Will morality by popular opinion work? The founding fathers of the United States did not believe so.
Few people have ever heard of a man named Sir William Blackstone. I personally learned about the man while taking an Ethics course during study at Wright State University.
His input was integral to the forming of the United States constitution. The following commentary by Donald R. May describes Sir Blackstone’s important contribution to the formation of United States Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
“The laws of the United States of America are based on moral laws that come from God and not from men. In writing our founding documents and our laws, our Founding Fathers relied heavily on the Bible and Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1771). Blackstone’s legal philosophy stated in his Commentaries was embodied in our Declaration.
“Morals are the foundation of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our laws. Morals are the first line of defense for our society. Morals make most laws unnecessary. When morals fade away, a civilization regresses with a breakdown of family and social structure. The numbers of laws, police, courts, and jails must be increased to replace the absent morals”.
Commentary by Katherine Green Robertson
Freedom from Morality Makes Us Less Free-JUL 4, 2016
A recent poll conducted by Dr. George Barna systematically explored America’s “shift in values.”
Predictably, those polled value comfort, happiness, and acceptance, but they also claim to value independence, control, and freedom.
These same respondents—including six out of seven “born again Christians”—professed a “personalized moral code,” that is, that they believe moral choices should be based on their own feelings.
Only 10% of respondents said that they believe in absolute moral truth.
Tragically, many of those polled seem to miss the direct link between freedom and the foundational morality of America—the cornerstone of our republic.
John Adams wrote to his cousin, “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.”
The Founders knew that no president, nor any number of laws, could ensure the preservation of liberty; that, even in its genius, the Constitution would not be good enough to withstand a national loss of morality. Why?
Because the Constitution established a government that was hands off in order to maximize freedom.
The Founders knew that if the American people did not possess moral character, that if they were irresponsible with their freedom and did not police themselves, then more laws and regulations would be required. They understood that when government grows, freedom shrinks.
Many Americans who say that they desire freedom mean freedom from morality. “Don’t tread on me” has been misshaped into “anything goes,” but this has not led to true freedom.
In fact, an absence of morality weakens our basic freedoms of speech, religion, and enterprise and produces societal problems like the breakdown of the family (which leads to poverty and government dependency), increased crime and addiction (leading to incarceration), and a lack of integrity in business (which leads to costlier regulations)—all losses of freedom.
“Society cannot exist,” Edmund Burke wrote, “unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free.”
The Constitution and our first laws were the embodiment, not the source, of the morality of the Founders. Yet our loathing of absolute morality, combined with the increasing role of government, now leaves us actually looking to laws for adjudging right behavior.
Consider the latest Planned Parenthood debacle: because a loophole in federal law meant that the selling of babies’ body parts was technically legal, this grotesque practice was defended and ultimately undisturbed. Even in Alabama, the supposed heart of the Bible Belt, state leaders have defended poor choices, without regard to morality, by saying that “no laws were broken.”
Undoubtedly, devaluing morality has cost us, not just culturally, but in actual dollars.
Taxpayers spend billions of dollars on prisons and corrections as we protest virtue and morality in the public square.
Government spends billions of taxpayer dollars attempting to care for the poor in ways that rob individuals of purpose and dignity and interfere with community-based benevolence.
We sink billions of dollars into public schools that are essentially asked to make up for the problems caused by the family breakdown, but then refuse to allow them to teach morality or character. Even a century ago, Theodore Roosevelt understood that “to educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”
Our desires for independence and control cannot logically lead us to desire freedom from morality, truth, and virtue. As Patrick Henry put it, “A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles”.
Is Morality Determined by Its Popularity? by Avery Foley on October 13, 2017
Everybody’s Doing It
This new study from the Karolinska Institutet, a medical university in Sweden, found that participants’ view of “selfish and altruistic behaviors changes depending on how common they are.”
The principal investigator for the Swedish study commented,
The fact that a behavior is common doesn’t automatically mean that it’s right—this idea is based on flawed logic that confuses facts with moral values.
This researcher is right: popularity doesn’t equal morality. Yet the idea that the majority determines what’s right and wrong, or that it’s up to the individual, permeates our society. In this view, there are no moral absolutes, just changing tides of public opinion. What’s right today might be wrong next year and vice versa. It leads to shifting sands and a world where everyone does what’s right in his or her own eyes (Judges 21:25) or in the eyes of others.
A More Sure Foundation
Opinions on morality change constantly, often depending on the situation or “what’s in it for me.” But, as believers, we have a firm, unchanging foundation for our morality. When we start with God’s Word, we aren’t prisoners to the changing tide of public opinion. We can stand our ground, knowing what is right and wrong. The principles in God’s Word are timeless and apply to all Christians, in all times, and can be used in all situations.
When a person or a society looks to the Holy Bible as the United States founders attempted to do, they are looking for guidance from a standard above themselves and their imperfections. When one is governed by their own sense of morality, they become a god unto themselves. They judge what is right or wrong based on their personal feelings. Does any of this sound familiar?
1 Now the snake was the most cunning animal that the Lord God had made. The snake asked the woman, “Did God really tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?”
2 “We may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden,” the woman answered,
3 “except the tree in the middle of it. God told us not to eat the fruit of that tree or even touch it; if we do, we will die.”
4 The snake replied, “That’s not true; you will not die.
5 God said that because he knows that when you eat it, you will be like God and know what is good and what is bad.”
6 The woman saw how beautiful the tree was and how good its fruit would be to eat, and she thought how wonderful it would be to become wise. So, she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, and he also ate it. (GNT)
The desire to be like God and to be able to determine what is good and what is bad is what led to the fall of humankind in the first place. In verse 6 we read that this appealed to the woman Eve. And it still appeals to many humans today.
A person doesn’t have to look very far or for very long to see the disastrous effects of moral relativism and morality by popular opinion.
After his baptism by John the Baptist, Jesus Christ was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, to be tempted by the Devil. Jesus fasted there 40 days.
1 Then Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan. He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
2 where he was being tempted by the devil for 40 days. During that time, he ate nothing at all, and when they were over, he became hungry.
3 The devil told him, “Since you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.”
4 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One must not live on bread alone, but on every word of God.’”
5 The devil also took him to a high place and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in an instant.
6 He told Jesus, “I will give you all this authority, along with their glory, because it has been given to me, and I give it to anyone I please.
7 So if you will worship me, all this will be yours.”
8 But Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”
9 The devil also took him into Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the Temple. He told Jesus, “Since you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,
10 because it is written, ‘God will put his angels in charge of you to watch over you carefully.
11 With their hands they will hold you up, so that you will never hit your foot against a rock.’”
12 Jesus answered him, “It has been said, ‘You must not tempt the Lord your God.’”
13 After the devil had finished tempting Jesus in every possible way, he left him until another time.
What can we learn from Luke 4:1-13?
First, it’s a common assumption that what happens in verses 3-12 constitute the devil’s attempt to corrupt Jesus Christ. But, according to verse 2, it was after 40 days of attempting to tempt Jesus to commit a sin that the events of the following verses occurred. So, all the while Jesus was in the wilderness fasting, Satan was repeatedly approaching him with the intent to corrupt him.
Second, note that in these verses, twice Satan refers to Jesus as “the Son of God“.
The devil told him, “Since you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.”
The devil also took him into Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the Temple. He told Jesus, “Since you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,
A third notable thing is what verse 10 states that Satan said:
“because it is written, ‘God will put his angels in charge of you to watch over you carefully”.
These verses show that Satan knew that Jesus wasn’t God. It also makes clear that Satan knew that God and Jesus Christ were two distinct beings.
Also reflect on verses 6 and 7:
6 He told Jesus, “I will give you all this authority, along with their glory, because it has been given to me, and I give it to anyone I please.
7 So if you will worship me, all this will be yours.”
Satan tells Jesus that ” all of this authority” had been “given” to him.
If Jesus were God, would he rather have said “You gave me all of this authority”?
And how could the devil offer Almighty God anything? What did Moses tell the Israelites?
Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it.
What did David say?
The heavens are Yours; the earth also is Yours. The world and everything in it—You founded them.
When Abraham came back from his victory over victory over Chedorlaomer and the other kings aligned against him, Melchizedek who was king of Salem and also a priest of the Most High God is recorded as saying this:
He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of Heaven and Earth;
Satan can’t give God a solitary thing. It has been by God’s allowance that Satan has had a temporary rulership in the kingdom of man. It was Almighty God who as Satan in verse 6 states, gave him what authority he has. But he could attempt to corrupt the Son of God with an opportunity for immediate gratification rather than faithfully waiting until his time to receive authority and rulership.
A fourth important thing to think about can be picked up on when reading Luke 4:1-13. Let’s refer first to the Book of James.
James 1:13 says this about God:
When someone is tempted, he should not say, “I am being tempted by God,” because God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.
It was a different matter for Lord Jesus because he was tested with evil by Satan himself. This was necessary according to God’s plan.
Hebrews 2:14-18 explains why:
14 Therefore, since the children have flesh and blood, he himself also shared the same things, so that by his death he might destroy the one who has the power of death (that is, the devil)
15 and might free those who were slaves all their lives because they were terrified by death.
16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels. No, he came to help Abraham’s descendants,
17 thereby becoming like his brothers in every way, so that he could be a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God and could atone for the people’s sins.
18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
He was to be appointed God’s High Priest and had to be prepared for that role. That Jesus is not God is proven as well by this fact.
The High Priest occupies the Sanctuary and stands before God. This is the biblical pattern. It makes no sense to believe Jesus stands before himself.
One last point is that each time Jesus rebuffed the devil’s attempts to tempt him, he referenced obedience to God, his Father, and His word.
Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One must not live on bread alone, but on every word of God.’”
Verse 8 But Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”
Verse 12 Jesus answered him, “It has been said, ‘You must not tempt the Lord your God.’”
Each time, Jesus quoted the written word from God. We should have the same practice.
Interestingly after Jesus had done so the first two times, the devil attempted to quote the word of God to induce Jesus into sinning.
Satan sought to use the word of God to entice Jesus into putting God to the test in order to prove something. We also need to be on the watch that we never tempt (put) God to the test by doing things contrary to His commandment thinking He will be obligated to save us.
There are many valuable lessons we can learn from Luke 4:1-13 and the entirety of the Holy Bible. Read it carefully and meditate on what you read.
“Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path”.
Are You Truly Grateful to God or Are You an Ingrate? Are You Dealing with a Thankless Person?
It was an angelic son of God who became the first ingrate. God had blessed and elevated him to a very high station of service. He did not appreciate his Creator and he did not appreciate what God had given him.
God prophesied against this angel when speaking to His prophet Ezekiel. Through the prophet, He laid out His case against this angel who would become known as Satan, the devil:
13 You lived in Eden, the garden of God, and wore gems of every kind: rubies and diamonds; topaz, beryl, carnelian, and jasper; sapphires, emeralds, and garnets. You had ornaments of gold. They were made for you on the day you were created.
14 I put a terrifying angel there to guard you. You lived on my holy mountain and walked among sparkling gems.
15 Your conduct was perfect from the day you were created until you began to do evil.
16 You were busy buying and selling, and this led you to violence and sin. So I forced you to leave my holy mountain, and the angel who guarded you drove you away from the sparkling gems.
17 You were proud of being handsome, and your fame made you act like a fool. Because of this I hurled you to the ground and left you as a warning to other kings.
18 You did such evil in buying and selling that your places of worship were corrupted. So I set fire to the city and burned it to the ground. All who look at you now see you reduced to ashes.
19 You are gone, gone forever, and all the nations that had come to know you are terrified, afraid that they will share your fate.”
Does your behavior reflect the same attitude and behavior of the devil? Do you take for granted the things you receive from God and from others?
The following is based on an article on the subject of ingratitude. It delves into ingratitude in all aspects of daily living and speaks to the ungrateful spirit in the would-be servants of God from the devil’s fall to those who claim to be disciples of Christ. It is worthy of your careful consideration.
The Sin of Ingratitude
Ingratitude is an integral part of society. If you ask most people if they are ungrateful, they will probably reply, “Of course not!”
However, this attitude is so ingrained in their lives, they cannot openly admit—or even realize—that they are ungrateful.
But how can you tell if you are ungrateful? Are there things that identify ingratitude? And if so, what can you do about it?
Webster’s Dictionary defines “Ingratitude” as: “Forgetfulness of, or poor return for, kindness received.” It can also be defined as not appreciating or valuing what you have, or have been given. Unexpressed gratitude is also ingratitude!
In today’s fast-paced world, most people seem to not have time for thankfulness. Work, traffic, family, soccer practice, doctor appointments, and countless other things are their main priorities. They seem to have no time to thank others.
But consider the following. Have you ever given someone a gift and not received thanks for it?
Have you ever been in a grocery store or restaurant and were not thanked for your business? Have you ever felt unappreciated by family or friends or at your workplace? If so, how did it make you feel? Probably not very good.
Have you ever thought about where this mindset of ingratitude comes from? This is vital to understand before one can overcome this problem.
Previously, the wicked example of the fallen angel Satan was mentioned as the first example of ingratitude. But, his thankless attitude has been carried on by human beings throughout their history on Earth.
Past to Present: One Nation—Ungrateful
Today, there are many lands that are filled with chronic grumblers and complainers. Although there are countless blessings, there seem to always be countless things to gripe about—be it traffic, the economy, food prices, problems at work, difficulties with family, desire for additional material possessions, ill health, etc. Never before in the history of man has the world shown this horrible characteristic as it does today!
The Bible records the experiences of another nation—the ancient nation of Israel—who also constantly complained and murmured. No matter what God did for them, it was never enough.
After 430 years of slavery to the Egyptians, the Israelites, through God’s miraculous intervention, were released from bondage. As they left Egypt, God allowed them to collect riches, cattle, food, gold, jewels and supplies. God performed many miracles as they traveled through the wilderness. He selected them as His people, promising to take them to a land “filled with milk and honey.”
Notice God’s plain words to the Israelites: “And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 3:8).
But this was not enough for them!
Upon approaching the Promised Land, the Israelites were instructed by God to send spies to survey the land. It was located between other nations that were enemies of Israel.
After forty days of spying the land, they returned. And presented to Moses, Aaron and the congregation of Israel the fruit from the land, saying, “We came unto the land whether you sent us, and surely it flows with milk and honey…Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great” (Num. 13:27).
Caleb, one of the spies, asked Moses for permission to take the land. But the other spies—except for Joshua—lied to the people, claiming that it was infested with strong, powerful giants.
Notice the reaction of the crowd:
“And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt!…
“And wherefore has the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt” (Num. 14:2-4).
Israel was so blatantly ungrateful that they wanted to go back to Egypt—where they had undergone many hundreds of years of brutal slavery. They did not appreciate the astounding blessings that God provided or the many powerful miracles He performed for them.
Notice God’s response to their attitude: “And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people PROVOKE Me? And how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have showed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them…” (Num. 14:11-12).
However, Moses reasoned with God, prompting Him to change His mind.
Numbers 14 continues, “And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to your word…Because all those men which have seen My glory, and My miracles…have not hearkened to My voice; surely they shall not see the land which I swore unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked Me see it…
“How long shall I bear with this EVIL CONGREGATION, which murmur against Me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against Me.
“Say unto them, As truly as I live, says the LORD, as you have spoken in Mine ears, so will I do to you: your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness…you shall not come into the land, concerning which I swore to make you dwell therein…But your little ones, which you said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised…and the people mourned greatly…saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD has promised: for we have sinned” (Num. 14:20, 22-23, 27, 29, 31, 39-40).
God called the Israelites an “evil congregation” for their sinful ingratitude. To God, an ungrateful attitude is sin—evil—which provokes Him to anger!
Although God did not strike Israel with pestilence at that time or disinherit them, He did cause them to wander in the wilderness for 40 additional years, until those that demonstrated this attitude died!
Their murmurings and unthankful attitude condemned them from ever seeing the Promised Land!
Most are familiar with the phrase, “Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This applies to the modern-day descendants of Israel—the United States, Britain, Australia and other democratic, primarily English-speaking people scattered throughout the world. These nations are foretold to relive history—and experience many soon-coming horrific events for much the same reasons as ancient Israel!
Deuteronomy 28 has been called the “Blessings and Curses” chapter. It records a sobering warning to those who will heed it. This prophecy, given almost 3,500 years ago, recounts what is foretold to happen to proud, arrogant and ungrateful nations!
