1-7.
At the time Jesus was born the Jews were being ruled by Herod, an appointee of the Roman empire. Because they persisted in disobedience to the truth, when Jesus was on earth he cursed Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37-39 to the end that time would come when the city would be pillaged and desolated. (Matthew 23:37-39) He also said concerning Jerusalem: “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24) This prophecy was fulfilled when the Romans sacked Jerusalem in AD 70. The nation no longer existed until 1948 when the nation of Israel was reborn.
The New Jerusalem is the Kingdom of God, of which Jesus Christ is head and King, with the saints as his cabinet members. The “New Jerusalem” is the place people of goodwill will come to hear the truth and get His favour and blessings and salvation by His grace. (Isaiah 2:3, 4) In Galatians 4:22-31 Apostle Paul made us to understand that Jerusalem in Palestine, answers to Hagar, the bondwoman but that Christians are not the children of the slave woman but of the free woman, Sarah. “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all….”
Even the fathers of the natural Jerusalem looked forward to the kingdom to come, the New Jerusalem, not to literal Jerusalem. They “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God”. He added: “For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:10-16. See also Isaiah 33:20,24) Indeed, “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” – Hebrews 13:14.
The people of God seek His kingdom to come because of the precious promises He had made to His people. In Isaiah 33:24, we are told that “the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity”. The new Jerusalem will be in peace, unlike what is happening in Jerusalem in Palestine. He also made reference to Isaiah 65:17-19: “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.” No scientific effort can bring about concord between man and animals and universal peace on earth. But this would be possible in the New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21:1-4 the Bible says: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband …And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
We pray God to help us to run the race to the end so as to enter the New Jerusalem. “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven .from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” – Revelation 3:12. Compare Revelation 21:27
DAY TWO »
If God is not a person, how is man the image of God?
By Bro. Owhotu K. Iriferi
The word god is from the Hebrew word elohim, which means mighty or powerful one. In the context of this sermon it is the Almighty God JEHOVAH that is being referred to. This was the name by which God revealed Himself Moses, though to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob He made Himself known to them as the Almighty God. (Exodus 6:3; Genesis 17:1) In Genesis 2:7, it is said that when God breathed into man the breath of life, he became a living soul. Thus, man is a creature made by the Almighty God. The word image means the imitation of the outward appearance of a person or an object.
So many people do not know God. Some say He is everywhere. They cite Jeremiah 23:23,24, where it is stated that God fills heaven and earth. They also misunderstand the statement in John 4:24, where it is written that God is a spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. In their fertile imaginations as to what God looks like people have over the years descended to the point of making various images, idols of “silver and gold, the work of men’s hands” which they worship, believing them to be representations of God Almighty. These are vain things that cannot help anybody. See Isaiah 37:17; Jeremiah 10:10; Psalm 115:4-8; Acts 17:24,25.
If people read the Bible with open and sincere minds they will not be in the dark as to what God Almighty looks like. In Genesis 1:26, 27 it is written: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” If God created in the image of God is a person, then it goes without saying that God is a person.
When St. Paul went to Athens he made them to understand that since we are the children of God, we ought not to think that God Almighty has any other shape than that of a person. He asserted: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” (Acts 17:28-30) David the Psalmist asked: “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? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know? The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.” – Psalm 94:8-11.
The fact is that the Almighty God “the true God, the living God, and an everlasting king” (Jeremiah 10:10) is a spirit being of the highest order. What some do not know is that spirits have bodies, St. Paul says “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:44) That God is a spirit does not mean He does not have shape or form. Micaiah the prophet 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) What he reported in effect is that God is a person. Moreover Ezekiel the prophet saw God in vision and stated that he saw, sitting on the throne, “the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it” and that “from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward” was “the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about …” He added that this was “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD”. – Ezekiel 1:26-28.
For us to be blessed by God Almighty we should do His righteousness as He will punish those who fail to do so.. – Amos 9:1, 2; Isaiah 41:10,11; Psalm 3:8.
The Purpose of the second presence of Jesus Christ
Brother Theophilus T. Iwoh
Many people today are still waiting to see Jesus Christ in human form – as he came in his first advent. Apostle Paul gave us the reason why Christ came in flesh as stated in Hebrews 2:14,15, which was to die for the redemption of mankind. Having fulfilled that duty, he will not take human form again. – Hebrews 2:14, 15.
It is because Jesus Christ will not be seen physically in the world anymore that he declared: “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” (John 14:19) This prompted the question in verse 22 to wit: “…Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” (John 14:22) Evidently, the apostles had the knowledge, even at the first advent of Christ that his coming would be spiritual.
This age of the second presence of Jesus Christ is one of the most significant periods in the history of the human race. It involves a time Apostle Peter says is the time of the restitution of all things. (Acts 3:19-21) This work involves critical events like the resurrection of the saints, the choosing of the remnant, the setting up of God’s Kingdom Organizations in different parts of the world, the gathering of God’s people, judgment of the living and the dead, the glorification of the church. resurrection of the dead, the destruction of all forces of unrighteousness and salvation for the faithful.
