ON the first Sunday of October every year the God’s Kingdom Society commemorates the birth of the Beloved Son of God Almighty, Jesus Christ the Righteous, as FREEDOM DAY. His birth in Bethlehem about 2,000 years ago marked a turning-point in the history of the human race.
Freedom day is not an occasion for riotous merry-making but that for sober reflections on the goodness of God for sending Jesus Christ to this evil world for the spiritual emancipation of His lost sheep. It is an occasion for meditating on the significance of the mission of Christ on earth, and for self-examination as to whether we are living up to the expectation of the Lord.
The celebration is always marked by divine services held in all branches of the GKS, and the President, Brother E. T. Otomewo, usually sends a written message that is read and explained during the services.
The following is the full text of the Freedom Day Message of the President this year:-
Members and Friends,
HAIL JEHOVAH AND JESUS CHRIST!
On this glorious occasion of the commemoration of the auspicious birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the greatest Advocate of freedom who has ever lived on this earth, I send you all my hearty Christian greetings and wish you the Lord's blessings and protection!
As many of you know, we of the God's Kingdom Society (GKS) hail the Almighty God whose name is Jehovah, and Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, because it is They only that can truly save as recorded in Psalm 3:8; Isaiah 45:21,22; John 17: 3; Acts 4:10-12; Revelation 7: 9-17.
Through the frequent criticisms of the GKS and some others, many people are now aware of the fact that Jesus Christ was not born in December but in October. I do not intend to go into details now on this issue. But suffice it to say that there is no authentic history or Bible record which says that Jesus Christ was born on December 25. Even the Roman Catholic Church has agreed with the GKS at last on this matter. A Roman Catholic magazine, The Catholic Voice, had this to say in its issue of July 1962:
"The Gospels do not mention any date for the birth of Christ. We do not know the date of Christ's birth, not even the year in which He was born. We celebrate the feast of Christ's birth, on the 25th of December at least in the Western Church. The Eastern Catholic Church celebrates the same feast on the 6th of January. These dates are not based on historical evidences of the exact date of Christ's birth. The 25th of December was chosen to celebrate Christmas in the third century. . . " (Page 110)
We shall treat the subject about the date of Christ's birth in due course and have it published in The Weekly Sermon.
THE GOLDEN RULE
The theme of my message for the Freedom Day this year, 1968, is drawn from the remarkable and famous statement of Jesus Christ at Luke chapter 6, verse 31, to wit: "And As Ye Would That Men Should Do To You, Do Ye Also To Them Likewise." This has been described as the Golden Rule, which, if followed or observed by men, will certainly bring peace and harmony to the world and thus fulfil to the letter the blessing of "peace and good will" bestowed upon mankind when Jesus Christ was born in: Bethlehem. On that memorable occasion, the angels of heaven chanted in praise of God, saying:
“...Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." - Read Luke 2: 8-14.
It is clear from what we see among men and in the so-called Christian nations and/or countries of the world that the majority of the people-even among those professing Christianity-do not know Jesus Christ. In other words, they neither understand the teachings of Christ nor his way of life. Indeed, Jesus himself said: "Not everyone 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." - Matthew 7: 21.
Christianity means more than oral declarations or mere attendance at services on Sundays. It must be practised in the sense of absolute submission to Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and men, and keeping his commandments.
Jesus Christ preached the truth of God's word faithfully, uncompromisingly and fearlessly. He was sincere, humble, kind, forthright and godly. He loved his sheep, and for their sake he laid down his life as a ransom. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends," said he. (John 15: 14).
Christ hated hypocrisy and he warned his disciples: "...Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." (Luke 12: 1) But today we find that hypocrisy has become the common habit of some people who claim to be Christ’s representatives or followers.
Where there is hypocrisy, the Golden Rule of "do ye also to them as ye would that they should do to you", becomes meaningless. We have heard of some pastors or religious leaders who, after warning their flocks against adultery, go in the dark or in some secret corners to seduce and commit adultery with the wives of some of their followers. Some of these evil acts, as alleged, take place when the women go to the priests to make confessions, or to receive "holy" communion, or to ask for prayers.