The first 14 verses describe the many wonderful blessings that are to be poured upon the nations that obey and worship God. The remaining part of the chapter lists the countless curses that are reaped for disobeying God:
“Because you serve not the LORD your God with joyfulness, and with GLADNESS OF HEART, for the abundance of all things; therefore shall you serve your enemies which the LORD shall send against you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon your neck, until he have destroyed you.
“The LORD shall bring a nation against you from far, a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young: and he shall eat the fruit of your cattle, and the fruit of your land, until you be destroyed…
“And he shall besiege you in all your gates, until your high and fenced walls come down, wherein you trusted, throughout all your land: and he shall besiege you in all your gates throughout all your land, which the LORD your God has given you” (Deut. 28:47-52).
Ingratitude is just one of many sins that the people of this country have committed—and will be led into captivity for! This is the warning from the pages of your Bible! Under captivity, all the grumbling, murmuring and complaining that consume people’s lives will be of no importance.
Ingratitude is a DEADLY SIN! The consequence for this sin is grave—and not to be taken lightly!
Ingratitude in Christ’s Day
Most are familiar with the many Bible accounts of Christ’s miracles. He walked on water, turned water into wine, fed thousands of people from a small amount of food, cast out demons and healed many people. But, although He healed many, how many do you think actually came back to thank Him? You will be surprised.
Luke’s gospel records one such miraculous healing. In this account, Christ healed ten lepers. Verse 12 records, “And as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
“And when He saw them, He said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
“And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And He said unto him, Arise, go your way: your faith has made you whole” (Luke 17:12-19).
Of the ten lepers, only one returned to thank Christ. Think of that statement. Only one of the ten thanked God for healing them of an awful disease!
Notice Christ’s rhetorical question. Understanding the characteristics of human nature, He perfectly understood why the others had not returned to thank Him.
But why is mankind so intrinsically ungrateful?
The Most Common Sin
From television commercials, programs, movies, shopping malls and homes, a widespread attitude of SELFISHNESS is sweeping the nations of this world. Adults, children and teens are becoming more ungrateful each day.
A main accelerator of this ingratitude is commercialism. Society has been caught up in the “you-work-hard-so-you-deserve-a-new-car-and-a-vacation-in-Barbados” mentality.
This, in turn, has caused many to believe the ideology that, if they do not acquire these extravagant luxuries, life is somehow treating them unfairly.
Before calling for a national day of fasting, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln stated, “We have been the recipients of the choicest blessings of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation ever has grown; BUT WE HAVE FORGOTTEN GOD! We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”
This is a tremendously powerful statement! Since the time President Lincoln gave this speech, the wealth, prosperity and peace experienced by the United States is far greater—along with the attitude of pride, selfishness and ingratitude.
But if this same speech were given today, there would be quite an uproar!
The apostle Paul wrote, “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, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:1-4).
These attitudes are becoming increasingly evident in these “last days.” (By these verses, even an atheist can recognize that we are living in these days by simply turning on the television!)
In contrast to Lincoln’s day, or even to fifty years ago, today’s ungrateful attitude is worse by far. If that generation forgot God, and the many blessings
In this world of being obsessed with what’s “in”—from the newest fashions, to the latest songs and to absurd political correctness—GRATITUDE HAS BEEN ALL BUT DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
To find the source of this attitude, one must look in the pages of the Bible to find the most selfish, proud, arrogant, self-centered and ungrateful being that ever existed—Satan the devil.
Before his rebellion against God, Satan (first named Lucifer) was a perfectly created archangel. The prophet Isaiah records, “How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isa. 14:12-14).
Lucifer’s heart was lifted up with arrogance—vanity. He was ungrateful to God for giving him life. Neither was he grateful to God for creating him so perfectly. Instead, he rebelled against God, choosing to believe that he was better than his Creator—that his way was greater than God’s Way.
As the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2), he broadcasts this same attitude into us.
How to Be Grateful
It has been said that ingratitude is the most common sin.
Although it is a part of our nature, there are ways that you can avoid being one of the many that commit the sin of ingratitude.
Below are just a few simple ways to show your gratitude toward God and fellowman:
Thank God daily: God commands us to go to Him in prayer with praise and thanksgiving. Do you thank Him daily?
The Bible is filled with examples of God’s servants showing their gratitude towards Him.
I Chronicles 29 records King David being deeply moved at the people’s generosity in preparing God’s Temple. David was inspired and expressed his earnest and sincere gratitude in honor of the great God. He exclaimed: “Blessed be You, LORD God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come of You, and You reign over all; and in Your hand is power and might; and in Your hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of You, and of Your own have we given You” (vs. 10-14).
Paul writes, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks” (I Thess. 5:16-18).
Psalm 92 records a special Sabbath psalm used to praise God: “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Your name, O most High: to show forth Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night…For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work: I will triumph in the works of Your hands. O LORD, how great are Your works! And Your thoughts are very deep…You, LORD, are most High forevermore. For, lo, Your enemies, O LORD, for, lo, Your enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered” (vs. 1-2, 4-5, 8-9).
You should never run out of things to thank God for! Go to Him in prayer and continually thank Him for all the blessings He has provided you!
The Bible records God’s faithful servants continuously doing so. We also find that the Bible commands us to always give thanks and praise to God.
Why? Why does God command that we praise Him with thanksgiving? Does He require this because He needs our praises? NO!
This command is repeated throughout the Bible because WE need it! In order for us, as Christians, to be more like God—the most thankful Being in the universe—WE need to learn to be thankful and give praises every day!
Another vital way to demonstrate gratitude towards the great God is through tithes and offerings. The prophet Malachi records God’s words: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me. But you say, Wherein have we robbed You? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse: for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:8-10).
Although God provides absolutely everything that we have, He promises to provide more—through pouring out blessings from heaven—if we merely do our part by paying tithes and offerings! Through our heartfelt dedication in supporting His end-time Work, He promises us much more than we can possibly desire!
Say “Thank you” often: Many people fear thanking others. They often fall into the mentality that, by thanking, they are somehow in debt or owe something to that person. But the truth is far from this!
Throughout history, great men have been known for specifically thanking others. It is not a sign of weakness—it is a sign of MEEKNESS!
Think of the things that people do for you—from opening a door for you, to giving you a ride to the store, or providing a kind and reassuring word. We live in an age when common courtesy and politeness are all but extinct!
Say “thank you” and “please” often. You should never run out of people to thank. You would be surprised how happy those little words can make others feel!
Count your blessings, not your worries: Look around you. When was the last time you lost a loved one to starvation or rampant disease? When was the last time you gave up eating to make sure your children had food? When was the last time you had to sell your children because you did not have the money to survive or even provide for them? Chances are you have never experienced these things. Unfortunately, these are grim realities that many around the world face each day. Thank God each day for all the terrible things that you have not had to endure!
It is common to fall into the routine of constant “grumbling” and complaining about problems and worries. When you find yourself complaining about finances, traffic, problems at work, family issues, car troubles, or whatever other difficulty or trial you may be experiencing, remember that everything God does and allows is for a reason. Although difficult, it is for a greater good—if you overcome them!
Consider the following analogy:
Each ingredient used in making a cake is not always sweet or good to the taste. By themselves, their tastes can range from bitter, to salty, to sweet, to chalky. But the end result—the cake—is delicious and sweet!
King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, recorded, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Eccl. 3:1).
Although it is difficult to do, when you are experiencing trials, look for the good that God wants you to learn from them.
For example, if you are having car problems, and will need an expensive repair, perhaps you are mishandling, or wasting money on other things, and God wants you to re-examine your budget. Many of the difficulties that you encounter can help you realize whether or not you are living properly. You can learn from these experiences!
When people grumble, they are complaining about a situation that God has allowed—and sometimes even caused—them to be in!
Paul admonishes us to “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:14-15).
Finally, consider Paul’s example of dealing with trials and afflictions: “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: everywhere 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 strengthens me.
Notwithstanding you have well done, that you did communicate with my affliction” (4:11-14). We must learn from experiences—both good and bad!
Things to Be Grateful For
The following lists just a few things which we should show gratitude for. Upon reading them, picture how your life would be without them:
Loving family and friends: After creating man, God declared, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18).
God created humans with the need for family. If you are married, appreciate your husband or wife. If you have children, appreciate all the fond memories that you are building together. Problems and arguments will occur from time to time, but at those moments, imagine your life without your loved ones. Realize how different it would be.
Employment: Without employment, how would you earn a living? How would you eat or feed your family? How would your rent or mortgage be paid?
Every day, it seems headlines report some type of corporation “laying off” hundreds, even thousands of employees. Be thankful to God for the job He has provided for you. Although you may experience hardships with co-workers or employers, acknowledge that without your job, you would not have a means to support your family or yourself.
Food, clothing, shelter: Although man has systematically pillaged, destroyed and raped the land that provides the materials needed for food, clothing and shelter, the United States and the other modern-day descendants of Israel have an abundance of these great blessings. Other nations, however, do not.
Appreciate these things!
God understands that, as physical humans, we need physical substances for survival.
Notice: “And why take you thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, o you of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?…For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things” (Matt. 6:28-32).
If God cares for and clothes even the flowers, how much more will He provide for those that obey Him? This is what His Word declares.
Are you grateful for this promise? Or do you take it for granted?
God’s truth: How much do you appreciate God’s Word—the Holy Bible? God has provided a way for us to know and understand His laws through this great Book of Instruction. Notice President Lincoln’s statement concerning it:
“I believe the Bible is the best gift that God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated through this Book. I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”
The apostle Peter stated to Christ, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Do you feel the same way?
Dealing With Ingratitude
One of the most awkward and difficult situations for a person is dealing with an ungrateful person. Someone once said, “The quickest way to earn someone’s contempt is to do too much for them.”
An example of this was when some who had received food stamps for years, then had their benefits revoked by the government. This caused quite a commotion—many claimed to be victims of injustice. When in reality, they had long received something they did not earn.
Many times, people find themselves in a position of having done things for others for such a long time, that the other party begins to feel that they deserve it. While there are many principles that can be applied in such situations, there are two basic rules that can be applied to better handle this problem.
“The Golden Rule”: Many millions of professing Christians claim to follow the Bible.
But why don’t they follow the laws and principles from it? And why, if so many do enjoy being appreciated or treated with gratitude, are there so many ungrateful people?
Matthew records, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (7:12, NKJV). Most know this as “the Golden Rule”—to treat others how you wish to be treated.
Many quote this verse, but rarely practice it. Yet this principle is vital in combating the pulls and lusts of “the flesh” This includes ingratitude.
When someone does something for you, think to yourself, “If I did this for someone, wouldn’t I like to receive a ‘thank you’?”
Chances are, you would. You must fight against your human nature and show gratitude.
Paul records, “For what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I” (Rom. 7:15).
Paul, who was an apostle and had personal encounters with the glorified Christ, wrote that even he had difficulties combating the inner self. This evidences that it is DIFFICULT to wage a war against the wicked, evil and sinful self! But with humility towards God, and asking for His help, it is possible!
The Principle of Cause and Effect:
The principle of cause and effect is all around us. If the floor is wet, someone may slip and fall. If a car runs over a nail, the tire will become flat. This is common sense.
This principle can be described another way: Every action has a reaction. In examining today’s society, many do not recognize that this principle applies in their lives—through more ways than just the physical.
After Lucifer’s rebellion, he became the “prince of the power of the air,” and the “god of this world.” Since then, Satan’s way of life—the GET way—has pummeled humanity with his selfish, proud, rebellious and ungrateful attitudes. This is the CAUSE!
The EFFECT is the attitude present in society at large. Tuned into “the prince of the power of the air,” humanity has had a materialistic, selfish, “me-first” existence. They are following their god.
This is CAUSE and EFFECT!
People always notice when others are rude to them—a purely selfish action. They often think, “Look at how rude people are towards me…I am not being appreciated…I did not receive a ‘thank you’ for kindness that I performed.”
This cycle has always been in effect throughout mankind’s history. After 6,000 years of injustice, misrule and destruction, ingratitude is merely one of the many “effects” mankind has brought upon itself!
The Choice is Yours
Always remember that ingratitude is a deadly sin. God directly calls it evil! An ungrateful attitude is something that most are unaware that they have, but everyone else sees! It is a deep character flaw. Although few will tell you about it, ingratitude sticks out like a sore thumb.
Often, it goes unchanged and untreated, because of people’s ignorance of it. It is something that, after many years of “perfecting,” needs to be completely removed!
Remember Israel’s example. They grumbled, complained and showed ingratitude because they were afraid of being unable to overcome the “giants” that might have kept them from the Promised Land. But in reality, the only “giant” that held them back from enjoying this great blessing from God was their ingratitude! An entire generation—except for two men—died without seeing this land!
Learn from this example. An ungrateful attitude exists in our human nature. But simple steps can be taken to overcome it. By honestly analyzing yourself, and applying biblical rules and principles of etiquette, you can ENSURE that you are not committing this most common—and DEADLY—sin.
Remember Paul’s three commands for true Christians:
(1) “Rejoice evermore.”
(2) “Pray without ceasing.”
(3) “In everything give thanks.”
Do not let this sin keep you from God’s many promises! Do not let it steal your happiness. The choice is yours!
In the end their word is to be obeyed even when it is in conflict with the Bible, the written word of God.
Let’s first examine the Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of their pope.
The Catholic Church’s teaching on papal infallibility is one that is generally misunderstood by those outside the Church. In particular, Fundamentalists and other “Bible Christians” often confuse the charism of papal “infallibility” with “impeccability.” They imagine Catholics believe the pope cannot sin. Others, who avoid this elementary blunder, think the pope relies on some sort of amulet or magical incantation when an infallible definition is due.
Given these common misapprehensions regarding the basic tenets of papal infallibility, it is necessary to explain exactly what infallibility is not. Infallibility is not the absence of sin. Nor is it a charism that belongs only to the pope. Indeed, infallibility also belongs to the body of bishops as a whole, when, in doctrinal unity with the pope, they solemnly teach a doctrine as true.
Vatican II’s Explanation
Vatican II explained the doctrine of infallibility as follows: “Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they can nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly. This is so, even when they are dispersed around the world, provided that while maintaining the bond of unity among themselves…..and while teaching authentically on a matter of faith or morals, they concur in a single viewpoint as the one which must be held conclusively. This authority is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church. Their definitions must then be adhered to with the submission of faith” (Lumen Gentium 25). (end of commentaries)
In summary, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the pope is infallible when he speaks from his position of authority on a particular issue or doctrine (speaking ex cathedra). Ex cathedra is a Latin phrase which means “from the chair.” It refers to binding papal teachings which are promulgated by the pope when he officially teaches in his capacity of the universal shepherd of the Church a doctrine on a matter of faith or morals and addresses it to the entire body of Catholic membership.
Many interpret “papal infallibility” as indicating that everything the pope says is infallible. This is not what the Roman Catholic Church means by “papal infallibility.”
While Catholics acknowledge that the pope is a sinner like everyone else, it is inferred that by some spiritual investment, that he and bishops have a moral authority that means their “definitions” or interpretations must be adhered to. If a person does not, he or she is subject to excommunication from the group.
Both the Catholic hierarchy and the Watchtower hierarchy claim they speak for Christ and God.
The Catholic papacy claims a connection to the apostle Peter as his ‘successors whom they believe Jesus gave a singular special role among his apostles based on what he is quoted as saying recorded at Matthew 16:18.
There is no Biblical foundation for this asserted connection, nor that Peter was superior in authority in any way to the other apostles.
Now, let’s examine the Watchtower Organization’s view of it’s Governing Body.
Where do the Watchtower Society’s leaders claim to get their authority to oversee the interests of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
The answer is found in their interpretation of Matt 24:45, which reads: “Who is a faithful and wise servant (Greek δοῦλος (doulos) servant or male slave), whom his Lord hath made ruler over His household, to give them meat in due season?” (KJV).
This parable can also be found at Luke 12:42-44.
They make a self-declaration that they were appointed this role when as they claim, Christ returned “invisibly” in 1919.