These do not require Christ’s physical presence. He is already with us in spirit and is focusing his attention on what is happening on the earth. – Psalm 145:18; Matthew 18:20; Revelation 21:3.
The first set of people to receive their reward during Christ’s Second presence are the saints, also known as the Little Flock, the Church of the First born, the lamb’s wife, etc. (Hebrews 12:22,23; Revelation 19:7,8; 21:9) These are the people Christ was talking to in Luke 22:28-30, who will sit om thrones and drink with him in his Kingdom, “judging the twelve tribes of Israel”. See also 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.
A text many today misinterpret, taking it to be their authority for their teaching on rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, which says: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (that is, precede) them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” In other words, those of the remnant who are alive in this age will not go to heaven first before the apostles who had died earlier. Jesus Christ, the chief of the angels of God in heaven, will raise the dead with the authority of the Father, and those who belong to the first resurrection will rise first. Those of the remnant who remain until the final end of this evil world, will change from their mortal state to immortality. Clearly Christ was addressing the apostles, not every believer. See 2 Timothy 4:6-8.
Another work Christ will perform in this age of his second presence is the setting up of the kingdom, in line with Matthew 13:31,32: One of such remnants is St. G. M. Urhobo, the vessel of honour used by God to establish the God’s Kingdom Society. He received his commission in February 1933.
Jesus Christ has also come to judge the people. he is using the word of God to do so. (John 12:48) He is separating them as sheep from the goats The words of God which we preach is the judgment of God now going on. One who believes the truth shows himself as a sheep of God but one who hears but opposes it, rejects or ignores or reproaches it deliberately is showing himself as part of the evil servant class.- 2 Timothy 4:1; Matthew 25:31-46.
Another purposes is to punish and destroy the wicked and begin his millennial reign. (Matthew 13:41,42) The wicked will suffer torment, anguish and suffering, symbolized as fire, before destruction will meet them. – Romans 2:5,6,8, 11; 16:20; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 6:16,17; 9:6; Zephaniah 1:14-18; Revelation 20:1-3.
Christ will put the devil in the grave first before his 1000 years reign. This is the time for general resurrection and for the reconstruction of the earth. After the 1000 years reign Christ will bring the devil from the grave to see the glorified earth. He will not repent but will want to deceive the nations again but the anger of God symbolized as fire will destroy him for ever. Thereafter Christ will hand over the Kingdom to God ”that God may be all in all”. – 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.
DAY THREE »
FEAST OF TABERNACLES 2021: DAY THREE SERMONS
Who is the head of the Church?
By Brother Progress Ayikimi, Station Minister GKS Lagos Zone
The question of who is the head of the church, that is, the congregation of God’s worshippers through Jesus Christ, is of great significance to worshippers of God the world over.
Some people believe and teach that St. Peter is the head of the Church and the chief of the apostles and that the popes are the successors of St. Peter. Question 88 of A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, says: “How do you know that Christ appointed St. Peter to be Head of the Church? The answer given is “I know that Christ appointed St. Peter to be the Head of the Church because Christ said to him ‘Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. And to thee I will give the key of the kingdom of heaven’.
A careful reading of the citation under reference, Matthew 16:13-16, shows that when Jesus Christ asked his disciples, “But whom say ye that I am?” it was Simon Peter who answered correctly saying “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”. For this, Christ blessed him saying “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Obviously, when Jesus said, “Thou art Peter”, he was referring to St. Peter as the second person. But when he continued by saying “and upon THIS rock”, the Saviour was no longer referring to St. Peter but to himself. Else he would have said ” upon thee, the rock, I will build my church”. So when the said, “and upon THIS rock”, he was making reference to himself the Son of God, as the one upon whom the Church would be built. Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:4, made it clear that it is on Christ the Church is built. “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” Also, in Psalm 118:22,23 and Isaiah 28:16 references are made to “the precious corner stone” on which the people of God would repose their trust. “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.” (Psalm 118:22, 23) “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:16) Apostle Peter on an occasion when the Jewish leaders were asking by what means they healed a lame man at the gate called “beautiful”, declared: “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” – Acts 4:10-12.
Citing 1 Corinthians 3:11, where St. Paul wrote that “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11) the speaker said that to say that the church is built on Peter is a big lie.
Though among the apostles St. Peter was the most outspoken, his name meaning “stone”, notwithstanding, other faithful servants of God are also stones. St. Peter himself wrote: “Come to Christ, who is the living Foundation of Rock upon which God builds; though men have spurned him, he is very precious to God who has chosen him above all others. And now you have become living building-stones for God’s use in building his house. What’s more, you are his holy priests: so come to him – [you who are acceptable to him because of Jesus Christ] and offer to God those things that please him. As the Scriptures express it, “See, I am sending Christ to be the carefully chosen, precious Cornerstone of my church, and I will never disappoint those who trust in him.” – Living Bible. This is additional proof that Christ is the stone on which the church is built.