Naturally, any or the priests who indulges in such iniquitous acts, if married, Will not want his wife to be defiled by anyone; yet he has the devilish courage to do to people what he would not want others to do to him!
You as a father will not want your daughter to be beaten up by her husband who is your son-in-law, as some often do, but you mercilessly flog your wife, another man's daughter, in your home even for petty domestic misunderstandings! Do you, by so doing, observe the Golden Rule as laid down by Jesus Christ? Certainly not!
Your son or daughter or brother or sister just from school with the School Certificate - perhaps with a first division pass - goes to a prospective employer or a personnel manager for employment. He or she passes the interview creditably and proves competent in every respect for the job but he or she would not be employed UNLESS your son or brother offers a bribe of £20, or your daughter or sister gives up herself to be carnally defiled. No doubt, you will not be pleased - and no godly person will ever be pleased - with such an incident. But this is exactly what some people do to others, yet they call themselves Christians!
Moreover, you as an individual will be displeased if someone slanders or back-bites you, yet many Christians so-called slander their fellow Christians. The God's Kingdom Society has often been made an object of deliberate misrepresentations, slander and reproaches by her detractors who also (profess to be Christians.
The evils done by people are so many that one cannot enumerate all of them especially in an address such as this. Anyone who does what is bad knows in his conscience that he is doing evil; and the guilty conscience has a way of tormenting one. Indeed, John the apostle of Jesus Christ said: "For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God."-1 John 3: 20, 21.
Those who do to others what they do not want others to do to them are not fit to hold public offices, and if they claim to be Christians, they are of the type concerning who m Jesus Christ, quoting Isaiah the prophet, said: "This people draw nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me." - Matthew 15: 7, 8.
Yes, all such ones - bogus Christians they are - are a reproach to Jesus Christ and except they repent of their evil deeds they shall lose all their ill-gotten gains and suffer destruction from God in the end, for giving cause for the ungodly to reproach God and His church.- Isaiah 3: 11; Romans 2: 24. 25; Galatians 6: 7. 8.
As earlier stated in this message, God through His angels, blessed mankind with peace and goodwill when Jesus Christ was born. (Luke 2:14) But the fact that the whole world does not enjoy this peace and the nations are hardly of any genuine goodwill towards one another shows clearly that man has gone far away from the path of peace having, like as in the days of Noah before the flood, sunk deep into the ocean of sin. The fact of this is obvious as could be seen in the carnality and godlessness of men the world over.
The speed at which our present generation is running after sin is rising so high that there is cause for fear that it will surpass the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah because of which those cities were utterly wasted. And God warned that the fate of the sinners in Sodom and Gomorrah should serve as an example to those who love sin. - 2 Peter 2: 4-10.
Nevertheless, as God has never left Himself without a witness, there are men and women on earth today who serve Him in truth. They appreciate the fact that Jesus Christ died for their sins. This they know does not mean that they should continue to sin, but that they should deny "ungodliness and worldly lusts" and "Jive soberly, righteously, and godly, in this pre- sent world ..." - Titus 2: 11-14.
Before I conclude, I will not fail to emphasize that the essence of the Golden Rule is bound up in one word - CHARITY. And charity is LOVE. This is the virtue without which no one can successfully translate the Golden Rule into action. The truth of this will be more appreciated if we lay to heart the statement of St. Paul that "he who loves his neighbour has satisfied every claim of the law". He added: "For the commandments, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet', and any other commandment there may be, are all summed up in the one rule, 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' Love cannot wrong a neighbour; therefore the whole law is summed up in love." -Romans 13: 8-10, New English Bible.
Amplifying on the excellence of charity or love over all other gifts, the apostle, in his first letter to the Christians at Corinth, stated: "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh not evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things…. An now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” – 1 Corinthians chapter 13.
Truly, if we do unto others what we want them to do to us, there will be “peace, good will” and harmony everywhere in the world.