Watchtower 2022 Feb p.4:
“Today Jehovah leads the earthly part of his organization by means of “the faithful and discreet slave.” … We show that we trust in Jehovah’s way of doing things by heeding the direction we receive from the organization and the elders.”
jw.org 10th Nov 2012 :
““The faithful and discreet slave” was appointed over Jesus’ domestics in 1919. That slave is the small, composite group of anointed brothers serving at world headquarters during Christ’s presence who are directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food. When this group work together as the Governing Body, they act as “the faithful and discreet slave.””
Watchtower Organization leaders interpret this passage as meaning that Jesus predicted God would establish a special “servant” on the earth, having the sole spiritual authority to represent Him.
According to them, this servant would act as the sole interpreter of His word. This servant is called “the faithful and discreet slave” in the Watchtower Society’s New World Translation of the Bible.
“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?” (NWT)
They teach that this “faithful and discreet slave” is a designated class among its professed anointed believers that conveys spiritual knowledge only through the publications (and official representatives) of the Watchtower Society. They teach that this began with the first issue of the Watchtower magazine in 1879. There is no Biblical foundation for this assertion.
Nor does the Bible mention or indicate that there was some ‘governing body‘ in the first century Church although they claim the existence of one as the justification for their having formed one in recent times. They point to the convening of a group of elders as mentioned in the Book of Acts chapter 15 for the purpose of establishing doctrine concerning circumcision as justification.
The Book of Acts actually describes a large gathering comprised of the apostles, older men (elders), Paul and Barnabas, who were travelling missionaries, and others. This large group came together to decide on an important issue affecting the local congregations.
4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
Since they base this claim on an invisible second coming of Christ, none of this can be proven as fact any more than the Catholic clergy can prove a direct connection to the apostle Peter.
Again, there is no Biblical basis for the establishment of a governing body.
However, their claim of an ‘invisible’ second coming of Christ can be clearly shown to be an unbiblical claim.
Note what is written in the Book of Revelation concerning how Jesus’ second coming would occur.
“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen”.
It says the same in their own Bible translation.
“Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief because of him. Yes, Amen”. (New World Translation)
This rules out any possibility of an invisible coming of Jesus Christ that would only be witnessed by some small group of faithful believers. This is something that can be proven by reading the Bible book of Revelation.
They also hold to the false belief that the end of the 2,520 year ‘gentile times‘ or ‘appointed times of the nations‘ foretold in the Book of Daniel, would mark the time of Christ second coming. The end of the gentile times was to mark the beginning of what the Bible calls “the last days“.
And, 1914 C.E. was not the date of the end of the appointed times of the nation either. Based on “Jehovah’s Witnesses” own beliefs, their leaders made an easy to see calculation error.
Based upon these lies and errors, the Governing Body of “Jehovah’s Witnesses” maintain their control and act as the communicator of God’s will to all “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. They ignore that Christ is God’s mediator between Himself and man.
1 Timothy 3:5:
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
These words were the teaching of the apostle Paul, one of the men mentioned in Acts chapter 15 who assembled with the others in Jerusalem.
The Watchtower made the following statement in the Watchtower February 2017 (Study Edition) concerning the Governing Body at the top running the Watchtower Organization:
“The Governing Body is neither inspired nor infallible. Therefore, it can err in doctrinal matters or in organizational direction.” -Watchtower February study addition under “Who Is Leading God’s People Today?” page 26
In addition to stating the Governing Body is not ‘infallible’, it is admitted that its members are NOT ‘inspired‘.
In the Watchtower publication ‘Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand!’ the Watchtower designates itself as prophets referring to themselves as the “John” class.
Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! chap. 12 pp. 58-65
14 In modern times, prophecies such as Isaiah 49:23 and Zechariah 8:23 have had a very significant fulfillment. As a result of the preaching of the John class, huge numbers of people have entered through the opened door into Kingdom service.
John was a prophet. Yet, they are not inspired by their own admission. Were God’s prophets inspired? Yes.
God foretold this through the prophet Joel:
28 After this I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions.
29 I will even pour out My Spirit on the male and female slaves in those days.
Jesus promised his disciples that shortly after his ascension to Heaven, God would send the Holy Spirit to guide them and empower them.
15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commands.
16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.
17 He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.
Days later, the apostle Peter quoted Joel’s words when disciples gathered at Pentecost received that blessing.
1 When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place.
2 Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying.
3 And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
4 Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech.
16 On the contrary, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 And it will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.
18 I will even pour out My Spirit on My male and female slaves in those days, and they will prophesy.
The ability to prophecy as spokesperson comes from the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit according to the Bible.
They at one in the same time claim that Christ has made a special appointment of them, but that Jesus nor the Holy Spirit is inspiring them to follow his direction. What proof do they have of any anointment of Holy Spirit?
What this means that the doctrines “Jehovah’s Witnesses” adhere to can be false/wrong since they are nothing more than the guess work of imperfect man.
This is tremendous admission for the Watchtower leaders to make. In this article they further cite the Watchtower Publications Index that list over 100 doctrines that have needed correction since 1870.
The fact that over 100 of their doctrinal teachings have had to be modified or dropped all together, is proof that many are false and wrong.
The Bible warns us:
“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help”.
“Stop trusting in man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for of what account is he”?
Yet that is what Watchtower leaders and teachers tell its member to do and they oblige.
While condemning the Assumption Dogma of Catholicism as a “fallible falsehood” appeared in the Watchtower, January 15, 1951, they have adopted policies that yield the same result. In this article is they themselves make the statement, “Not man’s word, but only God’s Word, the Bible, is infallible!—John 17:17”.
But they haven’t practiced what they preach have they?
Their actions in recent decades show that rather than fulfill Jesus’ words found at Matthew 24:45-47, they have fulfilled verses 48-51.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49 And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
When their errant prognostications concerning Jesus’ second coming did not materialize when expected, they began to treat their fellow professed anointed brothers harshly and began a heavy-handed rulership over them. Not only them, but the entire membership of “Jehovah’s Witnesses”.
In their minds, instead of thinking their beliefs and expectations were the problem, they felt, “ My lord delayeth his coming”. After all, they expected the End to occur shortly after the year 1914 C.E. They expected to have inherited the Kingdom somewhere around 1975 C.E. Neither came true. Ever since gradually they have become more and more authoritarian in their treatment of other members of their group.
In January 1947, they were highly critical of the Catholic hierarchy for excommunicating followers for the same reasons they supported disfellowshipping their members in 1952. In other publications they have been critical of other religions who put men on a pedestal of absolute authority.
Using a lie, they laid a foundation upon which to claim an authority much like that of the papacy.
Note this statement found in the Watchtower 2001 Aug 1 p.14
“[A mature christian] does not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding. Rather, he has complete confidence in the truth as it is revealed by Jehovah God through his Son, Jesus Christ, and “the faithful and discreet slave.”
This is a quite different view than expressed in the January 8, 1947 ‘Awake’ magazine. Of course, that was about someone else.
Lastly, it is of importance that throughout most of the Watchtower Society’s history, the faithful and discreet slave included all professed “anointed Jehovah’s Witnesses”. But during the 2012 Annual Meeting the Governing Body greatly increased their authority by announcing that only they were to be considered to represent the faithful and discreet slave.
They changed their stance because this was their only recourse to maintain control.
They have been hypocrites throughout their entire history.
1 ‘I will tell you again what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. There were ten young women who were going to a marriage. They took their lamps with them, and they went to meet the bridegroom.
2 Five of these young women were silly. They were not careful about what they were doing. Five of these young women understood well. They were careful about what they were doing.
3 The silly young women took their lamps with them, but they did not take any extra oil with them.
4 The other five young women took jars of oil with them. These young women were careful about what they were doing.
5 The bridegroom did not come for a long time. So, all the young women became tired, and they went to sleep.
6 In the middle of the night, someone shouted out, “The bridegroom is coming. Come out to meet him.”
7 The ten young women woke up. Then they got up and they looked at their lamps. They tried to make their lamps work well.
8 The five young women who had not brought extra oil said to the other five young women, “Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are not burning well.”
9 The careful young women who had extra oil replied, “If we did that, then there would not be enough oil for all of us. You must go instead to the people who sell oil. You must buy some oil for your lamps.”
10 ‘So these five women went to buy some oil. While they were away, the bridegroom arrived. He would soon marry. The five women who understood well were ready. They went with him into the house. Here the servants had prepared the meal for the marriage. Then the servants shut the door.
11 Later, the five silly women also came to the house. They said, “Sir, Sir, please open the door for us.”
12 But he replied, “What I say is true. I do not know you.” ’
13 Then Jesus said, ‘So you must watch well. You do not know on what day or at what time I will come.’
Those who have read the Bible, professed belief, but then have not accepted the Word as written are like the 5 foolish virgins. They chose not to stick to the pure lamp oil contained in God’s word and didn’t fill their spiritual lamps with it.
Contrarily, they chose to reject this pure “oil” in preference for oil that could not keep their lamps burning during the final hours of this system of things before the Lord’s arrival.
Indeed at the start, they possessed at little oil. Like most who profess love for God and Christ, they began full of conviction and determination to follow and do God’s will according to His word. They read the Bible and believed.
Take note that all ten received the same invitation to the marriage feast. They all started with the same prospect in front of them. They all received a portion of the holy spirit.
But somewhere, at some time, that faith and conviction waned. They bought less and less of the refined oil and began to fill their spiritual reservoirs with something else. Something that didn’t originate with God that was of human origin.
They did the very thing the apostle Paul foretold of and warned against:
“They refused to believe the true things about God. Instead, they chose to believe something that is not true. They worshiped things that God has made. They became servants of those things. But they refused to worship God, who made all things. He is the God that everyone ought to worship. Everyone should say how very great he is always! This is true”.
Instead of relying on and referring to the Word of God, they began to worship and obey the words of men as if they were gods. When those men they worshiped words did not agree with the pure lamp oil God’s word provided, they rejected the Bible, and their oil reservoirs became more and more depleted.
Instead of acknowledging their error, they doubled down and have continued to preach and teach unbiblical doctrines despite the fact that they have been proven false.
And now that the hour we live in has become apparent to almost all sensible people, these foolish virgins are madly scrambling to set matters right before the Lord’s arrival in all the wrong ways. They look for shortcuts to get right with God and his Christ. There are none.
First, there has to be acknowledgment of guilt. Pridefully, they refuse to do so. That pride will bear the ultimate cost in the end.
11 In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain.
After acknowledgment of their wrong course, then there is the need to repent and turn back. A person isn’t doing that if they sweep error under the rug so to speak, by just not further believing and teaching unbiblical teachings. What about all those they have already stumbled? They owe it to them to set matters straight.
Neither can such foolish virgins simply asked the prudent virgins to give them some of their lamp oil or in some other way perhaps ‘attach’ themselves to those who have filled themselves with the pure knowledge they possess gained by putting total faith in the Bible, God’s written Word.
These “foolish virgins” would need to first empty their spiritual reservoirs of the tainted lamp oil they possess (they need to repent), ask for forgiveness from God, and then return to Source of truth so as to buy pure oil for their lamps.
But as Jesus parable ends, there is no time left because the distance and effort is so great and He is so near.
Is your lamp full of the pure lamp oil only God’s word can provide?
IMPORTANT TO PRESENT AND FORMER JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES!
The first part of this post is concerning a math error in the calculation of what common era date corresponded to the end of the 2,520-year gentile times (the appointed time of the nations.
The second part is concerning when the gentile times began. Is 607 B.C.E. or is 587 B.C.E. the valid start date?
Why ‘1914’ Doesn’t Equal 1914 C.E./ Different Units of Measure
This is important information is concerning a significant number and a date in the minds of all who have been taught as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
This brief article will not dispute the method used in determining the start date nor the time length of the prophetic period. For this discussion the period began 606/607 B C.E. when King Nebuchadnezzar took sovereignty away from Judah and was to last 7 times or 7×360 which equaled 2,520 years.
Neither is about varying arguments about interpreting the prophecy concerning the ‘gentile times’ prophesied in the Book of Daniel.
In correlation with other Scripture the end of this period would mark the end of the absence of Divine rulership and non-intervention and it would mark the beginning of what Scripture referred to as “the last days”.
During these last days, the One with the right to rule (Lord Jesus Christ) would appear and re-establish the presence of Divine rulership near the end of the last days.
It does NOT agree with the common assumption of when this prophetic period expired that is, 1914 A.D /C.E. The error can be easy proven and seen. It is a math error.
IF YOU BELIEVE as Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in the significance of the number ‘1914’ in knowing when the Gentile Times (appointed times of the nations) came to its end, then please take note and consider:
Different Units Of Measurement Involved
Yard to meters….gallons to liters….etc. When going from one standard of measure to another, naturally some mathematical conversion is necessary. That is always important to keep in mind when solving math problems.
How The Number 1914 Is Derived
The number “1914″ is a number derived from subtracting 606/607 from the number 2,520. That number is: 1914 lunar calendar years that were remaining till expiration when the Common Era calendar came into use. That number is defined therefore as: 1914 LUNAR-years counting down.
The total of 2,520 years is based on 7 times a 360 day year.
The Biblical Year Length
According to the calendar used in the Bible, the remaining 1914 years is equal to 1914 times 360 days; which totals 689,040 days.
Now let’s examine in terms of the common era year length.
Our current Common Era calendar is based on a 365 day year. 1914 of these years is therefore equal to 1914 times 365 days; which totals 698,610 days.
You can easily see the two are not equals of one another. They do not equal and therefore could not possibly be the same. The calendar systems use different units of measure much the same as the standard and metric systems do. They are not interchangeable.
There is a difference of 9,570 days between the two calendar systems. In common era years that equals 26.21 years.
Because of this difference, there is a 26.21 common era year deviation from the original “1914″ we started with.
1914 C.E. is therefore more than 26 common era years off from the actual end date of the gentile times.
The answer to when they ended can be correctly calculated following the standard laws of mathematics.
Since “1914″ in this math problem is a number in a sequence of numbers counting down, mathematically it is a negative number (-1914). And since it is used to determine the difference between the two calendar systems, the result is also a negative (-26.21 C.E.).
-26.21 C.E. is the conversion factor needed to solve for the correct common era end date.
This all reduces to a simple addition of the two numbers.
– 26.21 C.E.
The mathematics involved in solving this problem is not as simple and straightforward as a person may intuitively think.
The plot you see is based on the equation written below it, which is the problem in math form.
This equation is the mathematical representation of the question:
What C.E. date corresponds to the end of the Gentile Times when calculated from the starting point of the common era calendar.
In conclusion, the date 1914 C.E. is a false positive of the real value of 1914 and the end of the gentile times.
This mistaken identification has altered several generations idea of when the gentile times ended. It has in the process also altered their perception of where he actually stands in the stream of time and prophesied events by over 26 years.
What Event Marked the Beginning Of the “Appointed Times of The Nations”?
Is 607 B.C.E. Worthy to Be Considered as A Valid Date or Not?
For your consideration:
There are several factors that must be scrutinized before one can develop an accurately informed opinion as to whether the date 607 B.C.E. is a “valid” date or not.
The use of the word ‘valid’ is extremely critical of course, because it must first be understood:
Valid of or for what exactly?
What purportedly is supposed to have occurred at that time?
The answer is contained in the Holy Scriptures.
The period of the “gentile times” or the “appointed times of the nations” is an issue of sovereignty, kingship, and dominion.
Note Ezekiel 21:
25 “And you, O profane and wicked one, prince of Israel, he whose day has come, it he time of your final punishment,
26 thus says the Lord God: Remove the turban and take off the crown. Things shall not remain as they are. Exalt that which is low, and bring low that which is exalted.
27 A ruin, ruin, ruin I will make it. This also shall not be, until he comes, the one to whom judgment belongs, and I will give it to him.” (ESV)
“Remove the turban and remove the crown” is the Scriptural demarcation for the start of this period of gentile domination.
This has nothing to do with the physical destruction of the city of Jerusalem. The city and Temple both were reconstructed shortly after the exile.
What did not return was the nation’s sovereignty. From the fall of the last king in the Davidic line until the destruction in 70 C.E. by the Romans, Israel existed as a vassal state to a greater national power.(gentile power)
Logically if it were linked to Jerusalem’s actual destruction which was around 587 B.C.E. the numbers wouldn’t reconcile with the Bible or archaeological proof.