The fact is that if God Almighty or Jesus Christ made St. Peter the head of the apostles, there would have been no need for them to argue about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of God. “Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” – Luke 9:46-48. See also Mark 9:33-38.
Also, when the mother of the two sons of Zebedee, met Christ seeking that her two sons be made to sit on his right and left hands in his kingdom, he told her she did not know what she was asking for. “And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.” The point is that if it was already understood among the apostles at that time that St. Peter would be the head of the Church, the Saviour would have told them immediately that the position of pre-eminence among the apostles had been reserved for St. Peter.
Moreover, seeing that the ten other apostles, misunderstood his response, he “called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant…” – Matthew 20:20-28.
If our Lord Jesus Christ had made St. Peter the first among equals or head of the apostles, he would have said so on this occasion, not just exhorting them that the person who would be chief among them should be their servant.
What is more? Apostle Paul hits the nail on the head as far as this matter is concerned in the following quotations: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” – Ephesians 5:22-24.
“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” – Colossians 1:15-18.
These texts leave no one in doubt that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church. No one has the right to bend the word of God to suit his own purpose. “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:1-2.
Rapture as seen through the Holy Bible
Brother Patrick Ekireghwo, Station Minister, GKS Warri/Uveiw and Udu/Ughievwen
Rapture is said to be derived from a latin word “rapturo” which means “caught up”.
Many people believe that time is coming when our Saviour Christ, in fulfillment of his promise, will take the faithful out of this world, and that they would “caught up” with him in heaven. Some have even set dates for rapture. One was 1988, another 1989 and then 2000 was also predicted. But, as we know, all this turned out to be false. Isaac Newton, a mathematician and philosopher, even predicted that rapture will take place in the year 2060, 39 years from now. Rapture has become an article of faith among many who profess the Christian faith even though many of those who believe in it admit it is not in the Bible.
Some time ago in Nigeria and some West African countries, there was an almanac carrying an artist’s impression of rapture. It had drawings of a bank cashier abandoning his customers waiting to be attended to, and rising upwards; there was also the case of commercial driver with a full load of passengers down, rising out the car window to meet the Lord. (One could imagine the fate of passengers in the car!) Another impression was that of a woman with a mortar and pestle, rising from the kitchen to meet the Lord in the air. The almanac sold well because of those drawings of mere imaginations which they themselves admit is not in the Bible.
The main text those who teach rapture hold on is 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 which says: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
When Apostle Paul used the pronoun “we” he was talking of himself and those of his class; he was not referring to everybody. Many people do not know that there are two categories of Christians: the Apostles Class and the other Sheep class. (Luke 6:12,13; John 10:16; 1 John 3:2) Apostle Paul was saying in the text that those of the apostles who are alive at the time of Christ’s second presence, will not go to heaven before those who are dead, as those apostles who had died before Christ came would rise first. Jesus Christ is the Lord in the text.
The rapture doctrine is based on the belief that Christ would appear physically for all eyes to see him. Thus, if it could be proved from the Bible that Christ is coming physically to receive the faithful, then the doctrine could hold water; but if not, the entire structure of the doctrine will crumble. Bible understanding shows however, that Christ’s second presence will not visible to human eyes. He himself declared in John 14:19,22: “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” “Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” (John 14:19, 22) Also, when in John 14:1-3, Christ promised the apostles that he would come back to take them to heaven, he was not talking to all his disciples but to the apostles only. This is evident from the verses preceding John 14:1-3, which is, John 13:33,36.
The statement of St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:16, show that Jesus Christ will not take flesh and blood again to be seen by men. The account of Revelation 1:7 where it is said “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him…”, cannot be used to support physical presence in that when Christ is said to be coming with the cloud, it only means his coming will be invisible to human eyes. The text is thus not literal but figurative. Since it is clear Christ is not coming to be seen by men again, the bottom is knocked off the doctrine of rapture. In fact, it was because his presence will be spiritual the apostles asked for signs of his arrival or presence. – Matthew 24:3, 7, 8.
Those who believe in rapture have not taken account of the fact that heaven is meant exclusively for spirit persons or celestial bodies as opposed to terrestrial or earthly bodies. (1 Corinthians 15:40, 44, 49-52) Thus, no human being can go to heaven. St. Paul explained: “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” – 1 Corinthians 15:49-52.
That apart, the rapture doctrine says that men and women will all go to heaven. But the Bible shows that women are not going to heaven. (Ecclesiastes 7:27,28) Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:5,6, are texts to show that those of the heavenly class would be kings and priests, – not queens and priestesses. It is the saints alone God has purposed to go to heaven, not everyone. Thus, the promise regarding who would sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel as stated in Luke 22:28-30, applies to the apostles.
It should be borne in mind that heaven is the abode of God Almighty and His angels. It is the earth God has made for man to dwell in. The Bible says that God has made this earth for man to dwell in. “The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” (Psalm 115:16-18) But the rapture doctrine says the righteous will go to heaven while the wicked will go to hell. So who will be on earth? Human beings for whom the earth was created. God Almighty says: “I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.” – Isaiah 45:12, 18.
The Kingdom of God is the hope of His worshippers. When Adam and Eve were made, in their perfect condition, they were not in heaven. That Edenic condition could have expanded to the entire earth but for devil’s interference. If man was not in heaven in his perfect state, is it now in his sinful state man will be in heaven? The accounts of Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalm 37:9-11 and Matthew 5:5 show that the meek, that is, the faithful, will be on earth. And in Revelation 21:1-5 Apostle John said he saw the Kingdom of God descending from God out of heaven, obviously, to this earth. He then goes on to list the beauties of the Kingdom.
Again, since Jesus Christ will not come again in flesh, having done so in his first advent to save mortal man, he will not do so again, as stated in Hebrews 2:14,15. John 8:31, 32.
From the points so far adduced it is clear that the doctrine of rapture is not true according to the Bible.
Publicity Secretary, GKS
DAY FOUR »
DAY FOUR OF THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES: SERMON
Is it by wealth and multitude of worshippers that one determines godliness and true faith?
By Brother Abraham Erha
The speaker based his talk primarily on the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:13-27, which he explained point by point.
In the text, our Saviour spoke of two ways: the strait and narrow gate and the wide or broad way. The strait gate is so designated because it is the way of truth and righteousness, where there is righteousness, orderliness and decency. The sins which God warns His children to refrain from and all sorts of evils are practiced in the broadway. Those in the broad way do not submit themselves to correction or discipline, and like to serve God in accordance with their own likes or dislikes. The broadway is controlled by the devil whose activities have multiplied in this age, and who is bent on ensuring that no one worships God Almighty. He creates the impression that God Almighty is not all-powerful.
The broad way accommodates false teachers, false prophets, and miracle workers whose stock-in -trade are signs and lying wonders. Such ones find the broadway a convenient place to practice their deceit. They preach false doctrines. The broad way has room for lawless characters and wicked people. It is from what they preach that one knows therefore those who are of the truth faith and those who are not. Our Saviour says: “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-18) Because God’s truth which cleanses one, and instills spiritual discipline are absent, many rush into it. It should not be surprising that the broad way leads to destruction.
Our Saviour then gave us his disciples a stern warning to avoid false prophets. He said: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”(Matthew 7:15,19, 20) These false prophets populate the broad way and give the impression that they are sent by God and many people follow. We should not be taken in by their false claims. Rather we should prove their claims to know if they are true or not. Apostle John asserts “that no lie is of the truth”. – 1 John 2:21.
On the other hand, the narrow way is where right doctrines of God or the truth of God’s word are found. It is the truth that gives true freedom, as our Saviour stated in John 8:31, 32: “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.” There is order, discipline and judgment in the strait gate, the way of salvation. The narrow way is therefore not popular due to its adherence to the principles of Christ, which adherence cleanses one from sin.
The truth is revealed to the saints of God who impart it to people of goodwill. One who is not so taught cannot know the truth. “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:27) Jesus Christ made us to understand that the remnant of the saints would be chosen in this age. They are the ones to impart true knowledge to the people. – Matthew 24:31.
It is therefore the truth that makes one to be godly and which determines whether a faith is true or not, not wealth, or multitude of worshippers
Our Saviour also warned: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 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.” In other words, the false prophets in the broad way use miracles to deceive people, and multitudes do follow them. But the Lord is making it clear that the doing of miracles is no mark of the true servant of God and that such miracle workers will be rejected by him on the day of judgment.
In Matthew 24:3-5, the Lord Christ made us to understand that even before the Last Day comes, many people would present themselves to people to be Christ. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4, 5) The speaker said even our Master Jesus Christ did not emphasize miracles during his advent on earth. Yet these false pastors who claim to be sent by God make so much noise about their ability to perform miracles.
The speaker there stressed that it is not by large crowds, who enrich false pastors that a true faith is known but the preaching of the truth and the doing of the righteousness of God. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” – Matthew 7:24-27.
THE GREAT DAY OF THE LORD IS NEAR
God Almighty had from time immemorial expressed His determination to rid the world of all wicked elements and bring iniquity to an end. This is in keeping with His purpose of always giving sufficient warning before He acts by way of punishing the wicked. One of such texts where God declared that He would destroy the world some day is Zephaniah 1:14, which says: “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. The “Great Day” refers to the time God Almighty would destroy the devil and his hosts, spirits and human. Parallel texts that speak to this fact include Isaiah 28:21; Nahum 1:9; Daniel 12:1 ; Matthew 24:21; Amos 5:18-20.