In 2 Chronicles 36:17-23, Almighty God himself through His prophet, stated that the captivity that would mark the beginning of the gentile time period was to last 70 years.
The subjection of the king of Judah to the Babylonian king marked the withdrawal of God’s sanction of the kingship.
2 Chronicles 36:17-23
17 “He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.
18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials.
19 They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.
20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power.
21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.
22 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
23 ‘This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.’”
587 B.C.E., minus the 70 years of captivity period, would produce 517 B.C.E. as the year the release would have to had to occur. But we know for a fact that the captivity ended when King Cyrus conquered Babylon between 539 B.C.E. and 536 B.C.E. This would mean the captivity was only some 50 years long and not the 70 God had pronounced. This event (the destruction of Jerusalem) marked the beginning of the 70 years of desolation prophesied.
The 70 year period of desolation came to an end after the Temple had been rebuilt. It was then that God’s curse was lifted and the land was restored.
The Jews returning from exile and captivity in Babylon in 537 B.C.E., faced many obstacles in rebuilding the temple. The non-Jewish people now living in the land resisted their efforts, and the returned exiles often lacked the motivation to work. The temple took 20 years to complete. This would have been about 517 B.C.E., 70 years after the desolation began.
Therefore, it is impossible for the destruction of the city of Jerusalem to be the starting point of uninterrupted gentile domination of the Earth.
The gentile times was to be a period during which there would be an absence of a Divinely sanctioned representative of Sovereignty ruling in kingdom of man.
There are indicators that mark when this time period began.
King Josiah was the last faithful king who sat on the throne of his forefather David.
He died about 609 B.C.E. and was succeeded by his son Jehoiakim who reigned between 609 and 598 B.C.E. Jehoiakim was an unfaithful despot who was overthrown.
The overthrowing of the anointed King of Judah has to be a marking point because “the turban was lifted and the crown removed” from Jehoiakim because of his rebellion against God. This event marked the beginning of the 70 years of captivity prophesied.
2 Kings chapter 24:1-6 chronicles these events. Jehoiakim is there described as a “vassal” to the gentile King Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel reports that in third year of Jehoiakim’s reign, Jerusalem came under siege by King Nebuchadnezzar (606/607 B.C.E.)
1 “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it.” (HCSB)
His son Jehoiachin was also wicked. He reigned a brief 3 months and was led off into captivity in shackles to Babylon by the king of the gentiles; well before Jerusalem was destroyed.
Regarding his successor Zedekiah, there is a notable sign about his appointment too. Another apparent mark that Israel having been yielded over to continuing gentile domination was the installation of Zedekiah by a gentile King, Nebuchadnezzar.
Wiliam F. Albright dates the start of Zedekiah’s reign to 606 BCE, while E. R. Thiele gives the start in 597 BCE. On that reckoning, Zedekiah was born in c. 627 BCE or 618 BCE, being twenty-one on becoming king. Zedekiah’s reign ended with the siege and fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar II, which both Albright and Thiele agree took place in 586 BCE, though more recent evidence dates the fall of Jerusalem to 587 BCE.
Any of these time frames, place the effects of gentile domination closer to the death of the last faithful King Josiah and the overthrow and the carrying off into captivity of the last wicked of king to rule officially, Jehoiachin (also referred to as Jeconiah). This was the period from 609 to 598 B.C.E.
Again, this is a prophecy about sovereignty and sovereignty has to do with kingship and dominion.
Any date suggested should be marked with signs that indicate a change from Divinely consecrated rulership to uninterrupted rulership by gentile nations.
Truthfully, I do not follow how C.T. Russell and the International Bible Students Association/Watchtower Society arrived at the date 607 B.C.E. as a legitimate starting point of the gentile times, but the date itself is consistent with the relevant factors marking their start.
What isn’t accurate is the teaching that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C.E. and that the beginning of the appointed times of the nations was linked to that event. Nebuchadnezzar only besieged the city at that time. The city was destroyed in or about 587 B.C.E.
Mixing apples and oranges
This is an example of mixing ‘apples’ and ‘oranges’ so to speak and creating predictable confusion.
Most people reject the date 607 B.C.E. simply because of the false connection to the destruction of Jerusalem. They hear nothing beyond that error.
Oral traditions and not the Holy Scriptures set Jerusalem’s destruction and the desolation as the beginning point of the gentile times. The city’s destruction was an after effect of a judgment that had already been ongoing for more than twenty years.
Absent of that, 607 B.C.E. is a year well within reason, viable on its own merit. And, 537 B.CE. + 70 years if captivity equals 607 B.C.E. which fits the known secular historical record.
Whereas if one claims that the fall of the city of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.E. was the starting point; that will not reconcile with the date Cyrus freed the captives nor did it mark the beginning of gentiles exercising continuing sovereignty over Israel.
The devil knows that all he need do is slightly distort a reality to succeed in misleading. This is a mixture of truth and falsehood that must be separated; which means it cannot be accepted in whole as valid, but neither should the interpretation in its entirety be rejected.
C.T. Russell was a mixed seed of good and evil personified. He drank from two different spiritual cups and became a brook babbling both sweet and bitter water. He in turn, produced an organization and a message of like kind. With him as with others, one must separate the truth he spoke from his misinterpretations and his outright lies.
This operation of error also involves the projected date 1914 C.E.
1914 lunar years (360 days per year) counting down, cannot equal 1914 common era years (365 days per year). There is a 9,570 day difference between the two calendar systems.
The standard definition of “disciple” (noun) is someone who adheres to the teachings of another. The disciple places their faith and belief in that teacher.
A true disciples of Jesus Christ will put their faith and trust on him.
What Did Jesus Say About Hell?
Many professed Christian groups teach that ‘Hell’ and ‘the grave’ are synonymous terms, that they mean the same thing, and are therefore interchangeable terms.
I know this to be true because I was taught this, believed it, and preach it to the public as one of “Jehovah’s Witness” for the majority of my life.
I began preaching this from door to door at age eight in 1959. I shared this belief, parroting in ignorance of the real truth. At that time I was putting trust in “earthling man”, that is to say in another human being’s reasoning on the matter. After Christ cleansed my mind of their false teachings, I accepted what Jesus taught about Hell.
Here are the standard remarks non-believers will make about ‘hell’:
Quote: ”Hell is the Grave ( the condition in which life ceases Eccl. 9:10 until such Time as The Resurrection of The Just and Unjust begins Acts 24:15. In KJV Old Testament the Hebrew word “ Sheol “ translated 31 Times Hell, 31 Times Grave, 3 Times Pit.”
“Jehovah’s Witnesses” like other religious groups make a habit of mixing things that shouldn’t be mixed because they are things that have nothing in common with one another.
When the Scriptures speaks of “Gehenna”, “Lake of fire”, “Hell”, it is not referring to the common grave or state of the dead who have died the death due to original sin. ‘Hell’ is not the wages of sin as it is in the Ademic death that we as humans suffer. ‘Hell’ is the wages for being wicked.
When most people use the term ‘hell’ they are not referring to common grave nor the state of the human dead from inherited sin.
It is IMPOSSIBLE for that to be the case because Jesus himself stated ‘who’ hell was created for and it wasn’t created for humans beings although many will end up there. He refers to this state of existence as “the eternal fire”:
“Then He will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels!” HCSB
Note that Jesus said that this state of existence was created for “the devil and his angels”; not a human being. This should make it clear that ‘hell’ cannot be mankind’s resting place after his physical death. The Bible tells us about the human association with Hell when it tells us that wicked people will inherit the devil’s inheritance.
But cowards, traitors, perverts, murderers, the immoral, those who practice magic, those who worship idols, and all liars—the place for them is the lake burning with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” GNT
Examine the Lord’s words recorded at Matthew 25:41 in context:
31 “When the Son of Man comes as King and all the angels with him, he will sit on his royal throne,
32 and the people of all the nations will be gathered before him. Then he will divide them into two groups, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will put the righteous people at his right and the others at his left.
34 Then the King will say to the people on his right, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father! Come and possess the kingdom which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world.
35 I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes,
36 naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me.’
37 The righteous will then answer him, ‘When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink?
38 When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you in our homes, or naked and clothe you?
39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’
40 The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did it for me!’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Away from me, you that are under God’s curse! Away to the eternal fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels!
I know and believe in the existence of Hell because Jesus said it does and I am his disciple.
Do you believe what Jesus says or do you find it necessary to modify his words to fit what you prefer to believe? A true disciple of Jesus believes Hell exist because Christ our Lord said it exist. A true disciple of Jesus will not allow themselves to be swayed by contrary teachings by men.
A fundamental problem with belief in Hell and everlasting torment is the belief that we are not creatures born of God’s spirit that is poured into fleshly bodies (neshamah).
Job 32:8 makes this statement:
8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
“Jehovah’s Witnesses” will point out these statements found in the Book of Ecclesiastes in Chapter 9:5 and 9:10 as proof that nothing of you survives physical death:
5 Yes, the living know they are going to die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward; they are completely forgotten.
10 Work hard at whatever you do, because there will be no action, no thought, no knowledge, no wisdom in the world of the dead—and that is where you are going.
But does being unconscious or being incapable of “work” mean non-existence? No, it doesn’t. It infers a static state of existence in which there is no consciousness.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 states that upon death this spirit returns to God:
7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Some professed Christian groups believe and teach that God’s “spirit” that is in us is basically some ‘start up energy’ or literal air breathed into us by God at the time of birth and at that then we become a “living soul”. They do not believe and teach that God’s spirit in us is something that is living; that it is alive. They may refer to it as “God’s active force”.
But their other teachings certainly infer that ‘something’ survives death that can be asleep and awaken. However, they still deny man is a ‘spirit’ in a body of flesh. If we are nothing but flesh with an ‘unliving’ active force breathed into us, then what is left that could possibly be sleeping then in death?
How do they make sense then of these words also uttered by Jesus?
“Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
If nothing of us survives death of the body, how could his words above have any real meaning? What could possibly be a fate worse than death to an already unconscious spirit?
With this belief would have the resurrection Jesus spoke of, recorded in John 5:28-29 purpose to wake the unrighteous dead simple to inform them they won’t be being resurrected to life and to say to them “Now go back to sleep”? What purpose would that serve? And again raises the question “What can hear his voice?”.
“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” New King James Version
The Second Death is not Ademic death repeated. The Ademic death is the penalty for sin. The Second Death is the penalty for wickedness.
That Ademic death all humans will experience is not the ceasing of our existence entirely is clear in Jesus’ words that state that upon his arrival he summon all the dead from the tomb.
If nothing exist after death, what can be summoned?
Consider as well, what occurs when Christ opens the fifth seal of the scroll as written in the Book of Revelation Chapter 6:9-11:
9 Then the Lamb broke open the fifth seal. I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been killed because they had proclaimed God’s word and had been faithful in their witnessing.
10 They shouted in a loud voice, “Almighty Lord, holy and true! How long will it be until you judge the people on earth and punish them for killing us?”
11 Each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to rest a little while longer, until the complete number of other servants and believers were killed, as they had been.
If nothing exist after physical death, none of this is even possible because there is nothing to “rest a little while longer”.
What “Jehovah’s Witness” and other modern religious groups believe and teach about the ‘spirit’ in a human cuts off any further consideration that eternal torment in Hell is even possible.
And these professed Christian groups can offer no rational explanation of Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the wicked rich man who tormented him. Here in Jesus parable there is a conversation between a person in Heaven and a person in Hell.
What Jesus said is impossible within their belief. They either claim he didn’t mean what he said or they avoid discussion of this passage of Scripture all together. It just doesn’t fit in to what they want to believe. In doing so, they infer that Jesus was deceiving by using a false scare tactic.
They prove themselves disciples not of Jesus Christ, but of other men.
Remember that Jesus the Instructor stated, “You cannot serve two masters”. That includes being a disciple of two teachers.
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other;” (King James Version)
Do you recall what happened in the Garden of Eden between the devil and the woman Eve?
There the devil posed a question to Eve that opened the door to Eve’s thinking independent from the express words of God. She put belief in someone else other than God.
After God had unambiguously stated the penalty for disobedience to His command, the devil questioned whether it was so. It was a question that should have never been asked and should never had been considered. The devil was successfully in making her doubt the word of God as given to her by her husband.
Why, Eve was even able to recite the commandment back to Satan when he asked his question.
But still, he was able to sow doubt in her mind as to whether God would really carry out what He said He would do, or if God even meant what He had said.
He asked Eve, ”Is it really so…?”
This has also been true in believing what Christ has told us about Hell. Even though he said Hell is real and exist, even though he states that it was created for Satan and his demons, even though he said those there will be tormented forever (Revelation 14:11), even though he offers a parable of a man in Heaven and a man in Hell having a meeting after they both had died; there are those who still deny the existence of Hell (the second death). They are doing same thing that Satan did to Eve by casting doubt and confusion on something clearly stated by Christ Jesus.
Many have rationalized in their own minds that God would not condemn to such a harsh judgment. They say, ” A loving God wouldn’t do such a thing.”
These people ought to feel the same concerning the death sentence Adam and Eve incurred as the result of eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad.
And, they forget that our loving God caused a flood that destroyed and killed an entire world because of disobedience.
They do not hearken to the apostle Peter’s warning found in 2 Peter chapter 3:
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Many are willingly ignorant today because they do not want to contemplate the ramifications of the existence of Hell. But that willful ignorance won’t change reality.
The Book of Revelation tells us that the wicked are to receive the fullness of God’s wrath:
Revelation chapter 14
9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Hell is the full measure of God’s wrath.
We as humans have no knowledge of the rules and penalties that govern those who exist in Heaven. Hell is the sentence of an angelic creature, but which his earthly seed will also share in.
We cannot extrapolate our idea of the possibility of things from our limited human perspective. We can only choose to believe or disbelieve.
As a point of reason, if person can allow themselves to believe that after a human dies, that a person can be raised to Heaven and partake in life there, then they should also be able to believe that a wicked person after death can be lifted out of this creation and transported to Satan’s final destiny. If one is possible, the other is possible.
We know that Hell is not part of this creation because this creation had been fully created before the devil fell and original sin took place. Hell is somewhere else that God carved out in His firmament. Again, Jesus is quoted as saying Hell was created as punishment for the devil and his angels.
Two of Satan’s most successful lies are that he and Hell don’t exist.
Feelings of guilt, like feelings of pain, are a gift we are endowed with from God. Both guilt and pain are warning systems alerting us that we are in danger.
When these gifts are not present in us, it poses a real crisis. For example, a person with a medical disorder in which he can feel no pain, called congenital analgesia, lives in constant danger. Likewise, a person who never experiences the feeling of guilt may very well be a sociopath. A sociopath is defined as a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience. The sociopath typically can form relationships with others but ignores societal norms, possesses little to no conscience, lacks empathy for others, and is a completely self-serving individual.
Both of these are horrifying conditions, which often result in harm to self and others, but we do not need a diagnosis to misuse or abuse what God has intended for good.
It is also important to be aware that feelings of guilt and pain can be easily corrupted. When someone needlessly physically mutilates him or herself, they are misusing God’s gift and are dishonoring God. Likewise, harboring false guilt for things that are beyond our control or because of our personal limitations in certain areas of our lives is a wicked form of spiritual self-mutilation.
Don’t Confuse Unwarranted Guilt Feelings with Humility
False guilt is not humility. It is the result of an unhealthy self-preoccupation that is often rooted in our expectations about what we think we should be able to do and accomplish. The problem is that we do not often distinguish between what we truly should feel guilty about and a false sense guilt that is unwarranted. We may perceive this unwarranted guilty feeling as humility. This may stem from a need for validation from other person or a group of people.
We are all guilty because we have all sinned against God.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.
In 1 Corinthians 10:13, this statement is made concerning the human condition:
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it”.
Our subjective feelings of guilt, when they accurately reflect what the Scripture names sin, are a path to confession, repentance and a renewed experience of cleanness by the grace and mercy of God.
That path is defined for us in the Book of Hebrews, chapter 4, verses 14-16:
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
But what if others refuse to forgive even after the steps mentioned above have been taken? What if there has been confession and repentance and yet forgiveness is withheld? How should you feel about yourself?
Often our continued subjective feelings of guilt after repentance are rooted in a need of acceptance and validation from others. This will often cause a person to keep seeking that acceptance in unhealthy ways. And this needy condition is often used to control a person.