In Revelation 16:16 reference is made to “the battle of that great day of God Almighty”. The point is also made that it would be a conflict between the forces of God Almighty against the devil and his demons. (Revelation 16:13, 14) Armageddon from the Hebrew “Har-Magedon”, meaning the “mount of Megiddo”, the site of several famous battles, is thus a type for the place of assembly of Jehovah’s troops under the leadership of Christ Jesus. It does not denote a conflict among human beings. Thus, unlike what happened when God destroyed the first world when spirit beings who are working in opposition to God were not destroyed, the battle of the great day, the devil and his hosts, both spirit and human would be killed. – 1 Peter 3:18-21; 2 Peter 2:4.
The declaration that God would use our Lord Jesus Christ to kill the devil and by extension, his organization had long being made by God Almighty in the Garden of Eden while sentence was being passed on satan disguised as a serpent. The pronouncement is made in Genesis 3:15 which says: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The “woman” here referred to is God’s Organization, known as the “New Jerusalem”. See Galatians 4:26; Isaiah 54:5, 6; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Galatians 3: 16. While the devil will persecute the work of God, though he cannot stop it, “the seed of the woman”, Jesus Christ will give the devil a fatal blow in the head and destroy him. See Romans 16:20; Revelation 20:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9.
The book of Zephaniah says the Great Day of the Lord is near. This was centuries ago. How near is it now? Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us the signs that would enable us know the timeline for close of the age. When his disciples asked him the sign of the end of the world, the definitive sign he gave them was that nation would rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and so on. These fulfilled in the First World War of 1914 – 1918. But Christ stopped the war for his elect’s sake in particular and the Other Sheep in general. (Matthew 24:7,8,22) The “short time” the devil has to live is what is called the last days. – Revelation 12:12. It follows therefore that we are within the age when the prophecy in Zephaniah 1:14 regarding the “Great Day of the Lord” would fulfill. But of that day and hour, knows no man. – Matthew 24:36.
Before the final destruction of the devil and his cohorts, there would be a great tribulation when the wicked men and women will be subjected to intense punishment for their sins. (Zephaniah 1:15-18) “And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” (Isaiah 2:19-21. See also Amos 9:1-3; Revelation 6:15, 16) They will seek death but the knowledge of how to kill themselves will be taken from them. (Revelation 9:6) Some of the ways God will use to punish the wicked as listed in Ezekiel 14:12-21, are famine, “noisome beasts”, sword, pestilence,
The Bible says that majority of people living on earth would be destroyed; only few people, relatively speaking, will be left. – Zechariah 13:8, 9; Isaiah 24:6
After the Great Tribulation would be the Battle of the Great of God Almighty when the devil and his hosts and all unrepentant sinners will be destroyed. – Jeremiah 25:32, 33.
What to do? People should use the opportunity they have now to do the will of God. They should not give themselves to surfeiting and cares of this world but should watch and pray always so as to be counted worthy to escape the troubles that would come to pass and to be approved for salvation. – Luke 21:34-36.
“Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you. Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.” – Zephaniah 2:1-3.
Publicity Secretary, GKS
DAY FIVE »
Why worshippers of God should always pray and wait on God – Brother Chika Iheonunekwu, Chairman Administrative Committee, GKS, Umuahia Branch.
For every faithful worshipper of God prayer is key to everything he does. The faithful in time of old have shown us examples of how they made prayer the corner-stone of their lives. One of them was Abraham, the friend of God. He had no child. Though he had a child from Hagar, God still told him he would have a child from Sarah, his first wife. “…And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.” (Genesis 15:1-5) At the appointed, when Abraham was 100 years old, he had Isaac. (Genesis 21:1-5) The example of Abraham highlights the importance of patience. This is central to getting blessings of God. “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” – Hebrews 6:13-15.
Though God Almighty had made it clear that David would be the king of Israel, the position was not given to him immediately, or even on a platter of gold. He had to endure years of persecutions from Saul. But he continued to be prayerful and patient, even as God continued to deliver him miraculously from the hand of Saul. As time went on more people turned over to David, seeing that God was with him, until Saul died and he was made king. (2 Samuel 5:1-5) He declared: “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. – Psalm 40:1, 2.
Another striking case illustrating the power of prayer is that of Hannah. She had no child and was the object of taunts and jests by her mate Peninah. This made her to be very sorrowful, inspite of the efforts of the husband, Elkanah to calm her down and put her at ease. In one of their yearly trips to Shiloh, the centre of worship at that time, Eli the priest saw her praying fervently to God. But only her lips were moving, the words were not audible. The priest, noticing this, wondered whether she was in control of herself, thinking that she was drunk. This wrong impression she calmly and humbly corrected, saying: “Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.” (1 Samuel 1:16) Eli the priest then replied: “Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight.” To show that she had faith in the prayer, the record says that “the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah…” The account says that soon after “the LORD remembered her”, that is, she conceived. (1 Samuel 1:17-19) Hannah had asked for a son and vowed to give him to God. True to the vow which she made, she brought the child to Eli soon after he was weaned and he remained dedicated to God for life, (1 Samuel 1: 26-28) Samuel became a great prophet, Judge and Priest of God by His grace.
Another glaring instance is that Hezekiah. When the Assyrians with their large army and huge arsenal besieged Jerusalem, uttering blasphemous words against God Almighty, Hezekiah took the matter to God in prayer. “And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God. Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands, And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.” (2 Kings 19:14-18) God sent word to Hezekiah not to panic in that He would cause the soldiers to crumble before him. In answer to the prayer, the angel of God smote 185,000 men of the Assyrian army. Humiliated, he had to return to his country in shame. “And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.” – 2 Kings 19:36, 37.
Another case was that of St. Peter who was imprisoned by Herod in his bid to stop the stop the work of the apostles of preaching the gospel. He also was anxious to please the wicked Jews. The Bible record says “prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him”. The night before he was to be handed over for execution, an angel of God released Peter, even though he was “sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison”. Peter was led out of the prison into the city for a while before the angel left him. (Acts 12:1-11) That the brethren prayed continuously for Peter shows the importance of prayer and the deliverance he had shows that there is no condition God cannot deliver one from. Hence the Bible says we should “pray without ceasing”. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
We cannot do without highlighting the deliverance God gave to Paul and Silas while they were in prison for doing the work of God. The Bible says that at midnight, they prayed and sang praises to God and other “prisoners heard them”. “And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” – Acts 16:25-31.
The next day the judges ordered that they should be freed. We should note that Paul and Silas prayed to God for deliverance and God heard the prayer and freed them, the miracle eliciting the conversion of the jailor.
The importance of patience for God to answer our prayers needs to be reiterated. Our Lord Jesus Christ enjoins us in Luke 18:1,2 that we should pray always not faint. He then gave a parable. “There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8) To the question of Christ, there would be some faithful people on earth at his second presence by His grace.
We should look to God no matter the situation because he would always intervene. We should be patient. James 5:7 tells us “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” See also Psalm 62:5-8. We should cast all our burdens on under the mighty hand of God, that he may deliver us from them in due time, because he cares for us. (1 Peter 5:6, 7) We should be “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer”. – Romans 12:12.
Second Sermon: As Christians, we must examine ourselves always
– Brother Olufemi D. Akinwale, Members, Executive Board, GKS.
A Christian is a follower of Christ. It also means being Christ-like. The key word in this sermon is must, meaning a requirement, a directive or something that is mandatory. To examine means to observe, check, inspect. Always means all the time, every time, constantly and continually.
The subject is saying that we who are disciples of Christ should constantly look at our lives spiritually, using the word of God as contained in the Bible as our yardstick to x-ray our spiritual lives. Apostle Paul said all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof and instruction in righteousness.
The sermon is drawn from the charge of St. Paul to the Christians in Corinth in those days to wit: ”Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5) This applies to us, that we need to do routine checks from time to time, as we do in our business concerns, whether we are doing well or not. Spiritually, we should check if we are walking in accordance with the will of God as contained in the Holy Bible, whether we are worthy to be called Christians or not.
Some love to commit sin. They tell a lot of lies. Engage in fraudulent practices, adultery, fornication, idolatry and all kinds of things contrary to the Bible. (1 Corinthians 6:9,10; Galatians 5:19-21) A number of the young ones involve themselves in yahoo, ritual killings, carry unverified stories which they spread; how can such ones still call themselves Christians. Is this expected of true Christians? We need to examine ourselves.
Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:31, 32 states that if judge ourselves then we do not need anyone to judge us, but when we are being corrected it is God Who is chastening us for our own good. We should accept corrections when we err, in that we already know good from bad. “For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them” – Isaiah 59:12.
There is need for us to be very careful in all we do as new creatures or true disciples of Christ. – 2 Corinthians 5:17.
We hear of people who profess Christianity, including pastors so=called who get involved in rituals for the sake of money. it is highly unbecoming. We should be circumspect. “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;” And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1 Peter 4:18; 2 Peter 2:4) When we are determined to do right, God will help us escape the wiles of the devil. (2 Peter 2:9) St. Paul said we should abstain from all appearances of evil and that we should “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God” (1 Corinthians 15:34) There are those who from January to December have never come out to confess their faith. But they are valiant in spreading gossip. The time they should use in getting knowledge, they use it for frivolous things. They forget “that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth”. (Proverbs 19:2) God wants all men to be saved by coming to the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:3, 4.
God hates slanderers. (Psalm 101:5) It is not enough to believe the truth. We must confess it to others for our salvation. (Romans 10:10) If we want God to hear our prayers we should examine ourselves if we are doing the will of God by putting into practice what we know. (John 9:31; Isaiah 59:1) It should be pointed out that God does not want the death of any wicked one but that they should realize their faults and change. (Ezekiel 18:31,32; 2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 33:6) God says: “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” (Ezekiel 18:31-32) That God does not punish immediately does not mean He will not or cannot act; He is only giving people time to hear His word and change. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9.