In a bid to win acceptance, to get back into good grace with an offended party, one may subject themselves to an endless course of jumping through emotional hoops as a manner of speaking. This is an effective control mechanism. The end goal is always withheld and the objective is never achieved. Only the perpetrator benefits. What should you do in response?
Forgiveness is often defined as a deliberate decision to let go of feelings of anger, resentment, and retribution toward someone who you believe has wronged you. However, while you may be quite generous in your ability to forgive others, you may be much harder on yourself.
Forgiveness means that you accept the behavior, you accept what has happened, and you are willing to move past it and move on with your life without ruminating over past events that cannot be changed.
Self-forgiveness is not about letting yourself off the hook nor is it a sign of weakness. The act of forgiveness, whether you are forgiving yourself or someone who has wronged you, does not suggest that you are condoning the behavior.
Everyone makes mistakes, but learning how to learn from these errors, let go, move on, and forgive yourself is important for mental health and well-being. Learn more about why self-forgiveness can be beneficial and explore some steps that may help you become better at forgiving your own mistakes.
If we have made confession and repented and if we have a renewed experience of cleanness before God, we sin when we allow other to continue to make us feel guilty by their continuing to harbor resentment. You have done all you can humanly do about the matter as you cannot go back and change the past.
Falling Prey to Satan’s Tactics
When we harbor guilt for sins we’ve repented from we become a malicious witness, not against our brother(Deut. 19:15-20), but against ourselves.
Satan’s name means adversary and accuser. He is the accuser of the brothers, and he will answer to Christ for his malicious accusations (Rev. 12:10). When we accuse ourselves and bear false guilt, we are unwittingly copying the devil. False guilt is one of the primary weapons of Satan’s parasitic rival kingdom.
Genuine feelings of guilt that lead to conviction, confession and repentance do not leave the believer in self-oriented groveling but rather declaring, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
As a result of taking responsibility, you may experience a range of negative feelings, including guilt and shame. When you’ve done something wrong, it’s completely normal, even healthy, to feel guilty about it. These feelings of guilt and remorse can serve as a springboard to positive behavior change. But once those positive changes have been made, it’s okay to let go of the guilt.
Be On Guard
While guilt implies that you’re a good person who did something bad, continued shaming by someone who is unforgiving makes you see yourself as a bad person. This can bring up feelings of worthlessness which, left unresolved, can lead to addiction, depression, and aggression. Understand that making mistakes that you feel guilty about does not make you a bad person or undermine your intrinsic value. You are a person who did something bad that you regret.
Everyone has at some time or another been hurt by the actions or words of another. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger and bitterness — even vengeance.
But if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Consider as well that unforgiveness can lead you down a path of physical, emotional, and spiritual dysfunction, psychological trauma, and much worse.
Forgiveness means different things to different people. Generally, however, it involves a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.
The act that hurt or offended you might always be with you, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help free you from the control of the person who harmed you. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.
Being hurt by someone, particularly someone you love and trust, can cause anger, sadness and confusion. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you or making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life. And the extending of forgiveness where warranted is pleasing to God.
Refusing to forgive can be is a very specific sort of psychological manipulation, and is a fact of life. We may indulge in withholding behavior ourselves, or we may be on the receiving end. This kind of withholding can make a person feel powerful.
Psychological manipulation also known as emotional manipulation is defined as a form of coercion or persuasion. It can involve brainwashing or bullying, and is usually deceptive or abusive in nature. It may present itself as a pretense of forgiving someone, only to ‘withdraw’ the forgiveness… a pulling in only to later push away. This kind of manipulation is employed as an attempt to control the behavior of others and emotionally jerk them around to punish them. If this is what you are experiencing, what do you need to do?
Satan’s tactics have not changed. He longs for us to be gripped by the constant ache of a continued sense of guilt. This so even though proper contrition has been shown. This kind of guilting is a self-feeding beast. It produces hypersensitivity and creates a paralyzing self-loathing. It also speaks to the character of the unforgiving person.
Those who hold on to grudges due to past sins against them, should learn a lesson from the account recorded at John 8:1-11:
1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.
3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst
4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.
5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”
6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.
9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
The Lord told them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
We have all sinned against another in some fashion in our lives. But we always seem to tend to rank our own sins as less egregious than those of others. The scribes and the Pharisees who hauled the women mentioned at John 8 before Jesus had lost sight of their own debt of sin. Perhaps they too thought that their sin didn’t merit as much condemnation. Obviously by Jesus’ reply to them, they had not even confessed their own sin at the Temple in order to be forgiven. But in the end, they all had to walk away because not a single one of them was worthy to be in judgment of someone else. The Lord know even the secret sins of all. And certainly God does as well. It is God’s judgment that is most important.
To those who fear God, the Scriptures offer clear warnings regarding any who withhold forgiveness in harsh judgment of others.
“For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you”.
If we condemn another person and leave no room for forgiveness of sin, we can expect to be treated similarly in the final Judgment by Christ. This would be especially true regarding individuals who themselves, have made no attempt to repent from a life of sinning against God’s commandments. All of that person’s sins both great and small, will be held against them and they will be held accountable because they judged harshly.
The Bible writer James wrote this concerning the extending of Divine mercy:
James 2:13 (Translation For Translators)
“Speak and act like that, because when God judges us, he will not act mercifully toward those who do not act mercifully toward others. But when we are merciful to others, we can rejoice, because our being merciful shows that we are acting like people whom God has mercifully saved from being judged (OR, we can rejoice because God will judge us mercifully)”.
God will not show mercy to someone incapable of being merciful. Unforgiveness will lead to the second death for the one who can’t forgive a repentant sinner.
Remember this, we are all guilty because we have all sinned against God.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.
The woman mentioned at John 8 sins were being used as a ploy to trap Jesus. The scribes and Pharisees intention in their condemnation of her wasn’t pure. They withheld their forgiveness and wanted her stoned for ulterior motives.
Feelings of guilt, like feelings of pain, are a gift we are endowed with from God. Both guilt and pain are warning systems alerting us that we are in danger. But it is also important to be aware that feelings of guilt and pain can be easily corrupted. If we have sinned, made confession, repented, and have made an honest effort to make amends to a party that we have grieved, we sin when we allow other to continue to make us feel guilty by their continuing to harbor resentment. You have done all you can humanly do about the matter as you cannot go back and change the past. But you can allow others to force you into living in it. While guilt implies that you have done something wrong, continued shaming by someone who is unforgiving makes you see yourself as a bad person. Once you have made the necessary positive changes, it is correct in God’s eyes to let go of the guilt.
The graphic above depicts the huge statue of King Nebuchadnezzar had erected on the Plain of Dura. He erected this very visible 90-foot-tall image of himself so that the residents of Babylon would worship him.
King Nebuchadnezzar was both egotistically proud and vain. He ordered that on the day of its dedication, everybody had to kneel down the statue and worship it. The penalty fo failing to do so was death in a firey furnace.
The account of these events is recorded in the Bible in the Book of Daniel Chapter 3:
1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue, 90 feet high and nine feet wide. He set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.
2 King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to assemble the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the rulers of the provinces to attend the dedication of the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
3 So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the rulers of the provinces assembled for the dedication of the statue the king had set up. Then they stood before the statue Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
4 A herald loudly proclaimed, “People of every nation and language, you are commanded:
5 When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.
6 But whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire.”
7 Therefore, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, and every kind of music, people of every nation and language fell down and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. (HCSB)
Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t simply attempting to be a role model for his people. It was his desire to be worshiped as a human god. One must be able to appreciate the difference between looking up to a role model and elevating a person, the nation they live in, or a group to the point of worship.
It is important for us to have good people to look up to, but our attitude towards them is also important. Do we treat them like fellow human beings with valuable wisdom to learn from, and who make mistakes? Or do we see them as faultless, hold them to incredibly high standards, and worship them?
Babylon was a land in which life was overshadowed by a vast idolatry. What about idolatry today in the 21st century?
People make role models out of their parents, teachers, sports figures, actors, politicians, religious leaders, and scientist, and even human ideologies. But when they are treated as faultless super-humans and when they are raised up and put on pedestals, we are idolizing them beyond being a simple role models.
This is not a good or healthy thing to do, since all human beings are imperfect having flaws and all sin. They are no god and to liken them to God is an act of blasphemy against the true God.
If a person continues to trust them and believe they never sin, they can be drawn into their sin and not even realize it because they trust they can do no wrong.
Let’s examine three main sources of idolatry today: Celebrities, Nationalism, and Religious Affiliation.
A celebrity is simply a famous, well-known person. Celebrity worship—is it more than just being a casual fan.
To explore this question, a number of scales have been developed to assess celebrity adulation. The most prevalent scale of this type in the literature is the Celebrity Attitudes Scale. Using these types of scales, investigators have examined various college-student and community samples. Findings reveal that individuals with high scores on celebrity-worship scales tend to display a number of psychosocial characteristics.
For example, these individuals may harbor concerns about body image (particularly young adolescents), be more prone to cosmetic surgery, and have a personality style characterized by sensation-seeking, cognitive rigidity, identity diffusion, and poor interpersonal boundaries.
Likewise, celebrity worshippers may exhibit narcissistic features, dissociation, addictive tendencies, stalking behavior, and compulsive buying. Studies also indicate that individuals with high levels of celebrity worship are more likely to have poorer mental health as well as clinical symptoms of depression, anxiety, and social dysfunction.
Of note, no study to date has examined celebrity worshippers for bona fide Axis I and II psychiatric disorders. However, given that celebrity worship exists along a continuum, it appears that being on the high end of this continuum is likely to be associated with a number of potential psychological maladies.
It’s amazing how casually this term has infiltrated our culture—and even our hearts. Entertainment stars are now literally dubbed “idols”, and not many give a second thought to the usage of the term so light-heartedly. Do you ever wonder why producers chose the name “American Idol”?
A great deal of how we think and conduct ourselves is learned through observation. Not only do children learn from role models, but adults as well imitate behaviors of those they admire. Researchers suggest that as much as 95% of all human behaviors are learnt through looking up to others as role models. However, even if it were only partially true it is a very good reason to choose positive role models, for ourselves and our children and in doing so, resist the inclination to idolize that role model.
In today’s around-the-clock media saturated environment, many are likely to be choosing their role models from the field of sports, entertainment figures, politicians, or those successful in business without trying to differentiate between seeing them as a role model and seeing them as a super-hero. They find themselves putting these figures on a pedestal and worshiping their every behavior.
It is easy to take on their mannerisms and qualities without being aware of it. They never ask themselves: “Does this individual lead the kind of life that I really want to and should emulate?”
More importantly for the Christian disciple, only God is worthy of worship. When celebrities worship themselves or allow others to worship them, it results in arrogant pride and self-centeredness, which leads to disaster and tragedy for themselves as well as those who worship them.
The most powerful biblical example of that of Satan. His pride and hubris led him to forget that it was God who had endowed him with everything he possessed.
Note what God said concerning Satan through his prophet Ezekiel: (referring to Satan as the King of Tyrus or Tyre)
Ezekiel 28:2-5, 13-18
2 Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:
3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:
4 With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures:
5 By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore, will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. (KJV)
Rather than honoring and worshiping the God who created him and gave him beauty, Satan became proud, essentially worshiping himself. Self-pride can have the same effect on a human and cause them to seek the worship of others.
There is no shortage of negative role models in today’s society. Western media has had a greatly impacted on people’s minds in a negative way around the globe. The media often calls people towards the doing of evil. This is not a new phenomenon. Nebuchadnezzar was doing just this when he erected the golden statue of himself on the Plain of Dura.
Worship of the State
The cult of State worship is a real thing. This is when a society worships the government over all else. The people are called statists, they have a love of State.
State worship is contrary to the will of God. Nothing in the teachings of either Christ or the apostles calls for love or loyalty to one nation above others. While Christian disciples are urged in Scripture to honor governing leaders and obey laws that are not contrary to God’s will, there is no command to love or have allegiance for any earthly realm or earthly leader.
Paul, in the Book of Romans, tells us what a disciple of Christ duties to the State are and why.
1 Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God.
2 So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval.
4 For government is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong.
5 Therefore, you must submit, not only because of wrath, but also because of your conscience.
6 And for this reason you pay taxes, since the authorities are God’s public servants, continually attending to these tasks.
7 Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.
Since these human institutions act as God’s servants in maintaining civil order and because they exist according to God’s will, we should be obedient to the extent their will is not in conflict with the expressed will of God. But this is a far cry from deifying a government, state, or nation.
Worship of State has been described as “the most destructive, dangerous, bloody and virulent mind disease in history”. In the 20th century alone, 200 million people were sacrificed at its altar.
Even more shocking is the fact that in both World War I and World War II, the professed Christian churches of Christendom readily aligned its goals of nationalistic ideals. Their thoughts of ‘Christian brotherhood’ became non-existent. Catholics, Protestants, and members of other professed Christian denominations on one side of the war, saw it as their duty to fight and kill members of the same faith denomination on the other side of the war. Catholic priest blessed enemy combatants on both sides of the war!
For these nationalistic combatants, their allegiance was first to Country and lesser to God. During World War I, Christendom’s religious leaders married nationalism and their faith.
“One of the things which stands out prominently in the picture of the First World War is the uncritical identification of the cause of Christianity with the cause of the Allied Nations. “The flag and the Cross,” a trusted Christian leader declared in 1917, “are now both working for the same ends.”
This idea is totally out of harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ. What did Jesus say concerning his kingdom when speaking to Pontius Pilate?
33 Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
34 Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about Me?”
35 “I’m not a Jew, am I?” Pilate replied. “Your own nation and the chief priests handed You over to me. What have You done?”
36 “My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If My kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. As it is, my kingdom does not have its origin here.”
Jesus himself resisted attempts of others to make him a political ruler.
14 When the people saw the sign He had done, they said, “This really is the Prophet who was to come into the world!”
15 Therefore, when Jesus knew that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself.
Jesus is the Master of the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who have allegiance to earthly nations, bow to other masters. Jesus said:
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other”.
So, it is hard to imagine how these leaders of Christendom could earnestly believe that they were being obedient followers of Jesus Christ. More likely, they were opportunist who used the name of Christ to further their nationalist ambitions.
Their hypocrisy mirrors that of the Pharisees Jesus condemned harkening back to the words of the prophet Isaiah:
7 Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said:
8 These peoplehonor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
9 They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.”
They worshiped the State and that is idolatry. State worship still abounds in the 21st century,
Idolizing A Religious Group
A big mistake when it comes to spotting idolatry, is thinking that we cannot idolize something that intuitively seem that it has to be a ‘good’ thing by nature. The truth is that everything that man idolizes is something that he/she perceives to be a ‘good’ thing. A person can easily think that if it’s an attempt to worship God, it has to be good. But this is a wrong and dangerous assumption to make. Let’s examine this idea.
The religion a person practices often falls into a blind spot when it comes to being careful to avoid idolatry.
But the Bible is full of examples of people who either intentionally or unintentionally allowed themselves to fall into the practice of idolatry. We will examine two of these. The first notable example is what occurred at the base of Mount Sinai shortly after God had saved the Hebrew seed of Abraham from the cruel slavery of their Egyptian captors. It is the well-known story of the golden calf Aaron made. The second is when the Israelites fell into the worship of the copper/bronze serpent.
The Golden Calf
The story of the golden calf is widely regarded as one of the most disgraceful moments in Jewish history. In Exodus, chapters 31-32, just a mere 40 days after receiving the Torah, the Hebrew people created an idol.
The Bible tells us about how three months after leaving Egypt, and only 40 days after receiving the Commandments from God at Mount Sinai, the Hebrew people created an idol and began to worship it.
Having miscalculated the date of Moses’ promised return from the mountain, the people thought that Moses had died. They decided to replace him, and with the help of Aaron, formed a golden calf and worshiped it.
Jewish historian state that along with those Hebrews who exited Egypt there were a group of non-Hebrews outcast who accompanied them. So, it was a mixed group.
Because things weren’t happening as they presumed the way they were supposed to, they did not remain faithful to God’s commandments. In their desperation, they sought the aid of the gods they had worshiped previously, and this led to the creation of the golden calf image.
It is also notable that Aaron who acted as the nation’s priest, failed in his role to ensure pure worship of Jehovah and allowed himself to become part to the idolatry.