In summary, we should wait on God and His time and not go before Him. We stay clear from anything that is evil, by having knowledge and examining ourselves ALWAYS – not sometimes or for a time but always for the Bible says: ”Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.” – Psalm 106:3.
Since we shall give account for whatever we do on earth, we should take warning and avoid sin. (Romans 14:12) We should follow the laid-down standards as prescribed so that by the grace of God we shall by His grace be counted worthy of the glorious kingdom or else be prepared to face the consequences: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” – Revelation 22:11, 12.
DAY SIX (Sisters Assembly»
DAY SIX MAIN EVENT »
DAY SEVEN »
THE PURPOSE OF GOD CANNOT BE CHANGED
By Tariola M. Ekiseowei
From Bible understanding it is quite clear to true worshippers of God that nobody, not even Satan or rulers of this world, can change the purpose of God. Many have tried and have failed woefully and the Devil has tried again and again and failed. He will continue to fail.
The fall and the reality of death
Having created the first man, Adam, and given him Eve, God commanded them to multiply and fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:26-28) In Genesis 1:31 God looked at all He had done and saw it was very good. God used His prophet Isaiah to say he had made the earth not in vain but for mankind to inhabit. (Isaiah 45:12,18) However, Satan, the number one enemy of God and man, because of his envy, greed and vaulting ambition, came against God and mankind by causing Adam to disobey the commandments of God, through his wife, by eating the fruit they should not eat. For this, God sentenced Adam and Eve our forbears to death. (Genesis 2:16,17;3:1-19) In Genesis 5:5 we are told that Adam lived for 930 years and died. In Romans 5:12 it is written: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12) Thus, we all, having inherited the sin of Adam, have since then continued to die. (Psalm 89:49; Ecclesiastes 8:12) Clearly, Satan, the deceiver, liar and murderer, has determined that the purpose of God to put perfect men and women on earth to live forever on earth should fail. But this he cannot achieve; for no man can change the purpose of God.”The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: (Isaiah 14:24) Adam and Eve sinned, and are dead. Not even Satan could stop them from dying.
Another instance to illustrate this sermon is the case of Joseph, the 11th son of Jacob. The Bible says Jacob loved him because he was the son of his old age. (Genesis 37, 40, 41, 50) While still young, he dreamed that while he and his brothers were working in the farm, the other ten sheaves stood up and bowed down to him. Again he dreamed, that the sun, the moon and 11 stars bowed down to him. The meaning of the dream was obvious. Intrigued, Jacob had to openly express his curiosity at the oddity of this dream if it becomes a reality. “And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?” (Genesis 37:10) The brothers were highly embittered by these dreams but the father kept it in his heart. When the opportunity availed itself, the brothers conspired against Joseph and sold him into Egypt, where God intervened in that he correctly interpreted the dream of Pharaoh of seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. The Pharaoh commanded that Joseph should be next in rank to him and be in charge of famine-relief, storing food at the time of plenty and ensuring fair distribution to the people in time of scarcity. He was 30 at that time.
The famine affected the land of Canaan, where his parents and brothers were living. And so Jacob told his brothers to go to Egypt to get food. “And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.” (Genesis 42:6) They had to bow down to Joseph, not knowing who was the one, thereby fulfilling the prophecy for which they had so bitterly opposed him. See also Genesis 43:26; 44:14; etc.
In Genesis 50:18 the record says that Joseph later revealed his identity to his brethren and they felt bad for what they had done. “And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Genesis 50:18-20) These were the people who were envious, angry with him and sold him to slavery. It should be pointed out that God used the position of Joseph as governor of Egypt to preserve the line of the Messiah, according to His purpose.
Exodus from Egypt
Earlier in Genesis 15:12-14, God had told Abraham that his children would be in a strange land for 400 years. Time came when “the Pharaoh who knew not Joseph” ruled Egypt. When Moses came to tell him to free the people so that they could go to worship Him, he replied arrogantly, “And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:2) The Egyptians were compelled to allow the Israelites to go after He had afflicted them with ten plagues – boils, frogs, lice, cow sickness, hail, locusts, complete darkness, such that for three days they could not see one another, etc. In Exodus 9:16 God said he raised Pharaoh to show in him His power. When time came, all the first born of Egypt were killed at midnight from that of the king to that of the lowest servant. That same night the person who had said “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go?” was in a hurry to let them go. That very night they left Egypt, about 600,000 men, besides women and children. (Exodus 7, 8,9,10,12: 30-33, 37) But the Pharaoh still pursued them after letting them go, and that was how Pharaoh and his hosts perished in the red sea. – Psalm 106:10-36.