Similarly in modern times, when things did not happen within the time frame that Watchtower Society teachers had predicted they occur, the leaders and group in desperation deviated from the commandments of God. They rejected the Greater Moses, Jesus Christ, and appointed earthling men as their mediator with God. Their teachings have effectively removed Jesus Christ from his exclusive role as High Priest before God.
In place of Jesus, they have made the Watchtower Organization, Charles T. Russell, J.F. Rutherford, and its Governing Body the objects of their devotion.
We often think of idols as objects of wood or stone, silver or gold. But an idol is actually defined as an object of extreme devotion… a false god. In other words, an idol can be anything to which we are devoted to the point of enshrining it on the throne of our hearts, giving it the role of our supplier or provider.
The Watchtower Organization has become the ‘golden calf’ that they formed with their own hands and now worship. And in their desire to grow in numbers over the decades, many insincere and even godless people have entered among them just as what happened to the Israelites exiting Egypt.
The Copper Serpent
4 Then they set out from Mount Hor by way of the Red Sea to bypass the land of Edom, but the people became impatient because of the journey.
5 The people spoke against God and Moses: “Why have you led us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread or water, and we detest this wretched food!”
6 Then the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and they bit them so that many Israelites died.
7 The people then came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede with the Lord so that he will take the snakes away from us.” And Moses interceded for the people.
8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake image and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will recover.”
9 So Moses made a bronze snake and mounted it on a pole. Whenever someone was bitten, and he looked at the bronze snake, he recovered.
But, by the time of the reign of King Hezekiah, some of the Israelites had begun worshiping the copper serpent.
2 Kings 18:1-4
1 In the third year of the reign of Hoshea son of Elah as king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz became king of Judah
2 at the age of twenty-five, and he ruled in Jerusalem for twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.
3 Following the example of his ancestor King David, he did what was pleasing to the Lord. 4 He destroyed the pagan places of worship, broke the stone pillars, and cut down the images of the goddess Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze snake that Moses had made, which was called Nehushtan. Up to that time the people of Israel had burned incense in its honor.
It was God by His power who sent the poisonous snakes amongst the disobedient people. And it was by God’s power they were healed. It was not by some inner power of the copper snake God had Moses make. It was faith and belief that led to their being healed from their from snake bites.
Jesus alluded to this fact when he spoke to the man Nicodemus:
As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
History proves that the Israelites did not put their trust in God but rather into ‘things’. It was the tendency of the Israelites to latch onto physical things as demonstrated in their claim to possessing the “Law,” the holy writings (of the prophets), and God’s temple. Putting emphasis on these things made them prideful. It also made them feel superior as opposed to non-Jews. And having these things gave them a false sense of security, thinking that God would always approve of and protect them, even when they were flagrantly disobedient. Time and again, they were sent into captivity for their disobedience, proving that their false reasoning meant nothing to God. Those feelings still are prevalent today among many Jewish people.
When most people think of idolatry, they imagine the images carved to look like animals out of gold, silver, and jewels, because this is how the Bible described how it happened a few thousand years ago. But what they fail to realize is that we can make literally anything an idol including a religious group. Worshiping something, anything, besides God, is idolatry.
This type of idolatry is common and it begins with the leaders of religious groups setting themselves up to be an idol for people, rather than reserving their worship for God.
When so-called Christian denominations create a culture and an environment in their group that demands it’s members be devoted and in service to them, idolatry is the result.
The denomination becomes a clique and a social club. A group with its own culture, membership standards, and activities, makes for easy idolatry to materialize within it. Membership requires that they be so consumed in group activities that it leads to a disconnect with having a relationship with God. Members out of reverence for their religious group soon find themselves spending all of their time serving group requirements that they lose sight of reverence for God and meeting His requirements.
Your religious denomination/group is not equal to or synonymous with God, no matter what your leaders tell you, and no matter how much you love the group. If you believe so, you are idolizing your religious group.
Celebrity worship, whether it is an entertainment figure, a politician, a commercial success, or a well known religious leader—is more than just being a casual fan. It is being a party to a cult of personality.
It is easy to take on their mannerisms and qualities without being aware of it. They never ask themselves: “Does this individual lead the kind of life that I really want to and should emulate?”
Do we treat them like fellow human beings with possibly valuable wisdom to learn from, and who make mistakes? Or do we see them as faultless, put them on a pedestal, and worship them?
If a person continues to trust them and believe they never sin, they can be drawn into their sin and not even realize it because they trust they can do no wrong.
State worship is real and State worship is contrary to the will of God. While Christian disciples are urged in Scripture to honor governing leaders and obey laws that are not contrary to God’s will, there is no command to love or have allegiance for any earthly realm or earthly leader. No man can serve two masters.
The religion a person practices often falls into a blind spot when it comes to being careful to avoid idolatry. When so-called Christian denominations create a culture and an environment in their group that demands it’s members be devoted and in service to them, idolatry is the result. Your religious denomination/group is not equal to or synonymous with God, no matter what your leaders tell you.
We often think of idols as objects of wood or stone, silver or gold. But an idol is actually defined as an object of extreme devotion… a false god. In other words, an idol can be anything to which we are devoted to the point of enshrining it on the throne of our hearts, giving it the role of our supplier or provider.
Worshiping something, anything, besides God, is idolatry.
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: “The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Head of God’s creation, says these things:
High Priest Jesus Christ is God’s Witness. Notice that Jesus spoke in singular and not plural.
In the Book of Hebrews we are told to look to the Temple arrangement in the past that was constructed according to God’s instruction to understand the Heavenly temple arrangement.
1 Now in the things which we are saying, the main point is this. We have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
2 a servant of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord set up, and not man.
3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore, it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer.
4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, seeing there are priests who offer the gifts according to the Law;
5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, even as Moses was warned when he was about to make the tabernacle, for he said, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain.”
6 also said in another passage, You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.
It was the high priest and he alone that was granted access into the Most Holy compartment of the Temple in order to receive instruction from God. He served as God’s spokesman (witness) in that what he was told from God and then he imparted what he was told to all others. It was the high priest who bore witness in God’s behalf. He was the “Amen” in that arrangement.
Christ being the Eternal High Priest is the “Amen” of God and serves as God’s Witness. So, it is improper for anyone else to ascribe to themselves the title “Jehovah’s Witness”.
Well then, who are Christ disciples to bear witness concerning?
The words spoken by Jesus to his apostles recorded in Acts 1:1-8 reveal the answer to this question:
1 The first account I wrote, Theophilus, concerned all that Jesus began both to do and to teach,
2 until the day in which he was received up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.
3 To these he also showed himself alive after he suffered, by many proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking about God’s kingdom.
4 Being assembled together with them, he commanded them, “Do not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which you heard from me.
5 For John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you now restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has set within his own authority.
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest part of the earth.”
Jesus said, “You will be my witnesses…”.
Rightly understood, we as disciples of Christ are to bear witness concerning him.
There are two other primary Scriptures in the Bible that describe bearing witness of the things and events pertaining to Jesus and the message which He brought. They can be found in John 15:26-27 and Luke 24:46-48.
In addressing the apostles before He was crucified, Jesus explained the tasks ahead of them after his physical departure.
26 “When the Helper has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will testify about me.
27 And you will also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.
In this moment, Jesus tells the apostles that they will receive the Holy Spirit after His resurrection, and that they will also share their knowledge and understanding of the events pertaining to Jesus and His Work and Message with others.
Now let’s examine Jesus’ statement found at Luke 24:46-48:
46 He said to them, “Thus it is written, for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 You are witnesses of these things.
Clearly, Jesus informed them about the privilege they had regarding the knowledge and understanding they were blessed with, knowing the Truth about Jesus’ role in the Plan of God.
We as disciples of Christ were never given the directive of bearing witness in behalf of God. Only the Faithful and True Witness, Christ Jesus, has that honor. However, we have been honored to bear witness concerning Christ.
When humans take on the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” they are usurping the role of Christ either consciously or unconsciously.
One may ask, “Well, what about Isaiah 43:10?”
“Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me”.
God’s words to His prophet Isaiah were directed to a specific group of people.
“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine”.
These words were directed toward “Jacob”, the Hebrew nation.
These words were stated long before the formation of the new covenant founded on Christ and God’s new arrangement with Christ installed as High Priest. Therefore, they are not applicable to the body of Christ.
Who Is Your Savior? On Whom Does Your Salvation Depend?
Do you look at your pastor as your savior? Do you look to your religious group or organization for salvation?
If you do, you are not following the instruction found in the Holy Bible and Jesus Christ is not your Savior.
Efforts to exalt fellow human beings instead of the Lord, Jesus Christ as Savior are not a new phenomenon. There were many who were doing this very thing in the first century at the formation of the Christian assembly.
So much was the case that the apostle Paul had to write a sternly worded letter about this subject to the Body members who resided in Corinth.
He had to remind them that they were not baptized in his nor any other man’s name that ministers as a servant to Christ.
He had to remind them whom it was that died in their behalf in order that the door to salvation would be opened to them.
The apostle pointed out to the Corinthians that what they were doing when they claimed to be followers of a specific minister of Christ, was actually attempting to divide Christ.
In 1 Corinthian 1:29, Paul tells them and us, that God purposed things in the way He did so that no human had cause to be boasting in themselves. But rather, that the glory be to God and Christ.
In Chapter 3 verse one, Paul said that their behavior was “self-directed” according to their “fleshly nature” and he said that their actions were based on jealousy.
Lastly, Paul makes clear that it is not the minister that spiritual growth is dependent upon, but that growth is dependent upon the Holy Spirit of God.
Please read the text of the first of letter Paul wrote to the congregation of Corinthian and then ask yourself “Am I looking to Jesus Christ as my Savior, or someone or something else”?
1 Corinthians 1
1 Paul, called as an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Sosthenes our brother:
2 To God’s church at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord—both their Lord and ours.
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I always thank my God for you because of God’s grace given to you in Christ Jesus,
5 that by Him you were enriched in everything—in all speech and all knowledge.
6 In this way, the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you,
7 so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 God is faithful; you were called by Him into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction.
11 For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by members of Chloe’s household, that there is rivalry among you.
12 What I am saying is this: Each of you says, “I’m with Paul,” or “I’m with Apollos,” or “I’m with Cephas,” or “I’m with Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? Was it Paul who was crucified for you? Or were you baptized in Paul’s name?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,
15 so that no one can say you were baptized in my name.
16 I did, in fact, baptize the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t know if I baptized anyone else.
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to evangelize—not with clever words, so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of its effect.
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.
19 For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the experts.
20 Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish?
21 For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached.
22 For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom,
23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.
24 Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom,
25 because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
26 Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth.
27 Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong.
28 God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something,
29 so that no one can boast in His presence.
30 But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
31 in order that, as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 3
1 My fellow believers, when I was with you previously, I was not able to teach you as I would teach people who are controlled by the Holy Spirit. Instead, I had to teach you as I would teach people whom their fleshly nature controls. I taught very simple concepts to you who had recently believed in Christ, as a parent would speak very simple words to a baby.
2 I did not teach you things that were difficult for you to understand, just like a woman does not give her baby solid food that the baby cannot chew and digest. And just like a woman gives her baby milk, I taught you simple spiritual concepts, because at that time you were not able to understand difficult things. And you are still not able to understand difficult concepts,
3 because you are still controlled by your self-directed, fleshly nature. Some of you are jealous and quarreling. Does not that prove your self-directed nature is controlling you? It shows that you are acting like unbelievers act.
4 By some of you saying, “I am loyal to Paul,” and others saying, “I am loyal to Apollos,” does not it show that you are acting like unbelievers?
5 So what you really ought to think about Apollos and me is that we are merely men who serve God. As a result of our telling you the message about Christ, you trusted in him. Both of us are merely doing the work that the Lord appointed us to do.
6 I was the first one who preached God’s message to you. I was like someone who plants seeds. Later, Apollos taught you more of God’s message. That was like someone who waters plants after they start to grow. But it is God who enables people to grow spiritually, just like he is the one who causes plants to grow.
7 So the person who first preaches God’s message to people is not important, and the person who later teaches people more of God’s message is not important, just like it is not the person who plants the seeds or the person who waters the plants who is important. Instead, it is God, who causes plants to grow and who causes people to grow spiritually, who is important.
8 The person who first preaches God’s message to people and the one who later teaches them more of God’s message both are trying to reach the same goal. And God will reward each of them according to how they served Him.
9 Remember that Apollos and I are both working together for God. You do not belong to us. Just like a field belongs to its owner, not to those who work in it, you belong to God, not to us who work for him.
Also, a house belongs to its owner. It does not belong to the man who built it. Similarly, God is the one to whom you belong.
10 Just like a skilled person puts a foundation in the ground before he builds a house, as a result of God kindly helping me, I was the first one who declared the message about Christ to you. And, just like others build a house on its foundation, there were others who later taught you more about Christ. But just like each person who builds a house must be careful about what materials he uses to build it, each person who teaches God’s truth must be careful about what he teaches.
11 Just like people can put in only one foundation for a house, there is only one message that we can give to people. That message is about Jesus Christ. (Translation for Translators)
There is no doubt that a true disciple of Jesus only looks at him as their Savior and only look at him as God’s means of salvation.
Preachers and religious organization that teach that you must be their follower to gain salvation, are lying to you and leading you away from the true Savior, Jesus Christ.
At 1 Corinthian 1:13, the apostle Paul mentions an all-important fact that many professed believers have either overlooked or have chose to disregard.
1 Corinthian 1:13
“Is Christ divided? Was it Paul who was crucified for you? Or were you baptized in Paul’s name?”
A Christian disciple is to make their vow to God at their baptism according to the instructions that Jesus himself left to follow.
Matthew 28:19, 20
19 Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
20 and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”
Did your baptismal vow include more than the “name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”? Did it also include the name of a religious denomination? Then was it really a valid baptism in God’s eyes?
Please consider these questions by reviewing the post at the URL shown below.
7 Won’t God avenge his chosen ones, who are crying out to him day and night, and yet he exercises patience with them?
8 I tell you that he will avenge them quickly. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
These are the words of Jesus Christ. The Lord’s question should cause a professed disciple of his to wonder why he would ask such a question.
Jesus’ statement does not imply that he himself felt that true faith would be abundant among humankind when he returned. In fact, he questioned whether there would be any at all.
Yet, according to the Pew Research Center, in 2015, there were 2.3 billion Christians of all ages living in the world. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, reported that the number of Christians in the world edged past 2.5 billion in 2019. This represents almost one third of the Earth’s population.
Given Jesus’ question, something doesn’t add up does it?
Note also what he is quoted as saying found in the gospel of Matthew:
13 “Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it.
14 How narrow is the gate, and difficult is the way that leads to life. Few are those who find it.
Here he says that “few” are those who truly find and who truly travel the pathway of righteousness.
Paul spoke prophetically about this phenomenon in his first letter to Timothy:
1 Timothy 4:1-2
1 But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons,
2 through the hypocrisy of liars, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron;
He is saying that many in the last days would succumb to teachings that do not equate with true Christian discipleship and that their conduct would not demonstrate true faith.
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul specifically described one of two contributing factors that would result in a scarcity of true faith.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
3 For the time will come when people will not tolerate healthy doctrine, but with itching ears will surround themselves with teachers who cater to their people’s own desires.
4 They will refuse to listen to the truth and will turn to myths.
The second main contributor is the infiltration of false teachers into the church brotherhood.
The apostle Peter warned about them:
2 Peter 2:1-2, 12, 17-19
1 Now there were false prophets among the people, just as there also will be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves.
2 Many people will follow their immoral ways, and because of them the way of truth will be maligned.
12 These people, like irrational animals, are mere creatures of instinct that are born to be caught and killed. They insult what they don’t understand, and like animals they, too, will be destroyed,
17 These men are dried-up springs, mere clouds driven by a storm. Gloomy darkness is reserved for them.
18 By talking high-sounding nonsense and using sinful cravings of the flesh, they entice people who have just escaped from those who live in error.
19 Promising them freedom, they themselves are slaves to depravity, for a person is a slave to whatever conquers him.
These false teachers have a confusing and a divisive effect that stumbles many seeking true faith.