The story of the travails of David the son of Jesse until he became king of Israel also shows that no one can upturn the purpose of God. In their quest for a king, God Almighty gave them Saul. But he was disobedient to the laws of God and was rejected. In his place David was chosen. (1 Samuel 15:11, 26-29;1 Samuel 16:1,13,14) Thereafter, Saul started pursuing David from pillar to post with the mind of killing him but God always delivered David. At a time David even had the chance to kill Saul but he did not do so. Later Saul committed suicide. In spite of Saul, David became king of Israel.” (Acts 13:21, 22; 2 Samuel 5:1-5) Truly, no one can change the purpose of God. In Isaiah 14:27 it is written: “For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?
Nebuchadnezzar, whom Daniel had warned would be turned into an animal for seven years was told to do righteousness and show kindness to the poor so that he could get the mercy of God. But he failed to humble himself. A year later while he was boasting that he had built Babylon by his power, a voice came from heaven and immediately, he was turned to an animal for seven years during which time he was eating grass as oxen. (Daniel 4:28-33) God gave him grace when his senses came to him, and he was restored to his throne, following which he made the following declaration, to wit: “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:34, 35) God has said: “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” –
Those walking against the purpose need to be warned. Balaam was hired to curse Israel he said under inspiration: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) Yes; what God has commanded cannot be reversed.
The ultimate purpose of God is to return man to his edenic condition. Satan had opposed this from time. But Christ came and gave his life for man to attain everlasting life in perfect peace and happiness. (Hebrews 2:9,14,15. Acts 4:10-12) St. Peter tells us that there is no other way to get salvation than through Christ.” Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. – Acts 4:12.
Today, Jesus Christ has been crowned as King of God’s kingdom. The Kingdom has been established in heaven and on earth. One of the remnants of the saints has been chosen, St. G. M. Urhobo, through whom the GKS has been founded, a part and parcel of God’s Kingdom, like any other true Church of God. Has satan been able to stop it? No. What is now left is the full establishment of the Kingdom. Eventually, Satan will be killed and the evil system of things will be wiped away.
The institutions or bodies set up by the world whose brief is to oppose God’s Kingdom and to do what only God will do for His people in His Kingdom, such as the League of Nations and the United Nations Organization, now the United Nations, have failed woefully and will continue to fail in their vain effort to end all wars and bring peace to the earth. See Psalm 2:1-6, 9-12. Eventually, Jesus Christ will destroy all that do not answer to righteousness unless they flee to the mountain. (Psalm 2:9-12) The only remedy is for them to make friends with Jesus Christ by running to his Organization for truth and salvation. In the kingdom of God there will be no tears, crying, or pain – that is the purpose of God and it must fulfill. “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” – Revelation 21:5.
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DAY EIGHT (LAST AND GREAT DAY) »
DIVINE SERVICE ON LAST AND GREAT DAY OF THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES 2021
Sermon: Learn not the way of the heathen”.
Brother Timothy Mazi-Rapu
Who is a heathen? Why are we warned not to learn their ways? What are their ways?
A heathen is one who is not acquainted with God. He is a pagan who believes in the worship of idols and does not reckon with the true God. In Exodus chapter 20 verses three to six are stated the laws of God which make it imperative for His worshippers to be whole-heartedly devoted to Him. It says: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
To prevent them from copying ungodly customs of the heathen, God commanded the Israelites to destroy the people inhabiting the countries they were to inherit. They were commanded not to intermarry with them by taking their daughters to their sons for wives and vice versa. (Deuteronomy 7:1-3) “The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God…” – Deuteronomy 7:25, 26.
Unfortunately, when one goes to certain cathedrals, one will find images which people bow to contrary to the laws of God. That is heathenish practice. A true Christian does not do so. But do some so-called Christians not make sacrifices which they dump at cross roads? Do they not believe in stars and rely on predictions by astrologers on a daily basis? Are some not members of cults and have shrines in their houses or premises where no one else can enter?
In Deuteronomy 18:9-14 God told the Jews: “When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.” See also Leviticus 20:2, 3.
But the children of Israel destroyed some of the people and left some. These becamse a thorn in their flesh and became a snare to them, enticing them with their loose or low moral standards and ungodly religious practices. Because they were not consistent in keeping His commandments but in course of time started mingling with them and worshipping their gods, God was hard on the Jews. Some people today who claim to be Christians are like that. They use satanic books to bamboozle the people, hypnotize them. Please, all such ones should have a change of heart, including witches and wizards. (Exodus 22:17) For “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 12:29) and our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 10:31) As those He had graciously called to do His work we should resist overtures to indulge in mixed worship. “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?” – Isaiah 8:19.
There are worship idols of silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. “They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” – Psalm 115:4-8.
In Jeremiah 10:2 “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.” We all should be very careful how we serve our God. “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” – Galatians 4:8-11.
God has pronounced his judgment against all those who, commit abominable acts, whether old or young, beginning at His sanctuary, from “the ancient men” in His house. – Ezekiel 9:4-10.
We must be very careful as Christians when temptations come by demonstrating strong faith in God, believing we shall overcome by His grace. – Jeremiah 10:4.6,7, 10.