3 If anyone teaches false doctrine and refuses to agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, and godly teaching,
4 he is a conceited person and does not understand anything. He has an unhealthy craving for arguments and debates. This produces jealousy, rivalry, slander, evil suspicions,
5 and incessant conflict between people who are depraved in mind and deprived of truth. They think that godliness is a way to make a profit.
Even though many profess to be Christ’ disciples, the reality is that few truly are. They have not heeded the apostle Peter’s warning found in 2 Peter 2:1.
The apostle Peter pointed out that it is the one who earnestly seeks God that is manifesting true faith.
6 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.
Jesus’ question regarding the presence of true faith when he returns, emphasized how scarce it would be and how hard it would be to maintain it.
Will you fight to be one of the few?
What Is Godly Fear?
What does it mean to fear God?
Does the Bible contradict itself on this matter?
Ecclesiastes 12:13 exhorts:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. KJVlite
Over and over in the Bible we are exhorted to fear God, to have the fear of the Lord, to live in godly fear.
So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.
And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul
How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
The Lord favors those who fear Him,
Those who wait for His lovingkindness.
The fear of the LORD leads to life, then contentment; he rests and will not be touched by trouble.
But why should we fear God? Isn’t God love?
1 John 4:18 clearly tells us that: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
Is this a contradiction?
Godly fear isn’t the same as fear of a tyrant, or a dictator. We don’t need to fear His anger, unless we fear punishment due to a bad conscience and an unrepentant heart because of sin. (Romans 2:5-9)
To fear God is absolute reverence and awe for Almighty God, the Creator of all things, including we ourselves individually.
This causes us to fear to sin against Him, because we want nothing else in this world than to be pleasing to Him, and to bring honor to His name. We fear to cause Him sorrow or grief, knowing how incredibly wicked willful sin is, how much God hates it, and how much it hurts Him when we sin.
Please re-read the passage above from Deuteronomy 10:12.
Proverbs 8:13 states very succinctly what the fear of God means:
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil. I hate pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth.
Some attempt to pit Ecclesiastes 10:12 and 1 John 4:18 against each other and claim the Bible contradicts itself. There is no contradiction.
1 John 4:18 is stated to a specific group who obediently accept Jesus as Messiah. Refer to verse two of the same chapter:
1 John 4:2
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
These words are specifically spoken to those truly in union with Christ by accepting him. It is not a general statement to all humankind.
These words are directed toward those who love God and keep His commandment out of love for Him. They have no reason to fear.
That cannot be said of all people. There are those who should properly be in fear because they do not obey him out of love.
For them, Paul's words found in Romans 2:5-9 apply:
5 But according to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 who “will pay back to everyone according to their works:”
7 to those who by perseverance in good works seek glory and honor and immortality -- everlasting life.
8 But to those who are self-seeking, and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness -- wrath and anger,
9 affliction and distress, on every human being who does evil, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
The Bible does not contradict itself on this matter nor any other matter.
Watch Your Footsteps Carefully
Watch Your Footsteps Carefully…Watch How You Walk
The word ‘Christian’ does not mean an admirer of Christ, nor recipient of Christ’s blessings, nor even one who simply believes in Christ. It means much more than that.
‘Christian’ means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. A Christian is a disciple of Christ.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, this is the definition of what a disciple is:
“a person who believes the ideas and principles of someone famous and tries to live the way that person does or did”.
Jesus came as a man and left us an example to follow in our conduct of how we are to think and behave.
1 Peter 2:21
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Sin has a grip on all people, and we have all fallen short of God’s will in our lives at some time.
Even those of us who attempt to lead a godly life must be honest with ourselves and admit that we are imperfect sinners and must therefore pay constant attention to our behavior.
Consider our thoughts. Are they always so pure and noble, loving and forgiving as we make ourselves out to be? Or do we harbor hatred in our heart?
Consider our words. Are all our words a blessing? Do we offer blessings and yet curse with the same tongue?
Consider our conduct. Are all our deeds unselfish? Do we do things for God’s glory or our own? Are we really following in Jesus’ footsteps?
Because of the perversion of real Christianity you may never have heard of this kind of Christianity, but God’s Word speaks of no other kind. Pick up your Bible today, and rather than reading what Jesus did in your place, read how you can follow in Jesus’ footsteps to become like Him!
Ask yourself, “Am I really a Christian, according to the Bible?” If this is the life you want, don’t hesitate. Pray that God will give you His Spirit, and then start following in Jesus’ footsteps in the way you behave.
We have this Scriptural admonition as a reminder and as a warning:
12 Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God;
13 but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called “today;” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm to the end:
The Holy Scriptures long ago counseled worshipers of the living and only true God to watch their steps in order to maintain pure worship and good standing before Him:
Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.
26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
12 When you walk, your steps will be sure. And when you run, you will not fall.
13 Always remember what you have learnt. Do not forget it. The things that you have learnt will give you life. So keep them well.
14 Do not go where bad people go. Do not follow the ways of bad people.
15 Do not do it! Keep away from every bad thing! Refuse it and go on your way.
16 Bad people cannot sleep unless they have done something wrong. They lie awake unless they have caused someone to fall.
17 To do bad things is like food and drink to bad men.
The apostle Paul also offered similar counsel to the 1st century Christian congregation:
15 So, you must be very careful how you live. Live like people who understand what is right and good. Do not live like people who do not understand anything.
16 These are bad times, so use every moment well.
17 Do not be fools. But instead, understand what the Lord wants.
18 Do not drink too much wine, because that will cause bad things. It will stop you ruling yourself properly. But instead, let God’s Spirit fill you.
Everyone is a follower of someone or something. Some people follow in the footsteps of their family and tradition. Others follow their own instincts, drawing from a variety of philosophies, religion, friends, and family. They do whatever they feel is right in their gut. That is doing according to one’s own will.
However, true Christians do not follow any of these paths, but rather the path of Christ as his footstep followers. A true Christian listens to the complete teachings of Jesus and obey all of his commandments. They do not cherry-pick through his teachings and commandments selecting to believe and obey only the ones that appeal to their personal will and desires.
A well known entertainment figure who promoted many different so-called ‘spiritual’ belief systems, would often speak of Jesus Christ in personal perception terms. She would say, “My Jesus is like…”.
Jesus was a real historical person and not some mythological character. There is no my Jesus, your Jesus, or his/her Jesus. There is but the one Jesus and we either choose to accept him or not. We can’t make him into something according to our personal preferences.
We can tell if we’re Jesus’ followers if we live out His truth and walk in the light as He is in the light.
We cannot think and behave like those alienated from God and please Him. There is no fellowship between “light” and “darkness”. There is no fellowship between Christ and the devil.
Jesus’ Parable Of The Sower And The Seed
3 Then he began to tell them many things in parables. He said, “Listen! A farmer went out to sow.
4 As he was sowing, some seeds fell along the path, and birds came and ate them up.
5 Other seeds fell on stony ground, where they did not have a lot of soil. They sprouted at once because the soil wasn’t deep.
6 But when the sun came up, they were scorched. Since they did not have any roots, they dried up.
7 Other seeds fell among thorn bushes, and the thorn bushes grew higher and choked them out.
Jesus here speaks of people who had accept the message, became disciples, and who for different reasons failed to take root and grow.
I was associated with the Watchtower Society for about 50 years. My parents, siblings, as well as my own children were also associated with “Jehovah’s Witnesses”.
Looking back, most of those members I encountered never grew beyond spoon-fed spiritual babes although most believe they are highly enlightened.
They never actually rooted in order to become what from a biblical standpoint could be considered spiritually mature.
We would frequently sing a song that contained the refrain, “Make the truth your own”. But many never did. They made their organization equivalent to ‘truth’.
As a result, many put their trust into what others told them was the accurate interpretation of the Bible.
While some simply wouldn’t study the Bible themselves, others didn’t because they were told they couldn’t get the right interpretation studying the Scriptures independently.
In effect the weed-like teachings, or as Jesus elsewhere calls them “demon inspired expressions” of their false prophets and elders choked off any chance to develop and grow.
The Psalmist counseled this:
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psalm 1:1, 2
In duplicity JW org beckons in members by ads like this:
“Receive Full Benefit From Reading the Bible” — (Watchtower ONLINE quote:)
But what does it mean then to read the Bible “in an undertone”? And ” must not depart from your mouth” and “you must in an undertone read in it day and night”.? NWT
After they have hooked people in, they then tell them they can’t grow by such independent study.
When the Watchtower Society headquarters were located in Brooklyn, New York, it displayed a huge sign which read, “Read The Bible Daily”.
But if you can’t get an accurate understanding by doing so, what would be the point? Their behavior is classic bait and switch modus operandi.
Charles Russell wrote to this effect and they have had a history of breaking up any small group who would get together just to consider the Bible absent WT literature.
They, the elders were the “thorns” that choked the life out of earnest people seeking to become disciples of Christ in order to make them disciples of men.
These elders were the “birds” Jesus speaks about in Matthew 13:4 who swooped down and ate the seed before it could take root and grow to spiritual maturity.
Their actions prove that they do not believe in Christ although they say they do. They do not believe in his word. Otherwise they would have heeded his advance warning:
6 “If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea.
7 How terrible for the world that there are things that make people lose their faith! Such things will always happen—but how terrible for the one who causes them!
I am certain that there are many who have had this same experience with other so-called religious denominations throughout the world. However, I can only give direct testimony in regard to my own experience. The same warning applies.
These men will be accountable to Christ in the Judgment.
Make Wise Use Of The Remaining Time
"Redeeming The Time"
Paul wrote a warning to the Ephesian church that they should "watch carefully how they walked" and that they should be "redeeming" time.
The following is his statement in context:
1 Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children.
2 And walk in love, even as Christ also loved us, a and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance.
3 But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints;
4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not appropriate; but rather giving of thanks.
5 Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience.
7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord. Walk as children of light,
9 for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth,
10 proving what is well pleasing to the Lord.
11 Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them.
12 For the things which are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of.
13 But all things, when they are reproved, are revealed by the light, for everything that reveals is light.
14 Therefore he says, “Awake, you who sleep, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise;
16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 Do not get drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your heart to the Lord;
20 giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father; (NHEB)
The Greek word 'exagorazo' is used in the actual translation where the engish word "redeem" now appears in Ephesians 5:16.
Exagorzo literally means to "buy out of the market place." The picture is of a merchant who diligently seeks to buy up the best bargains in the market place, taking care not to miss out on fleeting opportunities.
At Ephesians 5:16, 'redeem' is used in the present tense which calls for us to make it our lifestyle, our daily, moment by moment practice, to buy up for ourselves (to our eternal advantage) the strategic opportunities which God providentially places in our path.
If we are walking wisely (Eph 5:15-note), filled with God's Spirit (Eph 5:18-note), we will be spiritually alert to those divine opportunities in the "marketplace", and will begin to view people and circumstances not just as encounters (or irritations) in time but as opportunities to impact our eternity.
Paul also gave the same admonition to the church at Colossae:
"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time".
To redeem something means to buy it back, to regain possession of it. The immoral way of life and the immoral conduct that surrounds us will rob us from using our time in pursuit of righteousness.
This is particularly important now because the execution of Divine Judgment is very near.
"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".
"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed".
Are you making the most wise use of the remaining time?
“And They Took No Note…”
37 “As the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the box-shaped vessel,
39 and they did not know until the flood came, and took them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and one will be left;
41 two women grinding at the mill, one will be taken and one will be left.
42 Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord comes.
43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.
44 Therefore also be ready, for in an hour that you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
Jesus harkened back to the days of Noah, the days before the Great deluge swept away an entire world of humankind. God destroyed a world rift with ungodly thinking and behavior.
Christ prophesied again about the refusal to repent of a wicked world in these last days in the prophecy he gave to the apostle John recorded in the Book of
Revelation Chapter 9:
20 The rest of the human race, all those who had not been killed by these plagues, did not turn away from what they themselves had made. They did not stop worshiping demons, nor the idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which cannot see, hear, or walk.
21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic, their sexual immorality, or their stealing.
Today’s wicked God defying world has already been subjected to great plagues of punishment due to ungodly thinking , behavior, and demonic practices.
Yet as in the days of Noah, the world has been preoccupied with the mundane concerns of life and have taken no notice of the moral decay that has swept the Earth.
It is as if they have been sleep-walking.
Can you discern the times?
Prophecy—-The Ripple Effect
Prophecy has a Ripple Effect
Prophecy's effects can be compared to a stone dropped into the center of a pond. Visualize the concentric circles that form from the epicenter and spread out across the pond. Over time these rings cover the entire pond.
Each ring is an identical harmonic reproduction of the initial ring. So that no matter where you are positioned spatially in the pond, you see the same thing.
You can see prophecy's fulfillment everywhere. But there is a critical 'epicenter' to it. These epicenters are circumstances involving 'special' judgements in addition to those common to all mankind.
Following are a few renderings of 2 Thessalonians 2:8 which reveals how the man of lawlessness is brought to an end.
2 Thessalonians 2:8
BBE And then will come the revelation of that evil one, whom the Lord Jesus will put to death with the breath of his mouth, and give to destruction by the revelation of his coming;
EasyEnglish Then people will see the man who completely refuses to obey God. But when the Lord Jesus will come, he will kill that man. Jesus will kill him with the words that Jesus speaks. Jesus will kill him with the very bright, powerful light that shines from Jesus himself.
ISV Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will destroy with the breath of his mouth, rendering him powerless by the manifestation of his coming.
NHEB Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth, and destroy by the manifestation of his coming;
The Easy English gives the fullest interpretation as it points out how the Lord brings this "man of lawlessness" to his end. That is by revelation of the truth.
"Jesus will kill him with the words that Jesus speaks. Jesus will kill him with the very bright, powerful light that shines from Jesus himself."
"Words" will kill the man of lawlessness. Words that the Lord will provide. We certainly don't have an expectation that we will hear His voice from Heaven doing any speaking. Or at least, not prior to His arrival.
He speaks through his servants he has assigned to do so at the appointed time. As now we live near the close of this period of time, and also knowing that the "hour of test" must also occur before the end of this period, time has to be extremely short. And before this, the man of lawlessness is to be killed.
Since Christ will judge angels and flesh, and both the living and all who have died, the application of Biblical prophecy has to be more far reaching than the activities of a small modern day group as Jehovah's Witnesses.
The Letter of Jude
1 I am Jude. I serve Jesus Christ like a voluntary slave. I am a younger brother of James, the leader of all the congregations. I am writing to you whom God has chosen to belong to him. You are loved by God our Father and protected by Jesus Christ.
2 I pray that you will continue to experience very much God acting mercifully toward you, causing you to have inner peace, and loving you.
3 You whom I love, I was very eager and very much wanted to write to you about that which we all share and have in common, which is how God through Jesus Christ has saved us. But now I realize that it is necessary for me to write to you in order to exhort you to defend the truth about Christ that we believe. Jesus and his apostles gave that truth once and for all to us who belong to God, and we must not let it be changed by anyone nor revise or change by anyone.
4 Some people falsely teach that because God kindly does for us what we do not deserve, it does not matter and is all right if we continue to sin. Those people show by the way that they conduct their lives that they do not want to admit and accept that Jesus Christ is our only Master and Lord. It was written long ago that God would condemn such ungodly people and people whose lives are displeasing to him. But some of those people have entered like crawling snakes into your congregations and oppose the truth about Christ, so you must resist and oppose them.
5 Although you previously knew all these things, there are certain things about which I desire to remind you. Do not forget that although the Lord rescued His people from Egypt, He later destroyed most of those same people, ones who did not believe in Him.
6 And there were many angels to whom God assigned positions of authority in Heaven. But many did not continue to rule with authority in those positions. Instead, they abandoned the place that God gave them to live in Heaven. So, God has put those angels in chains forever in the darkness. They will stay there until the great day when God will judge and punish them.
7 Similarly, the people who lived in Sodom and Gomorrah and the nearby cities committed sexual immorality. They sought all kinds of sexual relations that differ from what God permits. So, God destroyed their cities. What happened to those people and those angels shows that God will punish people, such as the ones who teach false doctrine, in the eternal fire of Hell.
8 Similarly, these ungodly people in your midst also defile their own bodies by living immorally, because they claim and say that God revealed in visions that they should act that way. They refuse to allow anyone to have authority over them, and they speak evil about God's glorious, wonderful angels.
9 When the devil (Satan) argued with the chief angel Michael about who would take away the body of the prophet Moses to bury it, Michael did not do as these teachers of false doctrine do. Even though Michael has much more authority than they do, he did not disrespectfully, revile, or say evil things to Satan nor accuse or condemn him. Instead, he only said, “I desire that the Lord God will rebuke you!”
10 But the ones in your midst who teach false doctrine revile and speak evil against the spiritual beings that they do not understand. They also do the evil things that they desire. Things that they know about naturally and without needing to think. Things that they just do without considering the consequences like animals. So, they destroy themselves. But they will also be punished by God.
11 God will do terrible things to those who teach false doctrine! They conduct their lives wickedly like Cain, who murdered his brother because he was jealous and angry because God accepted his brother's sacrifice and did not accept his. These false teachers devote themselves to doing wrong things like Balaam, who tried to induce God's people to sin in order to get the money that was offered to him. They will perish like Korah, who rebelled against the authority that God gave to Moses.
12 Those teachers of false doctrine are as dangerous to you as hidden rocks on a reef, like rocks underneath the surface of the ocean are to a boat. When you gather together to eat the meals that help you believers to love each other more and have a closer relationship with each other, they join you and carouse shamelessly, caring only for themselves and not for others. Because they do not do anything to help others, they are as useless as clouds that are blown along by the wind but that do not produce any rain. They are as disappointing as trees that do not produce fruit in the autumn as we expect them to. They are not only spiritually dead themselves, but they are not able to cause others to be alive spiritually, just like trees that have been uprooted and as a result are unable to produce any fruit.
13 They are restless, like the pounding waves of the ocean. Just like waves produce foul-smelling foam on the shore, those teachers of false doctrine do shameful deeds. We cannot depend or rely on them to show us how to conduct our lives, just like we cannot depend or rely on falling stars to show us the way when we travel. God has reserved intense darkness for them forever in Hell.
14 Enoch, the sixth person in the line of people who descended from Adam, prophesied this about those teachers of false doctrine: “Listen carefully to this: The Lord will certainly come with a countless number of his holy angels in order
15 to judge everyone, and to punish all wicked and ungodly people, those whose lives are displeasing to God for all the ungodly things that displease God that they did in an ungodly way, and for all the harsh things that ungodly sinful people have spoken against him.”
16 Those teachers of false doctrine grumble about the things that God does. They complain about what happens to them. They do the sinful things that their bodies desire. They talk boastfully. They flatter and say nice things to people, only in order to get those people to give them the things that they want.
17 But you people whom I love need to remember the things that were predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, the things that the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said would happen.
18 They told you, “In the final period of time in which we are now living there will be people who will laugh at the truths that God has revealed. They will do the ungodly things that are displeasing to God that their bodies desire.”
19 That describes the teachers of false doctrine well, because they are the ones who cause divisions among believers. They do what their own minds tell them to do. The Spirit of God does not live within them.
20 But you people whom I love, hold and continue to trust firmly the very sacred truths that you believe. Pray letting the Holy Spirit enable and empower you.
21 Keep conducting your lives in a way that is appropriate for those whom God loves. Keep constantly expecting that our Lord Jesus Christ will act mercifully toward you. Keep expecting that until the time when we begin living eternally with him.
22 Mercifully help those who are not certain what teaching they should believe.
23 Rescue others from the influence of those who teach what is false, as you would rescue things by snatching them from a fire. Pity those whom the teachers of false doctrine have completely convinced but beware that they do not influence you. Detest doing or even thinking about the sins that those people commit, just like you would detest touching not only filthy things but the clothes that were stained by those things.
24 God is able to keep you from ceasing to trust in him and from sinning, and he is able to bring you into his glorious presence. As you stand before Him, there will be nothing for which you will be condemned, and you will be rejoicing greatly.
25 He is the only true God. He has saved us as a result of what Jesus Christ our Lord did for us. God was glorious and great and mighty, and He ruled with great authority before time began. He is still like that, and he will remain like that forever! Amen! That is true!
Jude wrote this letter to warn its readers against false teachers. These were teachers who claimed to be Christians but were not as evidenced by their ungodliness. They posed a great danger to the faith of anyone who listened to them.
Jude said they were “as dangerous to you as hidden rocks on a reef, like rocks underneath the surface of the ocean are to a boat”. These false Christian teachers want to shipwreck you and your faith.
He also likened them to uprooted trees saying, “just like trees that have been uprooted and as a result are unable to produce any fruit”. In verse 19 he states, “The Spirit of God does not live within them”.
In this same verse, Jude describes the division they cause because they teach things contrary to the Word of God. “They do what their own minds tell them to do”.
How can one keep from being misled by false teachers?
Verses 20 and 21
20 But you people whom I love, hold and continue to trust firmly the very sacred truths that you believe. Pray letting the Holy Spirit enable and empower you.
21 Keep conducting your lives in a way that is appropriate for those whom God loves. Keep constantly expecting that our Lord Jesus Christ will act mercifully toward you. Keep expecting that until the time when we begin living eternally with him.
Following the Example Set By The Apostle Paul
“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another”.
1 Corinthians 4
1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
8 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.
9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.
19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
Resist those who want you to follow them instead of helping you become a better follower of Christ.
Whom Is Your ‘Mother’?
Whom Is Your Mother?
Old Covenant Slave Mother vs New Covenant Free Woman
21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar.
25 For this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Comparatively, the son of Abraham by the free woman (Isaac) is likened to those seeking to be justified by faith in Yeshua (Jesus) as the promised Messiah, without becoming Jewish first or seeking a Zionist national identity.
When reading Paul's words, the son of Abraham by the slave woman (his son Ishmael) was likened to those seeking to be justified by human means, by the works of the Law, by circumcision, by legal Jewish identity.
Paul confronted those who wanted to enforce the Jewish Law covenant upon the newly formed Christian congregation. The Christian congregation and the covenant it was formed upon was comprised of not just natural Jews, but of people of other nations who were not bound to obey the Law of Moses.
Yet there was a constant insistence then and also now by natural Jews to enforce an old terminated covenant centered on one physical nation, Israel. They sought to be right with God by continuing the things of the past while ignoring His will in the matter.
Paul explains that he is referring to two opposing covenants, illustrated using (unnamed) Sarah, and (named) Hagar.
Paul's words emphasize a competition between two covenants. One is legitimate and the other is not.
Paul also wanted his readers to understand that to expect right standing with God according to the flesh, according to Jewish social status, and a physical national identity is to be identified with a covenant of slavery, the covenant with Hagar and her offspring.
Zionist and so-called Christian-Zionist possess this slave mentality by insisted on creating an earthly nation with Jerusalem as it capital. This is exactly what Paul is warning against.
The original old covenant with a single nation is the covenant with Hagar and her offspring. It relates to the Torah of Moses because that is where practicers of Judaisms in Paul’s day looked for the origins of the Nation of Isra'el as a people, because with the Law, God covenantally “married” as it were, his bride Isra'el.
At the time Paul wrote this letter, earthly Jerusalem certainly was not free. The Roman government had a choke-hold on the complete region. It could not have been the Jerusalem above Paul refers to.
What he does say specifically is that the Jerusalem that is above is free (in opposition to the slave-city earthly Jerusalem), and that this heavenly Jerusalem is our mother.
One Should understand these verses as proof positive that the Old Covenant stemming from Mount Sinai represents slavery and must be replaced by the New Covenant stemming from the Heavenly Jerusalem that offers freedom, and this would be true only if we interpret the terms "old covenant" as "old nature" and "new covenant" as "new nature."
The present Zionist movement are the efforts of those attempting to defy God and continue under a yoke of slavery.
Paul mentions that Ishmael was born when Abraham succumbed to his flesh. Or in other words, in the normal way ordinary human beings produce and bear children.
On the other hand, the son of the free woman Sarah (Isaac) was born, not according to human effort, but by the Divine power of God and after Abraham and Sarah were in reality too old to physically copulate for the sake of producing children.
Galatians 4:26 King James Version (KJV)
"But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all".
“Letters Of Recommendation”
2 Corinthians 3:2
“Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?”
In this chapter, Paul begins by pointing out that he, the apostle that Christ used to begin the Corinthian church, did not need a “letter of recommendation” from anybody.
What commended him was evident by the power of the Holy Spirit manifested by the works he performed.
Paul then explains that God is the real source of power behind his ministerial work:
2 Corinthians 3:3
3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
Some today believe a “letter of recommendation” is necessary to be considered a bonafide ‘minister’ of Christ.
They would have you believe that to be considered a ‘real’ minister, you will have had to have attended some School of Divinity or some Seminary and gotten from them a letter of recommendation (degree). Paul says correctly that that is not so.
Nor is it a case of we recommending ourselves. Reading verses 5 and 6, he continues:
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Paul is writing the Corinthians because a problem has arisen among the brothers there because they were getting themselves wrapped up in ideological arguments that were drawing them away from Christ…. and away from living a life guided by the Holy Spirit.
They had lost sight of what is important. They were arguing about ‘credentials’ and superficial things.
The same problem exist today.
Some act like the men Paul refers to as the “super apostles” in 2 Corinthians 11:5,
“I do not think I’m inferior in any way to those “super-apostles.”
These “super-apostles” were actually false teachers who appeared to be superior to Paul in their manner and authority. Paul calls them “super” in a facetious manner. They obviously presented themselves to the congregation as men with credentials that Paul didn’t possess.
2 Corinthians 11:6,
“Even though I may be untrained as an orator, I am not so in the field of knowledge. We have made this clear to all of you in every possible way.”
Divinity Schools and Seminaries can give that polished appearance of a “professional preacher’ that the indiscerning person will confuse with real spirituality.
This is not to imply that going to such a school will make a man a false teacher.
What it means is that it is a false assumption that going to such a school and receiving a letter of recommendation, is proof of confirmation by God’s Spirit and that it makes a man a bonafide minister of Christ.
Only the Holy Spirit in operation is proof of that.
The mouse is not an intelligent creature as you are and doesn't have the advantage you have by being forewarned.
If the mouse had known that there were controllers outside controlling it's mind, behaviors, and destiny; I imagine that if it could not escape, he would at least resisted their efforts with all it's might
Beware Of Those Who Peddle The Word Of God
2 Corinthians 2:17
BBE "For we are not like the great number who make use of the word of God for profit: but our words are true, as from God, being said as before God in Christ".
EasyEnglish "But we are not like so many other people, who sell God’s message for money. No, God himself has sent us. And God sees what we are doing. So, we speak honestly because we really want people to know God’s message. We speak as those who are united with Christ".
ISV "At least we are not commercializing God’s word like so many others. Instead, we speak with sincerity in the Messiah’s name, like people who are sent from God and are accountable to God".
KJVLite "For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ".
NET "For we are not like so many others, hucksters who peddle the word of God for profit, but we are speaking in Christ before God as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God".
NHEB "For we are not, like so many, peddling the word of God. But as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, we speak in Christ".
Luke 14:28 (GNT)
"If one of you is planning to build a tower, you sit down first and figure out what it will cost, to see if you have enough money to finish the job".
Do you get messages from strangers who solicit me for money on Facebook?
After friending and exchanging salutations, they immediately beg for money for some project they have embarked upon.
Some claim they are Christians and are operating orphanages and need financial aid.
Others claim to be Christian ministers who are constructing buildings for their group to meet in.
The words above are the words of Jesus Christ. It is sound admonition.
Why would one embark upon doing something and not first sit down and calculate if they are in a position to accomplish the task?
Facebook offers a contribution button that a person can display on their own page. This enables anyone who wishes to voluntarily make a contribution to do so.
If one cannot afford the cost of such ventures, it would be much better to volunteer their services to an already established, financed orphanage or to work and build up sufficient enough funds to start and finish your building project.
What are the distinguishing differences between a “sheep-like” disciple and the “goat-like” disciple?
Matthew 25:31-33: “the Son of Man … will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left,”
In several prophecies written in the Old Testament, the coming Messiah is referred to as a ‘Shepherd’:
Yet his bow remained steady, and his strong arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
He protects His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them in the fold of His garment. He gently leads those that are nursing.
I will appoint over them a single shepherd, My servant David, and he will shepherd them. He will tend them himself and will be their shepherd.
My servant David will be king over them, and there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow My ordinances and keep My statutes and obey them.
Jesus identified himself as the foretold of “shepherd” that would guide God’s obedient children to salvation.
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know Me,
A drove of sheep is led by its shepherd, whereas a goatherd is led by a lead goat.
A flock doesn’t lead each other. A flock of sheep look towards the guidance of its shepherd to not only lead them, but also to protect them from dangers such as predators or dangerous environments. Quite opposite, goats lead a goatherd wherever THEY wish to go, while destroying the environment around them along the way.
The male goat represents strong-mindedness, singleness of purpose, and leadership rather than following. Goats follow their own will. The Scripture contrast these two distinct character traits found in sheep and goats in order to show the proper disposition of a true disciple of Jesus.
Perhaps this is so because people who exercise these characteristics are frequently offensive to their fellow brothers and sisters by tending to go off in their own direction in their drive to achieve their own will and goals. Unfortunately, often a great deal of self-pride accompanies the desire to lead others.
The goat-like disciple’s thinking and behavior is very different from that of the obedient disciple.
They have little sympathy for God’s way and remain indifferent to their brothers and sisters. Jesus spoke about this sort of indifference when he chastised the church in Laodicea:
15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot.
16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.
If you continue reading the following verses, the Laodiceans were doing just fine according to their own judgment, but not according to the judgment of the Shepard, Christ.
17 Because you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’ and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked,
18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed, and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see
In reading the context of Jesus’ statements found at Matthew chapter 25, you will see that the goat-like disciples are condemned because of their sins of omission. They are condemned for what they didn’t do.
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Away from me, you that are under God’s curse! Away to the eternal fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels!
42 I was hungry, but you would not feed me, thirsty but you would not give me a drink;
43 I was a stranger, but you would not welcome me in your homes, naked but you would not clothe me; I was sick and in prison, but you would not take care of me.’
44 Then they will answer him, ‘When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and we would not help you?’
45 The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me.’
46 These, then, will be sent off to eternal punishment, but the righteous will go to eternal life.”
There are sins of commission which are things we do: and there are sins of omission….sins of failing to act and do what is right in God’s eyes.
Why did Jesus label such people as goats? What characteristics possessed by a goat caused Jesus to use them in such a negative light?
Goats are ‘capricious’. Here are some synonyms for that term:
Goats are impulsive and unpredictable, devious and contrary. When they are not poking their heads through fences, they may be standing on their hind legs, stretching for those tender leaves just out of reach. Goats are never content with what they have.
They are clever in opening gates and squirming through small gaps because they hate to be limited and confined. While a fence will usually handle sheep, cattle, and horses; it will not hold goats. They will work tirelessly to spring themselves from any situation they deem inhibiting.
Consequently, goats are not very good followers. Sheep are ‘gregarious’ in their behavior. This word describes the nature of a flock or herd and is an instinct which is found strongly in sheep, cattle, and horses. Again, this quality is rather weak in goats; they prefer leading or going off on their own.
Goats may have some admirable qualities such as intelligence, sensitivity, playfulness, they are quick to respond to individual attention and affection. While all of that sounds good, they also so have many negative bad traits that will not allow them to be good followers.
Goats possess a stubborn streak. If you attempt to move a goat in a certain direction, say by grabbing its horns or by pushing and tugging, a goat will resist you. While Christ doesn’t force anyone, a goat-like disciple is rarely moved even if force is applied.
Goats are not very good followers; nor are many ‘professed’ Christian disciples of Christ. That is why Jesus compared his disobedient, self-willed followers to goats. Goats seem to want to forge their own way almost as if they are saying, “I don’t need the shepherd! I will do it all by myself”.
What would we call a Christian who is unpredictable? A goat! Or one who thinks he is above it all? A goat! Or one who independently does his own thing? A goat! What would we call a Christian who wants to take over, has trouble functioning in a group, and does not want to be led? A goat!
In contrast, sheep tend to be more cooperative and inclined to stay with the herd while goats tend to be more independent. Sheep tend to be dependent on the shepherd and more inclined to stay with him and near him.
Christ is separating the “sheep” from the “goats” now.